Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When I arrived at the Daan Park music stage on Tuesday for the rally to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty, Su Beng's assistant, Bin Hong told me that he wasn't there. She told me that that morning he had felt too weak to even stand. I knew that it must have been something major- to keep Su Beng away. I also know that these past few weeks he has not been feeling well. He had a cold and has had a fever, chills, aches and pains. Bin Hong told me that he has even been on an IV for a few days.

I had planned to meet with Su Beng the following day (the 21st), but I wasn't sure if Su Beng would be up to it. Bin Hong insisted that we still meet, since it would be our last visit before I leave to return to New York.

More on that in a few days, as I am now frantically packing up the remaining remnants of six years of my life. This is phase two I suppose, of my move back to New York (which was initiated last summer).

In the meantime, you can more about the rally, in this Taipei Times article.

Though Su Beng was not at the rally, his presence was felt as these photos show:

The cover Su Beng's recent booklet "Taiwan Should Be Independent" - on one of the Taiwan Independence Action motorcade propaganda trucks

Taiwan Independence Action motorcade taxis were out in force

Bin Hong and her powerful voice- speaking over a megaphone to passersby

The rally ended at the National Taiwan Democracy Hall. I had to take a picture of this, since it will probably be "restored" to its former name, the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Did you know?

There's going to be a rally on May 20th (the day of Taiwan's presidential inauguration) at 2:00pm in Taipei's Daan park in support of safeguarding Taiwan's sovereignty.

The rally is mainly organized by the Taiwan Association of University Professors along with several other pro-Taiwan independence groups. The rally will start at the Daan Park music stage at 2:00pm. For the first hour there will be some speakers, among them Su Beng. Then at 3:00pm people will walk to the Democracy Hall/CKS Memorial Hall. Of course, I will be there "armed" with my camcorder to capture things.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Su Beng on FM 97.3 Today 5-6pm

Su Beng was interviewed in Hoklo/Taiwanese on radio station FM 97.3 today from 5-6pm.

I've recorded the interview in two parts since there was a commercial break at the halfway point. The first recording begins with six minutes of the tail end of a previous program. Fast forward ahead six minutes to the first half of the interview with Su Beng, which you can listen to here: and listen to the second recording i.e. second half of the interview here:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Translation issues

Translation is a huge issue that I have to deal with. My Hoklo/Taiwanese skills are sufficient for most conversational purposes, but during the interview process, my language skills are definitely put to the test. No matter how well I prepare for our interviews, unexpected things inevitably pop up- which is most definitely something that I welcome! At these times, I sometimes find myself in need of clarification or translation of what Su Beng has said; sometimes it is hard to react quickly enough in formulating follow up questions, and at times when I need to probe more for details, I find myself at a loss for words in trying to rephrase my questions.

Throughout this project I have almost always had someone who is a native Hoklo/Taiwanese speaker accompany me to my interviews with Su Beng. Lately, that has been my Mom. She has committed herself to being my personal translator during my interviews with Su Beng. I couldn't think of anyone better to help me with this since Su Beng speaks in his special mix of mainly Hoklo/Taiwanese, with a smattering of Mandarin Chinese and Japanese phrases. My mother has a very proficient understanding of Japanese, and of course, she is fluent in Hoklo/Taiwanese and Mandarin Chinese. Also, the type of Hoklo/Taiwanese that Su Beng speaks is definitely better understood by someone of my mother's generation.

All of my interviews with Su Beng have been audio recorded. So the first step before even putting together the story of this man's life, is translating all the interviews. Anytime I get stuck with a translation question while going through this arduous process, I consult my special team of experts* for clarification or suggestions.

*My team of experts includes my parents who have been on the "front lines" with me throughout this project, and my aunt- who has been doing freelance Chinese-English translation for years.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Standby for Su Beng on Skype

Just got back yesterday from Taipei. I had another fruitful meeting with Su Beng last week. Before I even had a chance to ask him if we could schedule regular Skype meetings when I'm back in New York, he told me that anytime I need to talk to him, if I "saw him online" I could just feel free to Skype him. This basically means Skyping his assistant, Bin Hong, and so if he were available at the time, he said he'd come and talk to me online!

I've been trying my best to get all the details necessary to fill in the telling of this man's incredible life. I've asked him several times over, for clarification about certain key events in his life, and I am always impressed by his memory and consistency. In my quest for accuracy, I have found some incompleteness regarding the sequence of certain events in Su Beng's life. So what I need to do is understand how to connect everything together, and to add in the missing details. Su Beng definitely keeps me on my toes and corrects me if I've misunderstood the particulars of a certain situation. And sometimes, when I go back over our previous interviews, I realize that I had actually misunderstood or mistranslated what he said.