Almost there

So after a long hiatus, I’ve decided that the Mcnab report should be the platform where Melody and I will share our move and life in New Zealand.

Just a head up.



Social customs for Taiwan. Part 1

Hi there fellow Say Taiwan delegates. Now I am sure most of you are really excited about your trip to Taiwan in August. I know I am, I can’t wait to get my hands onto some of their electronics… hmmmm. But that’s for another time.

So in a short series, of blog entries I am going to give you some advice on customs and traditions you should follow during your stay in Taiwan.

Removing shoes.

In most Taiwanese homes, guests are requested to take off their shoes. Your host may insist that you don’t have to, but you still have to. Your host has slipper lying close to the door. So take off your shoes when you enter a home.

Meeting and Greeting.

When entering a room, greet the eldest person in the room first. A good old handshake will do.
You may notice that the Taiwanese will look at the ground when they meet you for the first time. It’s a cultural respect thing. You don’t have to copy them.
When you meet someone for the first time, address them by their academic, professional or any other title they may have, followed by their surname.



The Taiwanese are a great gift giving people, so now that you are going to Taiwan and staying with a family. You should make sure that you too become one. So when you visit someone’s house, it is important that you bring a gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive, chocolates, wine,  or what ever you want.

When you present your gift, tradition dictates that it be presented with two hands and received with two hands. Your host will not open the gift in your presence. Unless you ask them to.

Just as it is customary for you the guest to give a gift to your host, it is likely that your host will give you a gift to. Like when you give a gift, don’t open your gift unless your host asks you to. When opening a gift in your hosts presence, do the following.

  • Open the wrapping carefully.
  • Avoid tearing or crumpling the paper.
  • The paper should be folded and put aside.
  • Do not rip the paper apart like a spoilt little brat.
  • Be sure to comment on how nice the paper is.

Gift hints:

  • The Taiwanese like food or good quality alcohol as gifts.
  • A gift may be refused the first time it is offered out of politeness. Keep trying to give the gift, but don’t force the issue.
  • Do not give knives, scissor or any other cutting utensil. As it indicates that you wish to sever the relationship.
  • Do not give clocks, handkerchiefs or straw sandals as they are associated with funerals and death.
  • Do not give white flowers or chrysanthemums as they signify death.
  • Do not wrap gifts in white, blue or black paper.
  • Do not give an odd number of gifts, since odd numbers are considered unlucky.
  • Four is also an unlucky number, so don’t give four of anything.
  • But, eight is a lucky number, so a gift made up of eight items brings luck to the recipient (yeah, that’s pretty common all over the world, give anyone eight gifts at a time and we all feel very lucky)
  • Avoid giving gifts that have been made in Taiwan.
  • Be sure to wrap your gift as elaborately as possible.

Business cards

Always carry business cards with you. When you meet someone, hand over your business card with both hands.When you are handed a business card, be sure to take it with both hands. Be sure read their business card before you put in your pocket.

So if you don’t have any business cards, Be sure to print some out before you go. If you really want to wow them, print English on the one side and Chinese on the other.

Taipai or bust

Egad, I’m going to Taipai. 2 Weeks in Taiwan. An organisation called SayTaiwan has invited 250 people from around the world to celebrate their 50th year of independence from China.

I am one of the luck few that get to go. I will be blogging, taking photos, video and all sorts of things leading up the 12th of August and up until the 26 of August.

So, if you’re keen to read about my adventures in Taiwan. Bookmark me.

Interesting video from Afghanistan

I found this great 30 minute documentary on about a Australian photographer in Afghanistan and his experience surviving a suicide bomb attack while traveling is Afghan solders.

Check it out, interesting watch

This is the type of journalism that I would love to do. Conflict journalism is something that must be amazing and terrifying at the same time

No Xenophobia in Port Elizabeth, Just opportunists

Most of Port Elizabeth no doubt was shocked to hear the news of the Xenophobic attacks that occurred on Saturday. Well I would like to assure those living in PE that nothing of the sort happened. Here is the story that you didn’t read in the news paper.

