Ever wondered why there are so many rubber ducks on sale in Keelung?
Here is your answer: for Chinese New Year 2014 some in city hall thought it was a great idea to have a giant rubber duck in port. Designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, these ducks had become popular in Southeast Asia. There already had been some trouble with strong winds in Kaohsiung, so they set about adjusting the flotation device to a locally made submerged barge. So far so good.
After one week the duck became quite smudged by the soot deposits of heavy fuel oil burned by ships - so they scrubbed down the duck. When the weather finally improved on December 31, 2013, my husband and I decided to come down from our mountain view of the port to go have a look for ourselves. Alas, on the taxi ride down to the Maritime Plaza the news spread quickly - the duck had split open and deflated. "Forgot to install a pressure vent" for the expanding air on a first sunny day... Sorry ! Bu Hao Yi Si as they love to say here when things go wrong, bowing profusely.
Life goes on: to spin out this grand theme, the city then installed a giant Yellow Chicken ashore. Looked too much like Hofman's borrowed bathtub idea ? No problem - mei wen ti: 沒問題 (Mei2 Wen4 Ti2) so we ended up with a "black chicken". Giant Inflatables are still a craze in Taiwan for any occasion, to make things ever so cute.