Friday, April 25, 2008

Taiwan Travel Book Launch Featured in China Post and Taipei Times

In addition to a blurb in the Taipei Times, this article recently appeared in the China Post newspaper Prime Books section:

“My wife Cindy and I are delighted that Scott Freiberger has selected Cherry Valley Bookstore to launch his ground-breaking new Taiwan tour guide, Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z,” said native Californian and Taipei resident Ben Foster. “The book encompasses everything that a Taiwan tour guide should, cultural and historical information, bilingual communication and travel tips, coverage of major attractions and out-of-the-way places with names and addresses in both English and Chinese, detailed maps, unique attractions and photos, not to mention humor. The book is already generating quite a buzz, we’ve had people from as far away as Taichung and Tainan coming in to pick up copies.”

Official book website:

Next signing will take place at the TAS Orphanage Club event, Saturday, May 17. For more information please contact Cherry Valley Bookstore, Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99 (behind TAS), Tienmu, Taipei (台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Official Taiwan Book Launch and Signing Announcement!

The official Taiwan book launch and signing of Taipei In A Day Includes: Taiwan From A To Z, First Edition (台北一日遊)(NT $699) will be held at the Taipei American School (TAS) Spring Fair on Saturday, April 19 from 10 am to 3 pm.

You could also pick up a copy at Cherry Valley Bookstore (櫻桃谷英文書店), Tienmu East Road, Lane 8, #99 (behind TAS), Tienmu, Taipei (台北市士林區天母東路8巷99號) (02) 2876-9293.
The store's website address is and an English website is currently in development: Cherry Valley Bookstore has a helpful English-speaking staff and provides one of the widest selections of children's books at the best prices on Taiwan.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Unique Taiwanese

One thing I love about Taiwanese, in addition to being some of the most friendly and welcoming people on earth towards international visitors, is their inherent curiousity, passion for learning and desire to experiment.

On an ordinary spring day I happened upon "future man" and his Jetsons-like three-wheeled vehicle. Could you imagine passing by this on the freeway?

Is it a car or a moped? A car-ped, perhaps? Or a car-pod? This car can't possibly go very fast, and it would probably be blown over in a typhoon. So it's only safe if every other car on the road is the same as this one! What do you think?

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Got your attention, didn’t I? When I had arrived on Taiwan in 1997 there was nary a chance to view news headlines like this, but in an age of aggressive advertising on the Internet by companies selling spy devices and a public that feeds on scandal, headlines similar to this one are becoming increasingly common. In fact, in recent years the democratic Republic of China (ROC) has had its fair share.

In December, 2001, Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳) , a TV journalist elected Taipei city councilwoman who later served as director of Hsinchu City's Bureau of Cultural Affairs, was secretly recorded at her apartment having an affair with a married man. The tabloid magazine Scoop Weekly (獨家報導周刊) broke the story, along with free DVDs of the video, and the news quickly became a sensation throughout Asia (not to mention the insomnia it caused to teenage boys!). The steamy scandal, rife with deception, abuse of power and sex, was one of the first of its kind on the island as it set a precedent regarding freedom of the press versus a public official’s right to privacy. In an ironic twist, Taiwan Television Enterprise had asked Chu to resign several years earlier after the station received intense criticism about her use of a hidden camera to report on a local gay bar. (Chu has since relocated to Mainland China where she married and became a mother.)

Around this time, The Journalist (新新聞周刊) magazine published a story alleging an affair between President Chen Shui-bian and Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), an advisor and interpreter for nearly two years (the Chinese Monica Lewinsky, perhaps?). The magazine, which claimed it had received a tip from Vice-President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮 Lu Shiu-lian), subsequently lost a libel suit from Lu and was ordered to print an apology on the front pages of four major Chinese-language newspapers.

Taiwanese continue to receive breaking scandals from newspapers and steamy tabloids such as Next Magazine (台灣壹週刊), a Hong Kong-based publication that arrived on Taiwan on May 31, 2001. However, the recent sweeping election of incoming Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou indicates that the public has grown weary of scandals, as one of Ma’s key election themes was “clean government.” Let’s hope that Ma’s administration is successful at revitalizing the economy and Taiwan can continue to prosper.