Giant Golden Dog
Last week, onlookers must have been surprised to see a huge, golden dog statue being offloaded from a transport truck. The dog is about 4 metres tall and bears some resemblance to Snoopy, the pooch from the famous Peanuts comic strip. It is currently being stored on the basketball courts. Will it become a school mascot or symbol? Is it destined to become part of some kind of larger display? Details will follow in coming weeks.
All of Taiwan received some much-needed rainfall last week with the first days of the seasonal plum rains. Many students and residents of Tainan were woken up two nights in a row by the loud peals of thunder accompanying heavy downpours. Conveniently, most of the rain fell during the night, making the morning and afternoon commutes to and from work much less dangerous than during the heavy rain.
However, the two days of rain was not nearly enough to bring the reservoirs to more comfortable levels. Another very dry winter has left southern reservoirs in dire need of rainfall. Currently, the Wushantou, Nanhua, and Zengwen Reservoirs are at about 30%, 35%, and 6% capacity respectively. Taiwan depends on rainfall, mostly in spring and summer, to replenish drinking water supplies. Most of the rainfall comes during the plum rain season and from the several typhoons that pummel the island every year.
The plum rains get their name from the persistent stationary front that forms as a result of moist air from the Pacific meeting cool, dry air formed over the Asian continent. The rains coincide with the ripening of plums and can last from one week to two months.
Drinking water is in short supply in Taiwan, especially in the south. Reservoir levels are at uncomfortably low levels, and residents should be mindful of their water use.
However, electricity is another resource that is all too often taken for granted. With several of the country’s nuclear reactors shut down for maintenance or other issues and several older oil and coal-fired plants retired, the amount of power available to residents and businesses is limited. With air-conditioning season in full swing, the nation’s electrical grid will be strained in the coming months.
Students at CIA have been urged to turn off lights when not in use and to be judicious in their use of air-conditioning. They have also been made aware that leaving doors and windows open while running air conditioners is extremely wasteful. The school for its part has installed solar panels on three buildings. This measure should ease the burden on the power grid. With abundant tropical sun year-round, southern Taiwan is an ideal place to take advantage of solar radiation for electricity generation.
President Tsai has pledged to make Taiwan nuclear-free by 2025. This deadline will arrive much faster than it sounds and the country will have had to make up the shortfall in power generation before then. Another polluting, coal-fired plant is slated to be built, but that will not be enough. Also, with the island’s air quality a serious issue in recent years, cleaner power plants are called for. In the meantime, people will have to conserve power whenever possible.
Mosquitoes on Campus
The past month has seen a huge increase in the mosquito population, at least on the CIA campus. With the humidity rising and plum rain season upon us, the problem will likely get worse before it improves. The student locker room has been especially rife with the biting pests. The General Affairs Office has been made aware of the problem, but it is not clear if any action has been taken. The mosquitoes have also been numerous in bathrooms, and going into them often necessitates taking a bug zapper with you.
With dengue fever a remote but possible threat, it is important to avoid getting bitten. Use mosquito repellent, bug zappers, or other means. Hopefully standing water areas are taken care of by the school as the pests breed in such places.
Mosquitoes have been a problem lately