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Latinos in Taiwan Pt. 3: Chicano hip hop scene

Posted September 22, 2009 2:48 am (about 3728 days ago)

It’s no secret that people in Asia are fascinated by hip hop, with countries such as Japan cultivating a massive scene including sub-genres such as Chicano rap. Although Taiwan’s scene is not as developed, it’s steadily growing and makes huge strides every time I visit. As far as I can tell, there’s relatively little that’s been written about this scene so I wanted to explore a little bit. But to properly address this issue, I need to set up some personal context.

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Latinos in Taiwan Pt. 2: El Gallo Restaurant and Brass Monkey Salsa Night

Posted September 12, 2009 7:30 pm (about 3738 days ago)

This may be the shorter of my three postings on this topic as my conversations with Isa, one of the owners of the El Gallo restaurant, and Jorge, the founder of Latinos Taiwan, were super short. However, in my effort to learn more about the Latino community in Taiwan, every little bit of information counted! During my brief visit I wasn’t focused primarily on finding out everything Latino so I took whatever I could get.

Latinos in Taiwan Part 1: Eddy’s Cantina

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Latinos in Taiwan Part 1: Eddy’s Cantina

Posted September 10, 2009 1:44 am (about 3741 days ago)

As a Taiwanese Mexican, it should come as no surprise that during my visits to Taiwan I’ve often sought out “my people.” To be clear, I’m not a Mexican who grew up in Taiwan, nor a Taiwanese who grew up in Mexico. My mother is Taiwanese and my father is Mexican American. As such, I’ve been particularly interested in exploring the topic of Mexicans and Latinos in Taiwan specifically. Although I was born in Taipei, except for a brief stint in elementary school I’ve only returned in short spurts to visit family as my immediate family spent time in Italy and throughout the U.S.

In my past visits to Taiwan I’ve tried out Mexican restaurants, salsa nights, and even trying to track down a guy by the name of DJ Chicano. I had some good conversations with Taiwanese locals who told me about Mexicans living in Taiwan, including their own spouses at times, but for a number of reasons I was just never able to connect with anyone beyond a handshake or two. However, in recent months I became aware of not one, but TWO restaurants in Taipei owned by actual Mexicans, as well as a Bolivian-owned one in Kaoshiung. This was unlike the other restaurants I had sampled, which were not Mexican owned. Furthermore, I came across a new organization called Latinos Taiwan. This new information proved to be the final push I needed to book a flight home ASAP!

Due to the wonders of the internet I was able to contact both restaurant owners and the founder of Latinos Taiwan. Unfortunately, time was limited and I was only able to have a proper conversation with Eddy, of Eddy’s Cantina, and even that was too short. Nonetheless, all three were friendly and open and I will be back to learn more about the Latino Taiwanese community. There is so much to explore: the experience of Latinas, the experience of their children, visa and language issues, the role of race (having stronger African or indigenous features versus more European)—to name a few. At any rate, here’s part one of this most recent visit.

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