I was shocked, I tell you shocked, to learn that Premier Wu Den-yih, back before he received his promotion to his current exalted state, traveled to Bali Island in Indonesia with a prominent Nantou gangster back in December, as the pro-Blue CTI reported (quickie translation from Google, slightly cleaned up):
根據周刊報導，吳敦義任職國民黨秘書長期間，曾偕妻子蔡令怡與中部黑道大哥江欽良，共赴印尼渡假盛地峇里島五日，同行者還包括南投縣長李朝卿、議員李增全、竹山鎮紫南宮主委莊秋安、草屯鎮代表會主席林焜熠夫婦。由於江欽良仍在假釋期，且自十餘歲出道累積逾30項的犯案前科，令人高度質疑吳揆力挺查緝黑道的決心。A spokesman said on behalf of Premier Wu that he had gone there to gain ideas for tourism. Clearly, to attract so august a crowd, Bali Island must have many lessons for land-locked Nantou.
According to a Next Weekly reports, when Wu Den-yih was KMT Secretary General, he and his wife and central Taiwan triad leader Jiang Qin Liang, went to the Indonesian resort island of Bali for five days while traveling, together with Nantou County Magistrate Li Zhaoqing, Mr Li Zeng-Quan, Chushan Town Purple Palace Chairman Zhuang Qiu-An, and Mr Lam Kun-Yi of the Tsaotun Township Council and their wives. As Jiang Qin Liang was still on parole from a ten year sentence, with a record of 30 previous convictions for various offenses....
Out walking the pet chicken in front of an apartment complex in Linkou as the stray dogs look on hungrily.
When last we heard from the High Speed Rail on this blog, the government was taking it over as the system was unable to service its debts. The government takeover was necessary to get the political leverage so that the state banks would re-do the loans at a lower rate. Sure enough, the news came out today that the government banks had agreed to refinance the loans...
The Taiwan High Speed Rail Co. (THSRC) yesterday secured a total of NT$ 382 billion in loans from a bank consortium at an average interest rate of 1.8%, helping to relieve the firm from its heavy financial burden. The THSRC also pledged to assist the state-owned shareholders to obtain more than half of the seats on the THSRC board, which is scheduled to be reshuffled next week.The comment about the HSR company helping government-connected people get a seat on the board reminds me of this article on China's burgeoning private equity muscle. Private equity firms typically invest in companies in which they see a gap between current management's ability to make money and their own assessment of the potential of the firm. They then chuck out the previous underperforming management, bring in experienced pros to run the companies, and sell off the firm after a few years at large profits, which are repaid to the original private equity investors.
An official pointed out that the bank consortium consisted mainly of eight state-owned banks, including the Bank of Taiwan and the Land Bank of Taiwan, but the bank consortium intended to solicit the participation of several private banks. According to local media, some private banks, including Taipei Fubon Bank and the Chinatrust Commercial Bank, have shown interest.
This business has largely been the domain of westerners but China now has the money to begin focusing on Taiwan's listed corporations. Once they have purchased shares it will be easy to install pro-China lackeys, or Chinese themselves, on the boards (Taiwan shareholders typically don't vote). I'm sure you'll be shocked to find that economic relations are not apolitical, despite the claims of thoroughly clueless futurists. Economist Peter Chow wrote a great piece in the Taipei Times the other day on some of the really deep issues involved in moving closer to China.
Screen capture from Taipei Times the other day. Impersonators of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek with a local political candidate.
Quote of the week: I had my students do pro/con essays on the topic of living together, and one male dolefully informed me that one of the disadvantages of cohabiting is that "you must be honest" with your partner.
Those of you into trivia can answer this one which appeared on H-Asia:
I wonder if anybody knows about Hollywood films on Taiwan or Taiwanese issues produced in the 1950s-60s. Is there any equivalent of ‘Sayonara’ or ‘The World of Suzie Wong’ set in Taiwan? There have been many studies on the culture during the Cold War and the American representation of Asia, but I haven’t come across anything specifically addressing Taiwan, therefore I would be grateful if anybody can kindly let me know._____________
Sad to learn Taiwan lost 400 historic puppets in warehouse fire. Taiwan What's Up says foreigners will soon enjoy lower tax rates. Slightly lower. Over at China Beat there is a reallllly great post on the reconstruction of Hsiaolin Village by Paul Katz. Finally, don't miss this excellent interview with one of the architects of the Taiwan health care system in the NY Times.
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