Saturday, 15 March 2008

Outrageous financial demands. Tainan Art University.


I've always been fickle-minded. A couple of days ago I was thinking about a new tattoo. However, yesterday everything was boats. I spent a day online researching the purchase and upkeep of a small sailboat. This would immediately nullify two costs of travelling: accommodation and transport, helping to offset the cost of the boat itself. I'm even dreaming about sailing it back to England.

I did a two week sailing trip up the west coast of Scotland in 1996. Highlands and Islands. Cold, immaculate beauty. Nothing but the sound of wind-on-sail to propel you through a labyrinth of islets - marvelous. I remember looking on in awe at The Gulf of Corryvreckan.

After a little research, you can get a small sailboat with a little engine, a water tank, couple of beds and a stove for as little as £2000. Live on something like that for a year and it would pay for itself on accommodation charges alone.

The thought of living a slower life, cruising the oceans at 4-5knts had me dreaming last night. I was thinking how for thousands of years humankind has travelled at a much slower pace. We've used horses and sails for eons which better fit the natural rhythms of the World. Time to go full hippy.

Legal Eagle

Well, it looks like my stint as an English teacher in Taiwan is over. The cherry on the cake was the realisation that I'm also effectively banned from ever working in Taiwan again. How the hell have I ended up being black-listed by an entire nation?

If you've been keeping track of the last few posts you'd know the reason for these punitive measures. Due to my less than impressive work record in Taiwan (I did a moonlight flit without warning after only three months of a one year contract) I'm now unable to obtain a work permit. After some consultation with the Taiwanese Council for Labour Affairs I'd established a way forward to resolve this mess.

I had to speak to my ex-employer and try to reach an agreement with her so that she might withdraw her complaint against me. However, one fly in the ointment was that she refused to take my calls. My new school spoke to her on my behalf as she obviously couldn't stomach the sound of my voice. She sent a fax to the new school's office outlining her demands for a withdrawal of the complaint.

To call her demands reasonable is like saying Maradona's 1986 'Hand of God' goal against England was fair. Everybody was speechless. The demands were outrageous!

She reckons I need to compensate her to the tune of 268,000 NTD. About £4,400! I reckon only a madman in a fairy tale written by a lunatic would pay that. I only earn around £100/week here in Jiali, it would take a year to pay.

I think I'll forget this gig. Shame, it was part-time with nice staff and kids. It means I also pointlessly wasted money on a medical but at least I know I'm healthy.

Providing Taiwanese immigration doesn't read this site, I can still teach Zi Ting's Aunt's kids for 4 hours/week which is better than nowt. I regard this as safe since the lessons take place in the Aunt's house and if questioned I can say I'm playing the philanthropist! However, I'm still required to leave the country every 30 days because of this fiasco.

How much do you earn?

Foreign observation: After working tonight (illegally - ssshhh!) I went for some scran. I know a few of the old lads that watch baseball on TV at this open-air, plastic-chair place. These places are synonymous with Asia. I ordered beef noodle soup and a bowl of meat rice as usual. It always makes me laugh when someone asks what I do. I say "Teacher". Then, the automatic response is: "How much do you earn?" Honestly, there's no secrecy with salaries in Asia like we have in the West.

I might consider engaging in a battle with my old school. I'll gauge my hunger for a legal wrangle tonight. I've never done anything like this so it could be an interesting experience. We'll see.

Tainan Art Museum.


Last night I found a CD of 'Wonderwall' by Oasis. I found the lyrics online and gave each kid a copy with words missing. We played the song while they tried to fill in the missing words. It was a laugh and I got paid £10!

Cut ya dick off

Last time in Manila I was talking to a bloke from County Durham. He has lived in the Philippines for donkeys. He has a Filipino wife and three kids. He was great crack, regaling us all night with tales of expat life in paradise. One story that sticks in my head is this: One night he got very drunk and had sex with a woman of the night. Nothing exceptional right? Well, his missus caught him. He was worried for days but the anxiety abated as his wife never mentioned the matter.

However, his wife never forgot the betrayal and her anger simmered away deep beneath the surface for days before erupting. He woke one night feeling something was off. He looked down the bed and his heart missed a beat. His wife had his penis in her left hand and a knife in her right. Smiling, warning "If I catch you doing that again.........". He lay there in sweating as his wife retreated, having made her point. He didn't sleep too well that night.

I was gob-smacked. Incredibly, he's still with her. I bought him a beer and thanked my lucky stars I haven't experienced that. Even with his wife present, we chatted openly about it for a while until we'd exhausted the repository of dick jokes. Hehe. Top bloke, top dit.


Where I currently live, the land is very flat. Similar to East Anglia. It's perfect cycling territory. The landscape has many water-filled rice paddies, fish farms, palm/banana trees and oyster farms at the coast. These flat east coast planes are a good source of salt. Cycling past the fish farms, you can't help but hear the motors agitating the water in order to supply oxygen. Otherwise these small man-made pools would be stagnant, filthy mosquito pits.


The landscape is punctuated with clusters of graves. These look peculiar. There seems to be a few graves with a building, that looks like a small cozy house, in among them. I don't know the purpose of it. At night, the locals are VERY aware they are walking past a grave site. They become anxious. Again, you're not allowed to point at the graves. Quite frankly, all very spooky.

再见 Bye

一二三四五六七八九十 1-10

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