Taiwan college teacher Lee Shu-ping has a 20-year-old student who programmed his motorcycle to say "go away" in the Taiwan dialect of Chinese.
It's part of a statement. The same guy wears flip-flops, loose-fitting pants and T-shirts, borrowing from the down-market fashions of working-class elders from Lee's agricultural home county of Yunlin in central Taiwan.
Lee's student blends in with plenty of other Taiwan youth who have ducked fashions from Japan and the West and shunned speaking the standard Mandarin version of Chinese in favour of local clothing styles and dialects to show they're Taiwanese.
Loud motorcycles and betel nut chewing that produces blasts of red spittle are often part of the act, and it's hip to study the Taiwan dialect of Chinese.
Here Hau Lung-bin puts a toe into the identity issue....
Taiwan politicians with a warm spot for Beijing - which considers the island part of its territory and opposes displays of a separate identity - bristle at the trend.
"Taiwan culture is part of Chinese culture," said Taipei mayor-elect Hau Lung-bin, who is backed by the China-friendly Nationalist Party. "I am native Taiwanese. I was born in Taiwan."
Tai-ke has been the subject of media reports for most of this year. The now defunct POTS hosted a good article on it a while back. During the martial law era Taiwanese language and culture were suppressed and deemed low class, an attitude that still survives in the remarks that ones hears from time to time, like Taiwanese language is a market language, or Taiwanese names are "market names." Taiwanese have attempted to reclaim the low class image by adopting it as a fashion trend, just as many African-Americans reclaimed the N-word in using it with each other, and it has now become something of a joke. Thus, the flip side of this trend is a scathing remark heard among local young, describing things as "so tai," implying that the thing addressed is vulgar and low class. And Taiwanese.