Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Summer of 2012

Welcome to the Summer of 2012.
So far, a scorcher if you live in the United States, Mediterranean Europe or Taiwan and Southern China. A bleak April-like washout if you live in Great Britain, Western Europe and, I believe, Japan.
I hope the picture from a Club Orient ad at least makes you dream of being at a naturist resort, even though because of circumstances beyond your control, such as the weather, you are unable to be there in person and body.
I'm in a part of Asia now where daily temperatures climb to 38 degrees Celsius. While sounding great to naturists in other parts of the world, this kind of heat actually chases people away from the open into dark rooms where the air conditioning rules. It's just too hot outside, and staying in the sun for just a short while might have undesired effects.
Despite that warning, hundreds of young people have been getting out to beach festivals and enjoy music and sea in various stages of undress, but not complete nudity. That might change, if we have to believe a recent report in the local media.
Taiwan is considering planning its first-ever nude beach. I use the words 'consider' and 'plan,' because we've heard this kind of story many times before. Everyone's aware that there are nude beaches in the West, but hardly anybody in Taiwan has ever seen them. In a country where even women in bikinis make TV news, it will be hard for a nude beach to give naturists the privacy they need from gawkers, Peeping Toms and cell phone cameras. The politician in charge of the Tainan area in Southern Taiwan where a stretch of the Masago Beach might go naturist points out correctly that there might be more gawkers than actual bathers.
That's why, in a country like Taiwan, I would much prefer a closed-off beach, where outsiders can't enter or pass by, and where only real nudists can move in and enjoy their days naked.
Nevertheless, even the fact that such a beach is being suggested, is a major step forward. One of the arguments of the proponents is financial, that the nude beach will bring more people to stay and consume. This argument shows that even the brighter minds around know about the economic effects of naturism. More naturism means more guests, more spending, more tourism funding, more income for the local economy.
I hope that nude beach will come to Tainan, but I know it's going to be a long struggle, with all kinds of arguments against from what is basically still a very conservative society when it comes to nudity. Breasts and other body parts in foreign movies or news reports about events like the World Naked Bike Ride are still blurred by 'mosaics' on Taiwan TV, and commercials for cosmetics or soaps barely show any nudity. As I said, even bikinis - commonplace in Europe for 40 years - are still a news item here, with young women venturing on to the beach and into the water wearing T-shirts and sometimes even long frilly dresses.
Luckily, there is a more international, younger, freer generation coming about. They don't mind showing their bodies, they are not afraid of more nudity, some of them are even open to joining naturist groups which so far only organize events like karaoke nights at hotels or hikes in remote mountain areas.
I can only hope that the summer of 2012 will be remembered for the first steps in the direction of Taiwan's first-ever naturist beach. Which could be an Asian first as well.
The media story about the Tainan nude beach proposal is here:

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