Friday, October 28, 2005

Friday , Oct 28, Taiwan Blog Round-up


She's really here! This is NOT a Photoshopped picture!

This week my Auntie Barb and Uncle Nick arrived from Cleveland to visit us for three days after vacationing in the Middle Kingdom. We did a "Greatest Hits of Central Taiwan" vacation that saw us up to Sun Moon Lake and Flying Cow Farm. More on that tomorrow....So I let the world go by this week....and lo and behold, suddenly it was Friday! A much abbreviated version of the round-up this week. My apologies to all!

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Pinyin Info posted a funny essay on why Chinese is so damned hard.

So what do I mean by "hard"? Since I know at the outset that the whole tone of this document is going to involve a lot of whining and complaining, I may as well come right out and say exactly what I mean. I mean hard for me, a native English speaker trying to learn Chinese as an adult, going through the whole process with the textbooks, the tapes, the conversation partners, etc., the whole torturous rigmarole. I mean hard for me -- and, of course, for the many other Westerners who have spent years of their lives bashing their heads against the Great Wall of Chinese.

I've never found Chinese difficult; I thought Swahili and Taiwanese were both harder. Even Spanish with its idiotic conjugations is harder than Chinese IMHO. But I learned Spanish in school, while I learned Chinese here, on the street. Probably it's easier to learn in a 24-7 environment....

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What a Wonderful World, a Singapore blogger who always Pays It Forward, blogged on a Taiwan humanitarian this week:

Twenty years ago, there was a gap in the welfare systems of Taiwan—no organization was assuming the responsibility to care for patients in a persistent vegetative state. Hence, many patients ended up lying permanently in a corner of their home, deprived from proper medical care. Imprisoned in their own bodies, they were totally under the mercy of their family members.

Taiwan in those days was a poor country; if a family had a vegetable, it was unlikely that any more adults could be spared from working--it would be a luxury to have a full time caretaker. Naturally, long hours of neglect meant the patients would end up developing bed sores, and the lacks of immediate medical attention and continuous medical care, meant the situations could only get worse—the sores grew larger and the rotting flesh started to smell, in some cases bones were even visible. These patients lived in a living hell; they were striped off their pride and cornered into a little cell; silently they would endure a period of torments that seemed to last forever, where hours passed like days and days passed like months, until their final day arrived.

Has that gap changed much? Families are financially crushed by such patients as the system, AFAIK, has no provision for withdrawal of care.......

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MeiZhongTai has an extensive commentary on the problem of oil, China, and Everything Else.

Strategically, it would seem to make sense for China to coordinate with other actors interested in the Spratlys, and then leverage the goodwill against Japan through stoking fears of a resurgent Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. It is worth noting that every single Spratlys actor had been attacked and/or occupied, at least in part, by Imperial Japanese forces. (Taiwan was never attacked, as it was handed over to Japan following the Sino-Japanese War in the Treaty of Shimonoseki.) Thus China hopes to convert energy that might otherwise have been directed against her into a resource with which to compete with Japan.

It's interesting that MZT denies the competence and imagination to China in military affairs that he ascribes to it in diplomatic. But whatever my jealous sniping from the peanut gallery, this is one not to be missed....

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Several bloggers remarked on the Commentary in the Taipei Times the other day on how Chiang Kai Shek from the KMT (Kill Many Taiwanese) blew Taiwan's UN seat. Maddog has the call:

That (between the quotes) is what the headline on an article in Thursday's Taipei Times read, and it's exactly right. When my wife heard this in local Chinese-language news yesterday, she was a bit surprised because I had said almost exactly the same thing to her the day before. My version went something like this:
"Look, anytime these pan-blues start scolding the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) because of some country breaking up with Taiwan, all you have to say is 'And how many countries' relationships did we lose in 1971?' End of story."

Good to see you back, Tim!

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David a Jujuflop scores with several good posts this week. Check out his posts on non-Constitutional reform....

President Chen Shui-bian is very keen on constitutional reform. He regularly talks about it being vital for the future development of Taiwan, and a cornerstone of his presidency. This in itself means that the pan-Blue opposition parties will make very sure that he won't be able to reform the constitution again during his presidency.

...Chinese tourists in Taiwan...

There has been some discussion on weblogs about the general behaviour of Chinese tourists abroad - so it will be interesting how they are viewed in Taiwan. I suspect the main 'tourist attractions' they will be drawn to will be the larger shopping malls in Taipei, where I'm sure the storekeepers will be overjoyed to see them (and their wallets).

The only other questions are whether they'll be able to avoid confrontations with the pro-independence Taiwanese they bump into, and how they interact with the other main group of tourists to Taiwan - the Japanese.


......and the it-never-rains-but-it-pours life of Pasuya Yao, GIO head:

Why have all these news stories come out recently? Well, of course, the most obvious answer is that Yao is an incompetent minister with a knack for putting his foot in it. However, it can hardly be coincidence that all these stories have come out after he was responsible for refusing to renew the licenses of several TV channels - thus drawing the ire of Taiwanese media. Freedom of the press means that if you piss off the press, then they will get their revenge. Pasuya Yao must be yearning for the 'good old days' of the GIO (otherwise known as the 'James Soong years') when anyone critical of the GIO would have been shipped off to Green Island, and their newspaper shut down.

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Taiwan's Other Side posted an interesting post on KMT-CCP cooperation:

The 中國國民黨Kuo Ming Tang and 中國共産黨Chinese Communist Party have had something of a rapprochement over the past few years, particularly since the end of 李登輝 Lee Tung-Hui's presidency, and especially since the 2004 presidential elections in Taiwan. This has caused quite a stir in Taiwan, and has allowed the DPP to fairly successfully label the KMT as communist sympathizers and traitors. It is common to hear that pro-blue media organizations have been 'infiltrated' and are now puppets of the regime in Beijing. What has prompted this change of heart on the part of the KMT? Is it simple opportunism, as some say, or is there something more?
Good work, TOS.

