Yoga workshop to be held in Taipei

The Wild East /

Have you ever been curious to take a yoga teacher training course but are hesitant to take the plunge?… Now is the opportunity to get your feet wet!…

Kaohsiung Yogi, a registered yoga school at Yoga Alliance is coming to Taipei to present an introductory workshop covering basic content of a 200 hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training course (RYT 200).

Sunday, Nov. at 1pm – 4:00pm
Taipei Medical University
250 Wuxing Street, Hsinyi District

Students who complete the workshop will be given a signed certificate of course completion

This workshop aims to provide an overview of structure and content of a RYT 200 and an in-depth look at the Ashtanga Primary Series. We are facilitating a full day workshop with Rameshji, a highly qualified Mysore Ashtanga Yoga teacher from India. He has been trained in Vinyasa Ashtanga, Pranayama and philosophy under the guidance of Sri BNS Iyengar -the last living legend and direct disciple of the first Vinyasa Ashtanga master in Mysore- Krishnamacharya.

Rameshji has conducted 500+ Teacher Training Courses and approximately 1100 alignment classes and has also received several awards acknowledging his accomplishments as a yogi and teacher. The workshop will also be facilitated by Kaohsiung Yogi co-founder and teacher Farrah Furtado (E RYT 200) and Jyoga teacher Tori Mitchell (YTTC 200).

This workshop is ideal for….

- Those interested in obtaining their yoga teacher training certificate (RYT 200)
- Yoga teachers interested in how to teach and improve alignment from the Ashtanga Primary Series
-Anyone interested in broadening their knowledge and practice of yoga
* Anyone interested in learning more about traveling to India to practice yoga or interested in registering for the certified RYT 200 hour teacher training retreat to India on April 1st-15th, 2015 with Kaohsiung Yogi and Rameshji ( part time program in Ashtanga classes offered )

**Suitable for all levels….Rameshji has an innate ability to help students from beginner to advanced levels

Tentative Schedule:

1-2:30 Ashtanga

2:30-4:00 Ashtanga technique+Alignment

4-4:30 Yoga Nidra

5:30-6 pm Mantra/ chanting

Cost: 3000 nt
**2500 nt Early Bird Special until November 22**

Payment Options:
1. Cash payment to Tori Mitchell (0979259153)

2. Taiwan Bank Wire Transfer.

Please remit deposit to reserve your spot to: Bank of Kaohsiung Name of account: FURTADO LISA ANNE A/C#: 217210418031 Bank of Kaohsiung Code# 016 #2173 Bank Address: Liu He Branch 1-2 F, 27 Liu He 1st Rd.

*Please scan copy of transaction and send to: to confirm. Please make your deposit to reserve space as soon as possible to avoid disappointment in not reserving your spot.

For more information contact:

Tori Mitchell

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Programming, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Passion for Painting in di Genova’s SEXY CITYSCAPES

The Wild East / Arts & Entertainment

Starting this month, two American artists Trista di Genova and Megan Angele are exhibiting their work in a two-woman show at DV8 in Taipei, opening this Sunday 2pm-2am. The two are featured in this month’s Centered on Taipei magazine.

Trista di Genova is an Oxford- and Bekeley-educated scholar who grew up in Arizona, traveled the world and then made Taiwan her home for the past 12 years. She’s had several solo shows in Taiwan, notably Contemplating Lilies (2005), BuddhaFish (2008), The Wild East Show (2007) and In Remembrance of Virtue Street (2009).

The Wild East: How do you feel when your style is described as ‘a sexy Picasso’?
Trista di Genova:
Ha! It’s an honor, of course. I don’t really care for how Picasso painted the female figure, so I’m glad that my style is, presumably, sexier!

The WE: What life experiences most influenced you as an artist?
Trista: I’ve always been on fire to learn about the lives and works of the great artists. My education comes from visiting all the major art museums in Europe. I credit my artist older brother Jac Genovese; and my satellite outtasite father, too, the wood/clay sculptor Chip Fyn. When I was still a babe, he quit his engineering job, set off to California in a school bus and opened his own art gallery. So I spent summers in his artists’ colony in Pollock Pines, California. There, I was transfixed, fascinated with the metaphysical, spiritual paintings of a woman artist there, White Cloud.

One of Trista's recent works, 'L'esprit du bar', Spirit of the Bar, DV8.

The WE: Is there a definitive moment when you started on The Path of The Artist?
Yes, in 1996. In Paris, my buddy Tylr was crashing on the floor of my tiny chambre de bonne, rue Casimir Pinel, near the Bois de Boulogne. That’s where I started painting. Initially, it was purely therapeutic. After a short time our ‘exhibition’ covered my entire wallspace and we started envisioning the place as an art museum! Good times! I wrote about the experience in my novel, Chameleon de Neuilly.

