100 Passionate People

I’ve just been featured as one of “100 Passionate People” of Taiwanese-America on TaiwaneseAmerican.org! View my profile here.

About the 100 Passionate People Project:

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and the 2nd week of the month is Taiwanese American Heritage Week. TaiwaneseAmerican.org is pleased to present the profiles of a wide cross-section of everyday Taiwanese Americans who many of you have told us that you find personally inspiring or passionate about what they do. Each day this month, we’ll present about three people, of all ages, generations, and careers until we reach 100 people.

Make no mistake, this is NOT the 100 “most passionate” people, because we know there are many more folks to connect with or hear about who also fit this criteria and deserve to be highlighted, too. With your help, we will find them. This project is just the beginning.

For now, this is a glimpse into the diversity of our community and a collection of their stories and opinions. In the future, we’ll be planning other “100 people” projects based on various themes (i.e. tech, community leaders, moms, etc.) and eventually grow our project into a historical archive chronicling the stories of Americans of Taiwanese heritage.

If you know of someone who you think should be profiled this month or in one of our future projects, please send this link to them: http://bit.ly/cSZvf4

CC-Licensed Taiwanese Tunes

As my internship at Creative Commons comes to an end this week, I thought it appropriate to give a shout out to some of the CC-licensed music that I have been listening to at work this summer, in particular, two CDs from Taiwan that I found in the office.  (Shameless promotion for the homeland) Both disks feature songs primarily in Mandarin and Taiwanese, but I think they are worth a listen even if you don’t understand everything (I don’t even totally understand song lyrics in English most of the time anyway)


Asian Variations

The Asian Variations album is a collection of remixes produced by MoShang in his Chinese Chill style of downtempo electronica, melding deeply laid-back beats with Chinese traditional instruments. Some of these remixes were solicited by the original artists, two were done for remix competitions, and in some cases MoShang approached artists directly requesting permission to remix their work. The artists represe nted on the album are literally from all over the globe; The U.S.A. (Fort Minor, Toao, Lovespirals, Brad Reason), Taiwan (Kou Chou Ching, Chang Jui-chuan, Viba, Andre van Rensburg, MoShang), South Africa (Gordon’s Suitcase), Japan (Akihiko Matsumoto & Chage), Italy (Tafubar), and Slovenia (PureH) and for the most part the collaboration with MoShang was via the web. With the exception of Fort Minor and J-pop star, Chage, none of the artists are signed to major labels and all are working hard to be heard.

More about MoShang and the remixed artists on AsianVariations.com


歡迎來唱我的歌 (Welcome To My Song)

An eclectic collection of Taiwanese music commissioned for the launch of Creative Commons Taiwan.  The title track is by Taiwanese pop icon Yue Hsin Chu.

Download MP3s and song lyrics at CC Taiwan (in Mandarin and Taiwanese)

See also: Launching Creative Commons Taiwan: Background, Experience, and Challenge


Monkey in Costa Rica

Monkeys in the Mission, San Francisco

Monkeys near San Francisco Chinatown

Popular Monkey helmet, Taiwan

Monkeys in Shikoku, Japan

Kris and Monkeys, New York

A Rice Anecdote

Yo yo yo from my parents’ place in Cake City.  Just made another batch of banana coconut sticky rice dessert, for my family to try.  Just so we are clear on terms: sticky rice = glutinous rice = sweet rice.  This time I substituted Sugar in the Raw for my usual blend of brown sugar and palm sugar, and Korean short grain brown sticky rice for Thai long grain sticky rice, because that’s what my mom had around the house.

So I didn’t realize until a couple days ago that there was a difference between long and short grain sticky rice (I knew there was a difference between long and short grain regular rice though).  My mom was talking to me yesterday about how she associates long grain rice with “famine” (her word, not mine). WHAT!?

Ok, so my mom grew up in Taiwan. Long before it was the land of fist-fighting politicians and the Taipei 101 skyscraper, it was a poor developing country.  There was a rice shortage when she was growing up and they had to import long grain rice from South East Asia.  Short grain rice (similar to the kind the Japanese and Koreans eat) is more commonly eaten in Taiwan, so my mom said she couldn’t get used to the taste and texture of long grain rice.  She said it was so disappointing it made her cry, and she still won’t eat long grain rice today, because it reminds her of poverty and famine.  I, for the record, have no problems with long grain rice.

This reminds of me of the fact that my paternal grandfather, who is from China, won’t eat brown rice, despite the health benefits, because it reminds him of wartime poverty when white rice wasn’t available.

Or one of my fellow former JET assistant language teacher’s students in Japan, who cried when the JET made some American-style rice pudding in class.  Apparently the kid was upset that the teacher “ruined” some “perfectly good rice.”

Moral of the story: don’t mess with an Asian person’s rice, just like you wouldn’t mess with a French person’s baguettes.

In totally unrelated music news, the HEPNOVA recording sessions are going well.  More music coming soon.  Check out what we’ve got so far on HEPNOVA.com.  And follow us on Twitter.

Taiwanese Tea Eggs

Taiwanese Tea Eggs

I just made a batch of Taiwanese tea eggs, which are hardboiled eggs stewed in a tea and soy sauce-infused brine.  They were one of my favorite snack foods growing up, and super simple to make at home, although they are sold in pretty much every convenience store in Taiwan.

First you take some regular chicken eggs, put them in a pot and just barely cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.  Drain the eggs and rinse with some cold water to cool down.  Then lightly crack the shells all over, but don’t remove the shells.  This process is what gives the eggs their unique marbled pattern.

Return the eggs to the pot, just barely cover with water.  Then add seasonings.  There are many variations, but I just used what I had in the pantry: 1 tablespoon of black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of whole cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 whole star anise, a 3 inch piece of dried kombu, 1 inch knob of ginger (peeled and cut into strips), 4 tablespoons of strong black tea, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of mirin (sugar works too), and a bit more salt to taste.  Bring everything to a gentle boil, then turn way down to a simmer.  Simmer for about an hour; the smell of the spiced tea brine simmering transports me right back to Taiwan.  Eat warm or cold.  You can store them in the fridge in the tea brine.