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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Living in the danger zone

Sizzling heat, looming skyscrapers, dashing pedestrians, snaking motorcycles and speeding vehicles, that was my first impression of Taiwan after almost fifteen years abroad. Indifferent to my last childhood memory, Taiwan has changed to accommodate the overwhelming population explosion, for better or for worse. Particularly Taipei, a city of sleepless nights and mutating landscapes, its transportation infrastructure is one-of-a-kind. Except for the metro, railway, and high-speed rail, virtually every other transportation system is either owned or co-owned by multiple contractors, intertwined in a web of redundancies. Of course, demand comes with supply, hence, a competitive, yet affordable and abundant resource, for all its residents. However, redundancies also produce waste and mismanagement, and, for a global-village-to-be city like Taipei, where its international recognition weights heavily on efficiency and greenness, this could be a devastating and ugly truth, one which can't be covered by skyscraper debacles.

Besides having to endure the inhumane weather and traffic, dinning and livelihood come in direct conflict with health and well-being. A good and modest living may save you years off the infirmary is a true proverb in a metropolitan city like Taipei, where high stress, coupled with cheap food and liquor inadvertently make liver care one of the most popular off-the-counter medicine available, and a Rolex on your wrist symbolizes the admission to a society that values looks and fashion more than substance, innovation and advancement.

To solute to the inhabitants of Taiwan, I hereby dedicate Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone to my brothers and sisters, whom can disregard health and well-being in pursuit of the ultimate, superficial prize.

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