Taiwan reports lowest COVID numbers in 100 days
Taiwan reported 15,206 local COVID cases of COVID on Monday, the lowest daily tally in 100 days. The CECC also confirmed nine infections with the BA.5 subvariant in Northern Taiwan. Some of them have different genetic sequencing from previously known clusters, indicating that the subvariant is spreading in the community from several sources. Let’s hear from a health official.
This week, we performed genetic sequencing on 171 samples, all of which were omicron. Nine of them were the BA.5 subvariant. All of those nine BA.5 cases were patients in Northern Taiwan. The youngest patient was in her teens and the oldest in their 60s. The genetic material is not an exact match among the samples. So this shows that there are several sources in the community, with several transmission chains.
Starting Monday, travelers transiting at Taoyuan International Airport are now allowed to shop and eat meals at the airport. The 12-hour cap on transits has also been lifted.
Taipower opens electronic music cafe in former police dormitory
Taipower has found a surprise use for one of its many old buildings. A former special police dorm in Taipei is now an electronic music cafe. The building has retained its 60s charm while gaining a very modern update. Fans of electro can enjoy live DJ sets while sipping their afternoon tea.
This blue-themed room has a neon aesthetic. The neon lights in front of the toilet change color according to the angle they’re pointed at.
This old Taipower building on Taipei’s Chaozhou Road was built to be a police dormitory in 1963. Pushing open the railings of the basement, you can see the old firearms room. After standing disused for 20 years, the building has been thoroughly renovated. These blue lightning emblems, symbolizing Taipower, can be seen on every windowsill. Completing the theme is the giant Taipower manhole cover hanging at the entrance.
Taipower Land Development Dept.
We’ve preserved a lot of the original elements in this old Taipower building, including the floor tiles and the handrails. We hope visitors can enjoy the electronic music, have a sweet treat and experience a different kind of afternoon tea.
These dorayaki have the lightning emblem on the pancake, red adzuki bean paste inside, and two scoops of matcha ice cream on top. The milk tea is in a glass with a lightning pattern on a manhole coaster. The whole atmosphere is irresistible to young people.
Member of public
This place feels like an old building that’s been revamped, but it doesn’t feel too old. Kind of modern and comfortable.
Member of public
The pancakes with the adzuki bean and the matcha ice cream – I haven’t eaten anything like this before. The pancakes are very soft, they taste great.
Taipower’s creative team has really outdone itself. To turn an old police dormitory into a trendy cafe is a new venture for the electricity giant.
Taiwanese artists come under fire from Chinese fans for not toeing CCP line
Amid rising nationalism in China, Taiwanese artists have come under fire on Chinese social media for failing to trumpet Beijing’s rhetoric on Taiwan. Among them, pop star Jolin Tsai has lost more than 300,000 followers on Weibo, with other stars such as Hebe Tien being criticized for making posts eating spaghetti. One city councilor said Chinese bullying will not win hearts and minds, and conversely will sow contempt for China among Taiwanese artists and fans.
Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai’s hit track “Womxnly,” which touches upon LGBT issues, was recently recommended by China Central Television in a post on a Chinese social media platform. Not even a week later, the post has been removed. Reports say it’s because of Tsai’s failure to publicly endorse China’s Taiwan stance in her own account. Some users on the platform have accused Tsai of being a “Taiwanese separatist.”
CCTV made the post on Thursday last week, praising the song for tackling youth struggles. However, users on Chinese social media platform Weibo later discovered the post had been deleted, and that Tsai lost over 300,000 followers overnight. Chinese users filled Tsai’s page with comments asking for an explanation.
Voice of Nien Chang-yu
Media industry consultant
I feel that many Taiwanese artists, especially the ones who grow to great fame, will tend to stick to their guns. They feel like, “Hey, I haven’t made any public statements on this for so long already, but I’m still well received.” However, my feeling is, if you make a statement one time on something, then the next time you will have to do the same. If not, you’ll end up getting lumped in with a certain category, and you’ll be rejected.
Artist Aaron Yan has also fallen victim to Chinese bullying. He recently posted to Facebook asking whether he should eat Taiwanese or American-style breakfast. Chinese followers who saw the post called for a boycott of the artist. One Taipei City councilor responded saying that Chinese internet users were getting out of control, and would end up pushing Taiwanese further away.
