It didn’t require much effort, but we are now famous in Penghu, having landed a page-two article in the Penghu daily. Fiona is currently volunteering down at the local KMT party headquarters in the buildup to President Ma’s hopes of re-election in January. She asked Laurence and I to give her a hand, so on Saturday morning after Tai Chi, we popped down to help fold the many thousands of A3 posters into leaflets. We were “papped” by one of the people working there, and then it showed up In the paper the next day to our surprise. We are less politically motivated than Fiona and mainly do it for the free lunch but also to show face and build up our contacts.
Forty day until the presidential elections and both camps are campaigning to the best of their abilities. The KMT president and vice president are being supported by foreigners also. Two brothers from the UK who have travelled to Penghu came along with their friend, Tien Shin, to the election centre to volunteer for the day. While the bothers do not have the right to vote, they firmly believe in Ma’s policies. Miss Tien who is a volunteer, brought them along to the centre. While they only worked for a day, they had a great time. They like Ma and Wu and hope that other people support them also.
It doesn’t take much to be famous in Penghu clearly, and its particularly easy if you’re a foreigner. We have got used to the stares, although the old geezers often just gawp at us when they’re driving past on their tricycles which is slightly rude. The teenage girls either giggle and poke their friends or precocious teenage boys will say “hello” in a slightly cocky manner. The best way to deal with this is to turn to them and engage them in full conversation which usually deflates their cocky ego.
There are daily chat shows that feature foreigners who can speak mandarin. It seems the only prerequisite to get one of these shows is to speak mandarin. You don’t even need pretty considering some of the troglodytes they have on the shows, so perhaps in a years time I’ll be on TV if I can get my mandarin up to scratch.
Even with my limited knowledge of Mandarin, people are very helpful, and delighted when you utter even just one word of mandarin, so learning is a positive experience on the whole.
P.s Apologies for the stretched image.