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Entries tagged with “Umweltschutz”.


Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above is not just about pretty aerial pictures

The genius of Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above, the aerial documentary currently breaking records at the Taiwanese box office, is that it deliberately misleads its audience. Even more than a celebration of nature’s beauties, it is a deeply disquieting wake-up call, urging Taiwanese to develop their enviromental consciousness.

Judging from the movie’s marketing campaign, one would hardly guess that Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above (看見台灣, Seeing Taiwan) will take you to some really dark places and ask discomforting questions. In the official trailer, it’s mostly gorgeous images and majestic music.

In fact, during the film’s first ten minutes or so, I felt like in a Wagnerian big screen opera, flying with the Valkyries to the highest mountain peaks and beyond. It’s pretty awe-inspiring.

Then, slowly, humans start appearing. At first, they are as insignificant and tiny as ants. Next, we see them taming nature and living off the land: Farmers, fishermen. Finally, the film moves into the cities, and it is here that it quickly becomes obvious that Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above will not shy away from pointing out the culprits who are busily destroying Taiwan’s natural equilibrium.

It’s us.

More photos on the official movie Facebook page

After watching, you will probably never again look the same way at Taiwan’s…

  • Betelnut, tea and cabbage plantations in the high mountains (lead to more landslides)
  • Cross-island highways and mountain dwellings, like Taiwan’s „Little Switzerland“ (precipitously situated and in constant danger)
  • Fish farms (suck up ground water, cause land subsidence)
  • Concrete tetrapods (more than 50% of Taiwan’s coastline is covered with concrete)
  • IT industry (uses 16% of all energy, produces toxic waste)
  • Cement, sand and gravel industry (needlessly disfiguring mountains for profit’s sake)
  • Wastewater (often flowing untreated into the rivers and out to sea)
  • Coal power (the Taichung power plant is the world’s single largest CO2 emitter)

…and many other things that are usually hailed as signs of „development“, and thus as good by definition.

Seeing is believing

Although most viewers will be surprised at what they learn, Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above does not really tell anything new. All the facts have been well known for a long time to enviromentalists, affected citizens, probably even to some reporters and government officials.

But never before has anyone argued the case so spectacularly. Telling and warning is not enough. Director Chi Po-lin has gathered the visual evidence that is neccessary to make people see the problems and their magnitude.

Because we aren’t worried about what we don’t know, and we don’t know what we don’t see.

For example, Chi’s aerial images of black streams of wastewater, spilling from a Taoyuan river into the pristine ocean and forming a bizarre kind of Yin-Yang-pattern, will imprint themselves on every viewer’s mind. No lecture, article or protest march could ever achieve this.

Welcome to the real world

For me, Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above touched on another aspect that I find really worrying.

It seems to me that many people in Taiwan (like in other parts of the world, but we are talking about Taiwan here) are spending their lives in an almost completely artificial and de-naturalized environment, going to great lengths to keep nature as far away as possible.

„Development“ in Taipei, nature vs. concrete:

I am thinking about windows that don’t let in sunlight, A/C systems that replace a breeze of fresh air, concrete in parks where there could be lawn.

It’s a world where plastic bags, disposable chopsticks and lunch boxes appear out of nowhere and vanish without a trace.

In some ways, Taiwan’s ubiquitous 7-11 stores are the perfect embodyment of this mentality. Always clean, always bright, full of convenient, plastic-wrapped stuff, cute, commercialized and standardized.

7/11 Laden

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate 7-11 as much as the next guy. I just would not want to spend my life living in one.

Nature, to many people, primarily seems to be something that sullies their concrete environment and has to be gotten rid of with plastic brooms.

Besen Taiwan

I think this is sad and deeply worrying.

Chi Po-lin (it’s his actual name and translates as „zeppelin“) probably sees something similar when he observes that, with more than 50% of Taiwan’s coastline disfigured by slabs of concrete, „we have built a wall to seperate us from the sea.“ Which is not so ideal for an island nation. „The ocean is the road through which we can reach out to the world.“

Amongst many other things, Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above also serves to remind the audience that, hard as we try to keep nature out, modern life still depends on nature’s life support systems. If we continue to treat her badly, „like too many children sucking on their mother’s breast,“ the Earth will not only fail to render her essential services. She will also strike back as she whinces in agony.