DPP Taipei City councilor
They use Taiwanese artists as chips in a contest between nations, we can see it clearly. The Chinese have low self-esteem and no confidence in themselves. In fact, by acting this way they won’t make Taiwanese feel like we’re all part of the same nation. Quite the opposite – more and more people today feel spurned by China.
Taiwanese singer Hebe Tien has also come under fire from Chinese for posting a picture of herself eating spaghetti. As Chinese nationalism reaches new levels, more and more Taiwanese are losing interest engaging with China at all.
National Palace Museum debunks report of plans to evacuate collection to US
The National Palace Museum on Monday debunked fake reports circulating on social media that the institution is getting ready to evacuate 90,000 artifacts in its collection to the U.S. and Japan. The report, which is written in China’s simplified characters, claims the evacuation was ordered by President Tsai Ing-wen, who is referred to as “unfilial.” Let’s hear from a museum representative.
National Palace Museum
As soon as we saw it, we posted a notice debunking the report on our official website and on social media. During a war, there are many risk factors. The museum is actually a fantastic place to protect the artifacts, thanks to the environment and its storage areas. We have not proposed moving the collection elsewhere. And less so to evacuate them to another country.
The museum has almost 700,000 items in its collection, many of which were brought to Taipei from Beijing’s Forbidden City during the Chinese Civil War. Back in July, the institution held a drill with 180 staff members on what to do in case war breaks out. They included exercises on how to request help from the police and the military if security facilities are breached by the enemy or objects stolen. The museum stressed that the collection was safe, and that it would not remove items from its storerooms.
Doctors warn of heat injuries in hot summer
It’s a scorching summer! Doctors say that heat injury is something that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially when you’re outdoors. If you experience dryness of the mouth or palpitations, go indoors where it’s well ventilated and rehydrate. To avoid the heat, many Taipei denizens went a step further by going ice skating.
This boy pays close attention to his instructor, trying to pick up the basics of skating. Many have come to this indoor skating rink after having given up on outdoor activities. Wearing their ice skates, visitors can enjoy the thrills of skating or simply relax in the 12-degree temperature.
Member of public
It’s very hot, so I decided that skating would be fun and came with my friends to get away from the heat.
Member of public
It’s hot during summer vacation. My mom wanted to find an activity for me to do, and I ended up taking lessons here.
A lot of people don’t have anywhere to go during summer vacation, so they came here to cool off and play a little.
Whether it’s entering the rink or picking up skates, it’s one line after another. According to data, from Jan. to June, this facility had an average of 788 visitors a day. The average daily number has already reached 1,487 for July so far, an increase of 88%. Outside in the scorching sun, it’s a different story. In Taoyuan, an Electric-Techno Neon God lost consciousness as he was dancing outside.
People rushed up to check on him to make sure he was alright. Doctors remind the public to watch out for heat injury during summer. A serious case may lead to cardiovascular or brain damage, so don’t try to brave the heat.
Cardiologist, Taiwan Adventist Hospital
A rapid rise in body temperature will make the body hot, as if your organs are being soaked in hot water, and when your temperature rises rapidly, your organs will be damaged. Now when you’re dehydrated, the blood in blood vessels will get thicker and the viscosity will increase. This can easily lead to blood clots, and the blood clots can cause blockage in your blood vessels, resulting in myocardial infarction.
Doctor Lin reminds that if you have any symptoms of heat injury such as dryness of your mouth or palpitations, you should quickly go to a well ventilated place indoors. Do not gulp down ice water, as the large temperature difference might be harmful to the body. Drink lots of room temperature or cool water instead to effectively relieve the symptoms.
Kaohsiung restaurant serves up classic ba-wan meatballs for decades
For the foodies, Sizihwan in Kaohsiung is a paradise of Taiwanese cuisine. One little eatery that we’re checking out today specializes in the ba-wan. It’s a classic street food snack a bit like a sticky meatball. Restaurant owner Chang Ching-wen inherited the recipe from his dad, and the restaurant has been serving happy diners for more than half a century.
A spoonful of rice flour dough is filled with minced meat and covered. These rich and sticky ba-wans all cook together in a steamer.
