Jeremy Lin Takes to Taipei Streets in Hello Kitty Head

Jeremy Lin recently took a trip to Hong Kong and Taiwan and has pretty much mapped out a solution to the whole “hidden immigrant” problem. Lin—for those who don’t follow the NBA and aren’t conversant about “Linsanity”— is the 24-year-old Taiwanese-American who became an overnight sensation as a point guard with the New York Knicks and who now plays for the Houston Rockets.

If you’re a cross-cultural kid who travels back to your “homeland” but finds that you don’t quite fit in, you might want to follow Lin’s lead to make things easier: First, become wildly popular in a professional sport that’s wildly popular around the globe. That way, people will know all about you before you arrive, and they won’t care about your language skills or your grasp of local culture. They’ll simply want to get your autograph and snap your photo. Next, when you realize that your celebrity makes you a prisoner in your hotel room, and you want to escape to play some streetball, borrow a giant Hello Kitty head for the perfect disguise. (At least that seemed to work with the Taipei paparazzi.)

Watch the video below to see a scripted look at Lin’s adventures in Taipei, including his airport arrival, his hotel escape, and his evening of playing basketball on public courts in the city. It was put together as a promo for an upcoming 60 Minutes segment on Lin, scheduled for this fall:

I assume 60 Minutes will delve into Lin’s cross-cultural experiences. I hope they also ask him about the role his Christian faith has played in his outlook on life. It’s a big part of his story. In fact, Lin closed out his 9-day trip to Taiwan by sharing about his beliefs at an event titled “Jeremy Lin’s Miracle Night.”

Here’s what I wrote about Lin for a newsletter back when he first came on the scene in the NBA two years ago, followed by a video from NBA.com detailing his rise to stardom:

Jeremy Shu-how Lin, a second-generation Taiwanese American has become the first person of Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA. Even though he was undrafted coming out of college, the Golden State Warriors signed him to a two-year contract before the current season began, making the 6’ 3” Lin the first Harvard graduate to join the NBA in 57 years. In 2009, Time featured Lin in an article, discussing his faith in reference to his calm demeanor in the face of racial taunts from opposing fans:

Lin’s maturity could lead him to the ministry. A devout Christian, Lin, who is an economics major, is considering becoming a pastor in a church near his Palo Alto home. “I’ve never really preached before,” Lin says. “But I’m really passionate about Christianity and helping others. There’s a beauty in seeing people change their lifestyles for the better.”

(Jeff Schapiro, “‘Jeremy Lin’s Miracle Night’ Marks End of Star’s Tour of Taiwan,” Christian Post, September 3, 2012; Sean Gregory, “Harvard’s Hoops Star Is Asian. Why’s That a Problem?” Time, Dec. 31)

[photo: “Hello Missy,” by Nawal, used under a Creative Commons license]

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Books in Their Natural Habitats

When we were in Taipei, one of our favorite trips was to visit the huge Page One bookstore at the base of the world’s tallest building, Taipei 101. Time moves on . . . Taipei 101 is now the second-tallest building, Page One has been downsized—and we don’t live there anymore. Oh well.

If you like books, and the places where they reside, Emily Temple at Flavorwire has served up some great photos of libraries and bookstores around the world. Books haven’t gone out of style yet. Here’s hoping they never do. These are some amazing places:

For the next collection of photos, I suggest the biggest and most cluttered used-book stores in the world. Any nominations?

By the way, did you know that today the US is celebrating World Book Night? Here, world means “the US, Britain, Germany, and Ireland.” Night means “day” and “afternoon” and “evening.” And book actually means “book,” as volunteers in the US are giving away 500,000 paperbacks (in Great Britain, they’re handing out 1 million). Anna Quindlen, World Book Night honorary chairwoman, says the event is “like an intellectual Halloween, only better. . . . We’re giving out books, not just Mars bars.”

(Bob Minzesheimer, “World Book Night Celebrates Reading with Paperback Handouts,” USA Today, April 22, 2012)

[photo: “Books,” by Brenda Clarke, used under a Creative Commons license]

Welcome to Clearing Customs

During our 10 years as missionaries in Taipei, Taiwan, we wrote about 120 newsletters. In each one, we included a small section on some news coming out of Taiwan, a fact about the country, or an insight on Chinese culture. When we came back to the States in 2011, we switched the topic from Taiwan to globalization. Globalization means different things to different people, but the aspect we focused on is how the world is shrinking and cultures are more and more interacting with and affecting each other.

Soon, we’ll write our last newsletter, but I wanted to continue gathering and sharing information on the aspects of globalization that interest me. The first few posts come from our newsletter, so some go back a little while, but I’ll be catching up soon. Thanks for joining me.

Craig

[the photo is of a sculpture at Taiwan’s Taoyuan International Airport. Ahhhh, memories: by T.CSH, used under a Creative Commons license]