Note: This text is an English translation of the article 誰愛說國語?(二) by Richter. Both the text and image are his original works.

Translator's Note: "Guo Yu" in Mandarin literally translates to "Language of the state".

History never fails to amaze us by showing how phenomenons occur over and over again. Although the dominance of Japanese has been replaced by Mandarin, the distribution of the both are strikingly familiar.

After the war, a complete language usage survey of Taiwan was never conducted, so a Mandarin prevalence map is not readily available. Fortunately in 2004, the "Survey on Taiwan democracy and elections" provided us with some valuable information. The focus of the survey was on political actions, but information on language usage was also collected. The distribution pattern of "Guo Yu" families are clearly shown, despite only 63 of 358 towns in Taiwan were selected for survey.

We divide participants into three categories according to language used in the family: 3 points if usage of Holo, Hakka, or Aboriginal languages were found; 2 points if they were used collaterally with Mandarin; 1 point if only Mandarin was used. The average of all participants was 2.28 points. Average scores was calculated for the 63 towns. Lower scores indicates more "Guo Yu" families in the region, and shown on the map as smaller circles.

The first conclusion we draw from the map is, there are obviously more "Guo Yu" families in urban areas, identical to the distribution of Japanese in 1930. Smaller circles are present in central Taichung, Tainan, and Kaohsiung, surrounded by larger circles. The whole Taipei area even lacks a single circle above the national average.

Secondly, Hakka towns have more "Guo Yu" families, also similar to Japanese in 1930. Scores of Jhongli, Yangmei, Miaoli were all below the national average. Southern Hakka towns were not included in this survey, neither were more rural Hakka towns, so we are unable to determine if the difference is due to its Hakka population or the result of urban-rural or north-south differences.

Finally, northern Taiwan has higher proportions of "Guo Yu" families, still adhering to the 1930 Japanese distribution. Likewise, rural towns were not included in this survey, and the possibility that the variation is caused by urban-rural differences cannot be eliminated. The three trends described above are preliminary observations, and further inspection is required.

What's the big deal with speaking "Guo Yu" in the family? It's a very big deal. Language is not only a tool of communication, it is inseparable with national identity. According to the same survey, in those whose familial language is not Mandarin, 58.1% consider themselves Taiwanese, 36.4% both Taiwanese and Chinese, and a mere 5.5% think of themselves as Chinese. In those who speak other languages alongside Mandarin in their family, 43.5% consider themselves Taiwanese, 51.1% both Taiwanese and Chinese, and 5.5% think of themselves as Chinese. As for the "Guo Yu" families, only 26.7% consider themselves Taiwanese, 63.7% both Taiwanese and Chinese, and 9.6% Chinese. The usage of "Guo Yu" in the family correlates with the probability of self-identifying with Chinese.

Some may doubt, non-Mandarin families may be biased to the Holo population, as they constitute the largest proportion. The national identities of Haaka- and Aboriginal-speaking families may differ from that of Holo ones. We now break down this segment, and the results show 50% of Hakka families, along with 65% of Aborigine, and 58.3% of Holo families consider themselves Taiwanese. Clearly, all three have a preference for choosing Taiwanese as their national identity.

Again, among those who identify themselves as Taiwanese, 64.4% are non-Mandarin families, 21.9% use both, and only 13.7% use only Mandarin; of the Taiwanese-and-Chinese group, 40.9% are non-Mandarin, 26.1% both, and 33% Mandarin; of the Chinese group, 44.3% are non-Mandarin, 20% use both, and 35.7% Mandarin. We can easily discover the similarity between the Chinese-identifying group and the Taiwanese-and-Chinese group. As a matter of fact, these two groups show little differences in their political behaviours. Thus it is concluded that the national identity crisis of modern Taiwan is whether one identifies oneself to Chinese, rather than if they identify as Taiwanese. In the present political atmosphere, all participants are willing to throw in a "I'm a Taiwanese too" from time to time.

Since language has such a close interaction with national identity, which happens to be the most important disagreement in Taiwan, inevitably makes language a much-discussed political matter.

Note: This text is an English translation of the article 誰愛說國語?(一) by Richter. Both the text and image are his original works.

