Hai-lan Liu and Min-sheng Wang both were drafted to the military police to serve their army duty. Liu had great interests in trombone and learned how to play it in high school. He was fortunate enough to join the orchestra of the military police that he dreamed about after the three-month entry trainings. However, Wang, who couldn’t play any instrument, joined the orchestra due to the personnel officer’s mistakes. Although Liu played excellent trombone, he performed poorly in service training. He was frequently punished for his sub-standard performance. On the other hand, Wang, with unrelenting efforts, not only performed well in service training but also passed the qualifying test of playing instruments. However, passing the qualifying test was just the start of their army service. There were more challenges in the future…
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Military culture in Taiwan has remained mysterious to the public. The public image of the military was tarnished by the murder of naval captain Yin Ching-feng in 1993 as well as the rape and murder of a girl in the Armed Forces Museum in 1999. The military rescue operations after the devastating Taiwan earthquake of 1999 revived it public image, which turned negative again due to its slow response to the annihilating flood of Bazhang River in 2000 and its unsettled procurement fraud case in 1989. Nonetheless, hundreds of thousands of male youth are enlisted every year and nearly two years of their life are spent in the military. Little is known about what they have learned from the service except sporadic anecdotes told by retired or conscript soldiers. Their actual experience in the army is radically distorted by word-of-mouth accounts or official descriptions in conscription notices and is comically portrayed in educational movies for soldiers, while documentaries on the related topics are rare. Therefore, the film provides an on-site record of military life and tries to shed new light on the mysterious military culture.
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