Archive for September, 2007


Support Myanmar and the Protesting Monks of Burma

Over the past week I have been deeply touched in reading about the protests in Burma/Myanmar by the tens of thousands of Buddhist monks in an effort to undermine their brutal and repressive military regime. The politics of the Myanmar people have be a personal interest for some time and back in February I wrote a blog post on the country’s repressed democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has been on house arrest for 12 of the last 18 years.

Here is the wikipedia entry on the 2007 Burmese anti-government protests.

Here is a link to a Sunday Times Article that outlines the situation in Myanmar and what we and the world can do. Bassically the author argues that Western economic sanctions will have little or no impact on the military jantra. The most important tool in fighting for Burma is the media and in broadcasting images that display the reality of oppression.

Here is a copy of a viral email I received today from astrologer Georgia Nicols:

Hello dear readers,

Today I received an e-mail from Shirley Blair, who runs the school in Nepal for which my website raises money. The e-mail is from a monk who details tragic news from Myanmar.

It is almost impossible for information to get out of the country. I am sending you this message in the hopes that someone can help get this news into the media. (I have already sent this e-mail to the papers and magazines I deal with.)


From: “S Blair” <>
To: “S Blair” <>
Subject: Fwd: Some Fact from Yangoon

This just came from a monk friend in Nepal.

From: Tashi Wangchuk <>
Date: 28 Sep 2007 10:44
Subject: Some Fact from Yangoon

We just got phone call with our sister living in Yangon about a few hours ago.

We saw on BBC world, saying that 200 monks were arrested. The true picture is far worse!!!!!!!!!

For one instance, the monastery at an obscure neighborhood of Yangon, called Ngwe Kyar Yan (on Wei-za-yan-tar Road, Yangon) had been raided early this morning.

A troop of lone-tein (riot police comprised of paid thugs) protected by the military trucks, raided the monastery with 200 studying monks. They systematically ordered all the monks to line up and banged and crushed each one’s head against the brick wall of the monastery. One by one, the peaceful, non resisting monks, fell to the ground, screaming in pain. Then, they tore off the red robes and threw them all in the military trucks (like rice bags) and took the bodies away.

The head monk of the monastery, was tied up in the middle of the monastery, tortured , bludgeoned, and later died the same day, today. Tens of thousands of people gathered outside the monastery, warded off by troops with bayoneted rifles, unable to help their helpless monks being slaughtered inside the monastery. Their every try to forge ahead was met with the bayonets.

When all is done, only 10 out of 200 remained alive, hiding in the monastery. Blood stained everywhere on the walls and floors of the monastery.

Please tell your audience of the full extent of the fate of the monks please please !!!!!!!!!!!!

‘Arrested’ is not enough expression. They have been bludgeoned to death !!!!!!

Aye Aye
Hong Kong

Tashi Wangchuk
P.o Box 1287
Kathmandu. NEPAL


A big thanks to David on Formosa and Michael Turton

As a foreigner in Taiwan information can be like currency. Often I will find myself taking the long way round the city or be at a loss due to misinformation or lack of communication on culture and language. Yesterday David on Formosa sent an email with the recommendation of a good Chinese tutor. Today I met with the tutor and he has a agreed to teach me Chinese and help with translating documents for my PhD. This is a huge weight off my shoulders and David I would like to take a moment to personally thank you.

David’s blog is expertly written and contains many helpful reports on the culture and news of Taipei and Taiwan. At the same time I would also like to thank blogger Michael Turton whose information on Taiwan has been worth its weight in gold. Over a year ago I came across Michael’s website Teaching English In Taiwan while researching the possibility of moving from Canada to Taiwan. Michael and David your reporting is invaluable and I very much appreciate your musings on the life and culture of Taiwan.



Photographs from the University where I work

Here are some photos from the University where I work. It is located deep in the Mountains of Taipei County.

Here is a photo of foggy and smoggy Taipei from the bus stop at 6:50am. Four days a week I take a one hour shuttle bus to and from work.

The University buildings

The University pagoda

The new University building that is being built facing the mountains.

The stunning Buddhist statue. This statue is placed at the entrance of the building’s interior. The University is Buddhist and has many alters and monks throughout campus. I have a high respect for the Buddhist religion and enjoy working in such a peaceful and spiritual environment.

The students! These photos were taken in my conversation class. Not all the photos turned out as I used my Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot instead of my professional digital SLR camera. Next week I will try to take more pictures with the SLR. If anyone sees their picture on this blog and would like it removed please send me an email and it will be taken down immediately.

Here are some students that I ran into on the MRT. The below photo is of some pupils taking a smoke break between classes.

Hanging out on the 6th floor outside the Industrial Design Department.

The Industrial Design students are always creating such unique sculptural works of art. It is wonderful to see their work on display and frequently the 6th floor hallway is transformed into exhibit space.

The administration building

A final view of the mountains from the inside of the shuttle bus to Taipei.


Does anyone know of a good Chinese tutor in Taipei?

I need to start studying Chinese as soon as possible to keep up with my PhD classes.  Does anyone know of a good tutor in Taipei?  I’ve been looking around for one but have been out of luck so far.

Thanks a bunch!


Taiwan Photographers


This week my work is featured in Taiwan Photographers.  A hot new blog that showcases the work of profession and amateur photographers in Taiwan.  To see the blog please click here


What it takes to complete a graduate degree

This is a personal post as I know that everyone is different.  However, for me completing a graduate degree is about discipline and perseverance over anything else.  Getting a graduate degree is not about being intelligent.  It is about will and dedication.
At the moment my PhD course work is constantly looming on the back of my mind.  Often I feel irritated and stressed out.  The process is very tiring.  Most aspects of my life have to be scheduled and structured.  Worse I sometimes think about what fun I may be missing out due to the time I spend studying in front of my computer.
However there is a flip side.  Perusing what you love intellectually can be a wonderfully fulfilling experience.  If you are on the fence I say go for it!    


Scholarships in Taiwan: the Democratic Pacific Union Graduate Scholarship

There are a lot of reasons to consider undertaking a graduate or doctoral degree in Taiwan. Taiwan is home to a large number of first rate National Universities that are recognized all over the world. Moreover Taiwan’s post secondary education features innovation in many fields from high tech, business, international relations, Chinese studies, education, and the fine arts.

What’s more there are many scholarships available for international students to make this educational experience a profitable one. Generous scholarships are offered through the Ministry of Education and Democratic Pacific Union. The Democratic Pacific Union is an international non-government organization that promotes democracy in Taiwan. It provides scholarships to international students and an opportunity for graduate pupils to experience and appreciate Taiwan. I feel very lucky to be a recipient of a DPU scholarship. The organization is very helpful and supportive. Moreover, other DPU recipients that I’ve met have all been very nice. Thanks Again!

Jo’s tweets

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