Archive for June, 2009

To Taiwan and Back: Part 5

I apologise for the all the late postings. It seems like I don’t like writing whenever I don’t have the mood nor time.

This is the last installment of my chronicles in Taiwan. Sunday, being Dies Dominca, is the day we worship. Thanks to the girls from the Duns Scotus Center, I managed to get the Mass timing and location of some Catholic churches. I actually attempted to find one on Friday night. Unfortunately the doors of the nearest church were closed and there was no bulletin of any sort. The priest house seemed to be empty as well. Nonetheless on Sunday morning I took the public bus to Church of the Holy Family. This parish is located in Da-An (大安區).


Grotto


Sanctuary


Nave

I was expecting to hear the Hokkien Mass but then it turned out to be the Mandarin Mass instead. I had little problem with following the liturgy. The Mandarin hymnals in Singapore are all imported from Taiwan. They don’t practise tongue communion though; I was denied it.

St Joseph

Mary

Sacred Heart of Jesus

St Theresa of Avila

There was stained glass all over the church. This one depicts the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.

The next place I went to was the Cathedral.

Modern architecture, obviously.


Mother and child


Sanctuary


Nave


Our Lady’s altar

Thus concluding the church visiting for the morning. I made my way back to Ximen for some last minute shopping as well as for lunch.

The Cathedral is closest to Shuanglian Station. I took a long walk in the underground street that connects it to Zhongshan Station and subsequently Taipei City Station. This street is known as Zhongshan Metro Shopping Mall. It is home to many bookshops.

There is an open space straight ahead where there are youths practicing Hip Hop dances.

The Rapid Transit Administration building is also located here.

I finally made my way to Taipei City Station where I changed trains towards Ximen. My room mate Jing Wei informed me the night before of the existence of a maid cafe there. It took me quite a while to find it but fortunately I made it in time for lunch.

This place called Moe Moe Centre sells manga, anime and other related goods. The main attraction is of course the Maid Cafe. I regret to inform you that I was not able to take any pictures as it was expressively forbidden by the management. Maybe next time.

In any case the experience was quite weird. The waitress was dressed in a French Maid’s costume and when welcoming you into the restaurant, would curtsey and say ‘お归りなさいませ、ご主人样’.

‘Welcome back Master.’ Oh dear, how embarrassing. The waitresses are quite pretty though. Food is decent, though you have to get the salad, soup and bread ala buffet style. They also refill your water regularly asking ‘主人要加水吗?’ When you wish to place the order for the main course she will ask ‘主人要点菜吗?’ I wasn’t really used to it. Still, I will pay a visit there again if I ever go back to Taipei.

All good things must come to an end. I made my way back to the hotel to catch the bus to the hotel.

Gundam on display at the airport duty free shop.

Home sweet home. On display are spoils from Taiwan.

Ah! I miss Taiwan! When can i go back? =(

To Taiwan and Back: Part 4

Finally, we have come to the best part. The pictures I have taken are the fruit of two days of unrestricted exploration in Taipei.

After lunch, we returned to the hotel and were released for free and easy R&R. I took the bus to Ximending with the drivers staying in the hotel. From there on, I made my own way around the place. Ximending (西門町) is a large shopping street where the young people like to go to. The latest fashion can be found in this place. It also has a large collection of shops with Japanese goods such as music and anime.

I did a little bit of window shopping, and as I was wandering around the place, something caught my eye.

Maybe they were imitating modern fashion, where people like to wear the rosary around their neck, even though they have no idea what it is for, nor have they ever prayed with it. But most pleasantly, I had stumbled upon a Catholic bookshop.

From the looks of it, business did not seem very good. The shopkeeper was very happy to see someone take notice of the shop. So I entered.

The John Duns Scotus Bible Reading Promotion Centre (思高讀經推廣中心) is an apostolate that is run by the Franciscans in Taiwan. They print Mandarin Bibles for the whole of Taiwan and other Catholic literature. The shop also has sacramentals from the Holy Land.