I received the call at about 10am Saturday morning, it seemed that my colleagues who were called first didn’t want to get out of bed or answer their cellphones. A contact in the SAPS gave me the call and told me get my ass down to Zwide, as there were looters and rioters everywhere. My self and the girl friend quickly threw on something and headed out to the scene of all the action.

According to our source, the whole thing started about 7am that same day. When a local chap got into an argument with Somalian shop owner. The shop owner acted as any rational person does, drawing a 9mm pistol and shooting him between the eyes. He then went back inside his shop, gathered some personal belongings and food. He then walked up to the body of the local chap and shot him twice again. He fled the scene. Now police have been saying that something like this is all it would take for a joburg 2 happening in Port Elizabeth. Over the next couple of hours news spread around zwide of what the shop owner had down and crowds of at first angry people gathered in front of the shop to burn the building down.

Police were already on the scene and only had to call for backup from the ever increasing crowd. As the day wore on the criminal element came to the party. People were racing from one Somali shop to the next, trying to steal what ever they could. 12 people were arrested for looting.

As the first shops were being looted police swarmed into Zwide, at least 150 police officers from all the districts came to the party, a special mention to all the reservists that also came, with out their help I am sure that things would have got out of hand. All armed with shot guns loaded with rubber bullets they camped out side Somali shops protecting them from opportunists.

As one shop was starting to be looted some community members kept the police informed about what was going on. The police radio would crackle with the location of the latest shop being looted, police would pile into their cars and high tail it to where the action was. With us trailing behind them, through the mud and rocky roads of the location. Nothing like driving at high speeds, on mud, with people all around you and gun shots going off in the background.

We arrived at a shop we had been to a couple of hours before. A looter ran from the shop, a police officer chased after him. The officer was able to hit him twice with rubber bullets. The pics below should tell the story. On a personal note, I shot this picture while driving and putting the camera outside the window and letting the shutter fly.

Police also arrested a couple of looters while we were around. A couple that thought it would be great idea to take some maize and a very thin woman.

The police had gotten a call from community members that a woman had stolen some rice, the arrived in force to the scene. Community members pointed out the woman who fled into someones shack. As she was being arrested a man holding a baby chased after the police and handed over what I assume is the womans child. Just take a look at the womans and babies face, it will tell you everything you need to know.

Police guarded Somali owned shops for hours, as the rain came in the crowds became less and less, a help hopefuls hang around in the pouring rain hoping to be the first into the shop when police left the scene.

While the Somali shops were under police guard the owners and families that ran the shops backed up everything that they could into bakkies and fled to a safe house in Durban road, Korstan. Crowds of locals were shouting get out foreigner as they sped under police escort to the safe house.

By about 5pm the action had died down and most of the people were back inside their homes. The PE police ready did a great job with what could have gotten out of hand quickly.

Cederville Adventure – Day 1 (Before the action)

Another boring day at work, that was until the editor coined onto the bright idea to get down to the sight of the latest bus crash. The bus lost control and went off the road, rolling down a hill. 24 people were killed.

The accident happened some place called cederville, past Umtata. Trying to drive that one day would be crazy considering how bad the roads are, plus the amount of live stock on the road. So we came up with a better plan. We would leave at haste, make a bee line straight for East London. Being 4 hours closer would make our trip a lot quicker and help us spend more time on the ground talking to family of those killed in the crash, plus those lucky ones that made it out of there alive.

We were given the keys to the company bakkie and headed out. We managed to get to East London in our company gas guzzler. I will give it to the company, the put us up in a awesome 4 star B&B called the White house.

I will keep you informed about the happenings of our awesome adventure. Plus I will be taking pictures. As for now, we must get to sleep. Cos there is talk of waking up for at 5am in the morning. Damn it! we will miss out on the breakfast and all that comes with it.