Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Economist Validates and other Predictions

A few posts down, I noted how The Economist "criticism" of President Ma was actually a backhanded affirmation of his policies and provision of cover for the many deep issues that plague his Administration. I observed:
...By using the term bumbler to adumbrate the many such issues surrounding Ma's presidency, The Economist actually hides the severe problems with Ma while making a pretense of criticizing him.
The Taipei Times reported today on The Economists' response to the issues raised by the pan-Green media's outpouring of glee...
Ministry spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said Dominic Ziegler, Asia editor of the weekly magazine, said he had noticed that “bumbler” had been “irresponsibly mistranslated” by some Taiwanese media as “笨蛋” (or “dimwit”), which he said was a “gross mistranslation.”

Ziegler said the two Chinese characters used in local media were an incorrect translation of “bumbler.”

Ziegler sent an e-mail reply to Representative to the UK Shen Lyu-shun (沈呂巡), Hsia said, in response to the ministry’s reaction to the article titled “Ma the bumbler” in its current edition, which in its body calls Ma an “ineffectual bumbler.”

Hsia quoted Ziegler as saying that the word “bumbler” is not an insult to Ma because it describes a man “who acts indecisively or in a slightly confused manner.”
As I said, The Economist supports Ma's work on behalf of Taiwan's wealthy non-taxpayers, his wrench of Taiwan into China's orbit, his signing of the less-than-useful ECFA, and sundry other matters. He's just a bumbler, the poor lad, but he's doing the right thing. Ziegler's response was well-played, the media always makes a nice whipping boy and in this case, even better, he happens to be right. If only we lived in that alternate universe where the pan-Green media had dialed up some of the many informed native speakers who live in Taiwan, comment regularly on these issues, and who can meaningfully translate "bumbler" so that Ziegler had no foothold for The Economists' defense of Ma -- imagine if the pan-Green media had instead focused some heat on The Economist for its several glaring errors of fact and interpretation, putting the mag on the defensive, Ziegler would be eating a healthy serving of Corvus retractus today...

In other news, remember when this blog and numerous other commenters noted that (1) prior to ECFA China never promised to let Taiwan have FTAs and (2) it probably never would, since letting Taiwan have FTAs is not in China's interest? Well, scholar Alan Romberg was talking at the release of his new book about the Taiwan-Singapore Economic Cooperation Agreement...
Turning to Taiwan’s quest for international space, Romberg said China would oppose any issues related to Taiwan’s assertion of sovereignty.

This could be seen in Taiwan-Singapore ties in the form of an economic cooperation agreement instead of a free-trade agreement, over which China expressed serious concern and sought to ascertain if Singapore adhered to the “one-China” policy, Romberg said, urging China to show more flexibility in such matters
What? No FTAs? Who could have imagined China would continue to squeeze Taiwan internationally and fight against FTAs for Taiwan?
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STOP Ma said...

From the Taipei Times article, it would seem that the Ma administration is completely over-reacting as well.

The Economist frames the story as mainly a "PR" problem. It is best summed up in the closing line...

"Nothing suggests Mr Ma’s main policies will change (or that they should), but his credibility is draining by the day."

The Economist author, in parentheses, explicitly suggests that PandaMa's policies are, indeed, good. It is the "image" that he has to manage better.

However PandaMa, the true "dimwit" that we all know he is, is now criticizing a friend in full bumble mode. Not only did they have to engage in damage control with the notion that they were lodging a formal protest, but their rebuttal arguments are not even germane to the point the Economist (wrongly) was trying to make.

If the pan-greens can't get it right, they should just shut-up. Ma, will get the job done.

I give up trying to gauge how the Taiwanese will absorb this, however.

Michael Turton said...

I think it will be good in Taiwan, punching a hole in his image. Even better, The Economist has now seen how the Ma Administration rewards its supporters. Perhaps their next piece will be more balanced. Who knows? We can always hope.


Anonymous said...


What do you feel are the odds of TSU pulling off the recall of Ma come May?

The whole of KMT and Ma are obviously trying to pull off what Quisling did in Norway for the Nazis for the same reward.

Michael Turton said...

Odds of recall are zero. The recall procedures involve a public vote on it. It's a waste of time.