Tuesday, December 3, 2013

'30 Home Games' meets 'Taiwan Sometimes': Viral Video mission to dance in 100 different Countries

I haven't met too many people with missions on the road, when I have they've been light and usually halfhearted. That said there are no shortage of epic travel missions crawling the web and circling the Globe.
I met an unassuming man in a Popayán hostel in Colombia, he mentioned being in a parade days earlier with the President in attendance. He showed me his photos amongst locals in traditional costume, nothing out of the ordinary so far.

I generally don't gravitate towards indigenous or traditional cultures, being a city kid I'm more interested in modern subcultures and communities. My basketball mission is a testament to that. That said I'm ultimately interested in humanity, what gives purpose and brings joy. This is common in all people and cultures.
'30 Home Games' meets 'Taiwan Sometimes'
(Note: You'll notice Ed rocking this KD35 jersey in his Viral vids)
Through further conversation my dorm-mate Ed explained his plans for South America. He was traveling to film a costumed character from Taiwanese folklore, planning to dance with colorful locals in each place. Colombia was his 63rd Country. The first video was shot in India 2011 and drew inspiration from the popular "Where the hell is Matt" clips.

VIDEO: Where the hell is that Taiwan guy? (South America 2012)

Ed's mission is to promote cultural awareness of Taiwan which he feels doesn't have global exposure because of the long shadow cast by China. I mentioned Taiwan had appeared on my radar because of a visible tourism campaign in Sydney and the meteoric rise of basketball star Jeremy Lin. He replied with a curt "So?" which gave me pause.

Does knowing one famous person from a Country mean you know the place? I realised how absurd my logic was. It's something I've pondered when I've tried to connect to people and where they're from through basketball. Interestingly Ed mentioned that Taiwan wasn't able to compete in the London Olympics under its own flag which demonstrates the complicated politics they have to contend with. It also speaks to the reach and symbolism of sport.

When you travel you meet so many people and visit so many places that most of the insight you gleam is superficial. Personally I don't feel it makes it less profound, curiosity and experience are the keys to awareness and we can choose to go deeper once the doors are open. It was a pleasure meeting Ed, we compared notes on the challenges of pursuing a mission but also the great relationships and opportunities that arise from them. Admittedly his aims are far loftier and meaningful than mine.

Ed in 'Desierto De La Tatacoa', Colombia (Facebook)
Check out Ed's pursuits below:
- Like 'Taiwan Sometimes' Facebook page
- View Ed Wu's Youtube Channel
I encourage you to connect with him if he ever comes down your neck of the woods :)

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