U, Who Uses His Body to Express Himself

The path, of a performer, it’s, never going to be easy!  Translated…

Since my trip to Denmark last year, I’d become, more than willing, to take a long commute, to see the performances.  Back then, in a certain Modern Arts Museum in Denmark, the light in my mind suddenly, turned on, it wasn’t just a light, a star, more of, twinkling on and on, never dimming—it’d, arrived, to the other end of the world, even, there’s, no reason for me, to slack off in Taiwan, this tiny island.  And so, I’d alighted the MRT, transferred onto a train, arrived to the “wilderness”.

photo from online…

This is a café normally, at the cramped up alley between old apartment buildings.  A performance arts space, in this sort of an desolate, older residential area, this place should be called “Savannah”!  The café is spacious, which the place was made out of, with the audience, arriving, the show can begin—a table, a percussionist, two dancers, one man one woman, this, was a dance created by U.

U has a special background, born in Taiwan, raised in Indonesia, went to U.S. to study films, danced in the Netherlands.  He said he’d become, multi-lingual as a kid, but, felt, that he couldn’t, clearly express the innermost meanings well enough, until he’d discovered dance, like how I’d found my own way, to communicate with the world.  This unique, made-up way of “original language”.

Shortly after my return to Taiwan, U found, that the modern dancers here are just as good as those abroad, but, there’s, a small market for audiences, and, the field doesn’t look optimistic at all.  He’d asked, how come such great things, you just brush aside?  He’d seen a free performance at Bellavita, the dancers performed in the halls of a high-end shop, as he was really into watching the performances, he realized, that there was, a young boy, who was also, intrigued, the child asked his mother, “what, are they doing?”, the mother glanced over, said impatiently, “They’re CRAZY!”, then, pulled the child away.

male dance solo 的圖片結果like this???  Photo from online…

“As I heard that, I was, heartbroken.  How come this, was what the arts education in Taiwan had been reduced to?  I know, a lot of people would tell me, modern dance is hard to understand.  But why must it be understood?  The process of watching the performances, there would be an emotional response, something that’s, beyond verbal expressions, that, is what’s, most important.”  He’d, told me.

U’s performance was short, afterwards, he’d gotten the audience involved in a small activity.  We’d needed to, remain silent, for our partners to perform the actions we’d, wanted them to, or have them understand, what we’d wanted them to do.  My partner was a beautiful girl, she gave up easily, after one to two charades and she’d not guessed it right, she’d felt anxious, and it’d, forced me, to think of an alternative way, to express myself.  In the process, I’d found, that we were, staring deeply, into each other’s eyes than usual, and, worked harder, to listen to each other, than we normally would.

U said, he’d planned, to perform in Taiwan, at the same time, he’d wanted to, direct some short films on dancing.  I know the hardships he’s weathering, what is unsure is, the path he’d, walked on, or the path he’s about, to walk onto, which one would be, harder?  As the performances are over, I’d wanted to, walk over to him and tell him, but, I’d feared, that staring into my eyes, U may see my worries for him, so, I kept, to myself.

As I walked slowly, back to the station from the wilderness, then, transfer on the MRT back to Taipei, this almost-an-hour ride, doesn’t feel, that long at all.

like this show for the public???  photo from online…

So, this, is on chasing one’s own dreams, the writer is also a performer like the person U, so, she’d, understood the hardships that he is facing, has faced, and is about to face for his future, because she’d, weathered through it, or is, weathering through it right now, and, there are, NO easy way, if you want to be successful, you can’t find shortcuts, you just have to, bite down, and, take the trials as they come, and, fight hard, and, you might (still not a definite though…) be successful in the end!

