Litanies in Taiwan: Benoit

 

Welcome on Litanies! This blog is not about me, but this introduction aims at welcoming back guests from the previous blog, explain why we decided to revive the Litanies experience, and tell a bit more about me.

LIFE WITH THE PREVIOUS BLOG

I started a blog a long time ago, as i first left France for Germany and had the idea to just quit the comfort of where i was living and confront my ideas to reality, I wanted challenge, adventure, when i was just feeling my current life was privileged, easy, and pleasant.

So I went on with the typical blogging content, telling about my daily life, posting articles in a format photos & text, that is still accessible at: http://litanies.over-blog.net/.
For those interested, and who can read French, it still features interesting articles! I had a great time writing these daily reports of my life – they were a way to release my imagination at a time I was working a lot- but the solution I used was rather simple, and didn’t give me a lot of flexibility when dealing with the structure of the blog and the picture gallery.

CAMERA LIFE

After i went to Taiwan, I gradually stopped writing on the blog, but started to take more pictures; my digital life moved on to Flickr, for around one or two years. But Flickr had the same organizational issue, most pictures are seen one after the other, not in an organized pattern. Also, there were no texts. I started buying DSLR with a Sony A100, a small camera that I still love and gave my girlfriend for now, after what I bought a Nikon D300, because I wanted something fitting better in low light. Las! The results were better, but not really usable. Thus, I recently upgraded to a Nikon D700, a great camera, which, while not perfect, lets me do exactly what I wants and has a great quality of pictures. My conclusion on camera is that the body you use is not the most important part, but you must buy the tool that lets you be happy and do what you ask him to do. I loved my A100 because I expected from it to learn how to deal with digital photography, and he did it, but I didn’t love my D300 because it didn’t perform as I wanted in the conditions I wanted. Now, I am fully happy with my D700, after checking the pros and cons I can quietly forget about it and take pictures, that’s such a nice feeling!

The pictures you are likely to find in this blog will have been processes on Lightroom for both me and 念華,although slightly only. I aim at showing Taiwan how it is, with an emphasize on people and atmosphere. I won’t go into appealing ladies or sexy colors or obvious pictures, because my goal is not to make you feel “Wow”, but to share with you what I see here. In this purpose, the use of post-processing and eventually B&W is there to improve readability and give quality pictures, in a way that is respectful for the people and places that have been taken. I will also some time show some hard situations, there is no judgment or despise on doing that-this is simply also part of reality.

FROM GERMANY TO TAIWAN

During all this time since I left, more than five years now, i spent two years in Germany, working like crazy, visiting and making friends around every possible place. When I think it over, two purposes appear to have been stronger in my decision to leave: get a “real” job and stop dreaming, which means start from low, listen to others, check what I can do; and test myself in a foreign environment to see if I can live further away from my home. You can apprehend the whole adventure here.

Then i moved to Asia, traveled like crazy, met new friends, and had a really rich experience in Taiwan. At first, I just loved it. I was amazed by the people in first place, by the mix between kindness, simplicity, and also a certain kind of exoticism due to the “strange” aspects of Chinese culture (ah really, we have to go to the temple to know what’s gonna happen next year?). Everything was new to me, I didn’t think much and didn’t know much about Taiwan, to me it was just one of the 4 dragons; there was Chang Kai Tchek; there was a conflict with China.

That was it, I started learning Chinese frantically, during the first year or so it took most of my time and energy, I was obsessed with it, and it was so wonderful to see a world of meaning emerging from all the characters surrounding me; i will never forget that time, when just walking in the street from my home to the MRT could let me understand every day new signs : school! Tree! Bus stop! The name of all stations on the bus line! I remember it still so vividly, and it still happens to me.

Life went on, partly in Taiwan and partly in Asia, or in the US, or in Europe. In parallel, my company was bought by a bigger one, and the impact was that I had to leave my first office -where life was just great- to a new one, which was simply more… more… let’s say conform to what you can expect from a Taiwanese company. In there, i had the first unpleasant adventure of my life in Taiwan, people openly lying to me, cheating, and in a way it opened my eyes: yes, there were darker aspects in Taiwan than what I had seen so far. It took me 2 years to realize that! I had always been a dreamer, and since I spent most time working, learning chinese or visiting, the few nice people who surrendered me had made me guess that everyone and everything was as nice, tolerant, and well educated as them.

Anyway, remembering all the good things rather than focusing on the bad ones, I decided to move on, to take on the fight, to jump on board this new company, which actually has more to offer than the previous one, but is also more demanding – fair enough-, and here I am, still in Taiwan. Life became more stable since January, because I now travel less, “only”  around 150.000 miles a year, that’s double less than last year and actually gave me some time to visit Taiwan. Also, one year ago, I met my girlfriend, 念華; to many respects she made me grow up, gave me stability, and we went on to live the Taiwanese life, together. You’ll hear her voice here too!

WHY THIS BLOG?

Slowly, I started to understand the complex nature of what makes Taiwan today, and this is what i want to talk about in this new blog. Taiwan. The central question, which hasn’t been solved yet by Taiwanese themselves, is: WHAT IS TAIWAN TODAY? WHO ARE THE TAIWANESE? This is where I want to start, this time I don’t want to write about myself but I want to explore what makes Taiwan. For this purpose, I plan to open the blog, to 念華 first -of course-, but also to anyone who wants to write in it. I will create the content accordingly, but probably there will be topics in which I will publish my opinions, as well as others.

 

4 thoughts on “Litanies in Taiwan: Benoit

    1. blf_taipei Post author

      Thank you! I am very busy at work those days and don’t have enough time to update the blog, but I still have a few nice articles coming 🙂 Will follow your blog as well, there’s so much information in it, I sincerely admire your work!

      Reply
  1. Rae Liu

    Hi Litanies (I assume this is your name as I could not find a definite place for it),

    Your story is very impressive. I came here from your Flickr, which I linked to through Tumblr. Because of your lovely street shots of Taipei make me feel home, so I went along to look for more pictures and potentially some commentary on the photos.

    I am really happy that Taiwan can have you as a visitor/foreign resident who cares about her. Your observation of the people and the stories is fantastic. I can’t get enough of it, please keep up your great work! It’s like reading series of short novels of Taiwan, with much help from the photos to create imagery (which by the way your pictures tell a lot about the message you intended to convey). It’ll be even more awesome if there was a Chinese version 🙂

    Anyway, cheers and keep digging the stories!

    Reply
    1. blf_taipei Post author

      Hi Rae, thanks for your kind words, it means a lot to me! So you are now living in California, but you’re from Taiwan?
      I think you are right about the purpose of this blog, glad you noticed about it, I promise to keep going in this direction-just posted a new article couple of minutes ago! For me people are the most important no matter what, and text, videos or images are all a way of reflecting on this 🙂

      Reply

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