Translator's Note: "Guo Yu" in Mandarin literally translates to "Language of the state".

The "Guo Yu" in 1930s Taiwan is, of course, not Mandarin as it is today, but rather Japanese. The exact same phrase, conveyed a different underlying meaning. Obviously the term "Guo Yu" is not a specific linguistic term, but a political expression.

Seventy years before present time, who spoke "Guo Yu"?

We gain insight of the popularity of Japanese from a survey conducted in 1930. Interestingly, the east and the so-called "barbarian areas" (areas occupied by aborigines) had a higher level of penetrance relative to the rest of the island. This is explained by the fact that Japanese authorities of the time had put a great deal of effort into "assimilating" the aboriginals with quite some results. In fact, to this day, Japanese is still a common language among the elders of aborigines. On one occasion, I actually had to rely on a Taiwanese-Japanese translator to communicate with the aboriginal elders.

Excluding the east and "barbarian areas", three trends of distribution of Japanese were observed. Not surprisingly, higher prevalence was found in urban than rural areas. Over 1/4 of the local population in Taipei city, Taichung city, and Tainan city spoke Japanese. Hakka acceptance of "Guo Yu" seemed wider than Holo people both in the north or and in the south. Other than this, using the Jhuoshuei river as the border, the north part of Taiwan spoke "Guo yu" more readily than the south.

Intuitively, we expect the portion of Japanese in the population, the population density(reflecting the urban-rural differences), and the composition of the local population (Holo/Haaka/Aborigine) fully explains the prevalence of Japanese. However, as regular readers might have expected, language is the most typical collective behavior. Unless one lives in a totally isolated environment, the language we choose to use is often decided by the language commonly used around us. The more people use a particular language, the more likely we choose to use this language. The popularity of a language is obviously a type of "diffusion".

Unfortunately as a student, I don't have the time to deeply research this topic. Nevertheless, I am going to point out the distribution pattern of "Guo Yu" today is identical to the one 70 years ago, although they are two completely different languages.


OpenMedSpel是設計和OpenOffice.org一起使用。OpenOffice是一個自由免費的Office程式,包括文字編輯、試算表、簡報等。理論上可以讀寫Microsoft Word的.doc檔,不過有的時候會有一點小問題。如果說沒有特別要求的話,用內建的.odf格式儲存會比較好。


  • Windows的使用者可以在這下載2.2.0中文版,Ubuntu的使用者則已經內含在系統安裝裡面囉。
  • 下載完安裝檔請執行並安裝,基本上只要一直按「下一步」就可以了。接著請到OpenMedSpel的網站下載字典檔。下載完之後解壓縮到「C:\Program Files\ 2.0\share\dict\ooo」。
  • 用記事本打開「C:\Program Files\ 2.0\share\dict\ooo\dictionary.lst」,在最下面加上「DICT en US en_US_OpenMedSpel」,存檔後關閉。



Once in a while, I come across a news article that actually upsets me. Sometimes it's how the media totally ignores its responsibility to verify sources, and rather mindlessly reported false material. On other occasions, it's due to the news itself. Lately there has been a piece of news that had really made me quite angry. As a student seeking profession in medicine, I feel responsible that I make this issue known to the world.

The issue is described in Food-safety alert delayed health at risk, and also available in various other news reports. I had learned of this incident from a Taiwan newspaper in Chinese. In brief, WHO issued a food-safety alert to the countries at risk. The alert intended for Taiwan was not sent to Taiwan, but rather to China, due to the sad fact that Taiwan is not a member of WHO. China officials delayed sending the crucial information to Taiwan, which put the entire population of Taiwan at risk.

For those not familiar with Taiwan-China relations, Taiwan is essentially self-governed. The Taiwan government is in charge of all aspects of the nation, including economics, military, jurisdiction, and of course, its public health. The China government has no part in the health system of Taiwan. Therefore it is ridiculous for China to act as the window between Taiwan and WHO. Furthermore, from this incidence, we can see that China has no concern for the welfare of the people of Taiwan.

