Pili Puppets 霹靂布袋戲 go on their First Plane Trip

Pili Puppets 霹靂布袋戲, at Taoyuan airport, Terminal D, Gate 7. (by @taiwanvore)
Pili Puppets 霹靂布袋戲, at Taoyuan airport, Terminal D, Gate 7. (by @taiwanvore)

With free wifi throughout the Taoyuan airport, it’s easy to keep our noses down, sucked into our mobile devices, before embarking and flying onto new horizons. During those in-transit wait times, I usually find myself Skrittering away, but seeing how I seldom take off from Taoyuan, I chose to stroll through the gates and see what the airport had to offer.

At Gate 7, Terminal D, I found myself pleasantly surprised to discover a small Pili Puppet 霹靂布袋戲 exhibit, those hand puppets with sophisticated physical traits, extravagant attire, starring in their own TV series, holding epic dialogue in Taiwanese, and battling each other with super powers. I always felt too wide of a cultural gap to gain an appreciation for this very traditional Taiwanese art which traces its root back to early mainland China, but lately, the ice has appeared to start breaking.

Those Pili puppets have kept grabbing my attention in unexpected ways. First I discovered that a Taiwanese friend was fan of the Pili Puppet TV series, and weekly, he is downloading new episodes, so I got to catch a few glimpses of it on a few occasions. Sadly, however, I can never make heads or tails of the story. Not long after, I stumbled upon the Pili Puppet paraphernalia store inside Kaoshiung’s Dream Mall, got to have an up close look at those puppets, and was taken away by the meticulous craft going into those puppets, which are indeed a beautiful work of art!

And finally, the mini exhibit at the Taoyuan airport. Along with some real Pili Puppets on display, some small LCD screens hanging on the walls looped through low quality video clips, and so, obviously failed at catching passersbys’ attention. I, myself, glanced briefly at all the screens as I walked by, without giving it any real thoughts, but then, a scene with a puppet seemingly geeking out on a computer grabbed my attention. I stayed to watch what ensued, and unexpectedly enjoyed the video clip of those Pili puppets’ adventures, on their first plane trip!

Sure, it doesn’t have the pizzazz of the in-flight safety videos from Virgin America or Virgin Atlantic, but it definitely gave me a better laugh XD. I’ll let you judge for yourself :).


A few months after, I found myself at the Kaohsiung airport, waiting to jet off on a short journey to the West. Always anxious for the plane to leave without me, I arrived well in advance, and started wandering around. Lo and behold, here they were, at Gate 21, Pili Puppets, we meet again! Real-life size puppets of the main characters were on display in their glass case, with descriptions in English next to it, as well as a corner showcasing related merchandising like some cute baby Pili Puppets, postcards, DVDs, etc… Sadly, the exhibit is temporary and set to leave on September 12th, 2014, coinciding with the end of the Pili Fantasy World of Puppet Art event hosted at Kaohsiung’s Pier 2.

Baby Pili Puppets at Kaohsiung Airport, Gate 21, 3rd floor (Departure).
Baby Pili Puppets at Kaohsiung Airport, Gate 21, 3rd floor (Departure).
Exhibit only from 2014/05/29 to 2014/09/12.

In the end, I will admit, I am starting to like those Pili puppets ^^’.

(last updated: 2016/12/27 二)

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