Just think about the increasing number and strenght of typhoons and rainfall, ever more devastating mudslides, rising sea levels, coastal land being submerged because of subsidence, diseases spreading in monocultures.

And then, says Chi, we tend to blame nature for the very problems that we have caused ourselves.

Now what?

While Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above does an excellent job raising awareness, I found it to be a bit lacking in pointing out alternatives, showing possible ways out of our dilemma.

Late in the film (like The Return of the King, it has too many endings and goes on long after you think everyting has been said), Chi introduces two organic farmers who found the way back to traditional methods of production.

While I like their approach, I do not think they can serve as a model for most Taiwanese who are, after all, mostly busy in offices, struggling and making ends meet for their family’s well-being.

At least, one of the farmers makes the perhaps most poignant statement of the film:

我們需要的不多,就是想要太多了。

 

„We actually don’t need all that much. The problem is that we want too much.“

Make a real difference

I don’t consider myself a great example, and I am not suggesting that I am leading my life in a better way then anyone else.

That said, what can one do, once the consciousness has been rattled awake?

These are some things that are routinely suggested:

  • Carry reusable chopsticks
  • Turn off the engine at red traffic lights
  • Reject paper cups and plastic bags
  • Use toilet paper from both sides (no, enough of that)

The thing with little well-meaning steps like these is that, even if you follow through, you will not actually make a difference. You will not be able to offset the damage that others are causing at the same time.

I think that the only way to actually make a difference is by reaching out to other people. Just like Chi Po-lin dedicated his life to making this movie instead of sitting at home and just feeling miserable.

They did it: Protests made the government cancel the Kuokuang naptha cracker plans in Changhua County.

  • Tell people that you plan to go to a demonstration, and ask them to join you
  • Tell that idiot walking in front of you to stuff his garbage anywhere, but stop littering
  • Ask others why they don’t carry reusable chopsticks
  • Tell others that next time, you plan to vote for a politician who actually cares about the really serious problems
  • Write letters and post comments about what you don’t like instead of just clicking „like“ where everybody thinks like you anyway

Do whatever you can, just don’t shut up and don’t give up.

Think of Chi Po-lin, who gave up his safe government job and pension in order to make this film. It’s not perfect, and not everyone will like it, but who cares. He is even giving special screenings for the Premier now. While you are reading this, he is making a hell of a difference.

Beyond Beauty Taiwan

About me

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Read more English posts on this otherwise mostly German blog. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

English posts you might want to have a look at:


Expressway to spoil Taiwan’s east coast?

Taiwan’s government has decided it might be a good idea to build an expressway along the east coast, connecting the cities of Hualien and Taitung. That would probably ruin one of Taiwan’s most beautiful landscapes.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications will spend almost half a million US Dollars to conduct an assessment, the Taipei Times reports. The cost of the highway itself, according to the Directorate General of Highways (DGH), would exceed NT$100 billion (US$3.5 billion).

Where will they build Taiwan’s new east coast highway?

Building an expressway along the east coast is not really news. The government’s official ROC (Taiwan) 2011 Yearbook included it in a map of Taiwan’s highway network as being „under planning or construction.“

The planned route cuts right through Taiwan’s idyllic, largely unspoilt East Rift Valley, passing by the towns of Ruisui (famous for river rafting) and Yuli.

Map Taiwan Highway Network

Note that there are even plans for the expressway to cross the Central Mountain Range and connect to the west coast highway network at Chaozhou near Kaohsiung.

There is also this information (emphasis mine):

[U]nder the Hualien-Taitung Area Development Act 花東地區發展條例 passed June 13, 2011, NT$40 billion (US$1.36 billion) will be allocated over a 10-year period for the improvement of infrastructure, tourism, ecological sites and other concerns in Hualien and Taitung counties. Special attention will be paid to providing safe, reliable and convenient transportation services comparable to that available along the west coast.

The yearbook was published in late 2011. Since the Government Information Office (GIO) was disbanded this year, it’s no longer available online.

Who needs a new highway on Taiwan’s east coast?

Between them, the counties of Hualien and Taitung have a population of 100,000 570,000. While they cover more that 20% of Taiwan’s area, they are only home to 2.5% of the country’s total population.

There are already two highways connecting Hualien and Taitung. Highway 11 runs along the east coast, Highway 9 cuts through the East Rift Valley. These roads are usually pretty empty. When I travelled up the east coast in early October, it was extremely smooth driving. (Unfortunately, I was almost run off the road at one point by some Taipei idiots who used the highway as a personal racing track for their Porsches and Audis.)

