Sunday, March 1, 2009

You Can't Take It With You

I thought of two ways to write about these photographs:

1.  The scooter is (as far as I can tell) the most popular mode of transportation in Kaohsiung, and it's amazing how much stuff they manage to fit onto one little vehicle.  It's not uncommon to see a family of four riding together--older child standing behind the steering column, dad in front, mom in back holding baby.  My roommate claims she once saw five dogs on one scooter--a small one in the front basket, a large one hanging over the streering column, one sitting on the (human) driver's lap, two in cages strapped to the back.  Since these spectacles tend to zoom by before I can dig my camera out of my purse, this elementary school student and his science project will have to do.  Plus, he's way cuter and seemingly less dangerous than some of the more outrageous scooter balancing acts seen around these parts.  

*Note: I hear that scooter-packing in India and Vietnam makes Taiwan look, well, safe.

2.  Taiwanese education experts constantly bemoan the state of "Creativity"
 on the island.   At least one of the schools that host Fulbright English Teaching Assistants has a "Creativity Center" (oh, the irony of building a center for creativity is not lost on me) where either a bunch of teachers plan events to encourage kids to be creative or kids go to be creative, though it's unclear which of these options is actually the purpose of the center.  One of my co-workers is apparently working towards a masters degree in "Creativity Studies," but his failure to explain what that actually means makes me suspect that Creativity is some sort of meaningless buzzword in the Taiwanese education field, sort of like "green" or "all-natural" in the United States.

Regardless of what Creativity actually means to a person living in Taiwan, perhaps educators who see this photo might breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their children are not actually robots.  Judging from our young hero's mother's expression pictured below (and her yelling, "This is much too big!  How can we possibly take it home!"), I assume that his project was unique among his classmates, at least in terms of size.  So worry not, Taiwanese Education Officials, your kids are not doomed to crunch numbers for the rest of human history!

3. In the spirit of creativity, I'd like to host a little contest--how would you write about these photos?  Leave all your ideas in the comment box.  I'll check them out at the end of the week.  Best entry gets a special postcard from Taiwan (and they're good ones, believe me!)  If you're timid about submitting, just think that if you're the only one who submits, you automatically win!  

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