THE JANUARY, 2017 ISSUE IS OUT NOW!
Letter From The Publishers
In a Taichung that continues to become more orderly, regulated, affluent and westernized, I sometimes find myself craving something exotic in an old Asia/Taiwan sort of way. And, in my opinion, nothing screams "exotic" in this city more than Central district's ASEAN Square (known until recently as First Square) and the charmingly disheveled neighborhood around it.
Day or night, but particularly on weekend/holiday evenings, I delight in lingering on the narrow streets here, absorbing the sights, smells and sounds that take me back, not only to a Taichung of 20-30 years ago, but also much further away to Manila, Bangkok, Saigon and Jakarta. This includes the pungent aromas of Southeast Asian cooking wafting from narrow alleys, sounds of Vietnamese karaoke singing, a hodgepodge of signs in Indonesian, Thai, Tagalog and Vietnamese, streets crowded with vehicles and pedestrians of various nationalities, and somewhat dilapidated storefronts selling all manner of products. ASEAN Square's interior is a also a beehive of stores, restaurants, hotels, karaokes, pool halls, discos and other businesses that make for fun explorations. I know this may not be equally appealing for all of you, but I truly love it.
Since Compass Magazine last featured "Little Southeast Asia" on its cover back in September, 2009, some things have changed here, although fortunately the essential elements have remained the same. It is also great to see the Taichung City Government valuing and promoting the unique attributes of this community, not just for the tens of thousands of Southeast Asians who work in central Taiwan but for all residents and visitors. I know Compass Co-Publisher Donovan Smith enjoys "Little Southeast Asia" for many of the same reasons that I do and it is his cover story that takes you on a grand tour this month.
December was a festive festivity-filled month, from new year's eve parties and the very successful Taichung AmCham KIDZ Charity Gala (see 2-page "thank you" ad) to the absolutely charming, nightly Christmas fair on the Taichung City Hall plaza that provided so much entertainment for the city's littlest ones and their parents. Now I'm sure all of you are looking forward to some real time off with family and friends during the lunar new year holiday.
On behalf of all of us here at Compass Magazine, warmest wishes to all of you for a Happy and Prosperous Year of the Roster!