The Taipei Times quotes DGH Director General Wu Meng-feng (吳盟分):

He said that traffic on a normal weekday only usually accounts for about 20 percent of the highway’s designed capacity. However, congestion at some sections of the highway may occur at the Lunar New Year holiday or long weekends, he added.

Taiwan East Rift Valley

So this construction project would benefit only tourists, not the residents of Hualien and Taitung counties. Instead of having more trains run down the east coast from Taipei (there are train stations all along the East Rift Valley) and improving eco-friendly cycling tourism, all the Ministry of Transportation and Communications can think of seems to be pouring more concrete and building new highways.

One reason may be that Chinese tour groups have precious little time and absolutely need to be rushed from one sight to the next in their air-conditioned tour busses as quickly as possible. They don’t take trains, and they definitely don’t ride bikes.

Where is Taiwan’s environmental policy headed?

Despite a lot of talk about enviromental protection, low-carbon economy and sustainable tourism, Taiwan’s central and local governments seem to be firmly rooted in a 1980s construction state mindset. I am afraid that there are people who will not stop until all of Taiwan, including the mountains and coastlines, looks like this:

Modern architecture. Made for cars, not human beings.

Posted by taiwanreporter on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

When that is accomplished, they will start everything all over again. Like in Taipei City, where it has been deemed absolutely necessary to change the color of all bike lanes from green to red.

There is an awful lot of money in public construction, and it’s no secret that many politicians in Taiwan have for a long time been using those budgets to curry favors, reward services and help influential friends make a few NT$ on the side.

Check out this article from a 1996 government magazine: Constructive Criticism

Most of Taiwan’s major infrastructure development projects are plagued by cost overruns, poor-quality construction, and lengthy delays. Construction firms are coming under heavy fire for corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence (…)

The tax payers are left with the bill. And with a ruined environment. But hey, at least they will be able to get from Hualien to Taitung a little faster.

There are enouraging signs, like the decision not to build Taiwan’s eigth naptha cracker project in a stretch of ecologically valuable wetlands. But to me it seems like, enviroment-wise, for every step forward Taiwan is taking two steps back.

Another example: Building the Taipei Dome instead of having an inner-city park

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Read more English posts on this mostly German blog. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus.

English posts you might want to have a look at:


„Das Rohe und das Gekochte“ auf der Berlinale

Auf der Berlinale feiert heute ein Dokumentarfilm Premiere, der bei Taiwan-Freunden auf größtes Interesse stoßen dürfte: „Das Rohe und das Gekochte“, gedreht von der Hamburger Regisseurin Monika Treut.

Dokumentation über Esskultur in Taiwan

Das Berlinale-Programm beschreibt den 83-minütigen Film als „dokumentarische Entdeckungsreise durch die kulinarischen Traditionen Taiwans, die zeigt, wie eng das Essen mit den unterschiedlichen Kulturen des Vielvölkerstaats verbunden ist.“ (Filmbeschreibung deutsch / englisch)

Leckeres Essen, interessante Menschen und schöne Landschaften also – aber Monika Treut blendet in ihrem Film, der von Taiwans öffentlich-rechtlichem Public Television Service koproduziert wurde, auch die soziale Realität nicht aus:

Die Urbanisierung Taiwans schreitet voran und bedroht die Landwirtschaft. Zum Glück gibt es seit einigen Jahren eine Umweltsschutzbewegung. Wir filmen eine Demonstration von Bauern und sprechen mit zwei Mitgliedern der noch jungen Grünen Partei Tawains.

Dreh in Taiwan

Im November 2010 hat Treut mit ihrem Team u.a. auf einer Großdemo gegen die geplante Kuokuang-Chemiefabrik gefilmt. Viele Anwohner aus Changhua County waren dafür nach Taipeh gereist.

Weitere Fotos von dieser Demo hatte ich bei Facebook hochgeladen.

Monika Treut

Unter allen deutschen Filmemachern hat Monika Treut (Facebook-Seite) wohl die größte Taiwankompetenz und -erfahrung. Sie hatte bereits eine lange Karriere als Autorenfilmerin hinter sich (Lebenslauf / Filmografie), als sie 2002 von einem Frauenfilmfest nach Taiwan eingeladen wurde.

