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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Cat and Mouse Games 窮鼠

The weather on the No. 2 Trail in Tak'eng (Dakeng) 大坑 certainly matched the mood I was in this morning...

...after an absolutely horrible morning, that started off with my almost getting run over by a driver who felt that completing his right turn was more important than my physical well-being, and culminated with one of those humiliating loss-of-face moments at a local McDonald's that Taiwan loves to throw up with soul-destroying frequency.

I feel like the waikuojen (waiguoren) 外国人 mouse being cornered by the Taiwanese cat. Twice I've tried to leave Taiwan, and both times I was swatted back into the corner. Every time I try to make a move, the paw comes down to block the way. The occasional swipe with extended claws draws blood, but the final merciful death blow has yet to come. To use another labored analogy, a number of years ago I made a couple of wrong decisions that resulted in the loss of my marriage, savings, career/future prospects and self-esteem, and brought me to Taiwan. I would've thought that to be sufficient enough punishment for my misdeeds, but the powers-that-be in these matters must think otherwise, because not only am I still here in Taiwan with no exit in sight, it seems a day can't go by without someone being entertained at my expense. Is this how I'm supposed to atone for my sins?

On Friday, the Japan Times ran an opinion piece entitled "Legacy of Asian liberation" http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/eo20070413ko.html in which the writer states that
"Taiwan, South Korea, China and Japan must think hard about their pasts, to identify from which aspects they have been truly liberated."

I've been doing the same too, but all I've identified so far is an increasing feeling of nausea I get when my stress reaches a certain level (the threshold of which seems to be getting lower).

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