Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Qing period irrigation systems

From Beyond Technology: Japanese Colonial Mapping of Water Estates in Taiwan 1901-1921 (Wu & Lay, 2015, link)
In traditional Taiwanese society, irrigation systems, including canals and ponds, were created as private property and shared by different communities. Usually, individuals or groups of landlords provided the capital for building such irrigation facilities (Chang, 1983; Chen, 2009; Tsai, 1999). These landlords were titled as canal owners, who owned the irrigation facilities and water. By signing contracts, they transferred the rights of water accessibility to farmers, who became canal tenants. Based on such water tenancy, a hierarchical framework of water management was formed (Chen, 2009). At the top of the hierarchy, canal holders were responsible for financial support of irrigation repair; at the bottom of the hierarchy, canal tenants paid fixed amounts of grain crops annually, a so-called ‘water tax,’ in exchange for secure water use. In this hierarchical structure, a middle position was fulfilled by canal managers, who were in charge of canal maintenance and water allocation. Compensated by the water tax, the positions of canal managers were also regarded as part of the water property and could be transacted (Liao, 1985).

Due to this hierarchical tenancy framework, it is complicated to define geographic distribution of traditional irrigation property. For an irrigation system, its service area was associated with residence of its interested parties, including canal owners, managers and tenants as mentioned above. With different rights and duties, each interested party had a dynamic geographical relation with irrigation water. Generally, canal tenants and managers lived adjacent to irrigation areas, because they held major responsibilities of water maintenance. In contrast, canal owners might live in town areas and exert control over irrigation operations remotely, since they were mainly concerned with the annual water tax and might not really participated in irrigation field work (Li, Ku, & Chuang, 2009). In reality, each irrigation system had its unique geographic pattern of ownership distribution, depending on various scales and stakeholder partnerships.

However, when Taiwan was ruled by the Ching Empire (1683–1895), comprehensive irrigation surveys and mappings were never done by the government.2 As irrigation affairs were dominated by the private sector, details of irrigation water ownership and tenancy relations were primarily recorded by civil contracts, which were textually based (Chen, 2009). Only when water disputes occurred, maps were made by official surveyors, and such cases were very limited.3 Consequently, a geographic overview of the existing irrigation systems in Taiwan was lacking, leading to the challenge for the Japanese to establish a national database of local irrigation resources at the onset of colonization.

Comments like this one are the reason I enable comments on this blog:
In 18th century Taichung and Fengyuan, eight Hakka families negotiated the novel exchange of water for land with the area's indigenous people. The Hakka would lend their expertise to the building of canals for shared use in the shadow of declining deer herds, and the Pazeh would, in exchange, transfer ownership of tribal land to the Hakka families (actually single men of eight surname groups). In this case, many of the Pazeh landlords owned land that was further from their village or was less ideal for wet farming. This led to both the rise of fruit orchards (many still exist in the areas between Daya and Shigang) and also regional ethnic strife in central Taiwan as the imbalance led some groups to a. move to Puli and Milan, b. resort to violence, c. seek out foreign missionaries for political leverage. It was also an excellent example of grassroots interethnic diplomacy that really highlights the unique dynamism of ethnic relations in Qing era Taiwan.

When the Japanese reconfigured the irrigation and water systems of Taiwan, they also played a role in redefining ethnic divisions by removing prior ethnic delineations along water boundaries.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hung saga zigs and zags toward close

Da-an River gorge north of Dongshih town.

DPP Presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen once again reiterated her support for the status quo and for the determination of cross-strait policy by the people....
Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the chairwoman and presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said Sunday that the orientation of Taiwan's next administration should be decided by the people.

Referring to President Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) statement on cross-Taiwan Strait relations in his National Day message, Tsai said there was a huge difference between the views of the people and that of the president, who said that "without the '1992 consensus,' 'maintaining the status quo' is just a slogan" that can never become reality.
Maddog pointed out on Twitter that Ma's remarks tacitly concede that the next president won't be KMT.

As I've noted many times before, the 1992 Consensus is not the basis of KMT-CCP cooperation, but just a cage to imprison DPP cross-strait policy, something which the international media simply refuses to report. The basis for KMT-CCP cooperation is China's desire to annex Taiwan...

Meanwhile, the saga of failed and soon to be replaced KMT Presidential Candidate Hung Hsiu-chu continues. Various reports say various things -- Hung will leave her fate up to the upcoming party Congress.
Chu has talked to Hung frankly recently about the uphill battle faced by the party as well as the party's candidates in the legislative race, also to be held on the same day as the presidential election on Jan. 16, 2016.

The legislative candidates fear that they are more likely to lose the legislative elections with Hung as the standard bearer.

Despite mounting calls to replace Hung or for her to step down voluntarily, Hung herself has said repeatedly that she planned to stay in the race.

Hung posted on her Facebook page Friday evening that she feels blue as she sees the nation shrouded in blue over the past few years, but she will more firmly defend the values and ideals that the KMT should stand for.
This weekend the KMT Secretary-General Lee Si-chuan apologized to Hung for the party's treatment of her. The public has been strongly disapproving of the KMT's handling of Hung and this will cost the KMT in the election.

Hung's strident pro-China stance was hurting the party -- the public sees Taiwan as an independent, sovereign country, according to the government-run news site -- and the KMT wants a candidate who will mouth the 1992 Consensus and pretend that the status quo isn't independence, like Ma does.

Some in the Hung camp -- the Deep Blue bitter-enders -- are calling for a secret vote at the Party Congress rather than the usual show of hands/acclamation. Eric Chu and President Ma both have called for party unity and consensus on the issue. These are codewords for the party base to obey the orders of the party elites.

Hung herself has constantly shifted positions -- last week on Wednesday she said she would not go quietly, then Friday she was saying she would go quietly for the good of the party, but then over the weekend she told a group of supporters that she would not back down. How do those supporters see Hung?
A crowd later yesterday gathered at the Martyrs’ Shrine, where Hung’s office had invited her supporters to “recapture the spirit of the KMT on which it was established” with Hung.

Some supporters were heard shouting “Eric Chu is a hanjian [漢奸, a traitor to the Han people].”
Chu is a traitor not to the KMT, Taiwan, or the ROC. Chu is a traitor to the Han people. Nothing better shows how at heart, the KMT is a colonial system whose legitimacy resides in ethnic chauvinism.
Daily Links
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Then and Now: Zhongshan Green Bridge

National historic monuments of Taiwan sent around this view of Japanese-era Taichung across the bridge on what is now Zhongshan Road, the 新盛橋.