Ich wusste bis dahin gar nichts über Taiwan und las mir im Flugzeug mein erstes Wissen im Reiseführer an… von Anfang an gab es irritierende Erlebnisse, die mich immer neugieriger machten. Auf dem Festival lernte ich dann sehr spannende Leute kennen. (Quelle: taz)

Den Tigerfrauen wachsen Flügel

Nachdem Ihr Interesse geweckt war, reiste Treut noch viele Male nach Taiwan und drehte zunächst „Den Tigerfrauen wachsen Flügel“ (母老虎飛飛飛), der 2005 auf der Berlinale uraufgeführt wurde (Filmbeschreibung).

Die Dokumentation zeigt Taiwans gesellschaftlichen Wandel am Beispiel von drei Frauen aus drei Generationen und ist in Deutschland offenbar nicht DVD erhältlich, dafür aber in Taiwan (z.B. bei Eslite oder im Taiwan Bookshop). (Chinesische Film-Infos z.B. hier oder hier)

Made in Taiwan

Ebenfalls 2005 hatte „Made in Taiwan“ seine Erstausstrahlung. Die 30-minütige Dokumentation entstand für 3sat und schildert den Alltag von Yi-chun, einer ganz normalen 17-Jährigen in Taipeh.

Die junge Frau isst gerne, doch jede Nahrungszufuhr wird von ihrer Familie argwöhnisch beobachtet, die kleinste Gewichtszunahme ist für ihre Tanzkarriere hinderlich. Ihr Voice-Over erzählt von ihrem Schulalltag, der einer strengen Dramaturgie unterworfen ist: der Wecker klingelt um 5h45, zu Hause ist sie oft erst um 19 Uhr, dann Hausaufgaben machen, duschen und ins Bett – für einen festen Freund hast sie weder Zeit noch Energie. Der erlösende Ausbruch aus der Routine ist der jährliche Schulausflug ans Meer.

Dieser kleine Film ist ein persönlicher Favorit von mir, weil er so liebevoll unaufdringlich beobachtet, die Kamera immer im richtigen Moment hin- oder wegguckt, und weil Treut es nicht für nötig befindet, Ausrufezeichen hinter ihre Beobachtungen zu setzen – jeder Zuschauer kann sich sein eigenes Bild machen. Ab und zu wird er im deutschen Fernsehen wiederholt, also aufpassen.

Ghosted

In der Folge arbeitete Treut an der ersten deutsch-taiwanischen Spielfilm-Koproduktion überhaupt: „Ghosted“ (曖昧) kam 2009 ins Kino. Es ist eine Liebesgeschichte zwischen Hamburg und Taiwan, in der die Grenzen zwischen Dies- und Jenseits verschwimmen. Ganz wie im Geistermonat, der in Taiwan jeden Sommer begangen wird.

Trailer:

Taiwan-Fernsehbericht über die Premiere auf der Berlinale (Filmbeschreibung):

„Ghosted“ ist in Deutschland auf DVD erhältlich:

Und natürlich auch in Taiwan. Hier entdeckt Monika Treut die DVD im Fembooks Frauenbuchladen in Taipeh.

Vorführungen in Deutschland

Zurück zum aktuellen Film: „Das Rohe und das Gekochte“ wird leider keinen regulären Kinostart haben, aber nach der Berlinale immerhin ein paar Mal in Kinos in Hamburg (Abaton, Metropolis) und Berlin laufen. Im Mai wird er dann bei der Edition Salzgeber auf DVD erscheinen.

Wer hat einer der Filme gesehen? Ich bin gespannt auf Kommentare und Meinungen.





Taiwan’s new interior minister: Not your typical politician

With the government (Executive Yuan) facing a major reshuffle, Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) looks set to be Taiwan’s next interior minister. That sounds like good news for those who like their politicians to actually know what they are talking about.

Lee (CV here) is currently Public Construction Commission Minister. He is holding a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering acquired in the U.S. and has been a professor at Taiwan National University’s Department of Civil Engineering since 1991. In case you’re interested here is an interesting article about his fields of expertise on the University of Iowa’s Honor Wall.

The land subsidence problem in Taiwan

As PCC minister, Lee’s task was to define a strategy against the problem of land subsidence which is threatening the operation of Taiwan’s High Speed Rail.