The WE: You’re from Arizona. Does this inspire you or influence your style in any way?
Arizonans are fiercely independent people than most, I suppose. Also, the work of (Ettore) DeGrazie was always ‘around’ in my youth in Tucson, where he had his Gallery in the Sun. I think something about his colorful Impressionist rendering of southwest native cultures deeply influenced me.

Do you remember your first painting?
Yes, it was a watercolor painted on the back of a brown paper bag from the supermarket! The subject: ‘Napoleon in the buff’. There’s some prose with it, about Napoleon slipping away from his armies, heading deep into the forest, where he communes with nature by stripping down and getting naked. My mom still has it somewhere!

The WE: You stopped painting for a few years. Why?
After several shows only two paintings were sold, and discouraged because painting just wasn’t justifying the time and energy put into it. Like my brother’s song, “Art don’t pay”! So I did the practical, Taiwanese thing, and switched focus of my energies in my writing and teaching career for a while, working in private schools whilst founding my own Lone Wolf Publishing.

Who are the artists you most admire, besides yourself of course!
So many the European Surrealists, Cubists and Impressionists. Like Salvador Dali, Frida of course, Marcel Duchamp, Monet, Marc Chagall. Then there are the Classical works of the Renaissance, Ancient Greece and mosaics of Pompeii. I’m liking Cezanne right now, in my Tamsui landscapes.

The WE: What are your future plans, as an artist?
Trista: I’d love to study at the Uffizi Gallery one of these summers. My dream is to enter the International Biennale system. My next move is to find a gallery in Shanghai to show my work, since Shanghai apparently has one of the world’s best art markets.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Expat literature, Media Matters, Political Beats, Programming, Strait-Talk, Uncategorized, Wild Comedy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two-woman art show, SEXY CITYSCAPES, opening Nov. 9

The Wild East / Arts & Entertainment

In this two-part interview, The Wild East interviews Megan Angele and Trista di Genova, in the lead up to their two-woman show SEXY CITYSCAPES, opening at DV8 bar in Taipei Nov. 9, 2014.

Megan is a classically trained painter from Oregon who studied art and design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland. She’s been living in Taiwan for three years working for her own advertising agency. She’s shown at the Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland, Oregon and the Hult Center in Eugene, with her first show at 8-years old.

The Wild East: Who have been your greatest influences as an artist?

Megan: As a child I spent endless hours studying the illustrations of Susan Jeffers. Her intricate nature drawings were wondrous to me. I later became enamored of classical realism, and wanted to be able to paint like Rembrandt so that I could bring nature to life. I’ve always loved the Impressionists—my favorite being Toulouse-Lautrec because of his wild colors and ability capture a scene in motion.
In recent years I have been heavily influenced by the work of Hayao Miyazaki, Taiyō Matsumoto, Range Murata and other anime artists. I fell in love with anime over the last decade as I fell in love with Taiwan and Asian culture.

Megan, Trista di Genova with DV8 lounge owner Gary O'Connor. Their artwork is on exhibition and sale at the Taipei watering hole starting Nov. 9, 2014

How did you get started painting?
Megan: I grew up in the woods, amongst old growth trees hanging thick with moss. I was drawing wildflowers, salamanders and fairies from the time I could hold a pen. To me it was a scholarly pursuit and a way of studying nature.

You’re from Oregon. Do you think this influences you and your style or inspiration?
Megan: My greatest influence I think came from Oregon’s terrain—mossy rocks, mushrooms and the magic of the forest. Being around powerful, academic women at the University of Oregon where my mom was working on her doctorate, probably made me more conscious of women artists and the treatment of the female figure in art.

W.E. Who are the artists you most admire and why?
I think Mary Cassat is the most talented artist that came out of the impressionist movement. Her paintings are incredibly lifelike and intimate, with a masterful use of color and form. Frida Kahlo painted fearlessly from the heart, and made her voice heard even in the shadow of Diego Rivera. Camille Rose Garcia is a prolific, contemporary female artist making a living on her work and that inspires me. Her colorful, haunting images address political subjects in a surrealistic style that is all her own.

WE: What are your future plans as an artist?
I’m currently giving classes in the French Impressionist style of ‘plein air’ painting ( I also plan to study classical techniques at the Florence Academy of Art.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Expat literature, Media Matters, Programming, Wild Comedy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga teacher training to be held in Kaohsiung

The Wild East

A certified intensive 2-week ASHTANGA VINYASA YOGA TEACHER TRAINING COURSE (TTC) will be held in Tzoying, Kaohsiung, December 1st- 15th, 2014.

A certified intensive 2-week <strong>ASHTANGA VINYASA YOGA TEACHER TRAINING COURSE (TTC)</strong> will be held in Tzoying, Kaohsiung, December 1st- 15th, 2014.

Calling all Yoga students in Taiwan! Are you ready to go deeper with your practice? Learn the art of yoga instruction from a yoga master with over 25 years experience in yoga.

Guruji Rameshji ( Ramesh) has taught over 1000 Ashtanga Vinyasa alignment courses and over 500 Teacher Training Courses (TTC 200) in the birthplace of Ashtanga Vinyasa in Mysore, India.

