Friday, March 31, 2006

Nude Theater in Taipei

Nude theater is not new to Taipei, we've mentioned it before on this blog, though it mostly became newsworthy because of the attention the police paid to it. The previous pieces were also the work of local theater groups, but this time it's a French troupe that is drawing attention.
One of Taiwan's most popular newspapers, the Apple Daily, went all the way by putting a picture of a male and a female actor in the group on its frontpage.
Spokespersons for the group's performance say it challenges the notion of beauty. During the performance, the actors will write a name on their naked bodies which is very familiar to a Taiwanese audience: Christian Dior. Taiwanese, as most other Asians, are crazy about brands, mostly because they represent status, "face," prestige, and also Western quality.
If the theater piece were just about nudity, there might not be a problem. But some parts of the show might be naked but less beautiful: the actors will reportedly also use urine in the performance.
Naturists are not always "progressives" who welcome any kind of avantgarde art if it's just naked. Naturism is also about respect, for each other, for the body, and for the public. Personally, I am a naturist, but otherwise I am relatively conservative. I believe that a person's body is his home, and while anybody is welcome to look at one's home, you wouldn't want anybody to damage that home in any way. The next time Taiwan has a naked performance, let's hope it is not sexual and shows more respect to the body.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Taiwanese models and nudity

Lin Wei-ju, Pai Yin-huei, and Hung Hsiao-ling are not exactly household names, not even in their home country, Taiwan. The three are models who are taking part in a walk next week, sponsored by a major cosmetics brand.
The walk is named a "nude march," but as you can guess, the first word is only included to attract public attention, and anyone expecting to see real public nudity in Taiwan must still be dreaming.
Nevertheless, the announcement of the "nude march" has given Miss Lin, Miss Pai, and Miss Hung the opportunity to air their views on nudity. Miss Pai says what she would like to do the most is visit a naturist holiday resort overseas, and to experience naked bungee jumping in Bali. Miss Hung says she has swum naked, but that was in the pool of a private villa in Bali, while Miss Lin not only swam naked, she also went to a beach topless, and often sleeps in the nude. Following the example of Taiwan's top model Lin Chi-ling mentioned in a previous posting, maybe there is really a movement afoot to make nudity more acceptable to a nominally conservative Asian public.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Looking for Naked Yoga

I've recently cultivated an interest in naked or nude yoga after reading about the topic on the Internet. Unfortunately, nude yoga is as rare in Asia as naturism itself. It's certainly not that yoga isn't popular here in Taiwan. There are schools and teachers, both native and foreign, just about anywhere in Taipei, and you have hatha, astanga, and any other kind of yoga you can think of, with hot yoga being the latest fad. But no nude yoga.
During my surfing expeditions on the net, I found the One Taste yoga center in San Francisco, which offers a course in nude yoga that has drawn wide attention. I wrote about it in a previous posting. The web site, for those interested, is, and the course has drawn a variety of comments, some of them looking really positive, but others complaining that some of the teachers use rather denigrating terms about the human body, with rough language included. The U.S. West Coast is of course a bit far for me for just a course of nude yoga, but I wouldn't mind training intensively if I could then teach it right here in Taiwan.
Also in San Francisco lives the "naked yoga guy" George Monty Davis, whose companion is apparently a native Taiwanese woman called Yen Chu. His claim to fame is to perform yoga in the nude in public places around the city. On his web site, he also tries to foment enthusiasm for spreading nude yoga around the world, but a first look doesn't say much about training yoga teachers.
A third place where I've been looking for naked yoga, is Seattle's Hatha Yoga Center run by Bob King and Ki McGraw, Ki has published a book about naked yoga, but the center doesn't seem to be offering any courses in the practice, either in Seattle or at its summer retreats in Bali. I guess I'll send them an e-mail to ask about this.
What all those web sites that mention naked yoga have in common though, is a complete absence of information about what's really specific about it, apart from taking off one's clothes to do it. Is naked yoga just hatha or astanga or power or hot yoga without clothes? Or does it have moves and practices all of its own? I'll have to go and find out, and I'll let you know when I get the answers.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

World Naked Bike Ride

Tomorrow, Sunday March 12, will see a public nude event on a global scale.
The annual World Naked Bike Ride will take place. Its aim is not just to be naked and cycle around, it is a protest against pollution, and in favor of healthier means of transport.
You won't see any naked cyclists here in Taiwan though. First of all, this kind of action here is still illegal - note my use of the word 'still' - and riding a bike in city traffic is still a minority sport. While the environmental movement has taken off, and respect for the environment and weaker road users such as cyclists and pedestrians has improved, I don't think we're ready yet for a nude bike ride. And the weather forecast for Taiwan tomorrow isn't too favorable either, less than 20 degrees, grey and humid.
Tomorrow's nude bike ride will be more popular in those parts of the world where tolerance toward public nudity is higher and where the March weather is nicer, think Australia, New Zealand and California.
And I think it's because of the weather that there will be a second World Naked Bike Ride this year, on July 10. At least, then, bad weather won't be an excuse to take part.
For my part, I'm not planning to get out on my bike tomorrow, but I'm looking into another way of promoting naturism: nude yoga. But that's something for my next posting.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Taiwan's Top Model Sleeps in the Nude (2)

Taiwan top model Lin Chi-ling's admission yesterday that she regularly sleeps naked - at least when it's warm enough and when she's overseas - has drawn a positive reaction in a letter to the United Evening News today.
A woman called Tung Yi-chen, who says she is a model just like Lin, writes that sleeping naked is a way of loving oneself. She says that many models and fashionable young women have the habit because sleeping in the nude has so many advantages. When you sleep without clothes, Tung writes, you are completely free and relaxed, you can take care of yourself, women can also check up their bodies, test oneself for breast cancer, treat oneself.
You can forget all your troubles, and go to sleep without worries, in a happy mood. Some people call sleeping naked very 'progressive' or 'advanced,' but there's really nothing to it, Tung says, according to the United Evening News, the paper which first came out with Lin's story yesterday.
And now let's hope another celebrity comes up to praise nude swimming or sunbathing, that would really give the cause of naturism a good push in the right direction.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Taiwan's Top Model Sleeps in the Nude

Lin Chi-ling is Taiwan's most newsfriendly woman. Wherever she goes, whatever she says, whether she falls from a horse during a promotional shoot in China, whether she's bought a luxury apartment, everything makes the television news in Taiwan. Even though all Lin does, is actually parade on the catwalk, present award shows, and promote products.
But today, Lin came up with a completely surprising revelation: she likes sleeping naked. As I have written before, public nudity is completely banned in Taiwan, topless bathing is not seen, and even bikinis are not all that common a sight on the island's beaches. Taiwanese are mostly conservative on body issues.
And here comes Taiwan's most popular woman, and admits on national television she likes sleeping in the nude. The predictable result: a frontpage headline in the only evening paper, the United Evening News.
In the report on page 3, the paper says - under the headline "Lin Chi-ling: I sleep naked" - she feels comfortable and natural sleeping without clothes, either at home or during foreign trips. "This is not a strange thing," the paper quotes her as saying.
If non-sexual nudity needed someone to offer a positive comment, then it couldn't have had a better spokesperson than Lin. If she says nudity is normal, then lots of young women, young people who look up to her as representing the Asian ideal of beauty, will also think nudity - at least in one's own home - is totally acceptable and healthy. Lin Chi-ling didn't mention public nudity of the naturist kind, but at least she's getting close.