The two ladies running the shop, 廬琳琳 and 林美利. I didn’t ask for their English names. Oops. They were nice people, and I spent almost an hour in their shop conversing with them. Thank God I joined the Chinese Legion, if not I would have nothing to build on. Before leaving I purchased some Holy Cards, paperweights and a rosary ring.

And they made me take a picture with their patron St Francis too! What nice people. I shall pray for the success of their apostolate.

I spent the rest of the afternoon sightseeing.

The famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian with ridiculously long queue.

The Red House Theater

Zhongshan Hall, similar to our Victoria Concert Hall. In the background they were preparing for the Taipei Poetry Festival.

I was due to meet my friend Yi Cheng at Gongguan in the evening. Remember the guy who made me disinfect my hands with alcohol after defecating in the forest during the Gunung Tahan expedition? He has since returned to Taiwan after ORD. He is now studying at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU).

He happened to be in Taipei for the weekend doing community service. I was happy to be able to meet an old friend in his country. Gongguan (公館) is where National Taiwan University is located. We decided to go visit the university. They were celebrating their hundredth anniversary of their founding.


Festivities and band performances


Bell tower


Library

Not having consumed dinner yet, we decided to eat at the nearby night market. We settled for some Oyster Mee Sua. We had mango ice desert after that. It was a really big plate with ice cream on top. Best shared with a few people.

I also managed to find a wet market selling cheap dried beef jerky. Excellent stuff. My decision not to purchase from the tourist shops we came across in the morning was correct. We went to Xinyi (信義) after that. Xinyi is a upmarket shopping district. Very expensive. Xinyi is where the Taipei 101 is located.

Business seemed to be quite bad, even though it was a Saturday night.

Being avid readers, I decided to take a visit to PageOne. PageOne incidentally is a Singaporean company, which has branches in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

The Taipei 101 from afar.

We also paid a visit to Eslite Bookshop (誠品書店). It is the biggest book retailer in Taiwan. Its size trumps PageOne’s anyday. Regretably we did not visit the 24-hour branch at Dunhua (敦化). Oh well maybe next time.

No-smoking spaces have the most attitude.

This is an interesting poster I first came across at the 802 Military Hospital in Kaoshiung. It seems like the Taiwanese Health Ministry is trying to ban smoking in public spaces, and they have enlisted Jolin Tsai to help them. It would be wonderful if I had one of these posters in KMC. Then I won’t have so many idiot smokers reporting sick for cough and flu.

Next stop: Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall.

National Theater

Chiang Kai Shek’s tomb.

This is the Freedom Square (自由廣場). If you read the news last year, this was the stage of student protests by the Wild Strawbery movement (野草莓運動).

Human garbage?

Yi Cheng with glee. ‘Come savour the rebellous spirit of the Taiwanese youth.’ Lol.

Press Freedom is a Human Right.

225 hours of sit-in protest.

Me standing near the gates.

So marks the end of Saturday Night in Taipei…

Coming next: Part 5

and you forgave the guilt of my sin

Psalm 31 (32)

Antiphon: Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame.

Blessed is he whose sins are forgiven,
whose transgressions are hidden away.
Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
While I kept silent,
my bones grew old
as I groaned all day long.
While your hand lay heavy on me,
by day and by night,
my strength was dried up as if by summer heat.
I made my sin known to you,
and I did not hide my faults.
I said “I will bear witness against myself before the Lord,”
and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
This is why every saint will pray to you in due time,
and even in the great flood he will not be touched.
You are my refuge, you will preserve me from trouble,
you will surround me with cries of deliverance.
I will give you understanding and teach you the path you are to follow;
I will keep watch over you.
Do not be like the horse and the mule,
without understanding:
if you approach them with bit or bridle,
they will not come near.
Many are the sufferings of the wicked,
but the Lord’s mercy will protect those who trust in him.
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you just.
Shout for joy, you upright of heart.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Amen.

Antiphon: Happy the man to whom the Lord imputes no blame.


Pages

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

Stella Matutina, ora pro nobis

Our Lady of Perpetual Succor, pray for us

St Michael the Archangel, pray for us

St Jude, pray for us

St Benedict, pray for us

St Dominic, pray for us

St Anthony, pray for us