Thursday, October 28, 2010
Instead, I will describe to you how to throw your very own Taiwanese Halloween.
1: Ignore it. Most Taiwanese families do, anyway, and it's only propagated for two reasons: Taiwanese parents send their kids to English schools, and Taiwanese people love to buy shit. Any excuse to have a thing of some holiday related novelty is enough reason to have a family outing to Carrefour to pick out a costume.
2. If you can't ignore it, go over the top for no particular reason. As did the Taiwanese staff at our school, you too can spend hours making Halloween decorations out of paper, plastic, yarn and paint! My class made ghosts out of Kleenex, spiders out of handprints, and pumpkins out of paper shapes. Then, stick them everywhere. Hang black plastic over doorways, please, because everyone loves bags in the face.
3. Play as much Halloween music as you can, as long as it isn't scary. This leaves you with about three suitable songs, one of them being "Trick or Treat" - a song version of the chant set to the tune of "It's Raining, It's Pouring." If I never, ever have to hear that song again, I will be at peace. They played it on repeat for three hours this morning over the loudspeaker.
4. Go trick-or-treating, but only at school, and while at school, only go to one classroom, thus making the actual treating time more efficient. Less candy, less fun, but also less time wasted.
5. Waste lots of time having every single student in the multipurpose room - let's say - 100! - tell the other students what they are for Halloween. In Chinese. While the Trick-or-Treat song is playing so loudly you can't actually hear the 4 year olds tell everyone ta shi shei.
Okay, okay. I wrote that blast pre-afternoon nap. This portion of the blog is post-homemade bean and rice burrito dinner. I'm a bit more retrospective and little less critical now. A few more quick points:
Halloween is simply not a holiday. It is a photo opportunity. Parents hung around for hours today just to see their kid take 10 seconds to walk across the stage in their costume, most of which were store bought (and many of which were the same, bought at the same store.) Some of them were homemade brilliance. One little girl showed up in a vest and skirt entirely made of bubble wrap and paper flowers (guessing mama doesn't have a day job) and there were some very decadent pumpkins, or nan gua, as I heard announced so many times. The kids stick their fingers up in a peace sign (the Asian pose we all make fun of at home, oh yeah, so real!) - snapshot! - done. The kids don't do anything.
But field trips are like this, too. Let's go to a museum. Let's take a billion photos at the museum. Back on the bus. Let's go to the supermarket. Take a billion photos with the fruit. Back on the bus. There's this odd "The photo is more important than the experience." thing going on. Why do you want a picture of something you didn't actually do?
Tomorrow is my "anniversary" of three months in Taiwan. Time flies when you're buying consumer goods, writing obscene amounts of report cards, and taking your umpteenth photo.
But I still love my scooter.