Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Every single town in Taiwan simultaneously proclaims itself 'Seafood Capital of Taiwan'

SANXIA Along with every other city on the island, this small mountain town made a formal announcement yesterday that from now on it will be known as 'The Seafood Capital of Taiwan'.

Coastal cities as well as all of the larger cities on the island have been making the same claim since the late 1600's, but now other cities are anxious for the presige that accompanies towns with such an illustrious title.

"People hear that this is the Seafood Capital of Taiwan, and they go crazy," Lin Zhao-zhou, Director of Seafood Publicity in Sanxia, told reporters. "It's not even limited to seafood, although our seafood is excellent. But the same people who come for our cuisine will also love our oddly-shaped rocks and our wide variety of butterflies."

"We also have a nice bridge," Lin added. "And you want temples? We've got temples!"

Several mountain towns were criticized by local aborigines for making similar declarations.

"We're famous for deer!" exclaimed Wu Rong-zheng, 34, of the Taiyal tribe, about his native village, which joined in the mass seafood-capital proclamation yesterday. "And black bears before they became practically extinct. The only seafood I see is the shells embedded in the cliffsides!"

Local restauranteers, however, tell a different story. "Sure, we have plenty of fresh seafood," said one man by the name of Chen who operates a cement fishing pond. "You can even catch it yourself for a small fee. How could we not be the seafood capital of Taiwan? This is no joke."

Military announces "Masturbate Often" policy for gays

ZHONGLI The joint-service military office today issued a statement in reaction to recent queries over their reaction to the US' 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' policy for gays in the military. Since Taiwan uses a draft system, some young men had been claiming homosexuality to avoid serving.

The ROC Ministry of Defense reacted by demanding that all those claiming homosexuality still be required to serve, but pundits expressed doubts concerning just how the military planned to deal with related issues. Today, they got their answer.

"We would like to call on our soldiers to beat off at least once a day," General Tang Yao-ming said at the press conference."That way, they won't be tempted to release this unhealthy energy in more socially destructive ways."

Many soldiers, even heterosexual ones, support the new policy. "Yeah, I think it's good, since we do it anyway," said one conscript who did not want to be identified. "I just wonder how are they going to check? I don't think I could...you know, do that on command."

Military publishers are currently working on devising regulations for the new policy in the form of a plastic-covered handbook.



Roving bands of foreigners spotted correcting street signs

TAIPEI Police have reported that "rogue" foreigners, travelling in groups and always at night, have been surreptitiously changing the city's street signs to bring them into accordance with the correct spelling according to the internationally recognized Hanyu Pinyin system.

In each instance, police arrived on the scene after being alerted by concerned citizens only to find the area deserted and the bright green signs sporting brand-new, ostentatiously correct romanization.

"It's like they're flaunting it right in our faces," Police Commissioner Wang Jinn-wang said at a press conference on Saturday at Taipei's National Police Headquarters. "The first thing we see when we get there is the glaringly obvious 'Zhonghua Rd' or 'Nanjing E. Rd.' instead of the old familiar 'Chernghoa' or 'Namkeeng' or whatever it was. We can't even recognize some of the roads any longer. Whatever happened to good old 'Patch Road'?

"I'll bet they get their kicks from it, the bastards. No respect for the law, that's all it is," Wang muttered, shaking his head.

Photographs taken by witnesses show only grainy, blurred shapes hoisting the new letters up to the signs and affixing them with glue over the old lettering, but police are convinced that the figures are all foreigners.

"Who else would do such a thing? Who would give a rat's ass what the signs say except for those crazy foreigners? And look, they're carrying their motorcycle helmets with them. Only foreigners do that," Commissioner Wang, who like many officials doesn't bother spelling his name correctly, said. Police are have called several foreigners associated with efforts to promote the correct lettering of street signs in for questioning.

At least some foreigners secretly support the guerilla sign-changing attacks, however. "It's up to us to do this," one foreign man who wished to be known only as "Brian" told our reporter. "Nobody's going to move a muscle because they're scared of the police. Either that or they're scared of change. Viva la resistance!"

"These scare tactics on the part of the authorities are clearly anti-constitutional," said one influential long-term resident, "I will prepare a case against the National Police Administration just as soon as I actually get a law degree."

When asked if he or anyone he knew of had participated in the raids, "Brian" replied, "I might have changed a sign or two in my day. But not like this. This is the beginning of the end for horrible romanization! It may be too late for us, but I hope that one day our children and our grandchildren will be able to walk the streets and actually know which streets they're walking on."

Disc brakes not appreciated

TAIPEI Scooter driver Cheng Chong-yu, 23, makes an average of 300 'panic stops' a day, according to his current girlfriend, Lin Xiao-hui. "It's like he goes extra fast when I'm riding with him. He never drives like that by himself," the 20-year-old woman said yesterday.

Cheng, who dries bowling balls at an alley in Taipei County nights, purchased the scooter in question, a 2001 Yamaha Majesty, only three months ago. However, Cheng has also had four girlfriends during the same period. His last girlfriend suffered minor injuries as well as a huge cleaning bill after being catapulted over his head into a pile of stinky bean curd just off Ba-de Road.

Despite his history of alienating his girlfriends with abrupt starts and stops, Cheng claims that they enjoy it. "Girls have to know that their man has the fastest scooter in the city; only in that way will they respect me. Also, I really get off on the feeling of their breasts being crushed against me when I stop really fast," Cheng claimed, slapping one fist into the other to illustrate his point.

"If he doesn't slow down and drive like a sane person, I'm going to slash his goddamned tires," Lin was quoted as saying.

A recent survey revealed that male scooter drivers drove up to 50kph faster when carrying their girlfriends, all in an apparent attempt to impress their prospective mates. Police have issued an official statement for drivers to exercise caution when in the vicinity of scooters carrying the driver's girlfriend.

The Majesty was the worst-offending scooter according to the statistics, and incidentally was also recognized for having one of the stupidest names on the island. Experts attribute this to the fact that the Majesty is a large, heavy scooter with commodious seating and no inconvenient gears or much traction, resulting in one of the best perceived opportunities for male drivers to attempt to impress their girlfriends with quick stops and starts. One of the latest commercials for the Majesty actually shows an attractive young woman being thrown through the air, her hand raised in a "thumbs-up" position as she exclaims excitedly "I've finally found Mr. Right!"

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