Don't forget, tonight is the Perseid Meteor shower. It seems here in the Chung we are under clouds all night. In all my years here this has been the crappiest summer ever: cold, wet, and cloudy. I guess Taipei is getting revenge on us for enjoying good weather all those years....
I stumbled across this interesting post on religion in Taiwan. It has some good discussion of the way religious believers are counted in Taiwan -- did you ever hear of BAROC? -- and then talks about institutions:
Although Catholicism [天主教] is a minority religion in Taiwan, it is massively institutionalized: in 2011, Taiwan was home to 9 Catholic Hospitals, 7 Catholic Clinics, 16 Catholic Middle Schools, and 142 Catholic Kindergardens and Nursery Schools (exceeding the number of Buddhist institutions in every category mentioned; see the charts for some other examples). This type of institutional depth probably produces paperwork documenting the membership of a larger proportion of their followers. Religions, also, will vary as to their requirements for people to "enroll" to receive various rites of passage (and, again, the litigious nature of baptism, marriage, etc., in the Catholic tradition is a point of contrast).I got to wondering about the numbers. There are 6 Tzu Chi hospitals alone but I couldn't think of any other "Buddhist" hospitals in Taiwan. Then I got to thinking about how "religious hospital" is defined in a way that benefits Christianity here -- after all, many Chinese medicine clinics apply spiritual principles in their healing practices. So are we really looking at a performance of Buddhism that is underwhelming, or a performance of Buddhism that is so completely diffused that we can't see it?
The raw data for the number of religious institutions (shown here as eight pie-charts) can be misleading in many ways: there is no correlation between the number of institutions and their number of beneficiaries. 10 small schools may have fewer students than 1 large one, and so on for the number of patients in hospitals, or the number of homeless people assisted by a shelter. There are nevertheless a few interesting facts that seem to leap off of the page here. The focus of Catholicism on early childhood education is an interesting contrast to the emphasis that Taiwanese Daoism (apparently) places on retirement homes for the elderly, and "welfare foundations" (presumably for the poor?). The underwhelming performance of Buddhism in all categories is self-evident.
Le Monde has a pretty good article on Taiwan's fading Chinese identity.... with a couple of nice quotes:
For Wu Chi-chung, professor in political science at the Soochow University in Taipei: "after every presidential election, the feeling of Taiwanese identity becomes stronger. It's as if the act of voting, even for a candidate of the Kuomintang (KMT; the party in power), pushes the Taiwanese people to feel even more Taiwanese." In the eyes of younger generations, Taiwanese democracy, which has been reinforced by five presidential elections, has contributed to creating a common identity.The reality is that the "Chinese" identity that overlaid the identities of the locals was a faux creation of the KMT, just as fakey as its mock Ming architecture. It could never last because it was founded on nothing but political propaganda. But this quote above nicely illustrates how Taiwanese have incorporated democratic practices into their evolving local identity, how valuable democracy is. The real "Chinese" identity of Taiwanese -- languages, religious practice, arts, cooking -- these are alive and well and also evolving. Which is another reason the KMT "Chinese" identity faded -- determined by diktat, it contained neither potential nor provision for its own authentic evolution at the hands of the people.
The staidly Establishment TISR, the old social survey unit of Global Views, allegedly shut down after KMT pressure in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election when it reported that Tsai was leading Ma, reports that independence is the long-term goal of a majority, 55.4%. These numbers are probably too low....
FocusTaiwan has an article on a call from the European Chamber of Commerce for Taiwan to make itself more attractive to foreign investors. The ECCT had some good suggestions for the island to go low carbon...and then:
The ECCT also said that although Taiwan provides a standard of living, the availability of English and other foreign language channels on cable TV is very poor.Heartbreaking, eh? We haven't had cable TV since the 1990s. In those days it was illegal and service was excellent and the number of channels offered was enormous. Anyway, try the internet, it has a much better selection than your cable company....
For example, James said the local cable TV company servicing Taipei's upscale Xinyi District, where he lives, produces a limited number of English language channels, compared with cities in Malaysia and Singapore, where he lived previously.
Over the past 12 months, James said he has lost Star World, Universal and Diva Universal TV, which carry many popular English language TV shows, such as "American Idol" and "Law and Order."
- Formosa Plastics restarts its world-leading Naptha cracker in Taiwan
- A-gu thought that the new China Affairs Office of the DPP would actually amount to something
- President Lee in court today on charges of embezzling special funds. Sound familiar? Move along folks, there's nothing political about these charges, or the other charges against DPP politicians. Don't expect the foreign media to comment on it either. Sad.
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