Me at the historic Ta-an train station outside Houli on Fumei Road. The station and area are being developed as tourism area.
Today both Su Tseng-cheng and Frank Hsieh announced that they would not run for the DPP Chairmanship position. This leaves it open for Tsai Ing-wen. I hope, against hope, that the DPP has had an attack of sense and will appoint one person to run the party while another runs as its Presidential candidate.
Yesterday this very frustrating interview of Taiwan expert Shelley Rigger by Jeffery Wasserstrom appeared in Dissent Quarterly. Her heart is in the right place, judging from her comments on neoliberalism and its discontents, but much of her commentary on Taiwan and the services pact consists of KMT talking points presented as actual analysis. Not much point in critiquing neoliberalism if you are just going to turn around and forward the propaganda. Ben Goren rakes it over the coals here.
In addition to Rigger's issues, the other thing that peeved me about this piece is that there are many credentialed academics who have been down at the protests such as Ketty Chen, Stephane Corcuff, Frank Muyard, Ian Rowen (actually inside the LY), Kerim Friedman,and several others plus a bunch of local academics who would have been happy to talk, and a raft of experienced and savvy journalists, including people like J Michael Cole, Jenny Hsu, Michael Fahey, who writes from time to time for the SCMP and who is an extremely sharp observer of Taiwan politics, Martin Williams, who is incredibly knowledgeable and witty as hell, and Dennis Engbarth, who writes for IPS and was present in the Executive Yuan when the police attacked the protesters there, and whose knowledge of Taiwan politics runs deeper than anyone I know, scholar or no. But who gets the interview? Rigger, who is 12,000 kilometers from the action and is clearly out of touch.
And people wonder why I bike 200 kms a week. It stems off the madness from contemplating the workings of our universe.
The Friday night mess: the police withdrew the protest permit for the ART on Friday, in the usual manner of institutions wreaking vengeance on perceived opponents. The Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan, which anyone who has gone down to the legislature or Foreign Ministry has seen on the corner of Chinan and Chungshan, had their longtime permit to protest revoked, for helping out in the recent student protest. This sparked a small protest of about 1,000 appearing in front of the police station there on Friday night. The protesters, droll to the core, said they didn't need a permit to be there since they were just "passing by," echoing the city's refusal to press charges against alleged gangster Chang An-lo for his "counterprotest" because he was just "passing by." There were a few tussles on Friday night, but nothing too serious.
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