Today the buildings are gone, but the bridge, designated a historical monument in 2004, is still there, now known as the 中山綠橋 (location). According to Wiki, the bridge was built in 1908 to commemorate the completion of the north-south rail line. You can still see the ball atop the concrete railing on the bridge.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

O Frabjous Day! =UPDATEDX2=

Heaven = full rivers and an empty KMT

"...he wondered, even as the sword came butchering between his ribs, how he had ever thought that the East, whose essence was treachery, could ever stand."
O my. Last night beer and politics. The KMT is now in its death throes, which will likely continue for another couple of election cycles, and those of us who have long supported an independent, democratic, western-allied Taiwan are enjoying every minute of its drawn out exit. In the whole world there's not champagne enough to celebrate this.

According to the KMT media organ, the KMT finally "activated its plan" to get rid of KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu. Didn't know they had a plan, did you? Everything's under control, nothing to see here:
The reports say that in today’s KMT Central Standing Committee (CSC) meeting, the KMT party central is expected to deliberate on a motion said to be tabled by Chiang Shuo-ping (江碩平), a CSC member, asking the party central to hold an extraordinary session of the National Party Congress (NPC) to review Hung’s nomination in an effort to replace Hung. It is reported that after deliberations, it cannot be ruled out that KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) will put Chiang’s motion to a vote and that if the motion is passed, an extraordinary session of the NPC will be held at the end of October.

If Hung insists on running to the end, Chu, as well as high-echelon party officials, will resign, according to the Taipei-based United Daily News.
The same reports say that a high-ranking KMT official has revealed that the KMT party central is now looking for a venue to hold an extraordinary session of the NPC, adding that the extraordinary session would most likely to be held either on October 17th or 24th.

According to the reports, the KMT party central decided yesterday that it would seek to withdraw Hung’s nomination and draft Chu under the current party rules in an NPC extraordinary session, instead of first revising the current party charter at the NPC extraordinary session.

The same reports say that yesterday, high-ranking KMT officials called on Hung to “demonstrate forbearance for the good of the KMT.” However, in a press conference yesterday, Hung stressed that she would run to the end, saying that she would not accept any terms for her to withdraw from her Presidential bid, nor would she bow to any unreasonable forces.


According to a TVBS report, seven KMT party workers who had been on loan to Hung’s campaign office to provide assistance in her campaign were suddenly asked by the KMT party central to return to their regular posts. Although this was denied by the KMT in a press release yesterday, Hung’s campaign office staff confirmed last night that the seven party workers had already cleaned out their desks and left the premises, implying that it was the KMT party central that ordered them to leave, according to TVBS report. The staff said that a campaign rally for Hung scheduled for Thursday in Taoyuan City had also been hastily canceled, according to the same TVBS report.
I've included most of the report because it is rich. Several media reports were saying that the KMT would first have to revise its charter to repeal her nomination -- which after all happened according to the rules -- but this one says they will simply handle this problem without a revision and draft Chu. Any KMT meeting itself would be against the KMT charter since 60 days notice is required for a party congress. This may create multiple grounds for lawsuits by Hung, who is just the kind of person to pursue them. I listened to her presser at around 6:30. A longtime central Taiwan news hound summarized it thusly:
Few quick comments on her just finished press appearance. She repeatedly stressed one thing over and over again, that the problem was that she hadn't made herself clear enough. She stated that Eric Chu's comments on her cross-strait policies being at odds with the party was 'unacceptable', and went on to say that they just needed to sit down and discuss so she could...make everything clear. In answer to a question, she said 'I love this party [KMT], but I must stick to what I know is right' (paraphrasing, I don't remember the exact words). The entire thing can be summed as saying this simple message: "I'm right, the only problem is I haven't been able to make clear enough to everyone that I am"
That "I'm not communicating well" is the mantra of KMTers whenever their ideological fantasies run into the brick wall of reality. The Taipei Times recorded her words:
Hung later issued a strongly worded press release expressing her “deep regret” over the committee’s decision, which she said would only plunge the KMT deeper into crisis.

“The party … does not belong to any individuals, party staff or its members, but rather to whoever cares about it. Without public support, the party cannot survive, and will even lose its meaning and reason for being,” Hung said.
Everything has to happen by Nov 27, the last day to register a candidate. The papers have not been drawn up and stamped for Hung by the KMT, noted a local political observer to me over beers last night. Hence the emergency session slated for the next couple of weeks. The election is about 10 weeks away. LOL...

UPDATE: Today's news noise on the Congress from the KMT news organ.

One longtime observer's theory is that Beijing, which has never supported Hung, called up Chu's father in law, a longtime KMT heavyweight and Taiwanese, who is in deep in the China business, and demanded that he get his son in law the nomination.

A comic making the rounds. The "Change Hung!" team is on the upper tier of the KMT castle, while below the "Retain Hung!" team fights them. Outside the opposition enjoys the civil war. Note the subtle touch: the Retain Hung team flies the KMT flag, but not the Change Hung team.

Take a moment and consider. KMT Chairman and putative savior Chu is now deeply wounded, win or lose. He isn't going to save the legislature, and the Deep Blues are going to be deeply angered when their icon Hung who says all the things they want to say is replaced by the bland accounting professor Chu. They will stay home in droves, betrayed -- they lost their pension bonuses in retirement, Ma's reform of the bureaucracy has alienated many of them, their candidate Hung is going, and their homeland and source of their identity is lost -- the KMT has left them nothing, they will say to themselves. UPDATED: Solidarity posts Cross Strait Policy Association poll on KMT/Chu/Hung: Chu gets hammered in poll

How alienated are the Deep Blues? J Michael Cole noted in his piece at the excellent CPI blog on yesterday's protest at KMT HQ:
Outside, the anger was palpable.

“After 30 years, I’m beginning to wonder whether I made the wrong choice,” a supporter of Hung, surnamed Liao, told me outside the KMT headquarters. According to him, the KMT’s decision to drop Hung—and to change its party regulations at the eleventh hour—was “undemocratic” and did not respect due process.

“I feel betrayed by my party,” he lamented. “You can’t just drop her and change the rules because her numbers are low.”

Another protester, surnamed Lee, was also outraged by the recent developments at the party she had always voted for.

