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On the lighter side: illegal buildings and campus ghosts (July 5-11)
Central News Agency
2014-07-12 09:59 AM
Taipei, July 12 (CNA) Not all news is bad news. The following is a look at some of the softer stories in Taiwan over the past week that, for whatever reason, did not quite make it to press in English. *Reaching for the sky* It's not uncommon to see additional floors illegally added on top of old three- or four-story residential buildings in Taiwan, but a homeowner in in Kaohsiung took it to the next level -- or five levels, to be exact. The Apple Daily reported July 7 that a homeowner surnamed Lee in the southern city nearly tripled the height of his three-story home by adding three new makeshift floors and a two-story rooftop pigeon coop. "It's built firm," contended Lee, who has spent 22 years and millions of Taiwan dollars (US$33,413 and up) on his frankenbuilding. His neighbors are less at ease with the towering monstrosity on a major road, especially considering its foundation was built with just three stories in mind. City officials were notified of the disaster-waiting-to-happen back in 2011 but did not mobilize demolition crews until July 10, after the issue was put under the media spotlight, because they were busy taking down other, presumably similarly absurd, illegal towers. *The power of the Office of Student Affairs compels you* Ghosts, zombies and all manner of spooky spirits have been officially banned from the campus of Taiwan's most prestigious university. The China Times reported July 9 that National Taiwan University on Tuesday told students they can no longer run about at night dressed as monsters to scare their friends (apparently a common practice at the renowned school). The reason: it's not the students who are being scared, but the teachers. The ban comes after a professor and research assistant were "nearly scared to death" when they left a school building shortly after 11 p.m. Monday to find a pale-faced student in what looked like a bloodied white robe darting out from the bushes. A snarky Web user called the ban a good tool for separating the fake ghouls on campus from the real ones: "If you see a ghost in the future, just go at it with a stick!" *Oodles of noodles* Bargain hunters crowded into a standing-room-only Justice Ministry auction of seized items in New Taipei Wednesday, but instead of computers or luxury goods, one of the hottest lots on the auction block was 41 cardboard boxes housing 1,230 packages of instant noodles. TVBS-NEWS reported July 10 that after a fierce bidding war, one lucky man secured the treasure trove of precooked noodles -- literally enough for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for a year -- for just NT$11,100 (US$371). He plans to put some of it to good use as offerings for the Ghost Festival next month. The starting price for the huge haul was just over NT$5,000 but grew as enthusiastic (and probably hungry) members of the public offered 11 separate bids. Still, the winning bid was only about half of the market price for the popular snack food. The noodles and other food and drink were confiscated from an Internet cafe that owes NT$9.6 million in back taxes and various fines. The inedibles, including computers and peripheral equipment, will also be put up for auction, though it remains to be seen whether they will prove as popular among the notoriously food-loving Taiwanese public. (By Wesley Holzer)
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