This is the 1st time Ramesh will be visiting Taiwan to offer the Teacher Training Yoga Course- 200 hours.

Completion of the course entitles participants to become a Certified Yoga Instructor, and qualified to teach yoga worldwide.

This is the most comprehensive and affordable program in Yoga TTC- 200 in Taiwan! Small, private classes and personal instruction with your teacher.

TTC-200 will change your life and there MANY benefits which will be with you forever! Such as: becoming more comfortable in your own skin, healthy weight loss, avoiding injury in all of life’s activities, you will discover your strength, develop new friendships, deepen your yoga practice, have a profession that you can take with you worldwide, have wisdom and gifts to share with friends and family, deepen your spiritual practice, connect to your true self, allows self-expression to come more naturally, helps boost self-confidence and much more!

This is an excellent investment which you do not want to miss out on!

Sign up now to avoid disappointment! We are expecting the spots to fill up quickly. Early Birds Save!

TTC- 200 Hour INFO (Chinese/ ENGLISH)

To register:
Mayna 0919193131 (Chinese/ English)
Farrah 0936746663 (English)

A certified intensive 2-week <strong>ASHTANGA VINYASA YOGA TEACHER TRAINING COURSE (TTC)</strong> will be held in Tzoying, Kaohsiung, December 1st- 15th, 2014.

Everyone Welcome!
Join Kaohsiung Yogi’s weekly Ashtanga, Hatha and Kundalini yoga classes


Posted in American Taels, Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Expat literature, Programming, Uncategorized | Leave a comment




On July 19 Saturday afternoon, four foreign writers Farrah Furtado (Canada), Trista di Genova (America), Elias Ek from Sweden, and Jonathan M. Hemmings (South Africa).

These four noted writers will take turns about their books and engage the readers in discussion of various topics ranging from business, self-growth, love, travel, and environment!

Joinus in this all-English book discussion and FREE book-signing event; it will be an afternoon full of new experience and learnings!


Posted in American Taels, Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Expat literature, Media Matters, Uncategorized, Wild Comedy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Yoga Teacher Training course to be held in Kaohsiung

Dr. Rajesh will be teaching a yoga certification program, hosted by Kaohsiung Yogi, in August 2014. Kaohsiung Yogi to host a certified 2-week, 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course instructed by world renowned yoga guru, Dr. Rajesh Mishra from Yoga Darshan in India.

The Wild East / Spirituality

Kaohsiung Yogi will be hosting a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course on Aug. 11th-24th, 2014. Students can learn the art of yoga instruction in tropical Kaohsiung, Taiwan, with a world-renowned teacher, Dr. Rajesh Kumar Mishra’s (Rishi Prashara Saraswati). This is the third time he has conducted Yoga Teacher Training in Taiwan.

“Yoga is not only about asana. It encompasses the complete journey of a human being,” explain one of the event’s organizers, author L. Farrah Furtado.

“We need holistic food, just as we need holistic practice. Yoga is for the body, mind, emotion and soul,” Furtado added.

“This program will give the student a full opportunity to explore themselves as a yoga teacher. Therefore, we focus to be teacher from the first day,” Dr. Rajesh said in a press release from Germany, where he is currently.

For course details, see below.

About Teacher Dr. Rajesh Mishra
Dr. Rajesh Kumar Mishra is teaching this comprehensive yoga instructor training program, designed in accordance with the 200-hour requirements of Yoga Alliance. Completion of the course allows participants to become a certified yoga instructor, and qualified to teach yoga worldwide.

Dr. Rajesh Mishra holds a PhD focusing on health and healing modalities. He has over 25 years of experience in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashtanga, Hatha and Raja yoga theory. His techniques and experience has led him to teach internationally to a variety of yoga studios, corporate venues and workshops in 5-star hotels around the world.

Dr. Mishra’s yoga shala in New Delhi, the YOGA DARSHAN is a registered organization. More than 500 students have received certification from his organization and they are working world wide and some in large international organizations.

He has obtained his Diploma in International and Ayurvedic Spa Therapies (CIBTAC, UK) specializing in Stress Management & Wellness Management. Dr. Rajesh Mishra is a therapist for intensive counseling sessions in hospitals for pre- and post-hospitalization patients through Ashtanga Yoga/Raja Yoga, which is a scientific method for preventing and promoting various aspects of health.

The two-week intensive yoga teacher training course is focused on comprehensive training in the practical and theoretical aspects of Yoga and Yogic Life Style. This program includes Asana, Pranayama, Mudra Bandha, Relaxation, Meditation, Shatkarmas, Mantra and other traditional and contemporary yoga technique.

The comprehensive schedule for Dr. Rajesh's course includes Asanas, Kriyas, Asanas Methodology (Adjustments & Theory), Pranayama and Meditation, Yoga Philosophy, Anatomy and more.