“Hung is the best person to protect our country, the Republic of China on Taiwan,” she said. “Tsai Ing-wen of the DPP is nothing but empty promises and lies … she wants independence and to cut off Taiwan from China.”
Like Hung herself, the type specimen of the Deep Blues, the Deep Blues never learned that the essence of the KMT is betrayal. Those who serve the KMT and help it betray others are always shocked when they themselves are betrayed...

Hau Long-bin, another mainlander princeling, is running for a legislative seat in Keelung. He's an outstanding example of how the mainlander elites screw the local Taiwanese politicians -- whom they have a deep-seated ethnic contempt for -- he was parachuted into a safe seat, and has now engendered 3 independent candidates there to run against him, as well as the DPP candidate. It's very likely that Hau won't make the legislature, and he can't be on the party list. He'll have nothing.

The two decade-long war between the bitter-end KMTers (non-mainstream faction) and the Taiwanese KMTers and their mainlander allies (the mainstream faction) will again play itself out at the coming Congress, where it is by no means assured that Hung won't win out in the end (though I do not consider that likely).

The one and only person who can save the KMT is Wang Jin-pyng, the Speaker of the legislature, who is the unofficial head of the Taiwanese faction politicians. But Ma Ying-jeou, the President who has the KMT in his grip, supports Hung and hates Wang. Thus, the best they can do is Eric Chu. It will cost them votes and likely control of New Taipei City, for a campaign that is destined to lose. After Chu loses he will have to resign as Chair, forcing a new election in the KMT for Chairman. A friend noted that King Pu-tsun, Ma's Piter de Vries, is preparing the chairmanship election. That makes it likely someone in the Ma faction will get the nod, meaning that he will continue to damage the KMT.

James Soong? His poll numbers have already tanked. As a friend pointed out to me over beers last night, he's been silent. Still angling for a deal, perhaps the Veep spot on the KMT ticket? It's not too late.

Inspired by Soong's gaffes about females, New Bloom talks about the election, Tsai, and Hung and Confucian family values. Several people I have talked to are excited to vote for Tsai not only because they are Green, but also because they want to see a female as president. Recall that Tsai is a Hakka and also puts a stake in the longtime KMT claim that the DPP would screw the Hakkas if it ever got power. There's a lot silently working for Tsai in this election...

Meanwhile China is inserting its hand in the election another way. The media here is reporting that China is going to slash tourist numbers -- which will be very good for the island, many of us who like its beautiful places are cheering -- in order to accommodate space on planes for Taiwan businessmen who want to return and vote.
The Mainland's tourism operators confirmed that as the KMT was facing an up-hill battle in the run-up to the January 16 general elections, and because the 2016 Presidential Election was close to the Chinese New Year holidays, the Mainland's plan to limit the number of tourists visiting Taiwan was intended to make seats available on cross-Strait flights for Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland to return home to vote in the elections and enjoy the holidays. Mainland travel agencies reportedly would follow the government's policies so as to make it more convenient for Taiwanese businessmen on the Mainland to return home for the elections.
The Ma Administration continues its policy of irritating relations with nations whose support it needs, this time in the fisheries dispute with Phils. Just a taste of the kind of damage the KMT is doing to Taiwan in these last few months of Ma's failed Administration...
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

UPDATED BREAKING: Hung isn't giving up without a fight + Polls + KMT Congress

An old temple in Tunghsiao

BREAKING: KMT approves Party Congress on issue of getting rid of Hung. English report

As so many predicted, KMT Presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu is not going to let herself be ousted without a fight. The TT reports:
“I am sorry to have let news reports in the past two days worry my supporters. All of a sudden, what started off as a groundless rumor has become a serious issue. This is all because of my insufficient campaigning efforts,” Hung told an impromptu press conference held at KMT headquarters yesterday afternoon.


Stressing that she is reluctant to believe rumors that the party wants to replace her, the deputy legislative speaker said that the public has always loathed the KMT for its backroom deals, close-doored meetings and quid-pro-quo agreements.
This mess is not over. Tracking all the news flow the last couple of days has been amazing. At one point the media was reporting that Hung was threatening to release tapes she'd made of her talks with KMT Chairman Eric Chu -- later denied -- and Chu and Hung went at it in the media. Hard to tell what's going on because so often our Golden Retriever media here is basically Pravda crossed with The National Enquirer.

Today pro-unification (former) gangster Chang An-lo, AKA White Wolf, threatened to storm KMT HQ in support of Hung, forcing the deployment of police. There were many reports of Deep Blues saying they'd never vote for another candidate, and a friend said his office mates in his government office were characterizing an election slate with Chu instead of Hung as "two traitors and Tsai". The KMT divided on the issue of its own internal divisions: there's nothing like the KMT proposing dropping a candidate because she's... too KMT.

Klaus Bardenhagen sent around this video on Facebook of a pro-Hung demonstration today, where he said they first shouted "Eric Chu come out!" and then followed that with "Eric Chu step down!"

By keeping Hung in the race, the Deep Blue KMTers are saving the legislature... for the DPP. On Monday there were news reports that the KMT itself was saying the Party would find it difficult to make 22 seats. A longtime central Taiwan news reporter who has been following the election told me that he doesn't see the KMT winning a single seat south of Miaoli -- Taichung and Changhua are all going to other parties. Even if someone else runs for President, there won't be any great change in this.

Of course Eric Chu was saying he was ready to shoulder the burden of running if Hung drops out. This will not make him popular in New Taipei City -- he promised many times to serve out his term if elected. If he has to step down as mayor New Taipei City will be lost because its denizens will be angered by his betrayal. Don't forget, the City Formerly Known As Taipei County is the most populous in Taiwan. Already roughly half of it votes DPP and the KMT only won by a nose last time. And those angry citizens will be voting in the mayoral, presidential, and legislative elections.

Wang Jin-pyng, speaker of the legislature, rival of President Ma, and unofficial leader of the Taiwanese faction politicians on whose loyal service KMT power rests, keeps saying "I dunno" whenever he is asked about all this. Not a factor, at least publicly. Many KMTers have either left or are threatening to leave the party, or have decided not to run. As I noted a while back, Wang is finished after this election. Who will the faction politicians turn to then?

