Category Archives: Taiwan News

News and news-commentary covering Taiwan and Far East Asia

Exclusive interview with hip-hop artist SHAMAN

Shaman a.k.a. Elliott Tsai on his new single, Peace Up: "There is a lot of fear and confusion. There is also a lot of anger and resentment. I just want to put something else out there for people to focus their energy on, such as the feeling of peace."
Shaman a.k.a. Elliott Tsai on his new single, Peace Up: “There is a lot of fear and confusion. There is also a lot of anger and resentment. I just want to put something else out there for people to focus their energy on, such as the feeling of peace.”

The Wild East / Exclusive 

Rapper/Songwriter The Shaman, a.k.a Shaman Dragon, Sha Dra  玄武, ELAV8, has released a hot new self-produced single, PEACE UP.  He took the time to grant  this exclusive interview to The Wild East magazine.

The Wild East: Love the new video, PEACE UP!

Shaman: Glad you liked the video. : ) Also, thanks for checking out my conversation vidz! Got a lot more coming…

The Wild East: At the beginning of the PEACE UP MV there was a sign saying ‘Non-duality Gate’. What does ‘Non-duality Gate’ mean to you?

Shaman: Non-duality Gate is the place where one can realize that everything is ONE, everything is connected, everything is whole, everything is everything else, nothing is separate, etc. This is a concept that comes up in Buddhism and Physics, the idea of life as a paradoxical, for example free will vs. fate or wave/particle duality in quantum physics.

Wild East: What’s the motivation behind your latest single, PEACE UP?

Shaman: Peace. Right now in the media and in the world, there are many tragic situations happening. Disease, war, and oppression are just a few of the things plaguing humanity. There is a lot of fear and confusion. There is also a lot of anger and resentment. I just want to put something else out there for people to focus their energy on, such as the feeling of peace.

The Wild East: Also, what’s going on in your life’s trajectory at the moment, to inspire this song?

Shaman: As for the inspiration for the song…my goal in life is to help focus human consciousness on something positive and healing, such as peace. When people are watching violence, consuming it with their minds, I believe that helps to make it more of a reality. I wish to create a reality of harmony by getting people to think “PEACE”, to feel it, using words, music, and imagery.

“’Peace up’ is not a noun, it is a verb. It means to emit a strong peaceful vibration of total calm.”

The Wild East: Where was the video filmed (Bangcock?), and which temple?

Shaman: Actually, the video was shot in Taiwan, Ba Gua Mountain in Taichung city, and Fo Guang Monastery in Kaohsiung City. The latter is 36 meters high and the highest standing Buddha in Southeast Asia. It is also surrounded by 480 smaller Buddhas.

The Wild East: Since your days with THC (Taipei Hiphop Crew), how is your production organized?

Shaman: These days, I’m doing most everything by myself, with the help of a camera person. So, the music, vocals, video direction, and video editing are done by me.

The Wild East: You said you’d changed your point of view regarding being half-Taiwanese, half-American, since I published your piece ‘A tale of two cultures‘ on the Foreign Community Page of The China Post, in 2009. Care to elaborate?

Shaman: As far as race, my whole thing with that is we need to stop seeing people as crayons in the coloring box and realize we are all connected. We need each other, pure and simple. If you don’t see that, then karma will be b****!

Wild East: What are your future plans?

Shaman: Currently I’m in the process of launching a website soon which will feature my music, films, artwork, and spiritual discussions among other things, and I will be posting there on a daily basis. I wish to share more of my spiritual experiences and understanding through various media in order to help elevate humanity’s consciousness.

We are at a crunch time with humanity I feel, and there is a lot of truth out there, as well as a lot of lies. Trends, movements, protests etc are all becoming worldwide viral phenomenon, and I think some of the synchronicities and shamanistic happenings I have experienced can help give guidance to those who seek it.

Have questions for the Shaman? Write them in the comments below.