Being a scientist, he came up with some pretty sensible observations, the kind you would like to hear from politicians more often, anywhere.

„All we do now is persuade people to save water through moral appeals, but the government should set up regulations. It may be an inconvenience to the residents in the short term, but new values, industries and job opportunities focused on water conservation will appear in the long run.“ (Source)

Noting the recent protests by environmentalists against Taiwan’s nuclear power and petrochemical industries, Lee said similar action needs to be taken to push the government to tackle the water issue. “We can’t expect the rain to fall every time we find ourselves short of water, “ Lee said. “We need a policy that has vision.” (Source)

Addressing climate change, he does not go for the „let’s change some lightbulbs and otherwise do business as usual“ phrases popular with many politicians, but emphasizes the importance of scienctific expertise:

“Global climate change is not a simple problem with a simple answer, so a strategy for dealing with climate change through sustainable development needs good science, clear policies and good communication.“ (Source)

Here is a video of Lee speaking out against the infamous Kuokuang naphta cracker plant project in Changhua County.

This was in 2010, between Lee’s stints as Taipei County deputy magistrate and PCC minister. At that time, the construction of Kuokuang was still heavily supported by the Kuomintang. Only in early 2011 did president Ma pull the plug, after protests by residents, scientists and enviromental activists apparently had become too much to handle. (I posted some photos from a demonstration in Taipei.)

As interior minister, Lee would „focus his efforts on infrastructure and affordable housing“, according to the Taipei Times. It seems to me that he is not the worst choice to handle these tasks.

Another way to make it into the central government

In related news, a disgruntled former DPP bigshot who switched sides is apparently set to become minister without portfolio. Former Kaohsiung County commissioner Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興) left the DPP after failing to secure his party’s nomination for mayor of Greater Kaohsiung in 2010. He ran as an independent and lost to Chen Chu. Last year, he announced his support for Ma in the presidential elections, which apparently now has earned him a new post. Without portfolio.

So it looks like there is more than one way to become a government minister in Taiwan. Expertise or dis-loyalty. Personally, I like Lee Hong-yuan’s way better.

I am a German reporter living and working in Taiwan. Click here for more English posts on this otherwise mostly German blog. You can also follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Plurk.

Other posts you might want to have a look at:


Demonstration against the Taipei Dome

The Taipei Dome (大巨蛋, „big giant egg“), located next to Songshan Culture Park, is one of those „development“ projects that currently abound in Taipei. A 40.000-seat-indoor baseball stadium right across from Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, a shopping mall, hotels and office buildings. Business as usual. Big corporations pour lots of concrete and make a lot of money. Citizens and tourists go shopping.

So what is the problem with it?

The problem, as many people see it, is that by greenlighting the construction of the Taipei Dome, the Taipei City government has thrown away the chance to establish something the city and its people really need – namely, a second inner-city forest park.

That is why there is a protest movement. Recently a few hundred people held a protest march (video) from Taipei City Hall to the headquarters of the developer, Farglory Group, and on the the site where the concrete has already started pouring. (newspaper report)

I admire all these citizen groups in Taiwan hitting the streets to protest for their cause. They are too late this time, I am afraid. Big business has succeeded again in establishing facts (chopping down trees, bringing in the big machines, digging holes) before public pressure could make politicians change their minds.

Demonstration Taipei Dome

Citizens protesting against the loss of urban green spaces, 30 Oct 2011.

What a great park this could have been. No one would deny that is was a stroke of genius to establish Daan Forest Park, a few kilometers away to the south-west, at the site of a former military village. But it is just one site. Another forest park, not quite as big, directly across from Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall would really have breathed life into this part of the city. There are not a lot of green spaces left in the East District along Zhongxiao East Rd.

But there used to be this magnificent spot that is the former Songshan Tobacco Factory. After closing down (apparently in 1998), its grounds had been neglected for years. Trees could grow, wildlife could spread. This is how it looked like (source):

Songshan Tobacco Factory 2006

Before: The area in 2006.

But around 2005/2006, the Taipei City Government signed a contract to turn the area over to Farglory and have them build the „Taipei Arena“ there. As a BOT (build-operate-transfer) project, Farglory would operate the project for 50 years (sacking in all the profits) and then return the area (including a by then probably derelict building) to the city.