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ESWN this week posted some of his trademark media analysis, this time of Taiwan's media reports about the Kaohsiung Metro Scandal.

The latest development concerns a visit to a South Korean casino by two principal characters. The following are some examples of the technical defenses. (China Post) Chen Che-nan, a former deputy secretary-general to President Chen Shui-bian, admitted yesterday he visited a South Korean casino in November 2002 together with Chen Min-hsien, who is under investigation for involvement in the snow-balling Kaohsiung Metro scandal. "We visited the casino on Cheju," said Chen Che-nan, who had insisted he never set foot on South Korea before. Li Tao, the talk-show host, produced on Wednesday night a photo showing the two Chens at the Korean casino, which he claimed was in Seoul. "I have said I have never visited Seoul and Inchon," Chen Che-nan. "I visited Cheju with Chen Min-hsien," he admitted. Minister of Justice Shih Mao-lin ... was grilled at the Legislative Yuan for failure to obtain "evidence" against the two Chens, which the media had easily secured.

If one of the parties put as much energy into improving the workers' lives as they did in attacking/defending each other, then the scandal would prove useful. But the one thing that has dropped out of the scandal is the one really important thing: worker welfare.

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Menghsin Journal explains why bus drivers in Taiwan can sometimes be great:

About three minutes of pointless back-and-forth continued, during which the bus driver explained that the children's fare is only 8NT whereas the normal fare is 15NT. He insisted on seeing her ID (a pointless request considering she was obviously not a child) which she wouldn't produce, and eventually claimed she did not have. She was taking her sweet time pulling her bus pass out from its protective sheath too, all the while insisting that she didn't swipe a child's card.
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Jerome Keating posts essays on Kinmen, one on history and some pics on its environment.

October 25th, the anniversary date of the battle of Guningtou approaches and the small island of Kinmen once again is in the spotlight. Kinmen sits some two kilometers off the southeastern coast of mainland China at the Jiulong River estuary in Fujian province. Though not large, its special location has nevertheless given it important, diverse, and changing roles in the history of China and later of Taiwan.
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Wandering to Tamshui had many great posts, as always, but in particular had one on beating in Taiwan schools that was just great....

If passed without addressing the root of the problem, the no-hitting law will be enforced for all of a year before it either gets ignored or teachers find other, more imaginative ways to punish errant students. Holding mandatory retraining seminars for teachers in conjunction with the new law therefore seems to make a lot more sense.

Cold Goat Eyes also blogged on this topic:

As for me, I am appalled and disgusted by this video clip. It sickens me to the pit of my stomach that this kind of blatant student espionage is allowed to happen in this day and age. The boy that filmed this event must be punished. His cellphone should be siezed and a ban on all similar devices in the classroom should be initiated and enforced as soon as possible. We cannot allow our students to film the practice of corporal punishment in schools in this manner. The teacher waited ten days for this boys homework. TEN days! If it had been me I would have done it after 2 hours. After all, Taiwan kids have it easy here right? Short school hours, no tests, no pressure, no out-of-school cramming in early-morning or late-evening bushibans, no homework, no obsessive parents who lock them in their bedrooms after 8pm and force them into an unwanted path of academic hellfire and brimstone.
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Rank blogs on the Pan-Blue's continued attempts to ensure that Taiwan has no functioning government at all:

The Pan Blues have done it again. They've passed an incoherent bill that will create more problems that it solves. This China Post article seems itself to be a paradigm of incoherence, but the process it describes matches the descriptions in Chinese media. Parties will nominate a total of 15 people to the National Communications Commission. The Cabinet will nominate an additional three for a total of 18 nominees. An 11-member legislative panel will confirm 13 nominees through a vote. The interesting wrinkle is that a nominee needs at least 60 percent of panel votes to be appointed. Given the current legislature's record on cross-party cooperation, this virtually guarantees the NCC legislative panel will be deadlocked: based on the current legislature, five members would be pan green and six would be pan blue. Do the math. The pan blues won't be able to push through nominees unless at least one pan green panel member is absent during a vote. How likely is that?

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Ni Howdy develops an interesting counterproposal for the Anti-Succession law:

2. Have a referendum upon the question, "Any unification plan must pass a referendum of Taiwan's voters with X% approval rate with Y% of total registered voters voting."

The beauty of this is Taiwan can claim to be setting up for a unification scenario (not independence), but at the same time constraining China if it passes that any unification plan has to be damn acceptable to the people of Taiwan and not some bargain made with James Soong in a smoke-filled Shanghai KTV.
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SHORTS:
Jon complains to the BBC about Taiwan's Tamiflu situation. Karl hilariously attempts to introduce worship of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to Taiwan. Congrats to Big Ell on adding by 1! Don't miss the podcasting at Getting a Leg Up and Ugly Expat. As always, great photos at 35togo, Unplugged, the forgetful's photo gallery, amateur commune, andres, Clarke vs Matt, Cat Piano,T_C at Fotolog, Fotologging Taiwan, Photoactionboy, leftmind, MaMaHuHu (Jackson, you gonna put new stuff up there?), Everything Visible is Empty, Roger in Taiwan, Love Songs (Are for Losers), Photoblogging Taiwan, a better tomorrow, and This Life. There's a big list of Taiwan fotologgers at Fotolog.net.


1 comment:

Budding Sinologist said...

Michael,
The post you attribute to me is actually not mine. Bruce and I both use the same blogger format though so we look a little similar. His blog is named Naruwan Formosa and has recently been added to my reading list as well. I'm glad you are pointing it out to the Taiwan blog community.