SayTaiwan superstars

by on 週五, 16 九月 2011 評論
An interview with Rando Pikner (Estonia) and Jusso Lautiainen (Finland)


Rando with his "Host Father"

“Honestly I feel like superstar in Taiwan, because everywhere I go people are so friendly…They don’t want to seem friendly… they are actually friendly. That’s why I like the Taiwanese,” Rando begins.

Flamboyant Estonian, Rando Pikner, and charismatic Melbourne-based Finn, Jusso Lautiainen, compare notes, as guests at SayTaiwan’s International Youth Week: Centennial Homestay.

Jusso, who has had a love affair with Asia and Mandarin before, is struck by Taiwan’s synthesis of tradition and modernity. “I’ve been to China before… it’s more different than I thought, and at the same it’s quite similar… People in Taiwan come from many parts of South East Asia, but also many parts of China. That’s why there’s really traditional characters and traditional culture, but at the same time it’s sort of multicultural. I find it really fascinating.”

Rando, who is “starting-up a start-up,” is smitten with the island techno-topia. “Today I visited a city called Hsinchu and a company there. I’m trying to start up a company… and they are producing power meters. (So) I may have some further business relations with Taiwan in the future,” he says, fingers crossed.

Enjoying the fruits of the land (a Taiwan Beer), in an attempt to dissuade the belligerent humidity, Rando tells of how he and Jusso are beginning to acclimatize. “We come from Northern Europe … and you know the climate is pretty cold sometimes. That’s why people are a little bit stressed sometimes and walking too fast. But HERE…” , he pauses for gravity, “…if it’s thirty-five degrees and it’s so humid outside, you cannot move very fast. You have to relax and move very slowly...” At this Rando imitates, what looks like, RoboCop slow-motion marching through mud. “…it keeps you relaxed. And the mind is also relaxed when the body is relaxed… that’s why I think it’s very healthy to live on this island.”

“Last time I swam in Finland,” Jusso retorts, “…I had to saw a hole through the ice - which was about this thick,” Jusso, not a necessarily small man, gesticulates to show the length of his torso. “And the water temperature’s maybe zero degrees… so here, you can go with shorts… it’s pretty cool.”

In response to the question, “can you swim very deep?” Jusso and Rando exchange glances, and begin to crack-up. Jusso explains, “Here, yes. In Finland, no… If you dive too deep and you come up and you have the ice covered,”(Jusso is now demonstrating an ice roof over his head in mime-like fashion)…

“You’re done”, Rando interjects, with finality.

Suddenly, Rando recalls another surprising discovery of the region, with enthusiastic awe…

Juuso_homestay“And the fruits! The local fruits! Okay we have the fruits also in Northern Europe, but if they pick the fruits, they are not ready. So the taste of the fruits in Taiwan and the tastes of the fruit in Estonia – totally different.” He continues,” I love the food here… you have so many tastes on the table, and can choose… you can combine, and just enjoy.”

“Last Saturday morning I was eating, chicken leg… chicken feet! And it didn’t taste very bad… it was actually pretty edible. But…” he begins laughing again, “… it looked like chicken feet… chicken foot...” says Rando, staring at his hand, as he splays his fingers into some sort of chicken-foot formation, to punctuate his point.

“But everywhere I go in the world, the people are most important” Rando concludes. “Because I don’t get the feeling of local life and culture, unless I feel, I sense, the local people.”

And at this Jusso concurs, “Taiwan is a pretty special place in Asia…Apart from the obvious differences like language… I really think people are really different. In Western societies like Finland and Australia, it’s a lot more individualistic… people at least pretend to be more independent. Whereas in Taiwan, the family connection and connection between people - I think it’s a lot stronger. And value of human relationships is a lot higher. We can learn something from that.”

Hallie Haller

Hallie is a filmmaker/writer/multimedia-maker who hails from South Africa. She comes from a background in commercials production, blogging and viral video, and works freelance in Taipei.

海莉是一位來自南非的電影工作者/作家/多媒體製作人. 她的專業背景為廣告製作 經營部落格和上傳個人影片 目前身為在台北的自由工作者.

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