SYSTEM: The teaching system is based on Raja Yoga/Ashtanga Yoga (Mind), Hatha Yoga (Body), Karma Yoga (Path of Service), Jnana Yoga (Path of Knowledge) and Bhakti Yoga (Path of Emotion). Yoga is not only movement of the body (Asana). Asana is only a jumping point. Dr. Mishra’s teaching system encompasses a complete journey.

The comprehensive course schedule includes Asanas, Kriyas, Asanas Methodology (Adjustments & Theory), Pranayama and Meditation, Yoga Philosophy, Anatomy and more.

The Pranayama classes cover various techniques like Kapalbhati, Bhastrika, Sithali, Sithkari and Brahmari.

Prerequisite: One year experience of yoga practice

Language: English (Chinese translation available)

Completion: A Yoga Teacher Training Course Certificate (200Hours) will be awarded to those who demonstrate the required competency in the final course assessment.

Course Details:
1. Theory: A) Yoga Philosophy:
* Introduction to Yoga
* Hatha Yoga
* Raja Yoga/Ashtanga Yoga
* Different types of Yoga
* Yoga Life Style
B) Yoga Physiology (Nadi, Prana, Chakra)
C) Anatomy & Physiology
D) Teaching & Research Methodology
2. Practical : A) Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, Shatkarmas
B) Meditation
3. Assessment Book:

200-Hour Breakdown:
Yoga Philosophy: 30 hours
Training technique: 100 Hours
Teaching Methodology: 30 Hours
Anatomy and Physiology: 20 Hours
Practice: 20 Hours.

7:00-9:00 : Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha
9:00-10:00 : Breakfast
10:00-12:00 : Lecture*
12:00-13:00 : Lunch
13:00-14:00 : Yoga Nidra
14:00-16:00 : Lecture*
16:00-16:30 : Tea Break
16:30-18:00: Practice
18:00-19:00 : Dinner
19:00-21:00 : Meditation, Bhajan, Kirtan, Satasang
Lecture*= Yoga Philosophy/Teaching Methodology/A&P

Course Fees
: $35,000 (NT) if paid after June 30th, 2014.
$10,000(NT) deposit requirement due June 30th to receive early bird price of $30,000NT and to reserve space via Verified Pay Pal account:

Due: $10, 000 NT on June 30th to reserve the early bird price of $30, 000NT

Please remit payment to
Bank of Kaohsiung
Name of account: FURTADO LISA ANNE
A/C#: 217210418031
Bank of Kaohsiung Code# 016
Bank Address: Liu He Branch 1-2 F, 27 Liu He 1st Rd.

Just in case, if you have a question here’s the Kaohsiung Bank Telephone# 072384888.

Please scan / copy your transaction record for yourself and please send one copy via email to:

Please make your deposit to reserve space as soon as possible to avoid disappointment as only 15 students are the maximum for TTC.

Balance to be paid in full before July 11th, 2014.

Course Fees include:
Training and TTC-200 Certificate
Food – Vegetarian (Meals and tea time/ snacks)
Course Manual/ Handouts

Course Expectations: After successful completion students will be able to teach yoga for beginners as well as experienced students.

Learn adjustments and alignments techniques.
Learn back bending and hip opening asanas.
Learn Pranayamas, Sutras, vedas, upanishads and Yoga Anatomy.
Learn Meditation from a meditation master.
Learn the Art of teaching.
Learn the Sanskrit for the asanas.
Service to All. Love to All.

Recommended books to read before TTC:
Light on Yoga – BKS Iyengar.
Yoga Anatomy – Leslie Kaminoff.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask Yoga instructors, Mayna Chien or L. Furtado at Kaohsiung Yogi will be happy to help you and answer all of your questions. Chinese translation here:

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Programming, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book-signing 6/29: ‘How to start a business in Taiwan’

Sunday, June 29 in Kaohsiung, author Elias Ek will be making a presentation and signing books.

Wild East / Culture Shock

Have you considered starting your own business but is not really sure what should be the first step?

Not sure if Taiwan is an entrepreneur-friendly environment?

Want to know the key points for a Taiwan start-up?

Want to meet others in the same situation?

Then this event is for you!

WHAT: Presentation and book signing by author Elias Ek
WHEN: Sunday, June 29, 2014 at 2:00pm – 4:00pm
LOCATION: Wunan Bookstore Kaosiung 五南文化廣場高雄店 No. 262, Zongshan 1st Rd., Kaosiung City 高雄市中山一路262號

Starting a company is never easy and doing it in a foreign country is even harder. Taiwan has many advantages over alternatives like Thailand, China or Hong Kong.

Based on 13 years as an entrepreneur in Taiwan, Swedish national Elias Ek will share his experiences and his knowledge regarding rules, laws and culture around starting a company in Taiwan.