Solidarity.tw sent the latest TISR tracking poll results around, saying "Neutral 36.8, Pan-Green 33.2 (DPP 26.7, TSU 0.5), Pan-Blue 27.6 (KMT 19.5, PFP 2.6)". The left hand shows the color, the right hand, the party ID. The long KMT slide continues as young people are moving into the OTHER or DPP camps.

This goes hand in hand with the latest poll from the pro-KMT TVBS station (images courtesy of @FormosaNation, which finds that nationally DPP presidential candidate Tsai is crushing Hung 46-21 and Tsai is winning in every region....

...even the north which is a traditional KMT stronghold. It's pretty obvious what this will mean for the legislative election.

Now waiting on Hung's Veep choice. Will she choose a local faction politician? Or will it be another Deep Blue ideologue like herself?

Does anyone even care? The damage that Ma Ying-jeou has done to the KMT is incalculable and permanent. I'm lovin' it.

PS: Thanks KMT for making a boring election interesting again, for a minute.

Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Monday, October 05, 2015

HUGE BREAKING: Hung to be pulled in favor of Chu

A woman works with a fishing net on a river in Miaoli.

This week the saga of KMT Presidential Candidate Hung Hsiu-chu took another surreal turn. As the weekend began there were many reports that KMT insiders were putting enormous pressure on the party to get rid of current presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu, who is destroying party support at the local level. WantWant offered some thoughts on the KMT's implosion today.

The day began with a Liberty Times story that said Hung was done and KMT Chairman Eric Chu would replace her. Denials flowed. But then UDN later reported that there is going to be a Party Congress the 17th or 24th at which the charter would be amended, her nomination repealed, and Chu selected as the candidate. See Solidarity for the full report in translation, FocusTaiwan alludes to the problems in English, Apple Daily in Chinese. As I write Apple is reporting Chu's words: "I am willing to shoulder the burden."

Well, things are about to get very interesting, including legal challenges, court interpretations of election laws (will Chu have to give up New Taipei City, and if so, when?), perhaps a by-election in New Taipei City, and some bloodletting at the top of the KMT. If Chu runs, it will mean that President Ma Ying-jeou's power is diminished -- Hung was his anointed candidate and a signal of the ascendancy of the die-hard bitter end KMTers. The fury at Ma within the KMT runs deep, which may help Chu overcome Ma. But Hau waits in the wings for when Chu fails to get elected and has to step down as Chairman. Remember that when Chu loses, Ma will still be President. He will then attempt to recoup his power within the KMT. New Year promises renewed struggle within the KMT.

New Bloom has an article on Hung's rise and fall. I shall miss her terribly. Her continued candidacy would have been so good for Taiwan....

UPDATE: Hung ripped the Party on Facebook.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Good and Good in the media

Oil wells in Miaoli? We do have oil around there somewhere.

Food. Again. This time from the son of Prince Charles' paramour in Esquire. The politics is excellent, rare in this kind of promotional piece:
Under Chiang Kai-shek’s party, the KMT, martial law was declared between 1948 and 1987, the longest period in world history. That meant no right to free speech or to assemble or protest, and the Taiwan Garrison Command could arrest and detain anyone. The KMT governed Taiwan until 15 years ago. “Now, we have democracy and free speech and freedom. And the majority want to be independent, and see themselves as Taiwanese rather than Chinese,” Enshen says.

All these influences and invaders and conflicting ideas of sovereignty might muddy the pools of national identity. But it certainly makes for a thrilling food culture. “Taiwanese food, like its history, is a mixture of Chinese and Japanese,” says Enshen, “with some fried stuff, and lots of seasonings, soy sauce, chilli peppers, fermented black beans, pickled greens, sesame oil, coriander and endless herbs.” We sit down in the large dining room, expensively air-conditioned but glaringly lit. “Standards are high, and the quality of ingredient carefully regulated. Unlike China.” He lived in Shanghai and Beijing for a while. “Taiwan is a huge food tourism destination. With the technology companies all gone, it’s now a place for cultural tourism from the mainland. Food is the culture that everyone in Asia understands. It’s the first thing on their mind when they come here.”
It's the usual Taipei promotional piece, unusual only in the excellent prose and good knowledge of history. Sure wish the government would let them discover Taiwan outside Taipei. Food promotion is highly political -- it enables the government to promote Taiwan without promoting its history, and thus, creating a recognized local identity (history = identity). Kudos to the food writer for getting around that.

Very different is this piece from Stratfor for which argues that the DPP may make a sea change in the South China Sea claims:
Beijing worries that a DPP administration will be much less committed to preserving the One China Principle. This is with good reason: DPP policymakers have called for outright abandonment of Taiwan's South China Sea claims in the past. While the Taiwan-held offshore islands of Kinmen and Matsu off the coast of China's Fujian province have permanent civilian populations that would protest if island's legal status were altered, Taiping has no civilian constituency. Furthermore, many Taiwanese perceive Taiping to be of marginal economic value, with its few mineral resources and its distance from Taiwan, which makes it more or less inaccessible to fishermen.

A less dramatic option for a prospective DPP government would be to reinterpret or relinquish the eleven-dashed line instead of abandoning the islands of Taiping and Pratas outright. Even this would cause problems for Beijing. Because the Republic of China originated both Taiwan's claim and that of the mainland, Taiwan reneging would give ammunition to rival claimant countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines. China would also no longer be able count on implicit backing if Taiwan drops its shared claim. And in the near term, Beijing may face supply problems for its installations in the Spratly Islands, which receive at least part of their water supply from the Taiwanese forces on Taiping. Without a common purpose, Taiwan would have no incentive to continue sending water.
DPP Candidate and Chairman Tsai Ing-wen has already made the pro forma announcement that these islands belong to the ROC. But any lessening of Taiwan's commitment to the Chinese cause would be a welcome relief.

Taiwan cannot give up its claim for several reasons. The KMT, at heart expansionist, would contend that the Constitution prohibits giving up "national territory" -- a domain which remains undefined. It might provoke some kind of Constitutional crisis -- unless the DPP controls the legislature absolutely. Another issue might be managing the handover to someone else -- determining who gets it. It obviously should go to Vietnam but everyone will protest, and the ROC die-harders would like to give to China, no doubt. That will again provoke domestic political issues President Tsai will not need, with so much more important stuff that needs to get done.

