Monthly Archives: October 2009

Hear by Heart

Sometimes we hear, but do we really hear it?

Today I discover Yannick Dauby via internet, much later than many people here in Taiwan. He is a French sound artist, coming to and living in Taiwan. He has his microphone here and there, recording all different kinds of sounds in Taiwan: birds, frogs, insects, etc. Lots of natural sounds. From the recordings, I can feel how attentive he is to the surroundings. He notices the rhythm, the tempo and subtle beauty in sounds, often left unnoticed by others.

Some people question what human beings would loss in urbanization, industrialization and climate change. Maybe some of the answers lie in the intangible.

While listening to his sound samples, I wonder why in English, hear is only one alphat different from heart. Maybe, just maybe, out of so many sensational stimulations in our current world, hearing is the closet to heart.

You can listen to some of his samples here (from Taiwan and others).

Maybe someone in GV will have some interests and time to interview him and introduce to the world. Not me recently, unfortunately.


Mysteries Take for Granted

I work for Global Voices. Many of you know that. I love the community, their momentum, and their posts. Defending for the site and the people is what I do often. But sometimes, I share many readers’ frustrations in reading the website.

Global Voices aims to put readers in contexts when understanding local, national and international events. Supposedly, readers should get to know the situations better after reading through our posts and quotations from various parts of the world, or at least should have an starting point for the next step.

As a translator for GV, everyday I read through multiple posts on the website, and choose which one(s) to translate. To translate, we should thorougly understand most, if not all, of the details in the post. However, it’s getting more and more difficult recently.

Some authors have provided good contexts at the beginning and the end of posts, but don’t pay much attention to contents in quotes.

Acronyms, untranslated dialects, missing links and unclear links have all become great obstacles for us to figure out the meanings, let alone translate.

Of course as a translator and a community member, I can contact with the authors and get clarifications. I do. Many authors have received my annoying emails before. Some authors kindly reply and modify their posts; others don’t.

As a reader, I humbly hope they don’t take anything for granted. Treat us like a baby. Explain everything. I may find the answer with Google or Wikipedia, but save my efforts will create a better reading experience for sure.

As a translator, I’ll still write inconvenient emails to you. I hate to say this, but sometimes, I would have to give up translating your posts because of those mysteries.

No one is a perfect writer. I myself is extremely far from that goal. Many of you are much better than I am in writing, but sometimes, a preview will help a lot, you and me and all readers included.

Film Festivals, Obsession

In Taiwan, we used to talk about a certain “film festival season”, which happens normally at the second half of the year. For moviegoers and film-lovers, it is a exciting, fulfilling, and also exhausting period. People study the handbook, look through the film list, check the schedule, and arrange their ideal list in the festival. Some festivals even hold seminars to help people with various interests decide their film list. These festivals often last for a week or ten days, and some for almost a month. You can see the flock religiously rush between different theaters.

Films festivals are crucial to local audience, especially for people who enjoy films in different genres and/or origins. You see, in the mainstream movie theaters in Taiwan, most movies are from USA (Hollywood of course), Hong Kong, Japan (animations for sure!), Korea, Thailand (with scary, scary ghost films) and Taiwan. Other than those, it’s hardly possible to appreciate film arts from “other” countries. Festivals are probably the only place now in Taiwan where films from other parts of the world or independent films are introduced. Moreover, organizers sometimes invite filmmakers and actors to Taiwan, especially thrilling to viewers and fans who like to interact with or hear what directors themselves have to say.

 Now there is no such a thing called “film festival season”. Film festivals proliferate and scatter around the year. Differentiation, therefore, becomes important to each. Various themes, communities and topics are developed with a clear focus, such as Women Make Waves Film Festival (which opens today until 10/25), and CNEX (focuses on documentary). Sometimes festivals are city-based, such as Taipei Film Festival (theme city this year: Berlin) or Kaohsiung Film Festival (theme this year: hero/antihero, stating today as well)

There are some more general festivals as well. Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival always goes with the movie award with the same title. “General” doesn’t mean it is less provocative to some people. This year, for example, more than a dozen LGBT films are included, which, of course, catches media attention.

I like to watch movies, but not crazy enough to sleep in tents for days in front of the box office for ticket sets/packages. Thanks for film festivals, though, I’ve got to fulfill my obsession to handbooks. I collect and keep them for years for future reflection. I have to say, by the way, the design is getting better and better.

How can a post about film festivals without clips? 🙂

↑ ↑ Taipei Film Festival Promo (theme city: Berlin … obviously)

↑ ↑ Kaohsiung Film Festival Promo

↑ ↑ Golden Horse Film Festival Promo

20 Years of Pixar, 10 Years of Me

Pixar exhibition


After long delay, I finally went to see Pixar: 20 Years of Animation at Taipei Fine Arts Museum last week. As lazy as always, without invitation from Tristan, I will probably miss the exhibition.

It’s a good exhibition. After TV and movies invented, animations have embodied and defined many people’s imaginations. People in my age have experienced from Disney to Pixar. When I was young, every kid knew the rhythm and sang with Under the Sea, Beauty and the Beast, A Whole New WorldColors of the Wind, even though not necessarily understood the lyrics or English at all. Images were beautiful, but we remembered the music more.

But Pixar overturned the landscape. Since Toy Story, we have a new idea about animation.

It is such an important company to my generation here in Taiwan. Even I went there on a Wednesday, the exhibition room was still crowded. The display clearly demostrates how important computer system is to their works. They calculate the formula to simulate Sulley’s hair. They analyze how many particles added will make the sea look more “natural” for Nemo.

Tristan and Pixar

Friend Tristan

With the help of computers, Pixar pays much attention to details, to the extent that we almost take for granted. Simply watching those films, they are great works for stimulating imagination, but how many efforts put into are well beyond our imagination.

Japanese and American animations are both very popular in Taiwan. When it comes to box office, though, I always have the impression American ones sell better in my age. With superstars like Hello Kitty and Pocket Monsters, however, I won’t be so certain now.

Interestingly, I can easily remember Disney and Pixar, but cannot recall what the production company for Pocket Monsters is.

The Pixar exhibition is like a flashback for my past ten years, while Disney occupied the ten years before that. I wonder which company will define my next animation decade.