2. This picture of wind machines next to the Gaomei Wetlands outside Taichung looks much better when you view the large size.
3. On a lovely morning riding the Northern Cross-Island Highway, we pause for breakfast.
4. I caught this beetle lounging in the sun not far from the town of Dulan.
5. I love the light and shadow of this beautiful shot of I-lan seen from Highway 7.
6. The shades and textures of these nuts steaming in a night market in Wanhua are delightful.
7. I shot these people watching others fish under the West Coast Highway north of Lukang in Changhua. To get the full effect, view the large size.
8. In this capture of my friend Jeff shooting a water buffalo, the stolid, exasperated look on the animal's face always makes me laugh.
9. A mountain shot from riding up Taroko Gorge I particularly like.
10. The mountains on a crisp day above Lishan. Simply gorgeous.
It's the end of the year, which means that everyone is compiling their top ten lists. I thought I'd offer my ten favorite pics from this year. And the ten biggest news stories in Taiwan this year.... The first list was easy. The second? Not so much. After much cogitation, here are my top ten, leave your suggestions in the comments.
2009 Top Ten Taiwan News Stories
1. Chen Shui-bian trial and conviction. Remember the circus -- the swapping of judges, the bombast from Chen, the demonstrating supporters, the prosecutors' skit.
2. Typhoon Morakot. The 8/8 typhoon kills hundreds, devastates, infrastructure, exposes Ma government indifference.
3. ECFA. More than any other story, ECFA (remember when it was CECA?) has dominated the news this year.
4. KMT Setbacks. Casinos defeated in Penghu, DPP morale boost in Dec 5 elections, and DPP gains in by-elections. Meanwhile Ma's popularity slumps as problem after problem emerges, from the failure of his signature projects as Taipei mayor, to the shocking indifference he displayed in his handling of the Morakot disaster, along with the growing public sense that Taiwan is getting too close to China.
5. American Beef. So key an issue was dead foreign cattle flesh, that whether to import US beef was decided at the highest levels of the Taiwan government, by Ma's right-hand man.
6. City/County mergers alter future political landscape. Everyone wants a piece of that government development budget, but the pie probably isn't big enough.
7. Economic free fall. As the economy went into the abyss, the year opened with the voucher program (slogan: Enjoying tomorrow's debt -- today!) and closed with the good news that export and manufacturing orders have climbed.
8. Multiple indictments of DPP politicians. Corruption fighting or opposition suppressing? You make the call.
9. World Games and DeafOlympics. Shone a positive light on the island. My students in all my classes (I quizzed 'em about their opinions) consistently mentioned this and nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10. And Michael Jackson's death.
10. H1N1. In the news all year long, but fortunately did not seem as bad as it could have been.
Honorable mentions: US arms sale decision, Jimmy Lai's attempt to purchase the China Times, the Capitulationist Raccoons arrive at the Zoo (and fail to attract many visitors), the second Chen Yunlin visit, Kuo Kuan-yin the high-class mainlander.
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