Likely it will be downplayed, but President Tsai, at least in the first term, won't do anything very strenuous.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Fishing Excerpts and Links

Fishing boats in Houbihu harbor

The EU threatens Taiwan with sanctions for overfishing:
The European Union is threatening to take trade action against Taiwan and the Comoros if they do not contain within six months illegal and unregulated fishing, which is a major contributor to the depletion of key commercial stocks
which reminded me that I wanted to post on this. This journal article on Taiwan fishing boats and safety observes that overfishing has increased the risk to Taiwanese fishing boats...:
According to Taiwanese fisheries regulations, the captain and the chief engineer must be of Taiwanese nationality for fishing boats below 100 tons. Boats over 100 tons require another Taiwanese chief mate. With the recent increases in oil prices and the stagnant fish prices, most fishermen hire foreign workers to cut down costs. Taiwanese fishing boats are now manned by one Taiwanese captain and all-foreign crews.


On the other hand, over-fishing has caused the degradation of marine resources, so Taiwanese fishing boats must travel far from traditional fishing areas to catch fish, even in facing the increased vessel risk. The lack of willing Taiwanese crewmen introduces risk to the Taiwanese fishing industry as a whole. Since the youngest do not like to work in the fishing industry, the captain is forced to employ foreign crewmen with the introducing tensions.

In Taiwan, the majority of fishing boat captains and crewmen inherit their father's work and are not well-educated. The quality of crewmen is irregular. Therefore, the leadership and experience of the captain are often insufficient.
Fishing factoid (source):
"Tuna flesh turns brown and unappetizing for sashimi unless it is treated very carefully. Normal freezing temperatures are not suitable, but if tunas are frozen at -60C they can be frozen for months or years at sashimi-grade quality."
Years? That same chapter says that Taiwanese fishing boats operate in the Atlantic to poach tuna, which they then say was caught in the Pacific. They defended this practice with the usual "everyone does it" but interestingly, when Japan accused Taiwan in 2004 of laundering tuna in this way, the government in Taiwan didn't do anything because of the importance of the port of Kaohsiung in southern electoral politics.

Readers with much experience in the political economy of agriculture will recognize this problem described in this paper on Subsidies to Tuna Fishing:
Tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean are among the most valuable resources in the region. These fisheries, worth an estimated $4.1 billion each year, play a pivotal role in supporting incomes and development goals in the region. However, due to the twin, and potentially inter-related effects of harmful fishing practices such as the use of fish aggregating devices, overcapacity, and fisheries subsidies, many of these tuna fisheries are currently at risk of over-exploitation—putting the livelihoods of countless local fishers at risk. This study finds that government fisheries subsidies in the region represent 37% of the ex-vessel value of tuna fisheries in the region. Fuel subsidies are estimated at US$ 335 million and non-fuel subsidies are estimated at US$ 1.2 billion for the year 2009. Developed countries are responsible for more than half of the subsidies spent in the predominantly developing region, underlying the fact that the majority of tuna value extracted from the national waters of developing countries in the region benefit larger, developed countries. The total resource rent, or return to society, from tuna fisheries, once adjusted for subsidies is a net negative US$750 million in 2009. Fisheries subsidies are enabling foreign fleets to operate at sub-market rates, putting local fleets out of competition for their own fishery resources.
This paper, which proposes closing the high seas to all fishing, notes that the big losers economically would be South Korea, Japan, and of course, Taiwan.

Old posts: Greenpeace occupy action on Taiwanese boat overfishing, background on Phils killing of Taiwanese boat captain mess.
Daily Links:

Whither, Wang. =UPDATED=

Agnes from Malaysia speeds past an old building in Ershui.

The China Times (via KMT media organ translation) reports that the KMT will not change the Party List Rulz [WARNING: MAY CONTAIN RULES-LIKE SUBSTANCE] to keep current Speaker Wang Jin-pyng on the list of legislators who get seats if the KMT does well in the election...
The KMT is starting its nomination process for its at-large legislators on the party list. Some are wondering whether the KMT would revise its party rules to accommodate Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who has been elected on the KMT’s party list as an at-large legislator for three consecutive terms in 2004, 2008, and 2012 but cannot be re-nominated again for a fourth term according to existing party rules. According to an informed source, the KMT party central was inclined to maintain rather than amend its current party rules. However, the same source stated that if any member of the Central Standing Committee (CSC) had a different opinion and introduced a motion to amend the party rules, the CSC would handle the motion according to the rules of procedure and KMT Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) would announce the final outcome of the deliberations.
...since Wang's power base is in Kaohsiung, a DPP stronghold, and he hasn't announced a run there, it seems unlikely he will enter the race at this late date and probably wouldn't win if he did. But if doesn't get on the Party List he's finished, unless KMT Presidential Candidate Hung Hsiu-chu makes him her Veep candidate, that's highly unlikely. Recall that the Taiwanese factional wing of the KMT looks to Wang for leadership. What will he do when he's out in the cold? Wang is a lifelong broker, not a leader, and my suspicion is that he will make a few mild remarks and then do nothing. But all the Taiwanese who've been slogging in the trenches for a political party whose leaders despise them may revise their opinions accordingly. UPDATE: Solidarity catches piece on Wang warning his downfall will only hurt KMT.

Note that in local institutional culture, when something is handled "according to the rules of procedure" it is code meaning someone is getting screwed. In this case, that will be Wang. Remember President Ma Ying-jeou is running the show, and he hates Wang.

Since President Ma is running the KMT, and much of the day to day affairs are in the hands of another mainlander princeling, Hau Lung-bin, son of bitter-ender Hau Pei-tsun, I suspect the party list is going to be full of ideologues like Ma and Hung. It wouldn't surprise me if they propose a full slate of mainlander princelings and the like, with perhaps a token Taiwanese.

Chu is out as presidential candidate, gravely wounded by Ma in the struggle within the KMT for the Party's soul. He doesn't want to be President. Wang will be finished. Hung is a loser. PFP leader and KMT turncoat James Soong is basically a fish wrapped in a newspaper: won't be hearing from him again. Who does this leave for 2020? I am thinking that Ma is clearing the way for Hau Lung-bin to lead and maintain elite mainlander ascendancy over the KMT.

Another issue: If Wang is out, that could have grave implications for legislative cooperation with the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen, currently the likely next President. Wang was wont to work with the DPP, one of the reasons that Ma went after him so obsessively two years ago. With the diehards in ascendancy in the KMT and with no Wang to smooth things over, the KMT could become (hard to imagine this) even more uncooperative and obstructionist. This is yet another reason why Tsai MUST have a legislative majority. But a new threat is emerging...

