Wednesday 1 October 2014

Have you participated in a protest march?

First, a shout-out to our fisherman qian bei who after spending several weeks of happy planning for his third trip to Hong Kong, has found himself in a situation that was "not planned"....

See: Planning is useless??? 

Qian bei, stay safe and have fun!

His experience brought back fond memories of my first "protest march".

Flash back to March 2005 where Beijing passed the Anti-Session law, whereby if Taiwan declared independence, Beijing would have no choice but to take Taiwan forcibly by military force. 
I was in Taipei for a business trip then.

It was one of those lucky business trips where I had a free weekend in between.

Our Taipei office were divided into the Green camp and Blue camp. Chen Shui Bian (Green camp) was President at that time, and doing his best to rile Beijing up from time to time with his rhetoric.

There was a weekend protest march organised by Chen Shui Bian's Green camp to voice their displeasure over Beijing's threat. 

What do you know? Part of the protest route was near the hotel where I was staying - 中山北路.

(Girls, if you want to check out nice bridal gowns or give your boy boy some gentle hints while vacationing in Taipei, you can check out this Taipei Bridal street. Wink, wink.) 

What started out as a curiosity look see look at first, turned out to be something I had not planned - I joined the protest!?

Zhong Shan Bei Lu is a lot like our Orchard Road with shady tress on both sides of the road. I got sucked up into the carnival atmosphere, and walked for 1/2 hour with the cheering and ever so friendly protestors. It was peaceful, and not the violent kind.

It was "fun" for me. 

There were busloads of farmers from the South with their straw hats, students with their printed T-shirts, adults with their various affiliations, and people like me with no freaking idea what we were doing - just soaking up the atmosphere.

Some of the chantings were catchy; I joined in.  

I think I sauntered with the protestors for about 1/2 hour before deciding to rest on the road kerb for a while.

"Sir, can I interview you?"

I was ambushed by a group of super energetic and enthusiastic university students. Did I tell you I have a soft spot for pretty? Well, 3 young pretty girls and one boy doing the video taping.

They asked who I am, where I come from, why am I here, etc.

When I told them I was from Singapore, you should see the how the girls' eyes light up. LOL!

I think it's universal. Add "foreign" to anything and all of sudden, there's an extra halo over local local...

Let's say the interview took a divergent turn, and I don't think the poor boy doing the camera work was too pleased. I guess he had to do extra video editing after my interview.
Ah! Taipei mei mei....

I like Taiwan.


  1. I was in one in Seoul few years ago during their national day. Think it was calling for President to step down. Was on a biz trip too. Went into office to work as it wasn't an sg holiday...found plain clothes police invaded my seoul branch office and tried to tell us not to stand too near the window as there are snipers at the roof tops of the neighboring buildings.

    The moving shadows we thought we saw on the streets...they became clear as day....a black army was marching into cityhall....

    1. pf,

      Yes, it can be surreal.

      During my last year in Athens, there were so many riots and strikes that it seems everything is falling apart... Taxi strikes, bus strikes, metro strikes, General strikes, student protests, union protests....

      Was not fun and games. During one of their riots near the Parliament, the protestors petrol-bombed a bank's branch and sadly 3 bank employees were burned to death when they couldn't get out in time...

      We were lucky enough to miss the riots and strikes of Singapore during 50s and 50s.

      Let's hope we never have to experience them in our lifetime.

      Never take things for granted.


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