The Music from Onstage

Finding people who shared the same love of music like you, and playing with them, making wonderful music, those, are the moments, you’d, miss the most, translated…

Although, I’d, matured into an okay adult, and managed, to gain some real-world experiences, but every time when someone asked me of my dreams, I’d become, silenced, “What, is it?”, in this world, maybe, without dreams had become, a sort of an ordinariness, because that means, that the individuals are, without goals, or directions to their lives, a man who doesn’t know which way to turn, can be called, “lost”.

just, sharing their love for music, jamming together, photo from online…

And so, I’d always, come up with a dream, and, as I’d told others about it, it seemed, to have, become, real.  I’d dreamed, of performing in the national concert hall, playing the songs that I loved, because I’d once, been intoxicated, taken in, by the moments on stage from before.  As a student, because of my nature as a gambler, the refusal to get defeated, it’d made me from not being able to play an instrument, to entering into competition, earning a placement in the national contests.  Thinking back of this, don’t know how, I’d, managed, to gamble on this passion of mine, it’d always, caused me to repeat a grade level.

That, was the very first time our school had competed in the national competitions.  First, we’d defeated the winner in the regionals, moving our places forward.  This competitor, was our best friend, we’d, practiced during the summers together, but, in the competitions, there IS a winner, and, the cruelties of this competition had, tested our friendships.  On that day, it was my birthday, as I tasted the fruits of victory, I’d still needed to, pay attention to my friends’ tears as well as their emotions too, and, they were very good losers, helping us move our instruments off stage too, and, we were only able to, taste this bitter, and soured success on our own.

My friend, my competition handed me a birthday card, I’d, written back to him, courteously and honestly, “I hope, that this competition won’t ruin what we had, we can still be good friends.”  A few days later, I’d received a letter back from him, he told me, “As I read your letter, I was, eating an apple, and, I’d, tasted that sourness mixed into the sweetness like you were experiencing too.”, another friend wrote, “Hearing you talk, it’s, beat-by-beat, matching to each other’s tempos, you all must worked really hard to perfect your skills, we’re, glad, you were, winners!”

Before we’d tasted that mixture of joy and ambiguity of being in the finals, we’d faced, that pressure onstage soon enough.  The night before the competition, we were still, rehearsing in the auditorium, surprisingly, nobody spoke a single word, every one of us only, stared down at our instruments, and, played our separate parts; and, don’t know which measure it was, when the huqin came in, very harmoniously.  I’d felt, that the lower parts were in-synch, then came, the woodwinds, finally, the percussion strings came in, then, those percussionists who were cleaning up their instruments, also, joined in too.  The teacher who were chit-chatting offstage were all shocked, looking at how our headless band was, playing something hard, and in the end, every one of us, cried.

That night on stage, I’d clearly, felt the vibrations from the string player next to me, the vibration from his instrument had, shocked me, that my instrument played with his too—I started to believe, that music, can be felt, naturally, that the human hearts were, calling out to each other too.  But after that, I’d never met anybody, who was, in-synch whom, I’d, played so well with again.  In college, after the camps finished the activities, I’d started wailing aloud outside, perhaps, I’d, discovered, that I will NEVER, find the wonders of that very night back again, that I will never find another, whose hearts, resonated, in accordance to mine so perfectly.

just a group of friends, playing music together, photo from online…

During that part of my life when I took up music, to now, thinking back, I’d still, get intoxicated in the moments, felt phased, by that music.  I’d always thought, that we are now, humming our own separate songs in the city’s streets, playing our own tunes now.  We all have musical instruments inside each one of us, and, a stage to perform on, is everywhere in sight.

This, would be the depth of the writer’s friendship with her fellow musicians, and, it is, very difficult, to find a group of people who shared your similar values, your similar interests, that you can, run with, and, this writer was lucky enough, to find the opportunities in her younger years, to find such a group of wonderful friends to share their joys of making the music together.









These Leftover Dreams…

These, leftover dreams, they’d, no longer tasted fresh, and yet, we’re still, keeping them, why?

These, leftover dreams, from god KNOWS how long ago, look at all those age spots, all those wrinkles on them?  Why are we, bothering, keeping up with them, huh?  They’re, so outdated, and useless now!

like these???  not my photograph.