Diseases and pandemics have no borders. The health of the people of Taiwan are just as important as the rest of the world. Allowing Taiwan to join WHO not only benefits the people of Taiwan, but also helps advance the health of the world. The subtropical position of Taiwan and its advanced medical research provides an outpost for the rest of the world, as emerging infectious diseases become more prominent each year.

I had tried to outline the current situation in clear, reasonable facts. I hope it is enough to provoke your interest, or at least your doubts. Please, look even deeper if you are suspicious about my claims. It is my hope that this issue will become sufficiently important for you to mention to others. I am genuinely angry at the irresponsibility of China and WHO, in that they chose to neglect the health of Taiwan people for political reasons. They are shameful for letting political purposes surpass medical profession.

As a doctor-to-be in Taiwan, I am truly sad for the people of Taiwan.

Please visit the following websites for more information:
WHO for Taiwan
WHO for Taiwan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs













不好笑的笑點:Portal Area。






外科終於結束,不知道是巧合或是設想周到,恰有一個空堂。終於壓抑不住早該爆發的笑容,拿出相機捕捉下這一刻。這一天,我第一次穿上白袍。腦中不知怎地響起MIB中的台詞:「Let's put it on...the last suit you'll ever wear」。四處與同學拍照,如果要在大學同窗當中挑出幾個代表性的日子,我想這一天應該名列其中吧。也許這是未來的教授、這是未來的院長...我們的未來仍待定形,未來在不可見之處,也因此不可限量。




結束了這一天,借道急診室步出病院,走廊兩旁列著觀察中的病患和家屬。低頭快速通過,深怕被當成正牌的醫生叫住。今天在回憶中立下地標,與其說是穿上白袍,毋寧是正式被推上第一線面對病人。從今天起,除了躲在課本背後的醫學系學生身份,也練習扮演半個醫師的角色。穿著白袍在醫院裡,自己期待是怎麼樣的角色,而病人期待是怎麼樣的角色 — 我想,我慢慢會習慣的。未來,我會繼續努力加油的。

Pondering the city

之前某次去台北市立美術館的時候,就瞧見了台北當代藝術館的宣傳單,與荷蘭鹿特丹的「V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media」合作在臺灣展出的ZONE_V2_特區。宣傳單上看起來頗為有趣,恰好逮到中秋假期的機會前往參觀。


進入藝術館,首先映入眼簾的是這次特展的簡介。現代藝術經常使用新的媒體,時常媒體本身的性質就是藝術探討的面向。「Unstable Media」聽起來十分有趣,究竟什麼是Unstable Media?是會腐解的紙張、磁盤上整齊排列的電磁紀錄?倏忽即逝的光子?還有更不穩定、更不可預測的:觀眾與藝術裝置之間的互動!現代藝術就是這麼有趣,所有你曾經想過和沒有想過的創意,放在眼前讓你玩。




  • Drawn
  • Exatitudes
  • In the event of amnesia the city will recall
  • The catalogue
製作非常用心的Mockup,一看就知道是什麼意思,觀賞起來仍然非常有趣。不過也許是我特別喜歡看console output。我們的資料,吃什麼東西、穿什麼衣服、用什麼保養品,一直被蒐集著,企業才能推銷最適合我們的東西。是福是禍?這個過程不在未來,現在就有,只是大家不常去注意罷了。Slashdot就一天到晚看到這類討論串。
  • Safe distance
  • Google will eat itself
  • Amazon noir
  • Made in Taiwan
  • Zgodlocator/version ZII
  • Yokomono
  • Beijing accelerator
  • Painstation: enhanced dueling artifact
本次展覽的焦點!一定要看!就算說是為了玩這個裝置去看這個展覽也不為過。因此我還是介紹一下這個藝術品好了:這是一個兩個人對戰的遊戲,左手必須壓住兩個按鈕不能放開,右手控制旋鈕,進行古老的Pong遊戲。在擊球板的後方會出現一些圖示,有火燒、鞭打、電擊,如果球沒有打到擊球板而是打到圖示的話,懲罰就會出現在你的左手上。No pain, no game!為了勝利,鞭打和電擊都必須承受下去,因為先放開左手的人就輸了。


