Before I finish talking about our trip to Taiwan in the summer of 1975, I have two more pictures to show you among the slides I have for the trip. They were taken at Banqiao Junior High school. You can imagine my telling Janice that this was the school I had attended twenty years before. It had changed totally! I had to take some pictures so I could remember the place and here they are! You ask how I can remember now where these pictures were taken. I do not! The words on the side of the gate reminded me that we were there and I knew that these slides were ones which I took. Ha, no doubt about it! (Thirty five years later we visited this school again – this time with my former classmates! What memories! But that is another story!)
Thursday, July 24, 2014
In Chinese, susu (叔叔) refers to my father’s younger brother. A very specific relationship is defined in this term. My susu, pictured below, came to us around 1952, when he was a refugee in Hong Kong and he wrote to my father. My father had never met him before but, according to our family poem which identified different generations of the Huang family, he belonged to my father’s generation. My father gave him support, officially, and he came to Taiwan as our susu, and we have called him susu ever since. He worked at Taida until he retired there. Our family has always considered him to be part of our extended family. For Margaret and Steven, he was their Grandpa susu, in Chinese, su-yeye. He played many card games with them. They enjoyed playing with him and even fought with him when they did not want to lose a game. There was much laughing as they enjoyed good times together. Certainly, those games should be remembered as part of our children’s summer activities in Taiwan.
in 1975, we stayed in a house nearby my parents' home, just a couple of blocks away. We invited many people to join us for our meals, not just our parents but also many other relatives and friends. It was not uncommon to have quite a number of people eating together with us. Of course, we still ate out quite often in restaurants and in other people’s homes. Janice cooked at “home” a lot more than she had on her previous visit in Taiwan. We liked this arrangement. It was really easier than living at my parents' home, as we did not have to worry if we were giving them trouble! Janice certainly had plenty of opportunity to practice her cooking, using meats and produce from local markets. See some typical pictures of one meal.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
There are a few more items which I need to mention in this blog concerning our 1975 visit to Taiwan. When we were there we visited the Taipei Zoo a couple of times, not because it had special animals for me to bring to your attention here, but because it had the only children’s recreation rides available: rides such as a merry-go-round, and boat rides. We certainly did not want our children to miss this kind of fun. Even when it was very sunny and hot, we were there to test every ride..
Monday, July 21, 2014
Generally, we were very casual during the summer months in Taiwan. Only on very special occasions, would Janice dress up the children and herself and urge me to somehow match their efforts. One thing Janice liked to do regularly was to have her hair washed and to get a head massage at the beauty shop. She did that more often than she remembered. Take a look at the pictures below: my mother joined both Janice and Margaret to show off their hair.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Besides playing in the plastic pools in our yard, or in someone else’s yard, we had several opportunities to swim in the ocean and, of course, in some real swimming pools. The water was very cold in some swimming pools and our children had to learn to adjust. No matter, they enjoyed it very much - every time! One time we swam in the private pool of a condo association. You can see that Steven was shivering in the picture below. However, the ocean water was usually very warm and you can certainly see the consequent enjoyment. We were with Taotze’s family a couple of times that summer. As usual, we had a great time together.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
It is always more than what you see superficially. Baibai is definitely a form of worship custom for native Taiwanese. It is, however, more than just food and drinks for the gods, and friends. It is even more than just a way to say “thank you” to the gods and friends. At the end of the Baibai session, there are usually several days of open “shows” which are offered to the general public, free of charge, so that people of all ages can enjoy the “plays/operas” put on by professional actors and actresses, continuously, for up to one week, or more. This kind of offering to the public is definitely a good example of what a successful person should do, not only for the gods to notice so that they would support him or her continuously during the next year and future years, but also as a gesture so that others will notice the host’s generosity. This encourages support and cooperation from all who would like to be part of this kind of social relationship. I have some nice pictures of these operas.
Friday, July 11, 2014
“Bai” means worship in Taiwanese. The seventh month in the lunar calendar is the Ghost Month, which is celebrated by native Taiwanese as a time they “worship” the gods.They celebrated quite a bit and during that month they put food and other valuables out as a present for the gods. Then they invited a lot of people to eat and drink together. I even represented my father when I was a teen to participate in these meals. Our neighbor farmers usually celebrated during the month of August in the regular calendar. You could see them start to put out many offerings in front of their small temple, which was located right across from our front door. (See the picture below.) In the early days that was in the middle of a rice field, but it is now on the side of a small park below a highway and surrounded by many buildings. It was clear that this was a very important part of their life, which I am sure also has brought them a “good” life over the years!
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
It is no question that water buffalos have always been very important for the farmers in China, especially in the seventies. They were the primary animals used for ALL farm work. I remember that they were very respected for their contributions in farming. In 1975, we saw them working primarily in the rice field, where they were much needed. The situation has changed quite a bit now, since mechanical equipment has replaced animal power. The pictures below were taken in 1975, after the buffalos worked and rested in the shade. I do not think that such pictures would be seen by our young people in the future!
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Over the years, I have observed that the frames for building a high-rise structure are very different in different parts of the world. In the west the frames are made using metal materials, which are usually heavy and dangerous, because they conduct electricity and heat. On the other hand, in China and Hong Kong, the frames are made of bamboo. The pictures below were taken in 1975. You can see that they are as good as metal-made frames, while they are easy to construct and very functional.
There are many other useful gadgets made of bamboo, such as back scratchers, ear cleaners, even musical instrument like flutes, and brooms. Why do you rarely see bamboo used in the west? Why is there a culture difference in using this kind of material!
Saturday, July 5, 2014
There was another event in 1975 which is worthwhile to be recorded here in this blog. Our Chinese friends, Richard and Josephine, asked us if we would mind taking their son, Joseph, to ride the same flights with us to Taiwan and back. We told them that we would not mind. They wanted Joseph to live with their relatives there in Taipei and improve his Chinese during the summer. Joseph called Janice a few days later to ask what he could do if he really could not stand staying there with his relatives. Janice saw the situation and decided to have a birthday party at our place for his 10th birthday, to help Joseph to feel better. The pictures below were taken at the birthday party. Janice had a hard time to get the unsweetened hamburger buns which were difficult to get at that time in Taipei.