Topics include:
- Picking a business entity and registering in Taiwan
- Work permit and ARC issues for entrepreneurs
- Hiring, managing and paying employees
- Employee insurance issues
- Money, banking and invoices
- Introduction to Taiwan taxes
- Financing your business in Taiwan
- Offices, business centers or co-workspaces
- Trademarks and Patents
- Government support

Posted in American Taels, Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Expat literature, Media Matters, Political Beats, Programming, Strait-Talk, The Tech Beat, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Scott Cook on touring Taiwan as a musician

Hanging with an awesome aboriginal drum and vocal group, high school kids from Pingtung County who were raising money to go to Japan.

Hey there friends,

As you’ve probably guessed, there’s a lot of story to tell since I wrote you last. But before we get into all that, and for those folks who won’t be reading further, I want to share a video of “Pass It Along”, shot in Melbourne by friend and fellow muso Benjamin James Caldwell: That’s a song I hope you’ll sing after I’m gone, friends.

If you’re following me down past the break, you might wanna pour yourself a cup of something and put your feet up. It’s more personal than most fan mail gets, precisely because it’s not exactly fan mail, but rather a letter to friends far and wide. I’ve always had a hard time drawing a line between fans and friends, and I figure if I’m gonna err, it might as well be on the side of friendship.


Last I wrote I was on the final dregs of my Southeast Asian vacation, and mere days later I landed on Taiwan, sunburned, broke, and amply ready to get back in the saddle after two months of idling. I put out the word on Facebook that I was looking for a place to stay in Taipei, a scooter, a sleeping bag, an air mattress and a tent, and friends came through with all the sleeping kit I’d need, two scooters, three places to stay in Taipei, and four tents. Sometimes I’m just left shaking my head at what good folks I know.

The tour kicked off with an unamplified show at Taipei Artist Village alongside my good friends David Chen, Conor Prunty and Mojo LaViolette, and proceeded around the island counter-clockwise. Partway through I was joined by my friend Amanda, who runs a wonderful, community-forging venue called The Root in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, taking her first trip to Asia on a last-minute lark. Travelling around a place I know so well with a fresh set of eyes really helped me see it anew, and even inspired me to play the tour guide. We visited Tainan’s famous temples for the first time, something I’d always meant to do but always found myself short on time for. They’re some of the oldest on the island, and they were all the more spectacular for the timing, right on the doorstep of Chinese New Year, when worshippers were out in droves to ask the gods’ favour in the year to come. It’s a special season, and a perfect time to travel around the country, with Taiwanese folks even friendlier and more generous than they always are, firecrackers and fireworks day and night, and elaborate parades carrying gods from temple to temple through the streets.

It was a heckuva ride around the island, and went off pretty much without a hitch, besides one fateful drizzly day in Taroko Gorge when Amanda grabbed the brake too fast and fell down. I was incredibly grateful that it was nothing serious, but it did remind me of the seriousness of the mission we’d embarked on, or I’d embarked us on. Sometimes a guy forgets a thing like that too after he’s done something plenty of times.

Along the way, I got to play shows with my old friends Tyler Dakin, the Admissionaries, Mister Green, Mike Mudd, Russell Rodgers, and Landis Shook, and a new folky trio of gals called Tricolor Tree Leaf. The highlight of the tour, though, was the last show, a house concert at Lei Gallery in Taichung with Andy Goode and Mojo’s new project The Vicious Cabaret. I drove most of the five hour mountain ride from Taipei in the cold and dark, and arrived to find the small show I’d been expecting had a crowd spilling out into the street. The Vicious Cabaret opened the show with a set so sharp it had me questioning my worthiness to follow it. But Thom and I tuned up and played, and the love and emotion pouring back from the room was palpable. A big strong fella I’d never met cried openly, standing right next to me, and all I could do was hug him. More than ever, I remembered why I do what I do, and what a gift it is that I get to carry.

Like I’ve been saying for a while, the lesson I’m trying to learn is to see it for what it is, accept it, feel worthy of it, be unashamed of it, and go about it in such a way that I can continue to carry this gift for a long time to come. And that’s gotta involve some kind of balance of health and sanity with the late nights that you all know I love. In this case, despite my oft-stated intentions to keep up with my yoga practice and get to bed at a reasonable hour now and then, Taiwan’s still a night-owl’s paradise, with parks and 7-11 storefronts aplenty as ready 24-hour venues for debauchery, and friends aplenty as ready excuses to stay out and party. Let’s just say there wasn’t a lot of going to bed while the party’s still going going on, and I caught my flight out in the usual scrambling, dementedly exhausted fashion.

Posted in American Taels, Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Media Matters, Programming, Uncategorized, Wild Comedy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Transition’ band still banned from Taiwan, ironically

A publicity shot from the filming Transition's MV for <i>Dui Bu Qi.</i>

Trista di Genova / The Wild East

Transition (前進樂團) is a British expat band that has attained a fair level of success and popularity in Taiwan thanks to their cheery, catchy cross-cultural hits, like 對不起我的中文不好 (‘Sorry my Chinese is not good’ (other links below).

The band’s British members fell in love with the place and have toured Taiwan a few times, gathering an ever-larger fan base thanks to this and their YouTube videos, which include a documentary and some cover songs.