Enviromentalists and people from the area (there is a primary school next door) protested and sued. But before all rulings were final, or the project had passed all enviromental impact assessments, the City Government already started removing trees. (mehr …)


Ab ins Grüne – in Taipeh!

Wochenend und Sonnenschein – da will ich auch in Taipeh nicht den ganzen Tag am Schreibtisch sitzen oder mich auf der Straße an Motorrollern vorbeiquetschen. Was tun, wenn die eigene Wohnung keinen Balkon hat und der Park gegenüber vom Zelt einer Trauerfeier blockiert ist?

Zum Glück leben im Ballungsraum der Hauptstadt zwar außer mir noch ca. 6 Millionen Menschen, aber wenn die mal ins Grüne wollen, haben sie es nicht allzu weit.

Zeitungsbericht über Parks in Taiwan

Wandern rund um Taipeh

Elefantenberg, Tigerberg, Yangming-Berg: Direkt hinter den Wohnblocks und Bürotürmen steigen sie in die Höhe. An drei Seiten ist Taipeh von Hügeln und sogar einem erloschenen Vulkan umgeben. So betongrau das Straßengewirr aus der Ferne wirkt, so sattgrün wuchern Büsche und Bäume an den steil ansteigenden Hängen.

Ein Netz von gut ausgebauten Wanderwegen bietet gestressten Großstädtern die Möglichkeit, schnell die Asphaltpisten hinter sich zu lassen. Der Weg ist vorgegeben, denn die Vegetation geht in unseren Breitengraden als Urwald durch, und es ist unmöglich, die vorgegebenen Pfade zu verlassen.

Hiking path near Taipei City

Wenn es im Sommer mit 35 Grad und mehr gar zu heiß vom Himmel brennt, oder wenn während der Frühjahrs-Regenzeit jeden Moment ein Wolkenbruch droht, überlege ich mir gut, ob ich so einen doch recht schweißtreibenden Aufstieg beginnen will. Wenn ich dann – noch frohgemut ausschreitend – die ersten gepflasterten Treppen erklimme, werde ich oft von Rentnern überholt, für die der Weg zum Gipfel seit Jahren allmorgendliche Routine ist.

Nehmen die Steintreppen kein Ende, werden die Beine schwer, aber ein vorzeitiges Umkehren kommt nicht in Frage. Schließlich ergeben sich immer wieder schöne Aussichten über die Häuserschluchten von Taipeh, aus denen der bambusförmige Wolkenkratzer Taipei 101 mit seinen 500 Metern aufragt wie der Pfeil auf einer Dartscheibe.

View over Taipei City with Taipei 101

Radfahren in Taipehs Flussufer-Parks

Wenn es mal weniger steil zugehen soll, schwinge ich mich gern auf Rad und nehme den kürzesten Weg zum nächsten Fluss. Nur dort lässt es sich in Taipeh richtig entspannt radeln: An beiden Ufern der Ströme, die durch Taiwans Hauptstadt fließen, ziehen sich mehr als 100 Kilometer grüne Parkstreifen entlang. An einigen Stellen sind sie mehrere hundert Meter breit.

Neben Radwegen und Rasenflächen finden sich hier auch Feuchtgebiete, Hundewiesen und Sportplätze. Überall spielen dort am Wochenende Amateur- und Jugendmannschaften Baseball, Taiwans beliebtesten Mannschaftssport, der vor etwa hundert Jahren von den Japanern ins Land gebracht wurde. Vorbei geht die Fahrt auch an Basketball- und sogar Tennisplätzen, die alle frei zugänglich sind und auf denen trotzdem kein Netz Opfer von Vandalismus wird.

Und in der Stadt? Meine Beobachtungen zum Radfahren in Taipeh, mit Video.

Riverside bike path in Taipei City, with Taipei 101

Von Menschen, die Taipeh schon länger kennen, höre ich (PDF meines Zeitungsartikels): Vor 10, 15 Jahren sah es hier noch ganz anders aus. Wo heute Blumenbeete angelegt und Flutwände mit Mosaiken verschönert werden, war damals verkommenes Brachland, das gern als wilde Müllkippe genutzt wurde.

Dann erkannte die Stadtregierung, dass ihre Bürger nicht immer nur Geld verdienen, sondern auch mal entspannen wollen, und startete ein großes Reinemachen. Projekt Lebensqualität – davon profitiere ich gern.