The President, Vice President, Candidate Hung, and KMT Chairman Eric Chu displayed some remarkable solidarity this week in showing up at the opening of a club for Taiwan businessmen (Taishang) in China. Wang was a no-show. Solidarity translated a piece showing how important the Taishang are for the KMT and how they are not donating to Hung, instead sending their money directly to legislative candidates:
Given the KMT’s poor prospects this year, however, Taishang election enthusiasm has waned, and donation patterns have changed. In past elections, at least 70% of Taishang political donations went to presidential candidates, with the rest trickling to legislative candidates. But this year many consider the presidential race a lost cause and have decided not to throw good money after bad, instead directing their funding to legislative races.

During their discussions about mobilization, some Taishang have recommended that taking reference from their nine-in-one election strategy, Taishang associations should assign the responsibility for certain districts to specified associations and leaders, rather than donating money to the KMT and letting the party distribute it. This will further deprive the KMT presidential campaign of funds.

Still worse for the Hung campaign has been the constant rumors the KMT will change its presidential candidate. On top of that, Taishang have been in a holding pattern as they’ve waited for Beijing to tell them what to do with respect to this election, and by telling Taishang to support whom they please Beijing has communicated that it will not offer aid to the Hung campaign via the Taishang.
I pointed out a couple of months ago that the election followed soon after by New Year will force the Taiwanese in China to make difficult choices:
As for the Taishang, the businessmen in China, some 200,000 would like to come home to vote, according to an association head. Yet, the Taishang are a typical expat population in many ways, spending their time in the new country, educating their kids there, and generally cutting ties with home. As time passes, these propensities grow. As Hung's prospects sink, the Taishang who are supposed to be super-KMT may well rethink spending the time, money, and hassle to come home to vote. Recall that the election is scheduled for Jan 16th, but the Lunar New Year is Feb 8. This means that many businessmen will face the unpalatable choice of coming home and then flying back immediately to be with their businesses during the critical lead up to New Year, then returning a couple of weeks later to do New Year, or staying away from the business for almost a month. And all that to vote for a candidate who likely isn't going to win.

Yet, they might come, to help save the legislature. As I've noted several times, Hung isn't going to help the KMT anywhere outside of the north. She could cost them the legislature.
TT appended today:
In related news, Chinese Cross-Strait Taiwan Businesses Suggestion and Research president Chang Han-wen (張漢文) said that while projections of the number of Taiwanese businesspeople who plan to return home from China for the Jan. 16 elections are small, “it could improve to about 300,000 if the plane ticket problem is solved.”

“The Lunar New Year is 24 days after January 16. Since many people might find it difficult to purchase [two tickets in such a short period of time], we are now negotiating with airline companies [to offer discounts],” he said.
Good news: the number wanting to return home to vote is "small". Money they will send, but they won't come themselves to vote. Good news...
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Camphor Press announces Jonathan Adams' new book ~ sale til the 4th

Practicing kayaking in Shuili.

Camphor says:
It's our pleasure to announce the release of Welcome Home, Master, a brand new book by former Taipei-based journalist Jonathan Adams. It's his account of life as a foreign correspondent reporting on some of the world's most dynamic countries. Observant and funny, Adams' stories range from the serious – interviewing a Chinese dissident, covering the Moro insurgency in Mindanao – to the seemingly frivolous, like Japanese genitalia festivals.

Until the end of Sunday, October 4, the e-book version of Welcome Home, Master is available for just US$5.99 (regular price $7.99). You can buy from the Camphor Press website or Amazon, with other vendors to follow. A paperback edition will be forthcoming later this year.
I had the great fortune to read this work before it was published. Adams is one of the funniest people I know, but also one of the most insightful and informed. A very good read.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Typhoon Again, Hung again

Some people will do anything for a selfie.

NASA says there is flowing water on Mars! And plenty here too. Still raining as Dujian passes overhead. I'd post typhoon pictures but there are lots on the internet. The east coast and mountain communities got slammed again, many not yet recovered from the last big one. In my own neighborhood trees were downed and there are broken windows, and we lost power and water for a few hours last night. Fortunately I had a good stock of beer, fatty pork, and Doritos.

Worst typhoon for us in Taichung in a while. People got an extra day off in most places in northern and central Taiwan, while the HSR was shut down.

A friend flipped me this image of the Central Weather Bureau's temp records for yesterday. Note the strange spike as the typhoon passed. It's a "hot wind" that occurs as the typhoon sucks in warmer air from the south, or so I understand. CORRECTION: Poster below says its a Foehn wind.

But what week would be complete without more of the KMT's internal rumbles? The Taipei Times reports on the latest moves:
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) could face yet another crisis other than its dismal presidential campaign, as a group of pro-localization members are allegedly planning to form a splinter group to force KMT headquarters to respond directly to their calls for a change of candidate.

According to people familiar with the matter, the plan to establish a new party — which would be called the “Taiwan Chinese Nationalist Party Alliance” (台灣國民黨聯盟) — is spearheaded by several influential local members, including senior presidential adviser Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) and former Yunlin County commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味).
The group threatened that an even bigger wave of defections could occur if Hung is not replaced. It's unlikely to happen, since the KMT is the font of all the resources they need to win their local elections, but the threat is interesting (the news report says that the Ministry of the Interior confirms the application for an organization with that name, but it is temporizing by claiming it wants a clearer definition of whether the group is actually a political party). With Ma Ying-jeou running the KMT, and with the ideologically rigid and decidedly uncharismatic Hung Hsiu-chu as candidate, the "non-mainstream" faction -- the far-right, bitter-end, faux Chinese faction that derives its right to colonial rule via its (ethnic) superiority -- is in full control.

Eric Chu, the Chairman, understands that the mainlander elites need the Taiwanese comprador political factions to control Taiwan. But he and the informal leader of the Taiwanese KMT, legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, are both out of the power loop. The factions, especially in the south and center, are looking at a possible complete DPP sweep at the legislative level and are in terror of losing their seats. The KMT brand is toxic outside the north, and the sparsely populated counties of Miaoli and Nantou, and the east coast. The TT quoted one KMT legislator:
“The KMT must defuse this crisis at once, rather than treating it lightly or turning a blind eye to the problem. We must not let the party collapse,” Lu said.

