NASA says there is flowing water on Mars! And plenty here too. Still raining as Dujian passes overhead. I'd post typhoon pictures but there are lots on the internet. The east coast and mountain communities got slammed again, many not yet recovered from the last big one. In my own neighborhood trees were downed and there are broken windows, and we lost power and water for a few hours last night. Fortunately I had a good stock of beer, fatty pork, and Doritos.
Worst typhoon for us in Taichung in a while. People got an extra day off in most places in northern and central Taiwan, while the HSR was shut down.
A friend flipped me this image of the Central Weather Bureau's temp records for yesterday. Note the strange spike as the typhoon passed. It's a "hot wind" that occurs as the typhoon sucks in warmer air from the south, or so I understand. CORRECTION: Poster below says its a Foehn wind.
But what week would be complete without more of the KMT's internal rumbles? The Taipei Times reports on the latest moves:
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) could face yet another crisis other than its dismal presidential campaign, as a group of pro-localization members are allegedly planning to form a splinter group to force KMT headquarters to respond directly to their calls for a change of candidate.The group threatened that an even bigger wave of defections could occur if Hung is not replaced. It's unlikely to happen, since the KMT is the font of all the resources they need to win their local elections, but the threat is interesting (the news report says that the Ministry of the Interior confirms the application for an organization with that name, but it is temporizing by claiming it wants a clearer definition of whether the group is actually a political party). With Ma Ying-jeou running the KMT, and with the ideologically rigid and decidedly uncharismatic Hung Hsiu-chu as candidate, the "non-mainstream" faction -- the far-right, bitter-end, faux Chinese faction that derives its right to colonial rule via its (ethnic) superiority -- is in full control.
According to people familiar with the matter, the plan to establish a new party — which would be called the “Taiwan Chinese Nationalist Party Alliance” (台灣國民黨聯盟) — is spearheaded by several influential local members, including senior presidential adviser Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) and former Yunlin County commissioner Chang Jung-wei (張榮味).
Eric Chu, the Chairman, understands that the mainlander elites need the Taiwanese comprador political factions to control Taiwan. But he and the informal leader of the Taiwanese KMT, legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng, are both out of the power loop. The factions, especially in the south and center, are looking at a possible complete DPP sweep at the legislative level and are in terror of losing their seats. The KMT brand is toxic outside the north, and the sparsely populated counties of Miaoli and Nantou, and the east coast. The TT quoted one KMT legislator:
“The KMT must defuse this crisis at once, rather than treating it lightly or turning a blind eye to the problem. We must not let the party collapse,” Lu said.Collapse!
It will be interesting to see what Wang, Chu, and Hung say. Especially Wang, whose lack of public noise is quite interesting. Even if they switch to a Chu-Wang ticket, which would be more popular, they won't win, and switching candidates will make them look incompetent and indecisive. So why go through all the bother?
This week, with Hung polling under 20% in all polls and under 15% in some, Hung said that polls are close. She remains in her Benevolent Confucian Monarch mode, presenting herself as The Right Choice rather than as a politician of ideas and policies:
“All that matters is that I make my values and principles known to the public, so that they can make the right choice,” the presidential candidate said.In Hung's strange moral universe, The Right Choice will automatically bring peace and prosperity to the nation, just as in the moral universe of western monarchy the Return of the True King automatically restores the land to fertility, as in The Return of the King from LoTR, or The Lion King -- Simba is Aragorn, but with a better sense of humor.
The piece on the polls observed:
She said she does not favor rapid unification with China as the public has assumed, but is guided by the Republic of China Constitution.Even Hung has realized that her fevered support for annexing Taiwan to China ASAP is not good for her, and is trying to reframe it. The problem is that her quasi-religious adherence to the Republic of China Constitution, a core piece of the KMT/mainlander identity, is not exactly the path to popularity here either.
Produced by a pro-Soong organization titled the “Spring Breeze Youth Policy Think Tank,” the commercial featured video clips of Soong visiting people affected by natural catastrophes during his term as Taiwan provincial governor from 1994 to 1998, joining political events and interacting with his late wife, Chen Wan-shui (陳萬水).Fading slowly is Soong... and the DPP hasn't drawn any attention with gaffes and stupidities. The cute Piggy Bank fundraising scheme has been doing quite well, Tsai is constantly quietly campaigning. Good campaign management going on there...
A slogan appeared a few seconds before the advertisement ended, reading: “[Only those who are] faithful to their wives and faithful to their children will be faithful to their country.”
The commercial quickly drew criticism online.
- DON'T MISS: Wuer Kaixi, the former Tiananmen dissident and current legislative candidate in Taichung, is interviewed in New Bloom
- ADDED: Excellent blog post on the problems with the extra day off from Taiwan Explorer.
- Shelly Rigger on the elections in the Eurasia Review.
- Good review article on Japanese universities slashing the humanities. Scared the government here may take inspiration from that, except that universities are jobs programs for PHDs anyway...
- Coast Guard chases off Chinese fishing boats
- Local contact lens industry growing rapidly
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