Went biking in the mountains this weekend, going up from Taroko Gorge. While I took two days off, the world went on at its usual furious pace. But I got some lovely pictures....I'll stick a few in here -- more later. [UPDATED: corrected broken Global Views survey link and broken Sponge Bear link]
Biking through Taroko Gorge, the best way to see it.
What's out there on the blogs?
- Ma: KMT is Taiwan
- Ben Goren on Christians in Taiwan who want to shut down the gay pride parade. Hundreds of gay blogs reported on the anti-gay march here.
- Ten years to tackle the Taiwan question.
- David on Formosa Betrayed 2010 release.
- Judicial independence in Taiwan and Singapore.
- An educator visits Taiwan and observes that boys lag girls in reading, and observes some differences between US and Taiwan education.
More blog stuff.....
- The future of the Taiwanese language.
- Sponge Bear rips Tom Plate, who seems to be East Asia's answer to Tom Friedman.
- Is China North Korea's hip elder brother?
- Ma Ying-jeou: not responsible for the gondola debacle.
- DPP statement from the party congress.
MEDIA: Global Views survey last week shows widespread mistrust of Ma Ying-jeou, rising support for outright independence and near-majority support for long-term independence (corrected link). WSJ on China-India problems in the Himal, one of the world's great unknown flashpoints. It will be interesting to see how India will tolerate China's damming of the rivers of the Himalayan plateau. Brookings Fellow Liu Shih-chung points to the possibility of Ma-Hu meeting in 2011. Chinese general visits Washington, from the China Daily. Taiwan's defense ministry says China military can deter other militaries from helping Taiwan in the event of war. China expands cyberspying in US, says Congressional report.
Staggering mountain vistas along the road. Here is the turn at Shibao, 915 meters up.
MEDIA: Export orders hit 11 month high in September. Openings for jobs are also up. Recovery may arrive in time for December elections. Mark Beeson at Japan Focus on the decline in US influence in East Asia? Richard Fontaine in WSJ argues that the US should monitor things more closely and boost ties out here to ensure China doesn't make cross strait agreements a zero-sum game. ECFA is not a free trade agreement, folks -- using that term in association with ECFA, I've come to understand, is merely an attempt to harness laudable support for freer trade in the service of a bilateral agreement on finance and certain sectors of the economy, which at least one of the governments is treating as a domestic agreement. If that's free trade, bald is a hair color. Also, if the WSJ wants the US to pay more attention to Asia, it should stop agitating in support of every war that comes down the pike. Believe it or not, resources are finite.
Looking down on some of the steepest mountains in the world.
MEDIA: Disturbingly, the anti-gay group Exodus was one of the Christian groups involved in the march of the anti-gay bigots the other day. I think it is sad that the West has exported its worst out here. BBC actually put the word threat in quotes in Taiwan warns of China 'threat'. Heavyweight businessmen from China to arrive to discuss 'bridge building' between Taiwan and China. Lawmakers blast opening market to US beef, because of safety. Yes, because everything else in Taiwan is so safe, there remained only this problem of mad cow to solve. At least it will end the US obsession with selling beef here, and enable the Taiwan-US trade talks to continue. Allegations of vote buying in the election for the KMT's Central Standing Committee. Imagine that! China trumps Taiwan's democracy. Recalling Taiwan's days of dance.
Yes, even after climbing 1900 meters, some of us could still smile.
AFP WATCH: AFP, an inexhaustible resource of media follies, had a great one in a report on press freedom here in Taiwan. Check out these three paragraphs and note the second two:
Some observers and journalists say the RSF index is a warning of how far Taiwan is prepared to go to appease its giant neighbor.Yes, immediately after noting that the head of the Association of Taiwan Journalists says that media types focus on negative angles here, AFP then in the very next paragraph regurgitates two negative pro-China claims about the Dalai Lama and Rebiya Kadeer, with no balancing positive information whatsoever. No irony there, eh?
“More media outlets are self-censoring on sensitive issues such as the Dalai Lama or Rebiya Kadeer by downplaying their coverage or focusing on negative angles,” said Leon Chuang (莊豐嘉), head of the Association of Taiwan Journalists.
Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to separate Tibet from China and blames Kadeer for bloody ethnic unrest in her home region Xinjiang in July.
On the second day the air was chill and clear.
SPECIAL: Just as the CCP and the KMT are making out like teenagers in the back of a '57 Chevy, comes a "reassessment" of Chiang Kai-shek in several different spheres. What a coincidence! Jay Taylor, who wrote what I thought was a highly sympathetic biography of Chiang Kai-shek's son, junior dictator Chiang Ching-kuo, has recently come out with a work on Chiang Kai-shek himself. Two reviews by noted thinkers out already: Jonathon Spence's review of the new biobook on the elder Chiang. Arthur Waldron has a review of the same text at the Jamestown China Brief. Gerrit van der Wees will also review the book at the Taiwan Communique later. Spence and Waldron come from different Cold War analytical backgrounds and thus come to differing conclusions about the book. I think Waldron is just plain wrong to lay the blame for the negative assessment of Chiang largely on Stilwell -- the incompetence, venality, and greed of the Chiang regime is a theme in much reporting on Taiwan from the post-1945 period. Can't wait to read this book, though.
Ever wonder how farmers get up and down those terraces?
ANNOUNCEMENTS: The movie Formosa Betrayed will be out in the US in Feb of 2010.
The resort and farming town of Lishan. That tiny blot of clouds in the distance is I-lan.
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