However, a few years ago they were and are still banned from re-entering the ROC, plunging the band back into a continuation of its ‘transition’ phase.

In this email interview, Josh discusses the evolution of the band, their unceremonious expulsion from the island and what they’ve been doing while waiting to come back!

Trista di Genova: Dear Transition, Here are some questions from our readers. First of all, “How did you discover you loved Taiwan so much? :) ” Perhaps you can start at the beginning and tell us how and why you came here.

Transition 前進樂團: Our story began just over 10 years ago when a Taiwanese student came to live with my family in Bristol. Through her, we began to meet other Taiwanese in Bristol and as we introduced the UK to them, they told stories of Taiwan and introduced us to some of the food and music from that far away land!

One thing they always said after seeing our band perform in Bristol was “One day you guys must come to Taiwan!” After some years of researching, we were recommended the Springscream festival in Kenting and applied to perform in 2005. To our surprise we were welcomed and given a headline slot!”

He continued, “During that first 10-day trip we were able to reconnect with many friends who had been in Bristol years earlier, and also made our first connections with the Taiwanese underground music scene. We met bands like ‘Green!Eyes’ and ‘Tizzy Bac’ and were so excited to hear creative music of the sort that we just don’t have in the West!

We returned to Taiwan at least once per year for the next 4 years, until in 2009 we decided that we wanted to move to live in Taiwan, staying there long term in order to really learn the language, get involved in the music scene and invest in the people we knew there.

It was one of the best decisions we ever made as a band, in September 2009 we took our newly finished ‘Borderlands’ album (available on iTunes) that had been produced by Sam Bell (who has worked as part of a production team with REM, Snow Patrol, U2, Bloc Party and others) and we moved to Taipei. Borderlands was published in Taiwan in December 2009 and a subsequent tour followed, taking us to almost every corner of Taiwan!

It was an amazing time.

The Wild East: How is your Chinese?

Transition 前進樂團: Well, even as we were touring and performing, we found that as we began to learn and include more Chinese in our shows, the connection with the audience was even deeper. It was the start of a realisation that we needed to start singing in Mandarin more completely in order to really involve the audiences we were trying to reach. 對不起我的中文不好 (‘Sorry my Chinese is not good’) just came out of our experiences of trying to learn the language and making mistakes along the way. I think many other foreigners connect with the song because they can identify with the feeling of trying hard to communicate but sometimes causing rather funny or embarrassing situations as a result!

The Wild East: Can you talk about your evolution as artists through these three albums? What are you working on now?

Josh: Also from our touring came the idea of shooting a documentary. It’s available on Youtube, have you seen it before? We basically wanted to capture something of what we loved about Taiwan, something of what was special to us here, as well as something of our normal life here and convey it to out fans overseas! Many of our original British fans couldn’t understand why we’d left and gone somewhere so small and so far away. We wanted to show them why!

Question from Wild East reader:
“How do you disseminate a song? For instance, how do you think it is that you your song Dui Bu Qi 對不起我的中文不好 on YouTube) is so well-known among foreign population here? (In my case, my Chinese teacher at TMU played it for us several times! And many other foreign uni students seemed to know of it as well!”

Josh: So in 2011 we spent a month shooting the documentary as we toured all around Taiwan again, this time focussing on Taipei, Kaohsiung) (高雄), Kenting and Hualien as the key spots.

The Kaohsiung Film Assistance Centre (from the Cultural Bureau) were really helpful in recommending locations, applying for permission and even ferrying us around in a minibus while the film crew were there. As well as performing outdoor in the Pier2 art complex, we also held the ‘second highest performance in Taiwan’ at the top of the 85 Sky Tower in Kaohsiung — second highest as Mayday had previously performed at the top of Taipei 101!!

Question from Wild East readers:
“How many times have you performed at the Kaohsiung Harbor, and why do you perform there? How was that arranged?”

Particularly through the documentary time, Kaohsiung became special to us, we made great friends there and felt like the fans connected with Transition in a special way. We also shot the ‘Stay in the Moment’ video during that time (which is another whole story in itself)!!

The Wild East: What are you striving for in the long-term?

Josh: Sadly, at the end of 2011, as we finished our first full Mandarin album and prepared to sign with a new record company, our application for new work permits was blocked because a year earlier (2010) we’d performed for a church without permits and been given a gift of money. The government counted this as illegal work and after months of investigating and deliberating, they finally decided to deport us and ban us from Taiwan for 3 years.

At the time we were devastated, and even now it’s frustrating not to be allowed back. But our response at the time was very positive. As we knew we were going to be deported we also realised we’d be in the UK during the Olympics. We approached the Taiwanese Olympic Committee and offered to write the theme song for their team, an idea they gladly accepted and so as we returned to London, we took on the role of UK ambassadors of support for the Taiwanese Athletes!

