Posted by: sea2stars | September 21, 2009

A Birthday to Remember

I was very excited for my birthday. I bought a new red dress last weekend and chopped my hair off and was excited to show my friends my new look. For my birthday I invited a few friends out to a small bar, called the Mango Bar, just up the street from where I live. The foreigners here are a close knit group and about 20 people came out. We were having a nice time, sharing some cake, and having a drink on the patio.



At around 11:15 pm a man came down in his blue and white checkered pajamas and started yelling at us. The owner came out to see what was going on and then he really started yelling at her. My Taiwanese friend, Christine, was translating for me and told me that he was upset because we were making to much noise. No one was making a lot of noise. No one was drunk or belligerent or loud. We were just talking to each other. The man yelling was much louder than we were.

There were a few Taiwanese people in the bar too and then they started yelling at the man in the checkered pajamas. From what I gathered, the guy at the bar was telling the man in the checkered pajamas that we were not being loud and that he was much louder than us and was out of line for yelling at us. This made the man in the checkered pajamas even more angry and they continued yelling until the guy at the bar through his chopsticks at him. Now I don’t know if throwing chopstick is a big offense or not, but I like to think that is was a big insult.

A few minutes later the police showed up (I’m pretty sure the man called the police before coming down and yelling). I thought this was rather funny and eventful so I started to take a few pictures to document my birthday in Taiwan. Well the wife of the man in the checkered pajamas was not happy with this at all and started screaming “NO PICTURES, NO PICTURES.” I put my camera away at that point, even though I desperately wanted a picture with the police man, because I thought this was all very eventful.


At this point more people were arriving and some of my friends left. I personally didn’t want the guy in the checkered pajamas to win and ruin my birthday, so I stayed. From the small amount of translation I got, the man into the checkered pajamas wanted us to leave, but the owner suggested to him that we go inside the bar instead. Apparently this was unsatisfactory to him and then they really started screaming at each other. At this point we were all huddled in a corner and very quite as watching the sence unfold before us. I wish I knew chinese so that I could have understood what was going on. The police man wasn’t really doing much and from my perspective he seemed to be taking the owners side.


Things didn’t get much better after this. After the owner and the man in the checkered pajamas had yelled it out, his wife started yelling at the police. One of the foreigners can speak chinese, so the police came over and started talking to him. Apparently the cops wanted to confiscate our cameras. I guess the wife was outraged that we had taken pictures and wanted them to be deleted.

My new friend told us all to just go home and he explained to me that by law the cops can’t do anything unless they can speak to you in English; they have to be able to tell you what you are being charged with to arrest you. Their are actually special foreign affair police to help chinese police translate. I’ve also been told, that unless it’s a hug offense, the Chinese police will get into big trouble for calling the foreign police, that is at least in Chiayi. At this point a second cop car showed up with 3 more police. I don’t really like confrontation, especially when I can’t understand anything and I’ve done nothing wrong, so I decided it was time for me to leave.

The party broke up and we all started to scatter. My friend Susan and I started walking down the hill to my apartment, when my new translating friend came walking past us with an escort of police. He said he was going to grab a soda from the minimart and that everything was just fine. Things didn’t look fine and I’m not yet sure what became of him. But I have a feeling this was not his first time to be involved with the police and I’m sure he knows his rights. Either way I know my rights and it’s not illegal for me to take pictures. So enjoy them.




  1. Your 27!! Check your liscense and or passport if you don’t believe me!

  2. Happy Birthday!

  3. Funny story – did you get a shot of the MITCPJ’s? I don’t see him. Happy Birthday and I love the haircut and red dress.

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