Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Musings

Got up this morning and decided to rest today after a week of tough biking, and wondering....

Why are there no seagulls in Taiwan? Did they all get eaten? Is it the pollution?

On May 17th, in the anti-Ma march, I got into a debate with one of the marchers. He fell in beside me and we started to talk about the state of things here, and then he said "Obama! All Obama has to do is say one sentence! Just one sentence!" He gave the thumbs up. I pointed out that (a) Whatever Obama said, it wasn't going to make Taiwan independent and (b) he wouldn't do it anyway, US Asia policy now being thrall to Beijing. Instead, I explained that the Taiwanese would have to stand up, that only the Taiwanese could create Taiwan independence. That did nothing to dent his faith. Always the invocation to outsiders -- the UN, Obama, whatever, to come save Taiwan.....

Foreigners who say annexing Taiwan to China will create peace deliberately ignore the violence that is likely to occur here if China does annex us. As Arthur Dent pointed out yesterday, the League of Nations UN reaction to the China-backed Sri Lankan violence against its Tamil civilians has chilling implications for the prospects of a Chinese takeover here.

People often talk about the staggering beauty of the mountains and the east coast and what potential there is for biking and hiking. But yesterday I biked up to Sanyi, then went over the ridge on 130, and zoomed down the other side to the west coast and 61, the Shi Bing Gong Lu. As we rolled through bright green Taiwan farming country, then down to the rice fields near the coast, and then back through Dajia city and the empty, endless rice fields along the Dajia River, my friend Ryan and I were remarking how there might also be a market for a different kind of ride through the Real Taiwan, the Taiwan of the earth god shrines and farms and factories and outre temples and roadside stands and crazed drivers. I enjoy that Taiwan very much.....

Yumaowu supermarket in Taichung makes awesome Italian-style bread. 85NT for a loaf about 70 cm long.

Greg Earl in the Australian Financial Review article about Korea's Roh and Taiwan's Chen above (click on it to go its Flickr page) gets it: it is possible to be both guilty and the victim of a political prosecution. Speaking of Chen, not a day goes by when I don't thank the KMT for detaining him -- not only driving home with each new detention the political nature of the charges against him, but also keeping him safely muzzled in jail where he cannot run around saying nonsense and dividing the DPP even more by desperately attempting to remain the center of attention.

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1 comment:

Stephen said...

How much violence was there in 1997 when China retained control over HK? No Tiananmen-style head bashing that I am aware of.

There would certainly be some resistance from the Deep Green Crazies, but if Taipei managed some concessions like "no changes for 50 years," it's hard to imagine anything that could be remotely similar to the Sri Lankan example that you cite.