Had an awesome weekend of riding with my friend Drew. On Saturday I did my first Century (100 mile) ride, going 187 kms to Tainan from my house. On Sunday we reversed the ride, doing 182 kms back. Saturday we rode across the flats of Changhua and Yunlin, while on Sunday the return ride was through rolling hills and a bit slower. Over 350 kms in all.
Lots of stuff out there this week:
- Taiwan Link analyzes a piece on the Chinese missile tests, noting, as I did the other week, that they weren't supposed to have political import.
- Global Voices: How the Puyuma people started 2010
- Ambassador Hotel, Then and Now
- Jerome with hacks on Ma's governing style and Tom Friedman
- Michella goes to Guanziling in Tainan with some excellent pics.
- Tainan City blog with a great post on how Tainan has grown as the sea receded.
- David on the Freedom House report
- The Daily Bubble Tea goes to Wulai
- J Michael argues that Chinese students might be a blessing in disguise.
IN-DEPTH: CSIS with piece on China-Taiwan trade. "Taipei has continued to resist pressure from Beijing to address political issues about which opinion in Taiwan remains deeply divided." Bullshit: opinion is quite united: only a few yammerheads here want political talks. Another CSIS piece on Confidence Building Measures: silly Taiwanese public opinion is a "serious constraint on progress." If only they were Serious People like CSIS commentators and agreed that Taiwan should be sold out so global finance could make the big bucks. They also note: "although Beijing is interested in CBMs primarily as a means to build political trust, while Taipei seeks CBMs to avoid accidents and create a more predictable security environment." Nicholas Lardy on the growing rift in US-China relations after Copenhagen. Commonwealth on the Fear of Death: Major Taiwan corporations do not have plans for the second generation when the current leader dies. This failure to plan for the death of the patriarch is a major problem at every level of Taiwan society.
TOM FRIEDMAN: Lots of discussion about the NYTimes piece mentioning Taiwan from Tom Friedman, Establishment Buffoon. Yes, Friedman is an idiot:
Has anyone noticed the most important peace breakthrough on the planet in the last two years? It’s right here: the new calm in the Strait of Taiwan. For decades, this was considered the most dangerous place on earth, with Taiwan and China pointing missiles at each other on hair triggers. Well, over the past two years, China and Taiwan have reached a quiet rapprochement — on their own. No special envoys or shuttling secretaries of state. Yes, our Navy was a critical stabilizer. But they worked it out. They realized their own interdependence. The result: a new web of economic ties, direct flights and student exchanges.Everything in here is wrong, from Friedman's claim that peace prevails in the Strait (hello, 1,500 missiles) to his bizarre construction of Taiwan's development history (massive US aid, for starters). It's so obviously stupid that there is no need to even discuss it. But his main point, that the national direction, our insane obsession with the Middle East, is an unproductive dead end and we should be focusing on China and the future of our people, is correct. Of course, Friedman's point would have had actual impact if he had not been a major cheerleader of that obsession (Greenwald's rip of this with Friedman's 2003 remarks). A few years ago I might have been amazed that a vapid, ignorant, hypocrite like Friedman has a national audience, but now it merely induces a kind of grim, knowing, amusement.
A key reason is that Taiwan has no oil, no natural resources. It’s a barren rock with 23 million people who, through hard work, have amassed the fourth-largest foreign currency reserves in the world. They got rich digging inside themselves, unlocking their entrepreneurs, not digging for oil. They took responsibility. They got rich by asking: “How do I improve myself?” Not by declaring: “It’s all somebody else’s fault. Give me a handout.”
SPECIAL: Taiwan News with an excellent piece on the KMT's local government power play. Read the whole thing; Ma is trying to get the legislature to change the law to preserve local KMT officials in place after the new municipalities come into effect this year. The idea is that whoever is election, local faction politicians will retain their grip on local politics through being given an additional four years, whereas the reformists wanted the elected magistrates to be able to appoint their own people. One implication of this law is that is appears to fear that the KMT may lose big in the elections at the end of the year....
VIDEO: Bloomberg has a collection of its own stuff which you can sort through.
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