Wednesday, April 21, 2010


And then... in July 2009, I took on a Kindy class. Eighteen Taiwanese 5/6 year olds under my care. What a crazy job! Whoever came up with the expression, 'like herding cats' is spot on.

My class are called the Koala Class. Here's a picture of me telling little Lowell about my headache. (I did have a picture of one of my students up here, but company policy is I'm not allowed to post it).

It's not an easy job, and the kids who you once saw as insansely cute become acutely insane over time. But it's surely the most rewarding job I've ever had.

My 'Hood

Here's a few snaps of my neighbourhood taken this morning...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Monkey Quote: Episode 11

"Sometimes it is easier to say 'love' than to admit to being scared."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Big 3 Oh...

In July my good friend Lareina Szpak (the girl named Larry) came into town. I picked her up in Taoyuan with my buddies Roz and Justin, and the 4 of us went touring around Taiwan. It was a bodysurfin' safari mixed in with some pretty quality KTV where Larry and I performed our first ever duet to Bon Jovi's Bed of Nails.

In order to bring in my 30th, Larry and I headed to KL where her mum had booked us a room in a pimped out hotel. I was flying out Sunday and back in Wednesday - the Tuesday being my birthday.

On the Monday night we were sitting on the 54th floor of the hotel around a pool, sipping on martinis and having a fairly low key night with Larry's mum and cousin. These 2 decided to retire around 11, at which point Larry and I tagged ourselves into a drinking game with some rich Chinese businessmen.

We brought the decade to a close with them and some excess rowdiness. Then they headed off to take care of some extra business (they were with 2 women who were a LOT younger than them).

At this point there was a flood of extremely good looking people who sat down at the table next to us. Something was definitely cooking now, so Larry and I decided they needed our company and sat with them. Larry asked the blunt question of whether they were models. Of course they were. Models from Australia, USA, Russia, Sweden out there in KL to walk around in fancy clothes.

After dancing up a storm (perhaps make that a drizzle as from memory it was pretty much only me dancing) we were invited back to their penthouse apartment at the Ritz. It was a tough call, be we decided to go with them.

2 minivans picked us up and took us there. Music was pumping, the neon strobe was on and it seemed like there were some donut treats in a locked room as our model friends seemed to disappear for a while and reappear much happier with a hint of powdered sugar on their noses.

At about 5.30am Larry came to me and said, "We've gotta go. I don't want to piss off my mum." It was a tough call because when that door closed, that was the end of this strange rabbit-hole like adventure.

After some deliberating, I agreed that to leave was the best thing. Just before I left, however, 2 Russian models came to me and said (read in female Russian accent), "You're not going to go are you? It's your birthday and you're in a hotel room surrounded by models." Damn, did she have a good point. But we left anyway.

When the door shut on the penthouse apartment in the Ritz of KL the adventure had found it's end. All I was left with for the next while was the question - was that real, or was that just a dream? I guess I'll never know.

The House

At the end of May 2009 I moved into this wooden cottage that has brought me so much joy. It took a lot of searching and some help from some friends, but we made it happen. It's in a gated community about 10 minutes away from the middle of Fong Yuan.

Fong Yuan is a small town, but to my spacious Australian frame of reference it's a busy concrete jungle. One of the fascinating things about Taiwan is the dichotomies here. One minute you're in a smelly, loud, industrial city and the next you're in lush green mountains.

This video was taken almost a year ago. Unfortunately it's almost time to wake up from my dream house as it's been sold and we're about to get the boot...

The First Few Months

It took a lot of adjusting to make things work here in Taiwan. Perhaps the greatest adjustment was of my expectations. I guess I thought I'd be practicing Kung Fu with Bruce Lee's teachers in the morning, followed by a chi enriching breakfast with a descendant of Lao Tsu as we discussed the finer points of un-naming the named and what truly is the Universal Tao. After that I would meditate for a few hours and clear my head before writing some of my soon-to-be-released best selling novel. In the afternoon I would wander into a school and play with some kids for a while before clocking off and heading into an opium den to transcend the night away...

In fact, my head couldn't get itself around what it meant to be a teacher and I ran into a wall of overthought and insomnia. Though I had lots of time to myself, I spent most of it dreading the night's classes and entertaining the many ways in which I could fail in my tired mind. I couldn't find the off-switch, but somewhere in there also lost the on-switch.

What was it he said in Fight Club? With insomnia you're never really asleep and you're never really awake. That's how I felt. If I did get to dream, I dreamt of teaching. It was a head-fuck. And, ultimately, it was just boring.

Fortunately, if there's one thing you can rely on, it's change. And in time, things changed a great deal...


Hello Blog Faithful.

It's been a really long time since I've written anything here on my blog. So long that my delightful little 'ox-tale' pun has expired and we're now in the year of the Tiger.

Why so long?

I guess the idealised imagined version of what life would be like here in Taiwan was never met. The vision of loads of spare time to focus on my projects with an easy job paying me lots of cash... well, like the great poet Chuck D once said, 'Shit ain't like that...'

Now, on a Saturday night in my wooden cottage in the hills outside of Fong Yuan, I'm in a reflective mood. So it seems the time has come to jot down a couple of stories once again. If you're with me, enjoy.