Currently we are still trying to find a new direction for Transition. We’ve had great experiences and fully plan to stay connected with Taiwan, but while we are in the UK we also need to remember the UK fans. It’s an ongoing process at the moment, but we are positive about the future and believe that new opportunities will definitely come. I’m sure God will help us find a way forward.

Keep going with Chinese All the best From

Question from Wild East reader: I have a problem with most Mando-pop and Taiwanese music, except for Jay Chou and maybe a few others – limited to a few artist’s songs. They almost always seem sappy and repetitive to me. Can you suggest some artists/groups that might convince me otherwise?

Josh: Regarding good Taiwanese bands, I highly recommend Tizzy Bac, Green!Eyes, Suming (an aboriginal singer) and if you like reggae, then Matzka are great!

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Expat literature, Language learning and linguistics, Media Matters, Political Beats, Programming, The Tech Beat, Uncategorized, Wild Comedy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maori-Taiwan exchange group forges ties

The Wild East / Culture

NEW FRIENDS: Despite the language barrier Eru Paranihi forges a friendship with an indigenous Taiwanese elder

Six Maori media studies undergraduates from Aukland University of Technology (AUT) made a tour of Taiwan in January this year, where they learned about its indigenous people. Creative media projects between New Zealand and Taiwan could be on the cards after the two-week cultural exchange.

The trip was organized by the ATAYAL Organization, a not-for-profit aiming to unite worldwide indigenous communities.

The group had comprised Maori film students, university faculty from Auckland, New Zealand as well as Maori elders.

During the two weeks, they visited Aboriginal villages, museums and archaeological sites in New Taipei City, Greater Taichung, Hualien County and Taitung County. They also met Aboriginal and film students from Chaoyang University of Technology, National Dong Hwa University and Jin Shan High School.


The exchange came about after the students met film-maker Tony Coolidge, who is also the director of the Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program, at the Wairoa Maori Film Festival in 2012.

Coolidge is American-Taiwanese, and after his mother’s death he discovered she was actually Atayal tribe, from Wulai, northern Taiwan. He moved to Taiwan, reuniting with his mother’s side of the family and began exploring his heritage through writing and film.

He was so impressed with the AUT students he invited them to Taiwan. During the 15-day visit the students met with indigenous elders and visited the country’s national indigenous university.


The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for participants such as Eru Paranihi from New Windsor, opening his mind to possibilities of future travel or even creative collaborations.

Paranihi, 26, says he was blown away by the experience. “Overall it was a cultural exchange, two different cultures mingling and meeting each other. It was the indigenous people of this county, the Maori, meeting up with indigenous Taiwanese to share our cultures.”

While there, he learned of the potential for joint media projects.

“One of the coolest things for a media student was for future cooperative projects,” he says. “There is a trade agreement between New Zealand and Taiwan and that includes media organisations, so if it’s a planned co-operation between indigenous Taiwanese and Maori then not only can they apply for funding from their sources but they can apply for funding from here, and likewise we can apply over there — provided it’s a co-operative.”

A film charting the journey of an indigenous Taiwanese person coming to New Zealand is one idea he has for a co-production.

Another highlight was meeting an elderly woman with whom he was able to forge a connection despite not sharing a language. The 97-year-old spoke only her indigenous language and a smattering of Japanese so conversation had to be relayed through her Chinese-speaking son and a translator.

“From the whole trip this was the person who will stay with me forever.
The person I will remember the most is her. She just had a beautiful soul. It was a privilege to meet her.”

The pair bonded by sharing some sweets and were able to communicate on their own through body language.

“I was just my cheeky self with her and she was laughing,” Paranihi says.

From a media perspective he says there are things both countries can learn from each other. “With their indigenous media it’s just recently got up and running, where we have TVNZ that plays some Maori programs and Maori Television.

“They are just finding their feet. But they have more programming catered towards their elders which is something we could do, but in saying that they could probably cater more to their youth because that’s who you want to target to revitalize your language. They are the next generation who are going to use the language.”

“I think their biggest challenge is it’s a lot harder for them to have their voices heard than for Maori to be heard. But they are getting there.”


Michael Wikiriwhi-Heta closed his eyes as Atayal elder Sigi Uming blessed his pendant, wishing the students from New Zealand a safe trip and a fruitful future. During a visit to the Atayal Facial Tattoo Studio in Hualien, the Maori delegation met with Uming, currently one of the few remaining indigenous elders with facial tattoos.

At the age of 92, Uming’s Atayal tattoos were the result of centuries of traditional practice before the art was forbidden during the Japanese occupation, and later by the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Armies that fled to Taiwan in 1949). Uming’s life and spirit deeply inspired the delegation.

Following their trip to Wulai, the delegation traveled to the East and
South of Taiwan, visiting various universities along the way, as well as indigenous museums including Peinan Culture Park (卑南文化公園) and the National Museum of Prehistory (國立台灣史前 文化博物館) in Taitung.

During their visits to the park and the museum, the delegation noted
some more Austronesian similarities in the ancient tools used by the
prehistoric ancestors of both Taiwan and New Zealand.