These, leftover dreams, like those takeout boxes you have from your leftovers at the restaurants, you take them home, stick it into the fridge and, forget about their existences, until one day, as you, rummage through the fridge, came that STENCH, then, you start, digging into the DEPTH of those slots inside the fridge, and find it…………

These, leftover dreams, we should probably just, throw them out, they’re, NOT fresh anymore, I mean, we can, always, make them up again, can’t we?  After all, they all came out of, our minds, didn’t they?  And, so long as our minds are still, functional, then, making more of them dreams should be, a cinch, isn’t that right???

So, just, throw these, leftover dreams away, they’re, taking up too much space, cramping MY style (as I KNOW I HATE clutters!!!), and, there’s just, NO more extra room here, for them, and, I refuse, to take out a storage unit for all of their sakes!  (Costs money, energy to maintain the storage, etc., etc., etc., etc., you know how the drill goes!)

like leftover foods, it all, goes into the TRASH!!!  Not my photo still…

T, the Actor Who’s about to Go Off Stage

On reflections of the self, translated…

I’d freed up my schedule as well as I possibly could, and finally, I’d made it to T, the actor’s final performance, I’d expected him to start crying hard on the last scene, but instead, he’d looked, so very, serious, and I was, the one, crying like crazy. Such an amazing performer, when, will I see you stand on that stage again?

“Every time I went on stage, I’d always felt a bit lost, as I performed, it was, as if, I’d felt some sort of revelation, that everything was real, and yet, after the performances ended, I’d felt, it’s, so unreal.” He’d pressed his ball cap low as he’d told me. That, was the time, that we’d met, when he’d told me, he wanted to, stop performing.

a performer putting on a show on stage, photo from online…

“That, is how drama goes, ‘the magical assumptions’, it’s because you’d gone all in, that, was why you’re so amazing on stage.”

“But this made me feel very vacant, empty. It shouldn’t be normal, it’s not the life I’d wanted.”, he’d lifted his head up, stared, straight at me.

“You can expand your life, other than acting, do something you enjoy. Didn’t you tell me you loved fishing? Go fishing often then.”, I’d told him.

“I’d gotten this reality check, this wake-up call when I went fishing. Let me ask you, did you really grow up to be the adult you’d always wanted to be?”, he’d inquired.

For some unknown reasons, I felt a bit agitated, not wanting to give him a reply. This is such an enormous question, and I thought it had NOTHING to do with whether or not he continued to act or not. I was hurting over, how Taiwan will soon lose, another excellent “voice”, or maybe, a “spokesperson” even, to tell us where the moon is.

taking that bow!  Not my photo…

actor taking a bow 的圖片結果

He was the one who’d told me, what a “performer pointing to the moon” was. The dancer, Duncan once stated, that there are, three sorts of dancers: first, ones who’d used dancing as a simple form of exercise; second, ones who’d used their bodies, to make the moves, according to the tempos, and express their feelings through their performances; last, the kind that made ones’ bodies transparent, which allows the audience to see the ups and down inside the performers’ souls. The last kind was what Duncan wanted to become. T told me, for him, there are, just two kinds of actors: in the Japanese shows, there’s a set of moves, relating to the moon, the first type of performer can make the audience feel, that the moves s/he performed, is nothing less than perfection; another kind, only lets the audience see the moon. T told me he’d wanted to be the latter.

take one final bow, and then, it’s, all over, not my picture…

All of a sudden, it’d dawned on me, why he’d wanted to stop acting. T is truly, amazing, too beautiful, with too many qualities that made him into a star, plus his performance skills, outstanding too, every time he stood up on stage, nobody misses him. Even if he’d, minimized himself, it couldn’t fight off that natural sort of attraction that he had. It’s quite ironic, that sort of charisma on stage which every performer sought after, was what T wanted to avoid the most.

“When you identify an object, given it a name, then, the message gets across, and it’d become, valid, so, the characters come to life; otherwise, only the performers were living, the characters they portrayed become like corpses. My audience only always just see me, and not at the moon I was, pointing to.”, he’d told me. I’d totally, disagreed. As a member of his audience, every time I saw him perform, if there was a moon over his head, I can not just see, but also, see that light from the moon, sprinkled, over the top of his head. I will look at his facial expressions, and the moon back and forth, thinking to myself: you are the sort of performer I’d wanted to be. I just hope, that one day, he will return back to the stage again, and, I can finally, answer the very last question he’d tossed to me.