  • Pockets full of memories
看不太出來各個物品之間的關連性。最常見的東西是手機、證件、吊飾、首飾,把頭或手伸進去的也不少。不過就如導覽說的,最近幾年User-generated Content已經流行起來,所以這個主意已經沒有那麼令人驚訝了。
  • Data.tron [prototype]
  • Cheap imitation
  • Chinese portraiture
  • Purple rain
  • All is full of love
  • Logo.hallucination
  • Synthia stock ticker
  • Global player 4
  • Feed

A foreign Taipei: Luxy

Monday, Silvia, my exchange student mentioned they were going out on Wednesday, and asked if I would join them. "Yeah, sure, I think so." "That's a promise!"

At 10pm we departed from 景福會館, a whole bunch of people. There was Silvia and Lain from Spain, Maria and Betty(who was at 國防) from Hungary, Rebeka from Croatia, Leszek from Poland, Andreas from Austria, and also 朱彥儒。Later on we were joined by Grzegorz from Poland and Vicky from Portugal. We sat down to get some food at a pizza bar first, I had no idea the $70 pizzas were so petit. Lain had 5, no kidding.

I had heard of Luxy before, but have never actually been there. I've been wanting to go to a night club, just to see what it's like, if nothing else. This is the perfect opportunity! I get to dance around tall and imported goods. After all, it's part of their living, so it'd be much less awkward for me compared to going alone.

Ground level before the entrance, people are queueing up like crazy. The line was actually 20m long I think, although turned out it didn't take long for us to get in. A guard stopped me and asked, "Do you have a reservation?" I said I was with them, pointing to my well-dressed, chic, and obviously from out-of-country friends. Hey, is that what it takes to get in these days? Judging by the ratio of foreigners to Taiwanese, I pondered the possibility that there is a discrimination somehow...

600NT, ouch. Lady's night, ladies get in for free. How unfair! If one day I could get in for free, maybe I'd try this more often.

It was SO crowded. People everywhere! We could barely move around. The DJ in front was supposed to be someone famous I think, though I have no idea who it was. Dancing was not really possible at that spot, people were squeezing through just to get in and out. Ah, the lucrative market of Taipei! Just to think of all these people that all paid 600 for their way in. What a business!

Back at the dorm, Leszek had asked me how to say 「你的眼睛很漂亮」, and carefully wrote it down in his palm. Sure enough, he was tapping a girl on the shoulders and induced a giggle out of her. Foreigners with profound features and great body (see Lain) are charming enough, even more so when they're trying to speak Chinese, I guess. I really started to consider the possibility of pretending I don't speak Chinese.

After a while I started to wander around. It was amazing to see the constant stream of people pouring in! All the girls were dressed attractive while maintaining a low mass of clothes on them (Gee, I wonder the correlation between that). And the boys...well I guess I sort of neglected them, as I had forgot. Lots of people were smoking, but I lost track of the scent after an hour or so in there.

In the back, lots of people had a bored look on their face. I wondered what they were here for? Obviously they weren't here the first time, otherwise they'd be poking their head everywhere like me. Do they come to dance? Do they come so they could meet new people? Are they waiting for someone? Or waiting for a stranger to say hello first? There were spaces along the sides, and one in the middle, but once you sit down you lose sight of the stage.

What drives people to this place? Do they have too much energy that must be expelled by dancing? Is it a place friends hang out? For meeting new friends? Or is it just because they have nowhere better to go? (Even more unlikely, in my opinion, for the music?) I haven't got it figured out quite yet.

其實嗨只有一種,就是自嗨。Even in a "high" place like this, with the music booming and a thousand people twisting their body around you, doesn't automatically make you dancing. One has to deliberately make that decision to loosen up and join in. The way I see it, it's no different than dancing to music in your own room or anywhere else, albeit with lower barriers maybe.

The bar show was great! The host was actually taking all the attention front stage, where the Flatland Shadows or something was going to perform. I was making my way around the bar when the guards appeared and asked us (and shoving us) out of the way to a safe distance. I've never seen a bar show like this before! Fire-lit liquor bottles were flying high and low in the bartender's hands, and rhythms to this insanely fast music. He seemed if he could command the bottle where to go, although once or twice the bottle fell out of his hands. The show ended with a giant flame torching (OK, not really torching) the stack of liquor in the middle, created by the bartender breathing fire. It was awesome!

