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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Monster that ate Dakeng

While walking around some of the lower hills in T'aichung's (Taichū) 台中 Tak'eng 大坑 area this sunny afternoon, I decided to make a detour to check out a recently constructed temple. Actually, I've been to this one several times already, and even filmed it with my old digital camera. But today I wanted to try out the Casio's so-called "YouTube" function. Here is the result:



As you can see, the temple is relatively new and, with its lawn space, somewhat atypical of what is usually encountered in Taiwan. It's a mishmash of Taoist 道教 and Buddhist design and iconography, with some attempts at cuteness thrown in (did anyone notice the "Happy" heart on one of the Arhats 阿羅漢?). I really had hoped to film the interior in greater detail, but I didn't want to disturb the woman there.

Several years ago, there was a hillside fruit orchard with a great view overlooking the T'aichung area. Now, there is this:

The view hasn't changed, but the fruit trees have been replaced with this entertainment complex. Though construction was still ongoing, the sounds of karaoke カラオケ could be heard coming from within, and people were walking up and down the stairs. The area where Tak'eng hiking trails 6, 7 and 8 are located has been overrun in recent years with KTV's, with the monster pictured above being the latest (and greatest, judging by its size) addition to the scene. There's just no escaping the sounds of tuneless, off-key warbling while you're on the trails, and things don't look like they're going to get any better (in fact, the new "play spot" pictured above has fenced off a portion of a trail I used to use regularly). Who says T'aichung is "soulless"? The people of T'aichung love to sing it from the mountains!

Any more KTV's, however (and there's no sign the rate of proliferation is slowing), and they'll eventually be singing the blues.

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