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My thread on Taiwanese urbanism proved unexpectedly popular so I thought I would share another Taiwan story with you all

to begin properly, I have to tell you something about my father-in-law, who is a remarkable dude
I previously described Dad as a Taiwanese redneck but it is more accurate to say he is rural aristocracy; his dad was head of the village back in the days when Taiwan was ruled by Japan.

Dad is a smart, gregarious dude who has had a wildly varied career.
Dad started out as a teacher in Taiwan. Then he decided "screw this, Imma go to Japan to study international law" (ruled by Japan as a kid, remember; Japanese was practically his first language), wound up working for the Taiwanese embassy in Japan. Lived in Japan 12 years.
Gregarious guy + perfect Japanese + learns about trade stuff working for the embassy + hails from agricultural region = a thriving agricultural import-export business, mostly to Japan, after he leaves the embassy.

What I'm getting at: Dad's circle of friends is *kind of wide.*
Dad's friends, while from wildly diverse backgrounds, tend to have a certain personal quality in common: they are unshakingly loyal to their friends.

Filtering for this yielded Dad an interesting array of buddies:

* certain businessmen
* military
* cops

and, er

* mobsters
It was not unheard of for mobsters and cops to sit down to drink together at Dad's table, having punched out on the clock like the coyote and sheepdog in the cartoon

which explains how I'm telling a story about Dad's friend the mob boss

come with me back to 1950s Taiwan
Dad's international career is still before him; he is a young man teaching in southern Taiwan, and everybody has big families and these are small towns and he grew up there so he knows evvvvvverybody, and one guy he knew as a kid had become a prominent local mob boss.
One day the mob boss and some mutual friends drop by Dad's school at the end of the day, invites Dad to come with them and stuff his face with food and booze.

The crowd winds up on the second floor of a fancy restaurant, feasting. Eventually the mob boss has to take a leak.
The mob boss heads downstairs to take a leak.

Except, whoops, there's already somebody on the narrow stairs. The somebody is a young tough from out of town.

He is not going to move aside for the mob boss.

The mob boss is not going to move aside for him, either.
The mob boss says, "Get out of my way."

The young tough says, "Get out of *my* way."

Neither moves.

The young tough says, "Do you know who I am?"

The mob boss says, "No."

The young tough says, "I'm from the *North.*"

Which means, get out of my way, you ignorant bumpkin.
They are nose to nose there, on the narrow stairs.

The mob boss says, "Do you know who *I* am?"

The young tough says, "No."


And with that the mob boss boots the young tough *right down the stairs* like
The young tough lands *hard* at the bottom of the stairs. The mob boss enjoys the sight for a moment, then slowly and relentlessly descends.

The mob boss takes his leak, goes back upstairs.

The young tough struggles to his feet and limps away.

For reinforcements.
Dad, of course, knows *nothing* of this; the mob boss soon rejoins his friends to feast and drink like men of old.

The young tough -- in town on mob business -- limps back to his local connection

who can't have his guests getting beaten up

time to rustle up some muscle
Dad and the mob boss and their friends continue feasting and drinking, little knowing that a crowd of toughs is coming toward their restaurant like
Finally they finish and stumble down the narrow stairs to the street, the mob boss bringing up the rear

whereupon Dad and his buddies find themselves confronted by a horde of extremely pissed-off gangsters

*with no idea why*
Then the mob boss gets tired of being blocked in the restaurant and pushes his way through Dad and their other friends

And suddenly the local connection, who's leading the mob, sees who booted his boy down the stairs
Everybody freezes absolutely still

and then the local connection turns to the young tough who got booted down the stairs

This immediately clues in the gangland boys the local connection has assembled to avenge the wrong done the young tough

and they start jumping in on him too, beating the tar out of him like he's getting beat into the gang for the first time
The local connection apologizes profusely to Dad's friend the mob boss, but they are now faced with an extremely delicate situation:

nobody can look weak, but if they don't smooth this over right this incident could start a gang war

neither of them wants a gang war
The local connection has to fix this fast, in front of everybody.

So he says, "Please, let me get you and your friends food and drink, as my treat."

Bear in mind: *Dad and company have just come from eating until they foundered.*

But they also have to prevent a gang war.
So they all went back up to the restaurant, where they had another Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat

Dad and his friends and the mob boss and the other gang all ate and drank themselves silly, Dad and company doing it for the second time in a row
And then, when they were done

just to show the local connection and his gang everything was fine and there was no hard feelings

the mob boss bought a THIRD meal and flotilla of drinks for everybody

so they were there continuously feasting for literally hours
and that is the story of how Dad played his part in the narrow averting of a 1950s Taiwanese gang war.

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