Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Foreigner reluctant to move when near taxis

SANCHUNG Harry Morrison, 32, from Ontario, Canada, admitted that he freezes every time a taxi passes by him on the streets of this Taipei suburb.

"I can't do anything at all. I can feel the cabbie's eyes staring at me, but I don't dare look back. He'll stop, I know he will. They all do."

Morrison's Taiwanese girlfriend, Meng Xi-ling, 24, confirmed the existance of the phenomenon. "It's true," she said. "Every time a taxi sees Harry's blond head bobbing along the street, they stop and open their door, calling out 'Takeshi! Takeshi!'. It's bizarre. Don't they know that Harry's a human being? He's not just your average foreigner, you know."

Reporters were witness to several attempts by taxis to lure Morrison into their cabs, even though the Canadian had made no indication that he was looking for a ride.

"Once I climbed in and sat for a few minutes and then gave the guy NT$70 to just go away and stop bothering me," Morrison said, trying not to move his lips as he spoke, lest confusing yet another cabbie.

People with stupid names now all to be called 'Brad'

TAIPEI The central government issued a decree today saying that all people with ill-advised, stupid, or embarrassing names would henceforth be known as "Brad".

"We feel this edict is vital to preserving our national dignity, which is seriously harmed every time the international community hears or reads about a prominent Taiwanese national with a ludicrous name," Vice Premier Lin Hsin-yi told reporters at the press conference. "I used to wince whenever I saw Ovid Tseng's or Sisy Chen's name in the papers, knowing that the world was laughing at us."

"The line must be drawn somewhere," he added, pointing to a list of government officials, where the names "Brad Chen" and "Brad Tseng" were circled.

"If they don't like 'Brad', they can find a more suitable name themselves," Lin said."Pick something. Get a baby names book. I don't care. I'm sick of hearing about people named 'Lycra'."

The new measure has caused no small amount of consternation on the part of stupidly named residents island-wide.

"How do they know what a stupid name is?" Brad Chou, formally named 'Door', asked. "And what kind of a name is 'Hsin-yi', anyway? I think his name is stupid!"

"It's preposterous," Brad Zhang, who used to be known as 'Madonna', said. "Now I'm stuck with this lame name. Who thought of this plan, anyway? That book critic guy from the Taipei Times?"

Confusion ensued today at the Presidential Office when President Chen introduced Vice President Annette Lu with the words " let's give a big welcome to Brad."



'Coming Collapse of China' author visibly nervous during whirlwind visit to Taiwan

TAOYUAN Gordon Chang, author of the best-selling analytical work "The Coming Collapse of China", seemed ill at ease upon his arrival yesterday at CKS International Airport. After a series of meetings with government officials, during which Chang kept his unpacked luggage near him at all times, the Chinese-american author was scheduled to join President Chen Shui-bian at the Presidential Office for dinner. Chang demurred, however, saying "I think drinks would be fine. There's a taxi waiting outside, right?"

"My message to the people of Taiwan is simple: Your neighbor, the mainland, is trembling. Actually, so am I," Chang said at the Legislative Yuan yesterday morning, holding up a shaky hand to show his audience.

"China is your neighbor, the bully next door. When the Chinese giant fails, you can't avoid the consequences," Chang quickly told a roomful of officials, lawmakers and the press before ducking out a window and into a waiting vehicle.

Some legislators questioned the Chang's suspicious behavior during his visit.

"It's like he knows something, but isn't willing to tell us," said one independent lawmaker. "There's something fishy about the whole thing, if you ask me, which I guess you did."

Chang defended himself against the allegations at the airport just before getting on the first available flight off the island by hastily predicting a "bottom-up revolution orchestrated by disenchanted peasants and workers and stuff."

"Peasants and workers who once had strong faith in the communist party may trigger a whatsit, uh....a revolutionary unrest once they see private entrepreneurs absorbed into the party and, I dunno, hijacking it, ok? I have to go now. Uh, you also might want to keep a gun under your pillows, you know, just in case," Chang said as the plane door closed.


US man claims treaty guarantees 'Chrysler for every Taiwanese'

LAS VEGAS Self-proclaimed Taiwan afficianado Richard Bridges, 42, insists that the little-known Treaty of Umihuzuki, signed in Belgrade in 1962, contained a clause guaranteeing 'some sort of Chrysler product' to every man, woman and child on the island of Taiwan. The main purpose of the treaty, signed by Yugoslavia and Paraguay, concerned the rights of carrier pigeons, air space restrictions, and, for reasons unknown, people who can spit over 20 yards in one direction.

"It clearly states in Article 475, Section VIII, that 'every man, woman and child currently residing in the Republic of China on Taiwan shall be issued a Chrysler product weighing no less than 2.3 tons.'" Bridges, who once made a brief trip to the Renegade Province several years ago and now expressed deep devotion to the "oppressed masses who have to rely on Japanese knockoffs" for their daily transportation, said.

"Sure, Chrysler made a lot bigger cars back in '62, but today I'm sure that a Concorde or a Voyager would be just about heavy enough to fulfill the spirit of the law if not the letter," he added.

Coincidentally, Bridges worked for the Chrysler Corporation for over a decade before moving to his present home.

Office fails to take women's fear of sunlight, views into consideration for cubicle design

TAICHUNG Every day at noon, when the top-level managers of B&C Advertising arrive at their new office building, the air is filled with the sound of blinds being dropped in frustration, and sometimes even downright anger.

The reason for this is that, according to policy at B&C headquarters is Sacramento, managers all get offices with windows. It also happens that all of the managers at B&C are female and Taiwanese, and therefore pathologically afraid of both sunlight and decent views.

"What is this horrible sunlight going to do to my white, caucasian-like skin?" one female manager complained. "If I work here any longer, I'll start looking Taiwanese! And then no-one will take me seriously when I make my proposals!"

"I think I'll sue Watson's," she added.

The company's headquarters has asked the managers if they would like to be moved to cubicles closer to the interior of the building, along with their male underlings, most of which didn't mind the sun but also didn't care much about the view. The managers, however, refused, instead insisting that the windows be covered up with bricks, concrete, and small pieces of tile.

"I think we should keep the windows," one male employee said on condition of anonymity. "It's like a cave after the managers drag themselves in at noon or later. At least we get the morning sunshine in here a little bit."

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