When viewed from an airplane, the Penghu archipelago is supposed to look like a jade necklace. However, even under clear skies, they seem to be covered by haze that even the typhoons Maisha, Coral, Taili, and Butterfly could not dissipate.
Taiwan is a green island surrounded by blue seas (a good place for the military-minded to build up a “Blue Water Fleet”), with many wonderful places for viewing the ocean, including the Pacific coast, the town of Jiufen, and the mouth of Danshui River. However, what can be done about the layer of smoke that always seems to float above the sea’s surface?
The sky above Taiwan is not pure blue either; its color is diluted by a layer of light fog. Perhaps this is the “ash blue” mentioned in Su Huilun’s song.
The 101 Tower standing in the bowl of Taipei, the so-called world’s tallest, is said to be modeled after a Buddhist scepter and implies a prayer for blessings, but it actually acts as a beacon directing the world’s attention to the irrepressible, pent-up haze that fills valley.
Zhuang Liwei is working at Jinan University Research Institute for Southeast Asia. Translated by Adrian Lu