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2011 OEC Taipei Ladies Open

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The final of the 2011 OEC Taipei Ladies Open (2011 臺北海碩國際女子網球公開賽) in tennis was staged this afternoon at the Taipei Arena. The family went to watch, but we only stayed for a couple of games. My four-year-old daughter had a sore throat and incurred the stink-eyed wrath of the aisle monitor for coughing a couple of times.

The finalists this year were Kimiko Date-Krumm (Japan), a former top-ten player, and Ayumi Morita (Japan), the 2009 winner. Actually, I really can't talk about this match much because I was only able to see about 15 minutes of play. I'm just out to post a couple of pictures and then get on to my segue. Here are my observations: The crowd for this year's final was bigger than last year's. The bottom section of the arena, minus the end zones, was packed. There was a long line of people waiting to come in on every changeover. Matches for the Taipei Ladies Open were, as in previous years, free with the same deal for the final: donate a receipt (in Taiwan, receipts have lottery numbers on them) in exchange for an entrance ticket. Today I witnessed bad serving and long rallies. Morita was stronger while Krumm had more finesse, though she was having trouble getting the slice backhand to work. The former's strength advantage shouldn't be that surprising: I just googled and she is Krumm's junior by 20 years! Morita is currently ranked 54th in the world. Krumm checks in at 114.

Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan returns service at the 2011 Taipei Ladies Open

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On a non-related note, let's get on to what's going on outside my apartment. It's now 8:35 p.m. and a performance is taking place on stage erected in the middle of the street below. I live on the eighth floor and still the walls are vibrating. The concert seems to have three cycles. First, an obnoxious host shouts into a mic. Then we get to the dance stage: a couple of female dancers in bikinis trying to pull off a synchronized dance set of some sort. I think they're attempting hip hop, but I can't be sure. It doesn't take long to realize doing this crappy dance routine on a hot Sunday night in the middle of my street in Wanhua (萬華) isn't exactly the girls' idea of fun. Both dancers stare off into space. Their movements are rigid yet sluggish and uninspired. As they sleepwalk through the steps, it's like they're trying to touch marks on the stage. Every now and then, one of them, to the delight of the crowd, punctuates the show with a lackadaisical shoulder wiggle. When they're done, it's on to the Taiwanese ballads. There isn't a band or anything like that. Instead, it's an old croner backed up by stereo-fed KTV music. And the guy is pretty much eating the mic. There isn't clarity at any moment in his pieces.

I recorded the following on my iPhone at 7:20. It's close to nine and the host is still going on. Why the cops haven't shut this thing down is beyond me. I've been to parties with 15 people and they've shown up. There is even a police station at the end of the street.




*****

Victoria Linchong's documentary on Taiwan post-WWII is coming out. I'll throw up some links: www.almosthometaiwan.com. If you want to RSVP, please go to http://almosthometaiwan.eventbrite.com/   






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