It’s a small world, after all. Imagine a painting of “The Lost Son” parable set in Africa with African characters, and the text of the story pasted on top in Chinese. And your translator is Taiwanese but speaks English with a heavy Australian accent. Such was our night: We were N.Americans speaking partly through a Taiwanese guy educated in Australia to Asians about Africa (using a parable originally told by an Aramaic-speaking Jew but later recorded in Greek). I’m not sure what to think about all that, but it was a great night. Africa is about the most foreign place on earth for Chinese, so we had fun humanizing and spiritualizing it a bit for them.
There’s an election coming up. That means the loudspeaker trucks have multiplied and we get free political toilet paper. It comes in plastic with the candidate’s face and name on it – almost enough for one trip to the can. We’ve got it twice in as many days, from different candidates. Mingdaw explained that many public restrooms in Taiwan just aren’t well-stocked, so it’s a very practical, cheap gift. I guess they don’t put much stock in associational conditioning (I made that term up for Pavlov’s dog and all that).
In case anyone thinks we’ve been exaggerating about our first stinky doufu experience, here’s some supporting testimony from EatingChina.com:
Chinese stinky tofu: love it or hate it, there’s no ignoring it.
…as we walked down the street …my father stopped in his tracks, spun around, mildly frantic, as if searching for the source of some impending disaster.
…smelly hardly seems an adequate adjective to describe the reeking power of this fermented bean curd. … It is roughly comparable to the smell of a fetid, open sewer anywhere on the planet, (though I have a friend who disputes this: he reckons you would never notice the smell of the sewer with a sticky tofu stall nearby).
Steven Curtis Chapman – and his three adopted Chinese daughters – just sold out the Shanghai debut in his first Asian tour.
For almost every song he sang, the audience stood, sang and applauded. The concert was turned into a place of joy; a group of orphans from all over China also attended.
It turns out that he’s heavily involved in helping fund adoptions for orphans all over the world, especially China. Interesting how they first got involved with adoption.