( Here’s a press release that was written about PEACE UP ! –> http://www.mondotunes.com/sha-dra-elav8-releases-new-single-

peace-up/ )

Link to Shaman’s ‘A Tale of Two Cultures’ in The China Post: http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/foreign–community/2009/02/22/197199/A-Tale.htm

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Man of the People: Taipei’s Quirky new Mayor

The Taipei Mayoral election is always an intense contest between Taiwan’s two main political parties, the Chinese Nationalist KMT, and the Democratic Progress Party (DPP). The seat is considered a stepping stone to the Presidency. Former Presidents Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, and incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou, all served as Taipei Mayor before stepping up to the nation’s top post.

But last year both parties’ candidates where rejected by voters in favor of a somewhat eccentric independent candidate, Ko Wen-je (柯文哲). A DPP sympathizer, it was realized early in the campaign, that Ko was so popular among DPP supporters that the DPP decided not to run a candidate against him. The DPP instead put their support behind him to oust the KMT, rather than risk splitting the vote in favor of their mutual enemy.

Ko, injected his own somewhat quirky style into the campaign, at times creating some awkward moments. He is well known for putting his foot in his mouth. After DPP party stalwart Trong Chai died of stroke in January 2014, he criticized DPP candidate Gu Li-hsiung as being ‘too emotional’ in his facebook posts. Some remarks Ko made during the campaign were seen as sexist, and off color. He said that Chiayi’s KMT female candidate being young and pretty would be better suited to a front desk job, or perhaps Tourism Bureau spokeswoman, and said he chose a career in surgery over gynecology because he did not want to make a living between a womans legs.

In his book “The Power of White Color” he wrote that an increase in the female workforce is the sign of a declining industry, and he promoted the idea of polygamy to increase population growth.

Despite his various gaffs, however, Ko was able to win the hearts and minds of the people with his dedication to improving the environment, and lifestyles of Taipei’s residents. His rejection of partisan politics, and determination to stamp out corruption, and the waste of public money also gained wide appeal. He claimed that his run for mayor was to take back the post for the people. “When I am mayor, everyone is the mayor,” he stated during his campaign. By contrast, he portrayed his opposition counterpart, Sean Lien as part of a ruling elite where the wealthy pass on power from one generation to the next.

After a radio interview, he was photographed by the press throwing his dog-eared, black bag into the basket of a more than 10 year old bicycle. Does he really ride that bicycle to work every day? In the photograph, the bicycle’s chain is obviously very rusty. It looks like one of the thousands of abandoned bicycles that pollute Taipei’s sidewalks, and he looks awkward posing on it.

Ke Wen-je poses on a bicycle
Ke Wen-je rides an old bicycle, as if he does this every day. He forgot to oil the chain

Since winning office, Ko has continued with the gaffes and controversial statements. On his first day in office, he criticized Xinyi Police Precinct Chief Lee Teh-wei on public television, prompting the police chief to apply for early retirement. On January 1, Foundation Day of the Republic of China, he fumbled a handshake with President Ma. Ke avoided meeting the eyes of the confident, smiling President, and failed to shift the small flag he was holding in his right hand, to his left.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou shake hands on January 1 2015
Taipei Mayor fumbles a handshake with President Ma Ying-jeou

Ko has also been outspoken about cross-strait relations and recently called for a new ‘2015 Consensus’ to replace the 1992 Consensus on which current cross-strait relations are managed. He seems to have a lack of awareness about boundaries, and how to avoid over-stepping them. As a citizen, he enjoyed the rights of free speech that everyone has. But he is not a mere citizen now, he is Mayor of Taipei.

Perhaps what has been widely reported as a ‘fumbled handshake’ was in fact a sign that a local Taiwanese guy has grabbed the ROC flag, and ain’t gonna give it back. Then again, looking at the picture, he may very well have been telling President Ma: ‘here’s your flag, take it back.

[update 2015/1/30] Interesting interview with Ko P in Foreign Policy Magazine

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