So, this man, is at crossroads in his life, he’d worked in his field of expertise too long that he’d become, somewhat burnt out, and he’d wanted to breakthrough, but, he felt stuck, which is probably why he’d felt the need, to quit what he did, and start anew, working in a totally different field, while this woman he was speaking with sees him in a different light compared to how he’d envisioned himself.

Father George Martinson Passed Away, Passing the Love on

Better known, as Uncle Jerry, someone who taught English to kids on T.V. in my generation, from the Front Page Sections, translated…

Been living in Taiwan over half a century, the American father George Martinson who loved Taiwan had passed away, leaving behind endless memories. He’d made speech tours across the whole to Taiwan, cared for the younger generations, as well as the members of the lesser economic statuses, he was involved with charitable acts regularly, he’d once mentioned, “Death is only a process of life, it’s not, the terminal station, so, there’s no need for fear, instead, we should face it calmly.”

Here’s the photo of Father Martinson, from online…

This reminded me, a spiritual leader, the former cardinal, Paul Shan Guo-Shi, he’d given his whole life for the betterment of Taiwan, even after he was diagnosed with cancer, he’d treated his cancer cells as angels, reminding him, to live in the moment, that he doesn’t have that much time left, he’d gone all around the island, lecturing. He kept reminding me, you must live life with love, then, influence others with love.

Yesterday in my clinic, there came a native elderly, his left eye was injured by the mangoes that fell from up high, the one who’d taken him to see me was a middle-aged woman, I’d thought they were related, and after I’d inquired, she’d told me she was a devout Catholic, who lived in the mountains, and would stroll outside to visit her community. She’d told me, “The houses of the natives have no locks, the younger generation all moved to the city to find a better life, and, those elderly who are left would sit underneath their roofs, and chit-chat, and as I saw that nobody was there, I’d gone into the houses to see if they needed help, this man suffered from severe eye pain, and was moaning in pain on his bed, I’d immediately gone home, drove my 25-year-old old car, lifted him here to get treated.”, I was, moved by her selflessness and helpfulness toward the stranger.

and here’s the Taiwanese cardinal, photo from online…

Mother Teresa once stated, “The antonym of love is not hate, it’s apathy.”, although the Cardinal and Father Martinson weren’t born in Taiwan, but they’d shown long-term concern and love toward the land of Taiwan, they’re more Taiwanese than those of us born here, and, who will, take their legacy, and pass it on now?

So, these, are two people who’d, given their lives, to serve the people, expecting nothing in return, and they did this, out of love and respect for the people in Taiwan, and, look around here, there’s, NOT that many who are like that these days………

A Woman from Hong Kong Who’s Never Lifted a Finger at Home Works as a Cleaning Lady and Enjoying it

A change in her lifestyle, because she wanted something different from what she’s used to, translated…

The fourth-year college student of Hong Kong Education University, Wong wanted to trek through Taiwan in a slow manner, she’d gone to the backpackers’ inn in Lugang.

香港教育大學大四生黃建珠(右)最近到鹿港打工換宿,客廳是旅人們交換資訊的地方。 ...the young woman from Hong Kong relaxing at the place she’s work-staying, photo from UDN.com…

When she’s back home, she’d done simpler household chores, but she’d never cleaned up the bathrooms before, after she’d gotten the opportunities, to clean up the restrooms as a work-in-exchange-for-stay at the backpackers’ inn, she’d become even more grateful toward her parents, as they were the ones, cleaning up the bathrooms back home; and her mother still stated to her, “now, you’d understand the meaning of how home is the best place to be, don’t you?”

