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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Plays and Buddhas, or should that be Playful Buddhas?

Amber's preschool class held another performance for the parents this morning, a ritual that thousands of kids in Taiwan have to go through several times a year. If the situation is anything similar to that of the children I teach at my cram school, Amber and her classmates had to endure endless rehearsals at least a month (if not longer) in advance, putting up with verbal dressing downs by stressed-out local teachers, in order to don colorful costumes and perform for about five minutes in front of the picture-taking, video-filming parents on the day of the show. I certainly hope it wasn't like that for my daughter, but in any case, the performance went off without a hitch, and Amber enjoyed doing the dance routine and playing the drum. And that, of course, is all that should matter in these cases.

(左) Amber before the show...(右)...and afterward.

The performance:

In case you're wondering, the song is about kung fu 中国武術.

After the show was over, we spent the rest of the afternoon in T'aichung (Taichū) 台中, where we ate lunch, did some window shopping at a clothes outlet and, before returning home, paid a quick visit to Paochueh Temple (Hōkaku-ji) 宝覚寺. This temple was one of the first places I visited when I was still a tourist in Taiwan, and I've been several times over the last several years, witnessing the unfortunate changes that have been made (and are being made) to the buildings and grounds. I will write more extensively on Paochueh Temple in a future posting, but for now it's enough to say the temple is known for its 27-meter (89-foot)-high gold-painted statue of Milefo (or Putai/Hotei 布袋), aka the Laughing Buddha,; and a small memorial for Taiwanese who died fighting for Japan in World War II (and which attracts many Japanese tourists).

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