The Flatland Shadows weren't so great, mostly because I didn't even see them. Front row at the bar show, I was way far from the stage. I gave up, and so did all the girls who were obviously much shorter than me. Wandering a little more, I found another room where it was actually possible to dance. With my admittance there was a voucher for a drink, but my quest for the drink didn't go to well. 「這個是在這裡換嗎?」「甚麼?」「這個是在這裡換嗎?」「甚麼?我聽不到!」「…」「你要換什麼?」I had no idea what to choose from! Obviously we had trouble communicating, even in Chinese, so I settled for a Heineken.

After a while everyone came over to this room. They had met a couple people from 東吳, who were hosting a few Japanese guests, although the guests were enjoying themselves elsewhere in the room. Again, I failed to make new friends but for my foreign buddies...

I can see how alcohol fits into this formula. Blasting music with ultra bass, I could even feel my arms vibrating; Constantly flashing lights making everything look staccato, and probably triggers epilepsy; A room where nobody knows who you are, and your face is just plain not visible in the dark. Sounds like a carefully planned setting to demolish your own identity. So while you're at it, why not add a little alcohol to distort your mind more? At its best, you'll be shaking your head up and down in a lot of strangers who don't know or care who you are, and what troubles you might have. Neither would you care, hopefully. That's the point of it all, isn't it?

At 4am the folks decided to call it a night and head home. They had to be up and alert tomorrow at the hospital! Fortunately I had a empty day before me to sleep through. I don't know whatever happened to the plan to take a taxi, but we decided to walk home. It's not really that far, but a whole night out can make you tired. As I waved them adios at 善導寺站, the sky was already brightening up. We concluded the day(night?) by watching the sunrise on the rooftop of the dorm, before going to sleep at 6. All in all, a worthy experience no doubt!





在慕尼黑轉機,等著接受最難熬的一段旅程,慕尼黑─香港要12小時左右。德航的飛機又沒有個人電視,而且前面的電視也不知道怎麼的壞掉了。很不知死的要了一杯Bloody Mary來喝,下場就是第一次使用了飛機上的暈機袋。整體而言這12個小時的飛行真的還滿難過的。以往都是去程感覺慢、回程感覺快,這回剛好相反。比較起來還是亞洲的航空公司感覺比較親切。











I'm now in the airport of Copenhagen. It's a fairly big airport, so we were asked to check-in 3 hours before departure. The computer systems were somehow faulty, so we got into various situations: some had two boarding passes, while some only had one. A couple of people had their luggage destined for Hong Kong instead of Taipei. It's going to be a tough job for the tour guide at Hong Kong.

We walked through the itinerary again on the way to the airport. Now, the 15-day trip seemed so short. The places we visited were still vivid images in my head, as if we had just been yesterday. I especially liked Finland and Santa Claus village. It'd be the place I choose if I could only visit one place. Sweden is nice, with a proud history. Norway has a rich scenic collection, and an astounding oil reserve. Denmark is like a giant playground. It is impossible to know the countries in such a short trip, there are many aspects we didn't have the fortune to explore. The people, the food, the culture...I believe that my perception of a place would be much different given I had the time to really experience it.

Yet it has still been a wonderful experience. After all, every deep attachment has so start with a first encounter! I have set my foot on this land, and one day perhaps I will manage to bring the rest of my body.





















泰迪熊的填充物。雖然看起來只不過是棉花,但上頭寫著「Love is the stuff inside!」。











晚上坐DFDS郵輪到丹麥Copenhagen,可惜之前坐過Silja line郵輪,比較起來這艘就沒那麼豪華,剩餘的6NKr也沒有賭場可以「揮霍」掉。天氣也不是那麼晴朗,在海上的天空仍是一段陽光一段陰雨。和弟在船艙裡聊天,直到十二點才發現日記還沒寫,不過還是睡覺吧。













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