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Taiwan's "Touch Me Party"

In Taiwan , nightclubs are traditionally a matter of controversy. In a country where public ethics and reality often clash , the media tend to portray nightclubs as places of perversion and loose morals. Whoever has experienced Taiwan's night scene knows that what goes on in nightclubs can be quite extreme. But while pleasure - and specifically sexual pleasure - as an element of nightclub life cannot be ignored, the way in which one judges the individual freedom to enjoy oneself is entirely subjective.  A new type of nightclub party has recently hit the headlines in Taiwan. According to local reports, Rave Club , a popular nightclub in Taichung City, has announced on its Facebook page that on March 18 it will organise a so-called " Touch Me Party " (摸摸派對). This type of party seems to have originated in South Korea. Although Taiwan's media have noticed this phenomenon only recently, the club has been holding such parties for about a year, as pictures of " To

The Sunflower Movement, the Media, and Showbusiness

Popular protests in the digital age are made half on the streets and half online. Whether a political movement is successful or not, whether it is supported by a large number of people or not, depends on how the media depict it, and on how skillfully the protesters use the most formidable peaceful weapon of our time, the internet.  While I was following the events around Taiwan's Sunflower Movement, I felt like a man who goes out to take a nice walk in th park, but ends up in the middle of an unbearably noisy and smoggy highway full of cars. There's just too much information around, there are too many different interpretations, and, above all, too many people shouting and screaming, arguing that they - and they alone - are right, and those who disagree are the absolute evil and do not represent anybody.  The protesters claim that they represent Taiwan, that they love Taiwan, and that they want to save Taiwan. Therefore, whoever agrees with the trade pact, or whoever di

Sexuality in Taiwan and the Objectification of the Female Body

As I have mentioned in my previous post, we cannot understand the peculiar - mostly negative - way in which the Taiwanese public perceives women who go clubbing, if we do not examine the historical development of the position and self-perception of women in the Chinese-speaking world. In this post, I would like to attempt a very brief analysis of this issue. In traditional Chinese society, women enjoyed a low position in the familial hierarchy, which was structured on the basis of inequality: the older came before the younger, the male came before the female. Therefore, in traditional Chinese families there was a distinction between superior, inferior and complementary social roles (see Lang 1946 , p. 24). As Patricia B. Ebrey explains: Confucianism, including classical and Han Confucianism, provided a view of the cosmos and social order that legitimated the Chinese patrilineal, patrilocal, and patriarchal family system. Confucian emphasis on obligations to patrilineal ances

Taiwan's Nightlife and Male Chauvinism

A recent article by the popular Taiwanese tabloid Apple Daily  reveals a dark side of the island's nightlife: the phenomenon of men who sexually assault drunk women. I myself witnessed something that did not but could have ended in sexual assault. I was in a club in Taipei (it was the first of the only two times I've been to a club here) and there was a girl whom I couldn't help noticing, not only because she was very young and pretty, but also because I saw her kissing at least six men, one of whom was way older than herself. The problem is that she was obviously completely drunk; so drunk that she could barely stand on her feet. Some guys approached her, told her something, and then began groping her. I don't know if she was consenting, or if she simply did not understand what was going on.  This article is particularly interesting because, for once, it does not serve the stereotype of the bad Western guy who goes to Taiwan to find easy girls in nightclubs, b