It will be interesting to see what Wang, Chu, and Hung say. Especially Wang, whose lack of public noise is quite interesting. Even if they switch to a Chu-Wang ticket, which would be more popular, they won't win, and switching candidates will make them look incompetent and indecisive. So why go through all the bother?

This week, with Hung polling under 20% in all polls and under 15% in some, Hung said that polls are close. She remains in her Benevolent Confucian Monarch mode, presenting herself as The Right Choice rather than as a politician of ideas and policies:
“All that matters is that I make my values and principles known to the public, so that they can make the right choice,” the presidential candidate said.
In Hung's strange moral universe, The Right Choice will automatically bring peace and prosperity to the nation, just as in the moral universe of western monarchy the Return of the True King automatically restores the land to fertility, as in The Return of the King from LoTR, or The Lion King -- Simba is Aragorn, but with a better sense of humor.

The piece on the polls observed:
She said she does not favor rapid unification with China as the public has assumed, but is guided by the Republic of China Constitution.
Even Hung has realized that her fevered support for annexing Taiwan to China ASAP is not good for her, and is trying to reframe it. The problem is that her quasi-religious adherence to the Republic of China Constitution, a core piece of the KMT/mainlander identity, is not exactly the path to popularity here either.

Meanwhile, the KMT Lite PFP candidate, James Soong, continued his campaign's single women and family gaffe spree:
Produced by a pro-Soong organization titled the “Spring Breeze Youth Policy Think Tank,” the commercial featured video clips of Soong visiting people affected by natural catastrophes during his term as Taiwan provincial governor from 1994 to 1998, joining political events and interacting with his late wife, Chen Wan-shui (陳萬水).

A slogan appeared a few seconds before the advertisement ended, reading: “[Only those who are] faithful to their wives and faithful to their children will be faithful to their country.”

The commercial quickly drew criticism online.
Fading slowly is Soong... and the DPP hasn't drawn any attention with gaffes and stupidities. The cute Piggy Bank fundraising scheme has been doing quite well, Tsai is constantly quietly campaigning. Good campaign management going on there...
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

BBC gleefully slams Taiwan and misses key political point, while Reuters makes one

"Good day, sir," Drake said formally. "I must be off to New York, and your welfare is really not a major concern in my life."

"Good day," Lovecraft said, rising with Colonial courtesy. "Since you have been so good as to give me a warning, I will return the favor. I do not think your interest in these people is based on a wish to oppose them, but to serve them. I beg you to remember their attitude toward servants."
Reuters reports that China is angered by Tsai's upcoming visit to Japan.
Tsai visited the United States this year, which also angered China.

Many people in Taiwan, which was a Japanese colony from 1895-1945, have a broadly more positive view of Japan than people in China or Korea.

The first, and so far only, DPP president, Chen Shui-bian, infuriated Beijing during his term from 2000 to 2008.

China accused him of trying to push for independence, even though Chen tried to maintain stable ties.
In a piece that consists largely of media platitudes -- like saying that relations between Taiwan and China improved with Ma Ying-jeou when it was CCP-KMT relations that improved -- that sentence I've bolded stands out. Kudos to Reuters -- how many international media reports have ever put it so clearly and straightfowardedly?

Since China's "anger" is pro forma, perhaps Reuters might simply let Xinhua forward the government's press releases, and refrain from doing so itself.

...meanwhile BBC "blog" reports with unconcealed glee that Taiwan fans got Bon Jovi's China concert canceled. BBC is so excited to report that Taiwan Did A Bad that it missed the key political point of this series of events....
Sources have told the BBC that Taiwanese fans had sent the Chinese authorities pictures of those concerts, showing Bon Jovi singing on stage with images of the Tibetan spiritual leader as the backdrop.

The move, it appears, was part of a concerted campaign aimed at getting Bon Jovi's China tour scuttled so that he could play more shows in Taiwan. Indeed, shortly after Beijing and Shanghai dates were cancelled, he hastily added one more date for Taipei.

Fans were apparently inspired by American rock band Maroon 5's experience with China. When Beijing recently cancelled their shows after one band member tweeted "Happy Birthday" to the Dalai Lama, the organiser added a concert in Taipei to recoup losses.

Taiwanese Bon Jovi fans were desperate. The band had scheduled only one concert in Taiwan on its Asia tour and tickets had sold out on the first day.
...of course BBC makes the pro forma acknowledgement that no one really knows what caused BJ to cancel BJ, but it is obvious what its actual position is.

BBC then goes on to deliver the key political point...:
For years the band has tried to tap into China, and Jon Bon Jovi recently even learned how to sing one of the best-known songs in Chinese culture, The Moon Represents My Heart.
....which is, once again, that no matter how hard you struggle to serve China, China will use that as leverage to make you serve it even harder, and then go ahead and screw you in the end. This is why China can only be exploited or resisted, but can't be negotiated with. But this far more indicative and interesting insight was ignored by BBC in its haste to blame Taiwan for Beijing's decision (because everyone knows that Beijing has no agency of its own, so the blame for any actions it takes must always rest with others). *sigh*

Perhaps BBC and its writers in the Chinese world should take that lesson about serving China to heart, eh?

UPDATE: Bon Jovi has canceled the extra show and the original one, typhoon taking the blame.

ADDED: A couple of other points to be made. BBC could have taken the position that China is so easily manipulated. Or it could have done investigative work and found that perhaps the concert promoter realized he wasn't making enough money, and pulled the concert tour. *wink*

ADDED: Lots of comments, some good.

ADDED: BBC scribes:
Perhaps the lessons Taiwanese fans want to teach Bon Jovi are: don't be blinded by money; don't forget your first love in greater China - Taiwan; and get it right by singing The Moon Represents My Heart for the Taiwanese.
There's no such thing as "greater China" and claiming so is a pro-China move.

