Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Naturism at 90

A 90-year-old man dreaming of teaching in the nude.
That was the topic of a fairly long report broadcast on Taiwan's main news station ETTV today. The 90-year-old in question is a Taiwanese national called Wang Hsiu-chih, whose biggest dream it was to go and teach calligraphy inside a naturist resort. In Taiwan that's harder than elsewhere, because - as frequent visitors to this blog know - there are no such resort on this island.
But Wang a local clandestine group and joined them at a bed and breakfast place in the mountains where naturists hold meetings. "The first time I went there, I was not afraid at all. You want me to take off my clothes, and I just did so," ETTV quotes him as saying.
The bed and breakfast in question hosts an annual small-scale two-day meeting of naturists, counting doctors and business people among them. As is common on Taiwan television, no full nudity was revealed, but 'mosaics' were placed strategically. You could still tell the dozen or so people were completely naked, either sitting outside at a table, or in the hot springs, or in a room with milky windows listening to Mr. Wang's lecture.
A man and a woman identified only as Mr. Chang and Miss Tung talk about their experiences, emphasizing that naturism is about enjoying healthy nudity, and not about sex or exhibitionism.
All in all, the report is one of the most positive pictures of naturism I have ever seen on Taiwanese television, and it was repeated several times during the day.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Peeping Toms

One of Taiwan's most popular papers has shown today what the gravest obstacle to the development of naturism is in this part of the world: unbridled voyeurism.
The Apple Daily - a sensationalist newspaper where you can expect to see corpses of bus crash victims on the frontpage - today had semi-obscured nude pictures of women on page one. The photos were made at a hot springs resort in the popular weekend tourist destination of Wulai near Taipei. Apparently, bathers who use the balconies or even walk around in the bathing rooms can be observed from a forest path across the valley, and Peeping Toms frequently use the opportunity to look at them through binoculars or to film them.
The problem is not new, and indeed the paper says the problem means that nothing has been done to protect the resort's guests. Promises made to send guards along the path or to install warning systems have not been fulfilled, Apple writes.
Consumers' organizations say guests can sue the resort, the resorts call on the authorities to close down the path to outsiders - a measure which environmentalists oppose - but the old-fashioned advice from the paper is to lock yourself up: wear a towel when you leave the water, roll down the curtains, close the doors, and so on.
With a conservative mentality on the one hand, and the voyeurs on the loose on the other hand, it's no surprise that naturism will face the same tough problem. Any naturist resort or beach in Taiwan will have to be strictly guarded against voyeurs, and only the geographical environment of its location will help. A free, clothing-optional beach so prevalent in the West will be difficult to maintain. Too bad, but naturism is still a cause worth promoting.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Naturist cruises got a mention in Taiwan's English-language Taipei Times today, even if only in a larger report about specialist cruises in general.
Nudists do it, Christians do it, even dedicated Trekkies do it, the subtitle of the New York Times report from Boston goes. Needless to say, the article has a North American perspective. In the first four paragrafs or so, the writer, Richard Carpenter, introduces a cruise from Florida to the Caribbean next February carrying 1,250 naturists on board. Even larger ships will move naturists around the area on three other occasions next year.
The article quotes Bare Necessities Tour and Travel, by now the well-known organizer of such events, as saying that they can fill any size of vessel because the cruises are so popular. As you could expect, clothes have to be worn when going ashore, since the ships don't anchor at naturist resorts but at general tourist harbors on small islands. The dining rooms aboard the vessels are also rather formal and require clothes. That's a bit like the restaurants at the Croatian naturist resort I stayed at two years ago, the Valalta in Rovinj.
I'm not a cruise person myself, I see traveling by ship as a means of getting from one point to another, but it is encouraging to see that naturism can be expanded from static holidays to all kinds of means of transport. Remember those nude flights to Mexico?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Nude Art Class in China

A professor of art used himself and others as live models during a lecture about body art. The surprise is that this happened in China, the world's largest communist country, and therefore still relatively prudish on issues of nudity.
The Beijing News newspaper reported on a negative reaction from the government to the experiment, and news agency Reuters picked up on the report, allowing the world outside of China to learn about the incident.
The professor in the city of Changzhou took off all his clothes to emphasize the power of the body and to challenge taboos, the newspaper said. He then had four models - an elderly and a young couple - do the same during his lecture. He also apparently encouraged his students to undress, though the report doesn't specify if any of them did.
Instead, most of the students felt uneast, the paper said, and tried to look elsewhere.
Maybe, they never had nude modeling classes before. Even in China, as far as I know, it is already widespread to have people posing nude in art classes, but having a professor do so during a lecture was perhaps still too novel and shocking.