Thursday, July 20, 2006

Apple Daily Rant

ESWN, never one to miss a hack on President Chen, has a link to a rather silly article from an Apple Daily Taiwan essayist whom ESWN says is the principal writer for Apple Daily. It's easy to see why Apple Daily is so awful -- it's a laugher (consider my usual complaint about the inability of local "analysts" to write with complexity and nuance to have been made). An excerpt -- these are back to back paragraphs:

Ah Bian knows that there is no chance that the constitution reform and renaming of Taiwan can get through the Legislature. The 10% public support for these two items will not allow him to do that, but he still insists on moving forward. This is a manifestation of the fear of a trapped animal which intends to treat the people as straw dogs. Still, we can still use our imagination to look ahead.

The constitutional reform and the re-naming of Taiwan seriously go past China's bottom line (becasue they mean Taiwan independence by law) and it will provoke a severe response from China. The United States will take this as a betrayal of Ah Bian's formal promises and take action to sanction Taiwan. The stock market will drop under 3,000 points, the economy will be ruined, society will be in chaos, political storms will be turbulent and the people will be scared. Then Ah Bian can properly declare a state of emergency, impose martial law, arrest opponents, cancel all elections including the 2008 presidential election ...

I love the way in one paragraph he chides Chen for wanting constitutional reform and a name change, since there is "no chance" of that occurring -- then in the next paragraph he conjures up paranoid fantasies based on the success of those very policies that in the previous paragraph he had denied was possible. We've been hearing these same fantasies from the mainlander fringe ever since Lee Teng-hui was accused of having identical dreams those many years ago. He then writes:

Alright, this is where we will stop and we don't want to visualize how China will invade Taiwan by force with the tacit approval of the United States ... the independence bosses and the deep-green supporters of Ah Bian often think in self-reinforcing close-minded groupthink and believe that they are right. This causes Ah Bian to think that he is absolutely right and then the tragedy gets out of hand.

Anyone who thinks the heavily factionalized Greens, even the Deep Greens, engage in groupthink is on crack -- in fact, some of the most serious opposition to Chen is from the Deep Greens who think he is too willing to sell out independence for short-term political gains, and suspect his commitment to it. Oberve that the article first states that....

All those greens who supported Ah Bian during the election are embarrassed and disappointed and feel that they were let down; they are also scorned at by the blues and feel bad. But Ah Bian thinks that he can still hijack these people to continue on. That is why these people are now angry and want Ah Bian to resign. They hate Ah Bian for being so confident that these pro-green people have nowhere else to go because they cannot turn to the blue camp. This is a terrible feeling and that is why they have come forward to demand Ah Bian to resign.

In other words, "all those greens" presumably includes those Deep Greens who engage in groupthink, except when they are disappointed in Chen and calling for his resignation....and not showing up at the Grand Hotel to support him. The great thing about writing on the current political mess is that if you are criticizing Chen, there is no need to be logical. It is enough to simply be negative......

UPDATE: David at Politics from Taiwan looked into the whole name change issue to clarify Chen's position. It's incredible what you can do if you do actual research, as opposed to merely venting spleen like the Apple Daily "writer" above. David concludes:

So, in summary:

  • He would clearly like to change the name (and has publicly said so), but
  • He’s promised not to, and
  • He has no power to do so anyway, and
  • Even if he could convince the DPP legislators to propose a name change it would be trivial for the KMT/PFP to block it

UPDATE: I would also like to point out that the Constitution has been changed more than a dozen times since the early 1990s, and China has refrained from invading, the stock market has continued to climb, and Taiwanese still enjoy their civil rights. It's nice living in the reality-based community.....

UPDATE: One of the great things about the media in Taiwan is how asinine, one-sided, poorly-written dreck like the Apple Daily Rant I blogged on yesterday is followed unblushingly by pious complaints about how biased the media is -- in the very same media organ. True to form, ESWN today provides an Apple Daily piece on how the print media in Taiwan has become untrustworthy. The opening paragraph:

Among Taiwan's traditional media, news reporting and opinion commentary are getting mixed up due to lack of understanding about journalistic professionalism. This has done great damage to public trust in the media. Presently, the online newspaper websites are carrying blogs written by the editorial staff. This will not save the media empire but will destroy any remaining public trust.

Now, this has been the case for years here, and the problem isn't "poor understanding about journalistic professionalism." The media here understands that concept just fine -- well enough to manipulate it in essays like this. The issue is one that plagues Taiwanese society -- the lack of an idea of civil society.


David said...

Where does all this "renaming of Taiwan" come from? Has CSB recently said something about this? Or is it just an assumption that he must want to do it because ... well because he's CSB?

I've seen loads of articles claiming that he wants to change the name of the nation - but I haven't seen any quotes from him which corroborate it. Did I miss something?

Tim Maddog said...

Too funny, Michael. If Roland or Bu Da-Zhong could only think, their heads would explode.

Consider the following:
* Roland's title "This Will Not Appear in Taipei Times" might as well read "This Drivel Will Not Appear in Taipei Times." It could just as easily be said that "Apple Daily wouldn't praise Chen Shui-bian if he saved Jimmy Lai's life with his own hands."
* While talking about "renaming" Taiwan (to "Taiwan," kinda like the U.S. did with the "Taiwan Relations Act"), the writer (named 大中 ["Big China"!]) seems to forget that he's writing for a rag called "Apple Daily (Taiwan)"
* Confirming David's doubt above, Chen Shui-bian has reiterated his "four noes" pledge (which includes a promise not to change the national title during his term) as recently as June 16, 2006. In other words, it's a lie -- the kind of lie that bullies make up when they get caught red-handed picking on smaller kids. While they've already done lots of evil, this kinda makes the pan-blues' hands look preemptively "red."

The article, therefore, turns itself into a "straw dog."

If anyone needs to see powerful examples of "groupthink" and "no need to be logical. It is enough to simply be negative......," they can just go visit the KMT's web site (ironically located on a non-China domain at and wonder what sort of evil they have in store for us.

And that's my own rant of the moment. ;-)

Tim Maddog

Michael Turton said...

I've seen loads of articles claiming that he wants to change the name of the nation - but I haven't seen any quotes from him which corroborate it. Did I miss something?

Nope. I haven't seen any such thing either. And a declaration by Chen of that goal would be front page news in all the papers.


Anonymous said...

While Chen did not explicity state renaming of Taiwan as part of his platform, I remembered when Chen was interviewed by foreign (Japan or US, forgot), he did mention that if the public and the legislature support the renaming of Taiwan, he would not oppose it. This means Chen would not initiate or oppose the renaming campaign. Basically, for the New Constitution and National Moniker Change to be put to a vote in a referendum, the Green Camp would need to capture a majority in the legislature in the 2007 legislative election first. Seems like a tough job.

Even if China attacks because of the New Constitution, it's better for China to attack when they're weak now than when they're stronger 10 years later. However, it's a risk Taiwan needs to avoid. Perhaps it's better to wait out until after 2010, when it's clear if China will rise to world power or collapse, according to some experts. Who knows?

LA said...

What! The dude is not for Taiwan Independence? I am shocked. SHOCKED.

Alas, it's more like "no guts, no glory" stuff :)

David said...

I did a bit of digging, and ended up writing a post about the issue of name changes ... see here

Sun Bin said...

FYI Pu Dazhong has been a harsh critic of Ma Yingjeou till April/May this year.