In the eye of the Storm: Musings on the Danshui

by on 週二, 29 十月 2013 評論


The stream of the Danshui river was bringing me a peaceful melody, waves were biting the shore softly, but, stream inside the stream, slightly blurring the mirror of the water, I could hear a confusing tumult, news from the world struggling in the distance to spill a shot of truth at me:

"When the soldier was being interrogated, all 16 surveillance cameras stopped working. This is absolutely normal. It happens all the time in the army, the cameras are old. This is a banal accident"

"There is no contaminated water leaking in the pacific. The situation is well under control". "Nuclear is absolutely safe. MOX has a half-life of 25.000 years. This is safe. It cannot leak. We are doing tests every day. This is safe."

"We have never been spying on citizens". "The NSA has never had any secret program".

How bitter is it to live in these days, I thought. You could think the world has never been so prosperous, but how to forget inequalities generated by the constant strive in human history towards wealth? Scandals, rising sea temperature, natural disasters, each and every day, again and again, a huge, powerful, daily tide. As if our humanity was melting into something else, pushing us always further away from the roots of mankind into the cold, brutal kingdom of reason. This inner noise I could hear from the river had an echo in the environment around it, carved by man. Everywhere, the river has been molded in order to accommodate the citizens, there are anti-flood walls and bicycle walkways, stadiums and street merchants. But now, at night, all those unused add-ons seem suspended in the night, and the wet land that is still seeping into the concrete is more alive than ever. Listen carefully, you will hear crabs rumbling in the mud; watch carefully, you'll see the birds performing their strange dance on the shore, slowly balancing their bodies while peering at fish jumping in the air in a weird, desperate attempt to escape their fate of pollution and fishing boats.


I suddenly remembered that the current world order is based, not on NATO, United Nations or development programs but on the multilateral threat of nuclear bomb. Nuclear Bomb. Hiroshima. The horror has stopped massacres for a while, but, now, "rogue" states are building their bombs without consent from NATO. Everyone looks at each other in the mirror. I looked at the waters. We often think the other is wrong. We fight, we make the news. Our image glows on the river and when we bend and take a look, we call it civilization, but sometimes, emerging like a fish from the depth of the river, truth surfaces, nature talks, we see the Abyss and the naked depth of it all. Typhoons, Fukushima, rising sea water level, bush fires, we all know it well. All so fragile. Behind the mirror. Hidden deep.

Slowly, the stream of the world began fading from my mind, I was looking at the moon and it was beautiful again, and cold. The air, when a typhoon approaches, is special. Nothing moves, there are fewer people outside; the temperature drops because of the wind. The sky was clear, and I could see the first clouds gather in the sky, passing by quickly, heading for some unknown place. Soon, the banks of the river will be closed. The water, so still now, will rise and furiously hit them. Things will change. Is it me? I could feel people rushing home a bit faster than usual. Things were dark. Dogs were barking, here and there.


All of this looked very real, time suspended on a string. Here, at the edge of water and sky. The landscape spread before my eyes was almost real. I felt how tiny we are. The river was alive, and for a short while, it all made perfect sense to me. I went back on the road, towards the city.

Benoît Girardot

I'm Benoit, a French guy, arrived in Taiwan around 5 years ago, and it's already hard to remember what I did in my old life! Maybe I lived in Germany? I used to have a weird job, selling breast implants all around Asia, but I quit and am now learning Chinese. I love Taiwan, and I don't really have any words to describe why Taipei is such a cool city... so I'm taking pictures instead.

I have a blog about Taiwan, the idea is to get a deeper understanding of Taiwan-as a foreigner, with language barrier and all kinds of pre-conceived ideas, it is not always an easy task! I post a mic of pictures, videos, articles about the cool people and things I meet on the island! You're welcome to come have a look by yourself!






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