By Kevin Stoda
Last night, I watched the film, THE SOLOIST. In that film, the main protagonist, Nathaniel Ayers, is enamored by all musicians. The character, played by Jamie Foxx, raves about Beethoven and when Beethoven's concerts were being performed, this character felt as if Ludwig von Beethoven were in the room. His joy was contagious.
Ayer's sense of appreciation and marvel for Beethoven at such moments were so great that the other primary protagonist, played by Robert Downey, Jr., stated that he was thus inspired to feel the joy of the other. This created in him, too, a joy and sense of oneness with the music, which was inspiring his friend. In short, the Downey character felt the "Ode to Joy" of Nathaniel Ayers at an extreme level of contagion.
As I write this vignette, in the very streets of the town of Banli on BeiganIsland I hear Ludwig von Beethoven's "Fuer Elise"--or simply often known as"Elise". At least twice a day, this tune "Fuer Elise" (For Elise) winds its way through the 7 villages of this particular island (which belongs to Taiwan, but is located a stone's throw from mainland China).
You see--"Fuer Elise" is the theme song for the two local garbage trucks. As the trucks enter each town and head down the roadway to each village, the two trucks blare the tune of Beethoven's across the air-space.
If you live in the seven vil lages of this island of Taiwan and you have forgotten to take out your garbage, you can run out with your trash at the last moment.
However, I need to note that this island is not unique. It appears that throughout the many islands and cities of the country of Taiwan, garbage trucks are playing the same tune: "Elise".
In short, you, too, (if you are) in Taiwan can have the joy of taking part in Taiwan's tradition of running after "Elise", just like Beethoven. However, you need to carry some trash, otherwise you will look ridiculous.
I asked one Taiwanese resident whether he though Beethoven might roll over in his grave if he knew that "Elise" was the representative sound of the garbage truck's arrival.
The response was: "I had thought that once, too--but after getting used to the music being played every day for months at a time--I think Beethoven would see it as an extension of music appreciation."
Or, it could drive you--or Beethoven--crazy.
Click here for more.