A lot of things happened today. Saturday, May 28 was just a typical day of Taipei city. After having a briefing on our plans for the cultural leadership workshop, Seng, the Cambodian Living Arts Country Manager who is based in Siem Reap, and I liked the idea of adventure and agreed to explore the city.
We decided to go to Tamsui as the first destination. Tamsui is the North terminal station of the Taipei Metro’s Line 2. It was so lively at Tamsui. There were many visitors crowded on a narrow path where there are food courts, accessories, clothes, bags at each row. At the river front, there is a nice view where occasionally we could see street artists.
Like the whole history of Taiwan, Tamsui was settled by many colonial settlers. Wikitravel indicated that Tamsui was originally home to Formosan indigenous peoples. Then in early 17th century (1629), the Spanish settled there followed by the Dutch in 1941 who left the city 20 years after. Then Tamsui continued to grow.
On our way back, we realised that the Taipei Metro never stops impressing us. There are notifications everywhere. Spaces are always designed for people in needs. In our observation, we rarely see other people sit on the chairs dedicated to people in need. Although there are not people in need claim the chairs, they still stand. Having experienced the Metro, we can say that there is thoughtful design to make the public transportation convenient, comfortable, and equally shared by all citizens.
After leaving Tamsui, we headed to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall. It is a huge complex. There were a few musical bands and dance group practicing their skills. Since we had barely an hour available, we only took a few photos and had to leave to the Bookworm Book Fair where good impressions, new lessons learnt, and appreciation of Taiwanese writers and publishers have been gained.
There were only 6 stalls and one panel discussion going on. I was lucky to have Taiwanese citizen and also a good friend to Cambodia, Chi-yu, there to translate the conversation for me. The two writers were exchanging about their writing and their family matters. While the male writer wrote about a beloved traditional Chinese housewife, the female writer challenged the gender role by indicating that her husband is the one who cooks for her while she is busy writing.
At the Book Fair, I have learned that the publishing company has been working so hard to get into the mainstreaming industry. They create new ideas to attract the attention of readers by using Chinese traditional games and pointing them to read the poem in the books that they published. The other lesson learned is that there is no need to have a big number people to come to the event. At the panel, there were only 6 participants but everyone was attentive and showed expression in response to what the two writers said. I also met a beautiful woman writer whose book is about women body genre. How I wish I can read Mandarin. Her front cover design is sophisticated.
Before reaching Fembooks, a bookstore dedicated to women, gender, and feminism, we had a chance to look at a restaurant where chairs are decorated with bras. 🙂
Fembooks has a collection of various feminist genres. My impression was again: with the first floor and a narrow stairway, the bookstore idea is possible. Small size does not matter.