Friday, 4 January 2008

Strange experiences

Strange experiences

Yesterday I met up with another Australian expat girl... Afterwards, I went to Chaterhouse Books in Times Square. I must be a glutton for punishment (after my last experience). Anyway I decided to try my luck. I had a list of about 50 books and on that list, 10 I really wanted. I also wanted to see if they had Lonely Planet Taiwan.

Well I was very disappointed. If you like fiction you're in luck. If you don't, the selection is dismal to say the least. Or maybe it's my electic taste. Who knows? But NONE of the non-fiction topics that I am interested in were there. I couldn't believe it. None at all. To give you an example: The 'health' section consisted of one narrow self that had books on: dieting and weight loss, caring for babies and children. That's it! Nothing of substance at all for those who are not looking to lose weight and don't have kids (ie me). The business and computer section was highly disappointing too. Humph.

Apparently they are not legally allowed to import any book relating to Taiwan. I said so I can't find it in another bookstore in Shanghai? And the lady said she didn't know but they didn't want to do it for fear of getting into trouble with the authorities.

Anyway, while I was there there was a girl (about 10 years of age) with her mother. I could not believe my ears when she swapped effortlessly between Shanghainese - Mandarin - English, back and forth. She spoke Mandarin with a perfect Beijing accent and English with a perfect American accent. Unbelievable! It's unbelievable how easy it is for kids to learn languages. When my sister and I were growing up one of my mother's friends had some young kids we used to play with. The mother was Vietnamese Chinese and the father was a white South African. From the moment they could talk the father forced them to only talk Chinese (Mandarin) with their mother and English with him. As a result they swapped back and forth so easily, so effortlessly. I was probably around 10 at the time and remember this so clearly. If only it were that easy for adults - d'oh!

Today, I was doing some last minute shopping for relatives in Taiwan. Both my parents had rung me with a 'shopping list' of things to buy and gifts for people. While I was doing this I accidently found a really great DVD store that had heaps of English/foreign DVDs. I finally got Ang Lee's Lust Caution (after my father reminded me I was supposed to get this for him!). I made them play it (two copies - one for me and one for dad) in the store to make sure 1) it was working fine and not dodgy, 2) the deleted scenes were intact. It was copied from the "Taiwan version" so yeah it was all there. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Here I was watching some R-rated sexually explicit scenes (in fast forward motion) with a guy in a little DVD store. So so strange! I almost felt guilty. I felt like a pimply 16-year-old boy sniggering. Haha. The thing is, the cut scenes don't really affect the movie that much but still, it does play a role in the script so who wouldn't want a complete movie if they can get one? Unfortunately for hubby there are no English sub-titles so he'd better learn Mandarin quick smart if he wants to watch it (not that I can talk, ha!)

Also, I saw they had the Simpsons Movie too so I nabbed that one. In English this time!

1 comment:

Amyee said...

I am not surprised you can't find the lonely planet on Taiwan. Check out my post: http://www.travelstring.com/travel-china-the-guide-book/

They are heavy on their censorships!

If you like I can have mine sent to you somewhere in Taiwan and then you can send it back to me when you are done?