26 December 2008

At last, full-time job obtained by year end 2008

(Masthead of Taiwan Daily News, first issue, 6 May 1898)

At last, the project proposal I submitted is formally approved by the National Science Council, Taiwan – that is to say, I've just been offered a one year fixed term contract job.

The project intends to construct a database of articles and all the contents about music, including people, events, venues and objects, in Taiwan Daily News (臺灣日日新報 Taiwan ririxin bao), the longest continuously published newspaper from 1989 to 1944, almost the whole period of the Japanese rule over Taiwan. The database will provide valuable sources for studies on music history and any other musical subjects during the Japanese colonial period.

I will be working as a postdoctoral fellow at National Taiwan University in 2009, while teaching Musical Cultures Around the Globe there and another university, hosting radio programmes, composing for commercial films and so on to earn some more pocket money. Above all, with the materials collected and gleaned from Taiwan Daily News by project team members, I will also be able to examine the musical life of Taiwanese locals in the colonial era and carry out my own research.

Breathing a sigh of relief, Fanne is very much delighted to learn that I have eventually found a full-time job and one year's salary plus year-end bonus is guaranteed. Although Christmas is not a public holiday in Taiwan, and due to the economic downturn, it hardly feels Christmasy at all in Taipei, we just take this as one of the best Christmas gifts we've ever received.

06 December 2008

Flamenco and popcorns with hot fruit tea

flamencoI have been lecturing on Music Cultures Around the Globe since the spring semester 2008 at National Taiwan University and recently been involved in organising the Friday Noon Concert Series of the College of Liberal Art.With some financial support granted by the Center for General Education, I can invite guest speakers to the course several times each semester, which helps me to maintain close contact with some excellent artists and performers in Taipei. Therefore, as an extension of the course Music Cultures Around the Globe, those musicians are also invited to the Friday concerts.

Yesterday we had a wonderful time with four artists from the Centro Flamenco Taiwan. Students and staff of the university gathered at the spacious entrance hall of the College of Liberal Art to be enthralled by the astonishing power of flamenco.

It was probably the best of the series this semester, I dare say. May even took the day off and managed to come to the performance, and after the show we went to the cinema, starting our weekend half a day earlier than others.

What I want to write down here is nothing about the film itself, which is too bland, though not to the extent of a flop, to be mentioned, but rather the bizarre combination of snack and drink we had – popcorns, half-sweet-half-salt, with hot fruit tea.

I suppose people usually have popcorns with carbonated soft drinks. Nevertheless, we don't need extra CO2.

Despite the lackluster film and the odd food combination, we had a great early start of the weekend.