MEDIA: I should add that corporate news media (and this goes double for a state-run media organ) don't have "blogs", blogs are anti-Establishment and alternative by their nature. Renaming your column a "blog" doesn't make it trendy and insightful and interesting and alternative. It just debases the word "blog" and shamelessly parasitizes on the hard work of those of us who have struggled to make this art form a useful and informative alternative. It also lets everyone know you are so out of touch you think blogs, a medium largely passe these many years, are actually trendy.
Daily Links:
  • New Bloom on the passport issue.
  • The latest Taiwan Communique is out, full description, links, and TOC are below the READ MORE line. 
  • FocusTaiwan ran this piece: Ten Ways You Know You're Turning into a Local in Taiwan. Actually, it should be titled: "Ten Ways You Think Taipei is Taiwan". Those of us who really are local laffed at it. A telltale sign of continued foreign-ness, as  a friend of mine pointed out: the list doesn't contain any mentions of interactions with locals.  Its point of reference remains... foreignness, not localness.  
  • Homeowner not interested in joining developer leverages law to make big bucks stealing private property project urban renewal  project has home demolished anyway.
    Citing the Urban Renewal Act (都市更新條例), Lin said that the project was approved after gaining the backing of 60 percent of property owners who together owned more than two-thirds of space allocated for the project.
    Developers typically have people purchase plots in an area they want to destroy develop, meaning that the "60%" rule is totally meaningless, since many of those voting will be working for the developer.
  • US issues Taiwan invasion report
  • Typhoon on way! Rain a'comin'.
  • PETA piece on first-ever pigeon gambling bust (actually, it's not). FocusTaiwan has an article on it here.
  • Dengue cases now up to 17000. Once again the central government has failed. 
  • DPP Presidential Candidate Tsai reaffirms commitment to Status Quo.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

US-Taiwan Business Council Admits US Wasted 8 Years of Chen Administration

Chiayi tea farms.

My man Ben G just tweeted this around from the US-Taiwan Business Council Report on US-Taiwan relations.
The vacuum created in U.S. relations with Taiwan over the past 7 years leaves the possibility of a crisis in the Taiwan Strait in 2016, as China capitalizes on U.S. inattentiveness. But a “house cleaning” arms sale prior to the Taiwan election and a declaration of support for Taiwan’s TPP candidacy in the first part of 2016 would place Taiwan policy back on a stable footing and telegraph U.S. support.

Conversely, attempts to avoid a crisis by placing undue pressure on a potential DPP government to accommodate Chinese demands will instead fuel further estrangement in Taiwan, and would likely see escalating demands from China and increased cross-Strait tensions. Neither is in the best interests of the U.S.
Ben observed of that latter paragraph: US-Taiwan Business Council more or less admits that US wasted 8 yrs of Chen admin and exacerbated cross-trait tensions.

This is pretty much what we on Taiwan were screaming during the whole of the Chen Administration; indeed, Chen himself said it publicly several times. Vindication is late, but still welcome. Thanks, USTB.

Note also how the Ma Administration is referred to: a vacuum. Yup. The US worked to put him in power, and it got the Taiwan president it deserved -- someone who basically held up a middle finger to the United States for 7 years. Great work there, folks.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!

A Lovely Day in Central Taiwan

Every day should start with bright sun and an SETV poll showing Tsai up on Hung 47-14.8%. 

Since a blowout election is a political blogger's nightmare, I took my mind off the election with one of my favorite routes today, the 130 in Miaoli, with 90 kms of riding plus 1200 meters of climbing, and even added a new wrinkle with additional climbing. Some fabulous descents. What a lovely day. Wish you had been with me.... here's a few pics...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Links and Stuff =UPDATED=

Pick some juicy links for yourself... because this election is too dull to blog on. *sigh*

UPDATED: This great comment was made at the bottom of this post:
Regarding the news item "106 Japanese school teacher reunites with 1930s Taiwan pupils":

My late uncle (born in 1922) and his classmates used to have an annual reunion with their Japanese teacher of middle school ("初等科", equivalent to the post-war "初中") between 1960 and 1972. After 1972, the reunion happens not annually, only whenever the Japanese teacher was able to travel, due to his health condition. When my uncle passed away in a traffic accident in 1983, his then 80-year-old teacher mailed a so-called "white offer" to my uncle's widow (my aunt) as a gesture of condolence; in the letter, he apologized for not being able to physically travel to Taiwan to attend the funeral.

My father maintained a very close relationship with his Japanese teacher until his teacher's death in the 1990s. They never met in person again after the war (1945). But they wrote to each other many times each year, all those years.

As a post-war born Taiwanese, I don't need any "education" or "brain-washing" to like or dislike Japan. Growing up in a typical Taiwanese small town in the 1950s and 1960s, where Japanese houses were still standing and Japanese-style rooms were a natural fit in most houses, growing up in our house full of Japanese books and magazines, and growing up hearing and seeing the interactions between Taiwanese and Japanese after the war, it is natural for me to feel familiar with Japan. I feel foreign to China and the refugees from China because they stayed with themselves within their fences and never made an effort to reach out to their Taiwanese neighbors.

There was no intentional prejudice involved, this kind of feeling just naturally developed based on what's given in the social-cultural settings of the time.

Japan simply feels like "us" and China simply acts like "them". Some recent news articles seem to believe that only the Taiwanese that were born and grew up in the Japanese-era have a close mental connection with Japan, they guess wrong and are totally ignorant of the "left-over" effect of an era on the up-coming generations.

Think about it, an American born in the 1950s would still carry "imprint" of the great depression simply by having interacted with their parents or grandparents who had lived through the great depression.

Germans today still carry the "imprint" (or scars) from the terrible Weimar hyperinflation between 1921 and 1924; thus, their relatively conservative monetary policy, e.g. being "austerity" oriented.

The Japan effect on the Taiwanese is still strongly palpable in the third generation of the Japanese-era born. I can observe it in my own family and surroundings. I don't need anyone else to lecture me on whether this is right or "wrong". For me, this just "is".

The Chinese keep scorning at our naturally developed feeling and sense of being, our reaction is, of course, a very strong sense of alienation and foreignness towards the Chinese. The more the gang of Ma and Hau angrily order us to feel how we are supposed to feel, the more we feel alienated from them. The Taiwanese tend to remain quiet, it doesn't mean that we don't feel. If I don't understand certain aspect of my sister's views, I will try to understand it or at least to accept it because we are siblings. The Chinese keep ordering us Taiwanese to be their "compatriots" but they cannot give any leeway for our sense of who we have been and who we are; how can one feel true belonging in China under such circumstances?

West Germany can get along with East Germany with grace. North and South Koreas at least accept each other's existence and can talk eye to eye. The UK had the grace to accept and deal with the US after 1776. The Chinese simply cannot exhibit a tiny bit of grace in their behavior on all levels. Who would want to join them? I'd be ashamed to be part of such a disgraceful nation.
Daily Links:
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!