a short update that's kinda long.
written: 10:17 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 05, 2004

I'm at Taichung right now, which is, obviously, a place in Taiwan. Using my uncle's laptop, and he's the coolest person ever 'cause he has a small liking for Jielun's music. Haha! Also, in 2000, I nipped Nirvana's "In Utero", Queen's Greatest Hits and a few metal CDs (I was into nonsense then, which explains the metal) from him. See? I told you he's cool. He's also my favourite uncle 'cause he rocks. He has really cute kids too.

This isn't going to be very long; I expect my bro to come up and snatch the laptop from me after he's sufficiently amused by the NBA game he's watching downstairs (Miami Heats vs. Denver Nuggets - the Heats lost, in spite of Shaq O'Neal and man, they really suck). So yeah. In brief, I just got here from Taipei; it was a 2-hour drive from Taipei and my arse couldn't stop hurting after that.

Before today, I was at Kinmen. It's this small, puny place off Taiwan that is separated from Xiamen, China, by a body of water whose name I don't know and don't particularly care for. It's been ruled by Taiwan ever since the Nationalists overran it in 1949, when the civil war between the Communists and the Nationalists broke out. But my point is, my dad was born there, my grandparents live there and my brother grew up there, and so we "went back", so to speak, for a short visit.

Wait. Short? Are you kidding me? Four days there almost killed me. It's nice and charming and quirky and all but it's essentially a farm. Virtually everywhere you go, you'd see a cow or two along the roadside, where the fields are. Before, there used to be a lot more of those cows. It's changed a lot, so much so that absolutely nothing clicked in my mind when we arrived at my grandparents' place.

The lodging in itself can garner another paragraph or more and my brother's already pestering me to get off so I'll just put this in simple, proletariat terms: IT'S SCARY. I got used to it after the first day but IT'S STILL SCARY. It's a shophouse, one of those olden day types, without a living room. And the stairs that lead to the rooms? Oh my god. Going up all the way to the third storey is exercise enough to make up for the six months of skipped PE classes. They were the narrowest stairs I've ever seen and I never had such difficulties descending a flight of stairs before. Everytime I did so, I felt like I'd fall and I had to walk sideways!

I also met a bunch of relatives whom I didn't know existed. In fact, my mom's cousin drove us to and from the airport. He's a year younger than my mom's eldest brother but I thought he was as old as my grandad. It's the rough work; he works as a rubbish collector. DESPITE THAT, he has a huge house that is way bigger than my condo back in Singapore. Guess how much he makes a month? About S$2300! Just by pouring rubbish!

Then again, I wouldn't do such a job even if you paid me five thousand bucks so yeah.

Had dinner with many strange people last night. We were invited by my mom's somebody...cousin or something I believe. I wouldn't have minded too much but I did after a while because virtually all the old people, the men, started lighting up like nobody's business. And since I'm extremely intolerant of smoke, any kind of smoke, I began to get seriously irritated, especially because it was fag smoke. I mean, I think I have as much of a right not to subject myself to junk as the smokers have to light up, you know?

So I decided to go the toilet to get some fresh air, and to tidy up my hair a bit, and immediately I was greeted with a freaking non-smoking sign.

No wonder my mom didn't want to go. The person who invited us got some strange dude to drive us there (since my grandparents don't drive) and during the dinner he downed so much liquor that we wanted to take a taxi back, just in case, but he insisted on driving us back and luckily we got back safely or I'd be in the hospital right now or something.

I also went to a lot of temples and lighted joss sticks and all. My Slam Dunk jacket really stinks now. I think I visited about like 7 temples over the span of 3 days while I was there. Of course, I had no idea what the heck I was doing; I just followed my grandmother around. I don't believe in it, but I did it anyway 'cause I see it more as a traditional gesture rather than a religious one. On the bright side, I got to visit the house in which my dad's grandparents lived. You know, the ancestry house or whatever.

On the downside, the place was so dusty that you could smell the dust. And since my nose can't take dust for too long, I mainly stayed outside. It's a shame, but.

People there mostly speak Hokkien/Taiwanese/whatever. It's like... weird. The neighbours would start to talk to me in Hokkien and I'd just look back blankly and be like, "Huh?" Haha. Pretty sad. I also attended a "political rally" while I was there. My dad's primary school friend is running for mayor or whatever over there and he had a rally right on the street where we stayed, so I followed my dad to listen to his speech.

Firstly, the turn out was abysmal. There were hardly anyone there, which could be due to the rain which didn't cease the entire day, but we'd never know. Secondly, HE SPOKE IN HOKKIEN AND I DIDN'T UNDERSTAND A WORD.

Hence, I'm going to the Kuomintang rally on Friday night. They're holding elections again here in Taiwan, which means that people back in Singapore can expect to read about riots and shit in the Asia pages of the Straits Times.

Okay, I'm gonna wrap this up soon. We were supposed to take a plane straight to Taichung but we had to fly to Taipei first from Kinmen and then get my cool uncle to drive us here because our flight was bloody cancelled as the plane was spoilt or whatever. Okay, fine. But the stupid morons over there didn't even bother to put us on another bloody flight! It was only until we got the flight to Taipei that it was made known to us that there was a 12.20 flight to Taichung (the original one was 11.45 a.m.).

Like, what the fucking hell. Talk about non-existent service. And the plane scared the shit out of me but if I go into that I'd take another ten minutes so maybe next time.

Lastly, I like it here but I still miss Singapore. Bwahahahahahaha. I'd never have guessed. I miss Mel! Can't wait to hang out with her again. Wish you were here.

Right, that's it for now.

Oh wait. I had dinner at this great restaurant in this huge mall just now and I ate a lot but my point is that I got two bloody DVDs for about S$45 which is dirt cheap 'cause you could hardly get a good, quality DVD for S$15 in Singapore. I got Formula 17 which is banned in Singapore if I'm not wrong (which is stupid because it's just a small Taiwanese film with cute guys about homosexuality - big deal) as well as The Missing and Goodbye Dragon Inn! I caught the former at the Singapore International Film Fest and loved it but missed the latter, because it was the closing film and hence it was like $21.50. But I got the bloody DVD! And we drove past the park where Lee Kang-sheng filmed The Missing today on the way to Taichung. Yonghe Si Hao Gong Yuan. Park No. 4. Uh, yeah.

Okay, that's it for now. Will type more when I get back to Singapore. Yay. And all.

before sunrise // before sunset

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