Member of public
My husband grew up here and he’s been eating this his whole life. He loves it. It’s a very traditional flavor. We’ve come down from Taipei, so we both love eating here.
Member of public
It smells wonderful, very unusual. Actually this is my first time here, but someone told me it was delicious so we came to try it out.
This is a spot purely for traditional snacks. With more than 50 years in business, it’s a favorite local establishment. One thousand handmade ba-wans are served up every day, alongside other classic dishes like sticky rice cakes, four herb soup, and fish cake soup. Second-generation owner Chang Ching-wen learned the recipes as a young boy.
Ba-wan shop owner
The kid in this photo – that’s me. Next to me is my dad. He happened to be making ba-wans and I was playing nearby and watching. To make the dough with long-grain, non-glutinous rice, you have to choose old rice, rice that’s about 18 months to two years old. I just copied the way my dad did it back then, and carried on the tradition.
The shop opens at 6 a.m. Apart from the ba-wans, the sticky rice cakes are a very hot item on the menu, adorned as they are with minced meat, fish floss, sliced cucumber, and braised eggs.
Ba-wan shop owner
Because we braise and peel these eggs ourselves every day and make them fresh, we never add preservatives, so we can’t do a massive load all at once.
These freshly handmade dishes are the real taste of old-style Taiwan, and all available at very affordable prices. If it goes on like this, we think there’s another 50 years in the tank.
Houtong Cat Village celebrates International Cat Day and Father’s Day
Today was Father’s Day in Taiwan, as the two eights in the date sound like the word “father” in Chinese. Mongolia also dedicates this day to its fathers, but in the rest of the world, Aug. 8 is best known for being International Cat Day
The celebration was created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to learn how to help and protect cats. And that’s just what New Taipei’s animal protection office did in Houtong [dòng], which is famed for its abundance of cats. There, experts held an event to teach passersby how to take care of cats, and pay attention to their hygiene and diet. At the event, 10 cats were also up for adoption, with officials stressing that raising a pet was a big commitment not to be taken lightly.
Taiwan reports 21,771 cases Sunday, brings the total accumulated count to 20% of population
Taiwan added 21,771 local cases on Sunday. That’s a 4.5% increase from last Sunday. The day’s death toll was 42, and the number of children with severe symptoms has reached 155 to date.
Taiwan’s accumulated total of confirmed cases has now reached 4.738 million. That’s more than 20% of the population. Doctors say if unreported and undetected cases were accounted for, that number may double. The public is advised to be fully vaccinated in order to have maximum protection from COVID.
Hongshulin Light Rail Station opens summer weekend market
A trip to the New Taipei district of Tamsui is a summertime tradition, and taking the light rail is the no. 1 choice for many. Now a pop-up market is opened at Hongshulin station on the weekends until early September. We took a trip to the tourist area to check out what’s on offer.
Colorful ice pops are just the thing to cool off – strawberry and cream, green apple or mango.
Here in Tamsui, ices are just one of many local specialties. Fried seer fish with pickles is another favorite. Or how about freshly-made fish crackers with a cool glass of smoked plum juice?
And there are souvenirs to peruse too. Items related to the light rail abound, as well as iron eggs and egg rolls -- popular ways to take a bit of Tamsui home.
Member of public
My grandson likes the models of the light rail. But he has too many toys!
New Taipei Metro Corporation
I hope that when people take the light rail, they can have a relaxed and leisurely attitude, and really enjoy their time in Tamsui. What we are mainly highlighting right now is the more distinctive businesses in Tamsui.
This is the prime time to visit Tamsui’s riverside and the light rail is bustling. The Hongshulin station will offer its time-limited market on the platform at weekends until early September, to tempt even more visitors to the area.
Moisture in the south may bring heavy rains in the coming week
The weather over the weekend has been hot and sunny. But things will begin to change on Monday, as moisture in the south moves northward, lowering temperatures somewhat with afternoon thundershowers likely to occur in all regions. Eastern and southeastern regions may also see localized brief showers.
The Central Weather Bureau says while there’s a small chance that the low pressure system currently near the South China Sea will develop into a tropical storm on Monday, it will still usher in moisture from the south. The public should watch out for heavy rains.