Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Banana Glut

According to the lead story in the United Evening Express yesterday, Taiwan's bananas are so plentiful this year, the government is buying surplus and using it as pig feed . Coincidentally, the Taipei Times yesterday cautioned Taiwan against plans to gradually boost biofuel production. With Taiwan's recent fruit gluts, someone should look into biofuel production with the fruit of our orchards.

On another tack, I offer up my Taiwan-style recipe for a fruit smoothie to get you fueled up to start your day right:


1 banana
1/2 mango (store the other half in a resealable container in the refrigerator and use it tomorrow)
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
(optional) 2 heaping tbsp frozen berries purchased in 2kg bag at Costco
(optional) 1/2 ~ 1 kiwi

Mix in blender until uniform in texture

Monday, July 09, 2007

Panegyric on Classical Chinese for Mathematics

A great parody in today's Liberty Times singing the praises of the Taiwanese examiners who used literary Chinese to ask a math question in this year's university entrance exams. Taiwanese nationalists have been trying decrease the amount of literary Chinese used in high school textbooks while Chinese cultural conservatives lead by the poet Yu Kwang-chung have resisted fiercely. Yu, it should be noted, was a staunch enemy of the then-new Taiwanese literature of the 1970s and an excellent example of reactionary Chinese culturalism masquerading as liberal humanism.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Taiwanese Fertility

Interesting map from Taiwanese blogger Richter's Maps Talk showing Taiwan's 2005 Total Fertility distribution. Jianshi Township, a heavily Atayal district in the Hsinchu mountains has Taiwan's highest total fertility rate of 2.61 births per woman. The map shows that relatively high fertility rates are clustered in Taiwan's mountain districts. White areas on the map show total fertility rates of < 1. Kaohsiung City's Cianjin District has the dubious distinction of having Taiwan's lowest total fertility rate--0.73. The Taipei basin also appears to have a lot of white areas.

These statistics corroborate my sense that Taiwan's First Nations are experiencing something of a renaissance--non-Han villages has noticeably more kids in them than the sad farming communities down on the western plains. It also underlines the very real cultural and social differences between the Han and indigenous Taiwanese that are surprisingly (to me anyway) strong despite decades of assimilationist policies.

Sunday, July 01, 2007