Wrapping up 2017: Taipei

I’m back. And I don’t know if to you, the reader, it feels as if I have to say that very often at the start of a blog post, but to me it does. Anyway, no more excuses, but I solemly swear to write more often here. Where were we at last time? Ah yes, I chronicled my trip to the UK. Go read that if you forgot about it, but be sure to return for the update.

In this update, I first look back at the end of August until the beginning of November. Get set, ready, go!

Going back to Taiwan - August 2017

It was hot in Taiwan last summer. We got back and constantly craved air conditioning and only sporadically went places. I also don’t seem to have taken any good pictures, so you will have to scroll on.

Start of the semester - September 2017

Escapism

We did an escape room AND MANAGED TO ESCAPE! It was very close, but I do recommend this type of experience with friends. Let me know below if you have ever done an escape room and if you would do it again!

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Museism

Once in a while you have to go to an interesting exhibition and now (well, then) was the perfect time to do so. As Huck magazine observes:

Asia’s first major LGBTQ exhibition is opening this week - Breaking barriers

It was a bit groundbreaking for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei (MOCA Taipei) to organize an exhibition devoted entirely to Asian LGTBQ issues and art, entitled “Spectrosynthesis” 光‧合作用. Let us first look at this painting which is totally not suggestive at all.

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Looking at it from a distance and over time, this really means a lot. I remember how just over a year ago a French professor living in Taiwan committed suicide after losing his partner, who he had not been allowed to marry.

I also remember, on the upside, how I joined the gay pride parade in 2015 and 2016 (but unfortunately had to skip this year’s edition). And now, finally, in May 2017, the legislative barriers were finally broken - within two years Taiwan should see its first same-sex marriage. So, I am happy with this step forward in equality, and decided to throw in some bonus pictures from the exhibition: some stilles from the artfilm Passion 《激情》, directed Wang Jun-Jieh 王俊傑. The film showed three perspectives of the scenes at once, often the different viewpoints of the two characters and a global vantage point - resulting in a very interesting sensory experience.

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Still not enough? You can watch the making of below!

Studyism

This semester I decided to take three classes:

  • R Language and Data Science, or as we came to know it: RLaDS. This was a very interesting class, and I will comment on it in future posts.
  • Seminar on Advanced Cognitive Grammar, which was basically our lab meeting with extra interested students.
  • Phonology. This course was both basic and a bit more advanced, with enough attention to Sound Symbolism, so it was right up my alley.

I think this was a good combination for me. Methodologically, I got the most from the R class (should you not know, R is a programming language, like e.g. python, but it can do some things very well that other languages cannot) and I think I am able to speed up my research process significantly with techniques I learnt there. Related to ideophones, however, I was able to discuss the same phenomenon (namely ideophones expressing LIGHT in Pre-Modern Chinese) from a Cognitive Semantic point of view, and from a phonological point of view. The resulting papers revealed some overlap, as you would expect from a linguistic phenomenon that is driven by iconicity, and are complementary. I think I might even use chunks of it in my – gasp – dissertation.

White nights and visitors - October 2017

Warm October Nights

As sung by one of my defining bands, Yellowcard, in their song Warm October Nights, there was one night-related event that stood out in this month: Taipei’s annual Nuit Blanche, although that ‘annual’ should be taken with a grain of salt, as it’s only the second edition. (I missed last year’s edition, because I was too busy going to Thailand and China.) Anyway, my university NTU figured prominently on the route of venues that partook in the event. I decided to go with my xuemei Hanna and her Korean friend, and after they went home, I just felt the energy and nearly pulled an allnighter, doing research in my department. I know, I know, that shouldn’t be the point, but at that time it just felt right, and it also reminded me of the one time the Faculty of Arts students back in Leuven did a nuit blanche in the Faculty library. Ah, good times. Anyways, here are pictures of this event.

20171006_181011 Palm tree boulevard without people

20171007_215848 Palm tree boulevard with people

20171008_043325 The moon looking down with its menacing eye.

20171008_040359 So at 5 o’clock in the morning people do look like zombies.

Good advice

Halfway October my old advisor for my MA in Sinology thesis was in Taipei and we decided to meet up. We spent a lovely, yet rainy afternoon chatting about the past, the current state of affairs and future plans, and it was as inspiring as I seemed to remember. Thank you for everything 范德望老師!

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Good upbringing

Then, at the end of October and going into November, my mom finally came to Taiwan! You might have seen some pictures on social media, but that’s only because we were both so happy to see each other again and wanted to share that with the world. I took her mostly around Taipei, assisted by CJ’s mom (and of course CJ himself). So, I think I will limit the account mostly to some of these images.

20171030_115541_HDR Me and mom at 千島湖

20171030_122055 千島湖 without me and my mom

20171102_202932 Eating dinner with my advisor

20171103_110921 One of my favourite spots in Taipei remains Chunky’s Mausoleum, and the view you have on this 自由廣場 square.

20171103_111107_HDR Proof we were there.

20171105_151450 My mom’s first panda (I think)

20171105_195300 Me and my mom at the gate of NTU. Scenic spot check!

20171105_210113 My mom is so cuddly that even the local Taiwanese children fall asleep on her. His mother did not realize at all though…

20171106_122516 天下為公: the Empire is for everyone; but my mom is always there for me.

20171028_153436 CJ’s mom took us into the tea fields of Hsinchu. It was an amazing trip, with great tea.

20171028_153204 Those teafields have been there for a long time, basking in the sun.

20171028_154546_HDR But they do make for lush background settings.

20171026_164437_HDR Our first picture together in Taiwan - visiting NTU’s campus and Drunken Moon Lake

And with that picture this update is finished! Next time, we go to Japan! So stay tuned. And stay in school!

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