The group was even honored with the Rukai rendition of the Haka dance — an ancestral war dance of the Maori people — during their visit to Taromak village. To repay their sincerity, the delegation embraced their hosts in Hongi, an honorable gesture much like a handshake with two people touching foreheads, as well as returning a Haka gesture with just as much prowess and respect to their hosts.

“When the Maori group visited the Rukai tribe in Taromak Village, the way they were greeted and treated made them feel very much at home,” said ATAYAL Organization Executive Director Tony Coolidge.” There was a lot of tribal spirit shared through their hospitality, song and dance.”


Tobie Openshaw, one of filmmakers documenting the trip also found the interactions between the Maori and other tribes to be enchanting. “At the “At the Dream Community, we had a mini-dance festival with Taiwanese indigenous groups, and others doing Hawaiian, Fijian and other cultural dances,” said Openshaw. “After the performances, all the dancers were on stage and it was as if they were just one big happy family, united in dance.”

Creating potential film collaborations between Maori and the local indigenous film industry was one of the main objectives of
the delegation’s visit, and as such workshops featuring guest speakers
and film festivals were scheduled with universities such as Dong Hwa and Chaoyang University of Technology (朝陽科技大學). However, certain plans for film screenings from AUT students such as rising star Reece Howard were not carried out, due to time and budget constraints.

For students like Mahia Ponga-Fou, the trip sparked the idea of a possible documentary about the fight for cultural recognition. “I have been told by students and people I met in Taiwan wan that they never really fought for their culture,” said Ponga-Fou, “I hope that it will change some time through the future. In New Zealand,
Maori ancestors and chiefs went through a lot to keep our culture
alive, but yet at this day we are still fighting to be recognized and revitalizing the culture and language.”

For others like Kahurangi Peke-King-Minnear, the trip, though lacking in translation at times, was nevertheless enjoyable. “In my opinion, having a sponsor would have helped a bit,” said Peke-King-Minnear, “and I guess having time to really appreciate what we experienced would have been awesome.”


The Maori group gave a performance at every stop throughout the trip, though not completely voluntarily, said Makarita (Maaki) Howard, who lectures about Maori traditions at her university.

“In New Zealand, we don’t expect our guests to entertain; whereas we have been required to entertain,” she said. She added that being required to perform had hurt the students’ feelings.

For her, the best part was their first stop at Greater Taichung’s Chao Yang University of Technology, where film students of both schools engaged with each other in workshops, forums and film screenings.


Even with a few misunderstandings, Howard and Ansell still considered the journey “an amazing experience,” citing the meet with the Taromak Rukai people as one of the most memorable parts.

One evening the Maoris and Rukai people talked to one another about their cultures by a campfire. “We called it jamming; it was great fun,” Howard said.

He added that he felt familiar with the way Rukai people socialize.

The Rukai hosts learned the Haka dance — an ancestral war dance of the Maori people — from the Internet and performed it for their guests.

“They did it really well, and we did the same in return,” Howard said.

Now, after bidding E noho ra, Maori for Goodbye, to Taiwan,
some of the students avidly talked about the possibility of returning to


After the Maori visitors returned to New Zealand, ATAYAL’s Tony Coolidge said he regretted the fundraising didn’t come through as expected and the group’s film project hadn’t panned out as planned.

“The film [Beyond Hawaiki] is not in development yet; it’s been put aside,” Coolidge told the Taipei Times.

He explained that all financial support they had gained over the past year and a half went into the two-week pilot run of the Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program, which promotes mutual understanding between the Maoris and Aboriginal peoples in Taiwan.


Says Coolidge in an interview with the Wild East, “We are currently putting together board members and raising funds to create a new organization in Taiwan to continue the mission that the Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program laid the groundwork for. The proposed name for the organization is the Austronesian Cultural end Economic Cooperation Association (南島民族文化與經濟合作協會). The mission of the organization is evident through the name, with seeds already planted through our activities for expanded cooperation between Taiwan, New Zealand and other Austronesian (Pacific) nations.”

Coolidge continued: “The new organization will make it much easier for Taiwan to enjoy the benefits of international activities and grow the interest overseas in cultural tourism and trade with Taiwan. Pride in Taiwan’s first cultures, the Austronesian cultures, should be a benefit for all Taiwanese citizens, as it can sit at the table of international communities through its unique cultural connections with them.”

“Support us with a donation,” he urges, “so we can pay for our registration and hire full-time staff to organize our volunteers and complete new projects. We learned from our first Tap Root Cultural Exchange Program that most problems can be resolved with adequate support and funding. This organization is in a unique position to build more bridges between the indigenous communities of Taiwan, foreigners in Taiwan, and international organizations.”

Visit and donate at the ATAYAL web site:

Taipei Times
The China Post

Posted in American Taels, Arts & Entertainment, Beautiful Island, Betel Nut News, Culture Shiok, Expat Chat, Media Matters, Programming, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment