Posts Tagged ‘protests’

me and renegades go together like bread and butta.

i kid you not, whenever i meet a renegade i basically lose my shit and get all kinds of sorority-girl giddy.

now i am by no means self-labelling myself as a “renegade,” but what i can attest is that when two renegades meet and share similar ideals in which they (we) have no ideals well then that there my friend, is a whole new ball game (or war zone…depending on their (my) blood alcohol level).

and renegades often find each other in this cosmic synergy kind of way. maybe its outside of a bar, as they (i) plead to the bouncer that they (i) simply confused the tip jar with those ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ dishes you would find at rural convenience stores. or maybe you make quick eye contact with another renegade at your local ihop as you catch each other thrifting new silverware for your forkless kitchen.*

*okay so maybe it was a forkless, spoonless, cupless kitchen. but i gave the waiter a hefty tip. AND i didn’t steal the tip back to pay for my next pint. so it all works out in the end… see what i mean? cosmic. synergy.  

it was this type of synergy that presented itself in the form of a cheap plane ticket during one of south korea’s busiest flying times. for all us expats, lunar new year basically means a fury of days off to escape the less-than-ideal winter conditions of the korean countryside.

maybe the flight was so cheap because it is during this country’s onset of typhoon season. or maybe it’s because this country is currently on the outs with south korea after a recent taekwondo diss at the asian games. or maybe, just maybe, it’s because this country has been nicknamed “the renegade province” of planet earth and cosmic synergy chose to pull through in the clutch and offer me a window seat and a lacto-vegan meal.

whatever the reason may be, taiwan stands as one of the defiant forefathers for all us amateur renegades. it has been stirring up political and country-identification controversy for years but at the same time, remains quietly under the radar as any sort of highlight on any sort of travel itinerary.

the fact that the most recent lonely planet on taiwan is over 4 years only further supports the country’s renegade status within the tourism industry.

now we all know that taiwan is NOT part of mainland china. this distinction is what has obviously earned taiwan it’s renegade nickname. but is it part of the massive china china? i mean, taiwanese hold taiwanese (not chinese) passports , they show up with their own team to the olympics, and  the whole country (or province) considers themselves independent from the big guns of chinese prime minister, wen jiabao. but even some recent stats said something like 46% of taiwanese people still consider themselves “chinese.” (i realize that tossing in an actual link to actual valid statistics would be far more supported, but i’m trying to uphold my credibility with the ‘gades.*)

* ‘gades=renegades. (just making sure you’re still with me here.)

in a couple of days i’ll be taking on taiwan solo (because apparently, that’s how a genuine renegade roles). i don’t have much of a plan (i’m letting lonely planet take the blame on that one), or really any vague idea on what it’ll be like.

but i can only imagine i will feel right at home.


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anytime you move somewhere, (be it across the street, across the country, or even across the world), you want to find commonalities in places where they may not even exist.
commercial dr. in vancouver is just like kensington market in toronto.

 markham st. is just the same, even 6 houses north.
the okpo factor is just like….well, it’s actually in its entirely own playing field.
ANYWAY, i s’pose sometimes people have this innate need to find similarities within and consequently, throughout their life. i s’pose this is what makes us feel comfortable in places where we are completely removed from our own comfort zone. your mind may think, “hey self, if you did okay in kensington…you will probably do just as well (and fingers crossed…even better), on commercial dr. ”
now don’t get me wrong, i am certainly aware that moving from one hipster-concentrated compound to another is really not that far removed from one’s usual level of comfort. but sometimes you find yourself searching as hard as you can for similarities in places and inevitably, come up empty-handed (and undoubtedly upset that you can’t get the same brunch on commercial that you could in kensington). 
and with that long-winded nostalgic intro, such was the case with the g20 summit in seoul as i attempted to find a string of similarities where they did not exist….. all for the sake of feeling comfortable.

(as if a weekend of protests, citizen congestion, and general police vs. public aggression would make me feel comfortable. but we all have different ways of processing feelings of homesick okay?  no need to judge.) 


without rehashing the hashy details of that b-a-n-a-n-a-s weekend in toronto, the g20 was definitely my most unexpected event of the summer (however, it should be noted that flava flav’s unannounced set at the sasquatch festival comes in at a very close second).

 it certainly made me question a whackload of the people who make decisions about the everyday happenings on earth and the seemingly impossible feats that these decision-makers make so easily feasible …including toronto’s  apparently “easy” task of spending $857 million during the 3-day circus. (for some budgetary perspective, that’s just $3 million shy of vancouver’s expenses for a 2-week multi-sport international best-time-of-my-life frenzy).  (the latter was also a circus of sorts but had waaay more winter ale, and for the record, a more impressive band line-up). 

i vicariously felt the injustice of all those detained throughout the weekend in toronto and was almost pleased to have a policeman order me to pull over my bike and examine my backpack of weekend contents on the corner of yonge and king by himself and his buddies.

if only for the pleasure that this could be my own grounds for a political tirade. and if that failed, i knew i could just embellish this story to my parents… just to see the look on their faces when they begin to think that they raised a brick-throwing anarchist for a daughter.

i had no real expectations of the g20 summit in seoul. perhaps i was just assuming that i would walk out of seoul station and get hit square in the forehead by something (let’s just assume that it would most likely be a brick). with hoards of black bloc members ready and willing to destroy every starbucks in their path. 

 but other than this woman trying to light herself on fire, the seoul summit could not be substantially compared to that of toronto.

well, why the eff not?

for starters, seoul was able to learn from the mistakes of their beaver buddies. and instead of viewing the g20 as an excuse to spend those extras cash-dollars on fancy rooms at the hyatt, south korea saw the weekend as an opportunity to embrace patriotism as “the first asian country to host the summit.”  

presumably (and from a non-seouler’s perspective), overly-crowded urban life went on as usual. there were no bike rallies outside of detention centres. there were no unwarranted arrests for carrying around a suspicious amount of plastic bags. and there were no policemen pulling me over to look through my well-stocked backpack.

(and good thing, because who knows what those korean cops would think of a foreigner yielding a backpack full of dirty black scarves and anti-globalization propaghanda…all just to make her feel like she’s right at home.)

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