The senior from Yuan-Chih University, Wu utilized her time, waiting for her graduate school admissions, and planned out her a little over a months’ work-for-stay trip, she’d gone to a hotel in Nantou, took photos, edited the photos, made into a video, wrote out the flyers, then, headed to the hostel in the mornings, to clean up the living environment, doing the bedsheets, everything else, in the afternoons, she’d gone strolling in the small town, or hung out with the tourists from across the nation; and she could also, stay in at the bed-and-breakfast, and just, meditate, contemplate on her next step of life.

There was a woman who’d looked like the T.V. actress, Michelle Chen, who’d passionately invited them to her home to stay, and that, was when the investor, Hsu of the work-stay hostel told, that she lives in a mansion, and was a “princess” who’d not lifted a single finger to do any housework at home.

So, this work-travel program gave people who wanted to go on trips, who’d not wanted to pay that much money, and still experienced the locals’ way of living, and by working in the stays, these individuals learned to appreciate what they never thought to be hard work, and this would be, a great program, for younger generations of people who wanted something different than their ordinary life goings-on.

Vow to Enter into Teacher’s College?

She’d still, helped her mother fulfill her dreams through her in the very end, translated…

Since I was growing up, I’d lived up to the name of a “well-behaved child”, if there was an incident, where I’d, not gone according to the adults’ wishes, probably, it was just, that once………

My father originated from Sichuan, when he was younger, he was picked out for being young and strong, to follow the army to fight off Japanese invasions, came to Taiwan in 1949, like a lot of his fellow servicemen, he too was, poor, and couldn’t provide the $60,000N.T. my mother’s family asked in her dowry. My mother who’s decisive and brave told him, “Let’s just get married at the courthouse!”, waited until we were born, in order to help with the household finances, she’d, returned back to the workforce.

Back then, she’d worked the night shifts at the electronics factory, couldn’t have the mind, to take note of our academic performances at all, but she’d always told me, “It’s best, if girls grow up to become teachers!”, as a child, I was, very naïve too, in the fourth-grade year, I’d made a poster, posted on my bedroom door, and as I entered and exited my room every single day, I’d come across the words, “Vow to Enter into Teacher’s College”.

Thanks for the blessings, I’d gotten into my first-choice of high school, and luckily, tested into the teacher’s college after I graduated, and, there were, over 1,400 exam takers who were selected into high school, while there were only, a total of one hundred sixty students into the teacher’s college, eighty men, eighty women, which showed, how difficult it was, to get accepted into teacher’s college, but, all the extra fees were, waived, and, we’d received allowances, and, after five years of coursework, we were, sent to the elementary schools to teach.

At which time, my middle school homeroom instructor spoke, “If you want to become a teacher, you can sign up for teacher’s college later on.” Teacher’s college? Such a romantic ideal, to be a college student! Back then, there was only a thirty-percent acceptance rate, and all the college age students were all good looking men and women, with books under their arms, can skip the classes, attend the dances, being able to, fall in love, etc., etc., etc.………I’d felt, a bit, wavered then.

My father told me lovingly, “You decide!”, but my mother still hoped that I could enter into teacher’s college. As I went to the hospitals for my physical before entering, I saw a couple of college students on the bus, and, I’d longed, to be one of them, like them, walking freely, inside those large university campuses, and so, I’d changed my strategies: go to high school, then, take the exams into Teacher University! My mother was furious and heartbroken, but we’re, after all, related, and so, she’d still, put up the money for my high school education.

In the three years of high school, I’d met a ton of outstanding students from all over, we’d competed in our scholastic performances, exchanged our reading materials, and conversed about movies, music, arts too, and, politics too, secretively. And every now and then, we’d fall into a frenzy, being fans of stars (there were so many classmates who were fans to Shu-Chuan Lee), but I knew well, that I’d needed to, manage my time well, if everybody around me goes to three concerts, I’ll only go to one.

Three years ago, I was lucky enough, tested into the Teacher’s University, and my mother’s worries, vanished, and, I’d finally been spared of her “I told you not to!”

So, this, is the experience of your youthful years, and, you’d, DEFIED your mother’s wishes, because you wanted an alternative experience of life that she had planned out for you, and, because you’d carried the expectations of your mother, you’d still, worked hard, and, not let her down.