Thursday, January 16, 2014

One Year in a Research Laboratory: Reflections & Realities Realised

I remember very well the first time that I seriously considered the question that all kids are asked: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Instead of answering, the task was to draw a picture of the occupation, which I did. This was during my fourth year of primary school, just short of 15 years ago. And what did I draw? A scientist.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Northern Coastline of Taiwan

Close your eyes and fill your mind with the sights and sound of the beach. You see the sandy, golden shore, littered with shells and pebbles, the arched palm trees and their long, green and gold leaves, you feel the soft summer breeze and the golden sunshine on your skin and you hear the sound of gulls squabbling over scraps of food, and the boom of the ocean as the waves break. This is the typical tropical paradise, maybe the Maldives or Puerto Rico or Seychelles or maybe even Hawaii, but not anywhere I have been.

Our imagination takes us places, and we all dream of being there in the flesh someday, but sometimes, places you never expected to feel like paradise manage to surprise you. These places may be closer than you realise, and in just a single moment, you may be overwhelmed by its beauty, which is something, that perhaps, only you are able to perceive. For many of us, there is a special place, some corner or nook or cranny on this majestic planet which owns a fragment of your heart, and I think, that perhaps, I have found mine.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tracy's Garden

The little woman crouches over the flowerbed, loosening the soil with a rusty spade while carefully arranging dried leaves and vegetable peels around the base of the plant before covering up the “compost” with the loosened soil. She repeats these actions as she moves from plant to plant, until the bag holding her “compost” is empty. The relentless summer sun beats down on her exposed arms and legs, her skin bronzed from hours spent outdoors. Occasionally she stands up to ease the ache in her legs and wipes the sweat from her brow, taking a few seconds to look at the vegetation surrounding her. Satisfied with the “compost”, she fetches a bucket of water, saved from everyday household use and waters each plant, making sure not one drop is wasted. If it is late in the day near supper time, she will harvest ripened produce after taking a few minutes to contemplate what to present on the supper table that night. Finally, taking her selection, she heads back into the little house, starting the preparation of food for the two or three people who will dine together that night. This little woman is my mother, Tracy, and this is the story of her vegetable garden.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Secret Ingredient

A year before I was born, my family left Taiwan and immigrated to a small city in the middle of nowhere. We were now more than eleven thousand kilometres away from our country of origin, and in a place where access to Taiwanese cuisine was severely limited. It seemed certain that I was (my sister also) doomed to never have the chance to grow to love the food that is a part of everyday life in Taiwan. Indeed, it was also certain that I would have the chance to visit the country as I was growing up, but there was always the likelihood that I would develop a preference for a burger and fries over Taiwanese food and never take the opportunity to properly indulge in authentic Taiwanese cuisine.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Courage, Confidence and Choices

Last week in Melbourne, my friend and I came across this guy busking on the streets outside one of the busiest train stations in the city. He was from Taiwan, and most of the songs he sang were familiar to me – popular pop ballads released by many of the biggest artists in Taiwan. His dexterity with the guitar left me nothing short of envious, and listening to him sing live, with just his voice and guitar as instruments, free of digital alterations, stopped me and many others in our tracks, inserting a short interlude into our busy lives, slowing down the frantic movement of people for just a few minutes, allowing them to take a break from the tedious march that we call life.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lessons from a Film - Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2011)

This film is based on true events which occurred in central Taiwan in 1930. The international version was a combination of the two separate films shown in Taiwan which cut down the running time from four-and-a-half hours to two-and-a-half hours. I watched the full version over two sittings: Part I “The Sun Flag” and Part II “The Rainbow Bridge”, and believe this version allows the viewer to engage the story better than the shorter version.