December 29, 2016 § Leave a comment




November 5, 2009 Comments Off on HELLO

Me in 2007

Me in 2007







By John Harding

November 5, 2009 Comments Off on By John Harding


 1.   Formosa today (how Australian cities could look in 2060).

2.  Taiwan- a ‘kaleidoscope’ of  quality and innovation, plus friendly people.


This blog is a collection of pictures and  captions 

from about 20+ visits made 2002 to 2016.

‘Tips for Foreigners’ in LINKS.


May 26, 2017 § Leave a comment



The round house at 39 NanHai Road, Taipei.  You’ll need to read Chinese or have a translator with you to know what the dishes are. We arrived early to get video of the food before others arrived.  The work in preparing everything would be huge.  Could never be possible in Australia.  Feast your eyes on this ‘slightly a bit-long’ video.  The location is half a dozen blocks south from North Gate to where NanHai Road should be then turn right.  Will return there next visit.

(Also within the same unique-styled building are several art shops downstairs).

Main entrance, restaurant on top floor.

Craft shop bowl, and the stairs to downstairs.


May 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

Surgery and other treatments including acupuncture is available and is affordable. Most patients are from international embassies. An untapped opportunity exists for Australian travelers seeking world-standards providing extra care.

Americans, Canadians, British, French, German and Australians are VIP’s.  In fact all foreigners are VIP’s.  Many are from the embassies (aka trade offices) in Taipei.

The International Medical Service provides an English-speaking nurse-guide. At my request, ‘Sharon’ showed us the traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture clinic in a nearby building.

“The Veterans Memorial Hospital has 3000 patients daily and more than 30 operating theatres” said my guide Sharon, “it is always busy”.  With my appointed English-speaking guide, locating the various departments within the 19 floor building, was easy.

Choosing surgery in a foreign land where there is little English spoken is an adventure to be explained in my book “Foreigners are VIP’s in Taiwan”.

Worth noting, all three surgeons I met spoke fluent English.  Choosing to come to Taipei from Australia for medical help was a good decision.  I have a feeling that Taiwanese are more professional due to their  different lifestyle.  Nursing care had to be different too, I thought, as elderly people are treated with a respect that is no longer common in Australia and western countries.

“This hospital is known for treating many Taiwanese over the age of eighty”, said Sharon.

Meanwhile I’m contemplating eye surgery in Taipei at this hospital, even although such treatment would be free for me in Australia.


FISH PRINTING (Taipei Times); Green Island restaurant

May 9, 2017 § Leave a comment


GREEN ISLAND – pictures from my visit in 2003

Excellent water  – 100 foot visibility.

Fish printing in restaurant.




CKS CADILLAC in Memorial Hall (Video)

May 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

This 1956 Cadillac is one of two Chiang vehicles within the huge memorial hall at Taipei.

A still photo on the wall partially shows WH Donald (behind CKS and wearing glasses) the Australian journalist who was a huge help to CKS and credited with saving the life of his wife Madame Soong.

With connection to newspapers and magazines in USA,  WH Donald was able to promote CKS to the world.  Time and LIFE magazines survive today with his articles on the Chiang (Republic of China) and Mao’s Chinese communists joint war effort against Japan.

TRIVIA: WH Donald would not eat Chinese food – which must have been interesting.  Upon his death Chiang gave him a state funeral  – how much of his grave would be left today after the Cultural Revolution?  Donald is therefore almost forgotten yet in his era was known as “Donald of China”.  (See Wikipedia link below which contains his some of interesting story).

Meanwhile in Taiwan the numerous statues of the former dictator are regularly vandalized by students with many already removed and in storage. The name of CKS Memorial Hall may be changed before long, the big question is  what will become of the huge bronze statue of Chiang inside the upper hall where there is a changing of the guard every one hour watched by hundreds of tourists?

Years ago I could not help comparing CKS Memorial Hall with Gracelands in Memphis USA where there should also be a couple of Cadillacs from the same era.

Donald of China (Wikipedia)

SPIRITUALITY TAIWAN – Linda Gail Arrigo’s experiences.

April 1, 2017 § Leave a comment

Linda Gail Arrigo  (11 March 2017).


“On Saturday March 11, 2017, I had occasion to take an Australian visitor, John Harding, on a tourist excursion, and chose to go to Chihnan Temple, the famous and historic temple of Lu Dong-ping, one of the Eight Immortals, in the hills on the southeast edge of the Taipei basin. At an elevation of about 360 meters, it is also a popular tourist destination because of the 20-minute cable car that soars over the forests of the Taipei Zoo area; and in spring the azaleas are blooming profusely. In the past ten years I have on many occasions taken foreign visitors to see the temple “seer”, Mr. Guo, who believes that his powers and knowledge are transmitted from the Immortal Lu, a deity particularly adept in medical practice; and though past incidents it could be presented that Mr. Guo may have at least telepathic capacities”.

“Having heard from my elder sister that mother was steadily but slowly sinking due to advancing dementia, on March 11 I asked Mr. Guo to pray that Nellie (mother) would pass away quickly and painlessly. Mr. Guo said that he would transmit that request, and that Jesus would come to receive mother into the next world, because Jesus is the deity in charge in the Christian part of the world.

As it happened, within less than 48 hours Nellie evidenced an episode portending impending death”.



(Linda concludes  – details of her return visit to the temple 10 days later just after her mother’s death).


Mr Guo applying stamps to Linda’s documents concerning her mother.


“I gave Mr. Guo the several pages of printout of Nellie’s (Linda’s mother) obituary and photos, which included her date and place of birth, standard information for communication with the spirits. Mr. Guo said that because Nellie had done good deeds all her life and accumulated abundant good karma, she would not be subjected to rebirth. He drew an elaborate diagram of the layers of the heavens, and said that she had ascended to the realm of “tai ji” (great extreme), not yet to the height of “wu ji” (boundless), and that in that realm there were five sectors: north, south, east, and west, as well as center. She was in the west sector that was governed both by Jesus and by Buddha, and that she would slowly rotate between the two for thirty years, while showering blessings on her descendants, before moving on to the higher realm. I expressed to Mr. Guo the hope that her grandson Roger would inherit Nellie’s generosity and sweet disposition, and he said that was likely to happen. He concentrated over the papers I brought with a hand gesture of blessing, and then proceeded to place a large charm printed on yellow paper next to it, and to stamp the paper with a large seal he took out of his desk, wetting the seal with the usual red wax ink in a box. Here I took pictures. Mr. Guo said he would keep the papers on the altar of the Immortal Lu for a while; usual practice is to burn the papers to transmit the message up to heaven. We bowed and left”.


Mr Guo’s stamp impressions.


“PS. Was it more than a coincidence that Nellie began to slip from life less than two days after the March 11 request to Mr. Guo? We can neither confirm nor disprove supernatural forces of the universe. We do have an apparent precedent. About five years ago I brought a German woman named Ulrika to see Mr. Guo; she requested that he help her 87-year-old mother overcome her constant and intense anxiety and fear of death. Mr. Guo prayed, and Ulrika herself felt better. When she returned to Germany a few days later, she found her mother calm. Or if belief in the spirits is merely human self-consolation, then so be it”. 


Book “A Borrowed Voice” (2008)



IN TAIPEI – DONGMEN MRT Exit 5 (YongKang Street)

March 29, 2017 § Leave a comment

Brief look at the area popular with Japanese and Korean tourists.  Much more to see than what time permits here in winter 2017.

In summer the MANGO ICE store is a big attraction.  Sliced mango on snow ice.  The shop closed for a few years and has since reopened and made the entire area prosperous again.


March 24, 2017 § Leave a comment