Thursday, June 22, 2006

Nude No Nukes (3)

The plans by environmentalists to stage a real nude protest against nuclear energy on a beach in Northern Taiwan certainly didn't miss their effect. But even before the protest took place - June 26 is the date - police became overly interested and threatened to crack down.
The police wanted to use the law on protests and gatherings to ban the nude action, but the environmentalists struck back by describing their operation as a form of art, which would make nudity slightly more acceptable to the authorities, as we have seen before on this blog.
The organizers now say the police threats not only didn't force them to cancel the action, but even provoked wider public interest. A total of 16 men, and for the first time, 3 women, have promised to participate, the organizers say. The youngest protester is a 22-year-old middle school teacher, the oldest a 55-year-old professor.
As I am leaving Taiwan the day of the protest, I might not be able to report on it, but I'll try, and I wish the participants the best of luck. Their action might signify a major step toward acceptance of non-sexual public nudity in Taiwan.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Nude No Nukes (2)

The Taiwan Environmental Alliance is stepping up its campaign against the building of Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Plant - a project which has been on and off for about 20 years - by staging a nude protest on June 26.
Since the reactors will be located close to the coast, the action is entitled "Save the beaches of Yenliao and Fulung in the nude." I must immediately add here that the beaches concerned are not naturist beaches, since those of you who read my blog regularly or live in Asia are probably aware that naturism and even non-sexual nude recreation are strictly banned here.
What the campaigners are doing, is to present the content of their action to the media this Saturday. They will present a poster, postcards, flyers, and announce the number of participants in the June 26 protest.
According to today's United Daily News, so far 13 volunteers have turned up, all of them men. The paper says their ages range from 20 to 50, and publishes a picture of a naked man with the Chinese characters for "Oppose the Fourth Nuclear Plant" painted on his back. On the day, the participants will lie flat on their face in the sand making the same characters.
The organizers note that "nudity equals environmental protection, health, peace, cleanliness." We totally agree, and hope the protest doesn't meet with any resistance from the authorities because of its nude character.

Friday, June 09, 2006

World Naked Bike Ride

Today the World Cup starts, and tomorrow ... it's time to get on your bike ... naked!
Activists against the extensive use of cars and waste of natural resources have gotten together and declared June 10 the day for the World Naked Bike Ride.
The activity will take place simultaneously in at least 40 cities worldwide, including San Francisco, London and Brighton. While its purpose is essentially environmentalist, it will be a positive sign that non-sexual public nudity is acceptable. The purpose is not aggressive action against motorists - most of us drive a car sometimes - but also serves to underline that nudity is natural, just like cycling is.
As you can imagine, Taipei is not on the list of cities for the nude rides. Apart from the dreadful rainy weather we've been having for weeks now, there is the law which bans public nudity and which still hasn't been changed. There are environmentalists here staging 'nude' protests, but as you can guess from the way I just wrote the word, the 'nudity' is limited and partly faked just to fall within the limits of the law.
Wishing all you who can take part in the World Naked Bike Ride a happy day, I wished I could come with you. If you want to know if there is a city near you on the list, I advise you to consult the web site or and get your bike out, and your clothes off.

Near Nude Dance in Taipei

The Compagnie Marie Chouinard dance troupe from Canada is performing its work at the National Theater in Taipei today through Sunday.
According to the Taiwanese media, the piece 'bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERGvARIATIONS' _ yes, I know, but that's how the Taipei Times spells it, and I have no reason to doubt their authority in this _ is a ballet that explores the human condition and freedom. The dancers mix their bodies with a number of props ranging from metal bars to crutches and canes. The paper points out that Chouinard wants to use nudity only as "a manifestation of beauty and a vehicle for art," and not "as a provocation or a titillation." Good for her, we completely agree.
Unfortunately, the Taiwanese powers that be apparently had another interpretation. As the United Daily News writes, the dancers - I should say, the female members of the dance group - will be covering up their nipples with stickers because of what the paper calls Asian countries' limited acceptance of nudity. Funny, really, and I thought that a French theater group had only recently performed completely, men and women, together, at one of Taipei's most frequented theaters. Maybe, Marie Chouinard and her dancers could've done away with the stickers altogether, and have performed her piece, as originally intended, in the altogether.