Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday, September 9, Blog Round Up

Friday! A typhoon just gone, and another one on the way. Katrina still hangs over the US, where the Bush Administration's incompetence and venality has been ruthlessly exposed by natural disaster. So many bloggers were writing on Katrina this week that it crowded out writing on The Beautiful Island....


Anarchy in Taiwan announces its new punk zine Peng Ke Shen Me, decribed as: "The first bilingual punk zine in Taiwan featuring scene reports from Wu Han, China and Bandung, Indonesia, interviews with Darkbuster and the "Taiwan Happy Punks," reviews and more!"


The New Hampshire Bushman gives some seriously detailed instructions on how to prepare tea, Taiwan-style, with some very nice pics to match.

Readers of my personal blog know that I am an admirer of tea. I have several tea pots and the associated trappings of a tea maker. Far from being an expert, I do have a lot of experience in the selection of tools and pots, and I try to help others when I see them shopping in the various places I go in Taiwan and other countries.


Good beef noodle in Taichung? Haven't had any yet. But the Wilds of Taiwan says they found the grail near the China Medical College:

The best place is without doubt a restaurant on Xue-shr Rd., near the China Medical University emergency department (!). It's called General Beef Noodles (in Chinese, see pic below) and is run by an elderly gentleman with a scraggy white beard. His beef noodles are completely different from the normal stuff you get. Most beef noodle places use beef broth made from those nasty generic bags of spice which have an overly heavy emphasis on star anise. The broth at the General's place is much more subtle. It's not too salty and the beef is very 'gamey'. Not to everyone's taste but very much to mine.

Hmmm.....we'll be down there next week.


Taiwan's Other Side, speaking for the KMT, blogs on the Kaohsiung worker riots and corruption in the DPP.

With its usual public relations savvy, the DPP has managed to sidestep the real issue of the Kaohsiung riots. For those of you who are unaware of the incident, there is a link here. The discussion in the English media and Forumosa has focused on the issue of foreign worker's rights. This is a valid issue, but I do not believe it is the main one. The real issue is the corruption of a party elected on a platform of clean government and human rights, by bashing the KMT on these issues and convincing they could do a better job. That's working out so nicely, isn't it?


Next strategy: distract and divert. Notice how this Taipei Times editorial subtly shifts the issue from human rights to investment in China and mainland Chinese opinions on Taiwanese workers??? Notice the "irresponsible politicians" are never named.

(TOS: the link there doesn't go to an editorial)...and veers into comedy with a post that compares Chen Shui-bian to Robert Mugabe:

Can anyone really vouch for Chen Shui-Bian and be sure that he has the strength of character to step down when his term is up? Even now he's busy knocking off and isolating potential successors within his own party, like Frank Hsieh Chang-Ting, the ex-premier. That doesn't make me feel any better, and I don't think that Taiwan's democracy is strong enough to stand up and fight if he doesn't actually step down.

ROFL. The idea that Chen would refuse to step down in '08 is laughable. There are those who simply cannot imagine democracy; it doesn't exist in their conceptual toolkit, and so they cannot imagine how anyone else could do it. Like Bulletgate and the accusations of cheating in the 2004 election, the KMT can't imagine a party that isn't as systemically corrupt as itself, and so assumes everyone else operates the way it does.


ESWN blogs on Apple Daily's ongoing quest to prove that Taiwan is really, really bad. This time it is the "worst day in history for the judiciary in Taiwan." ESWN writes:

Apple Daily featured four cases: a prosecutor who accepts bribes for not prosecuting; a former prosecutor who arranged for an unemployed person to go to jail in place of his client; a judge who spends more time with KTV girls than his work; a judge who obtains an interest-free mortgage from a company involved in one of his cases.

As I've said before, Apple Daily's memory goes back about three weeks -- what do you expect from a foreign newspaper with neither respect for nor knowledge of the island? I would have thought the "worst day in history for the judiciary in Taiwan" would be one of the many days in the 2-28 massacre, when prosecutors and judges who had carried out cases against the KMT interests were brutally murdered:

The public prosecutor -- a Formosan -- who had directed proceedings against mainland police officers guilty of murder in Taichung in 1946, was now seized at Taipei by the convicts themselves, who had been released after March 8. The prosecutor was killed. The Formosan judge who had sat in this case was dragged from the Court offices and was reported to have been killed. (Kerr, G. Formosa Betrayed, p304).

..or one of the numerous kangaroo court cases brought during the martial law period, or the criminals and corporations who get off scot-free. I can also think of many events from the post-martial law period -- making the self-proclaimed "spiritual head" of Taiwan's crime gangs, Lo Fu-chu, the Chair of the Legislature's Judiciary Committee really ought to be up there somewhere (Ma Ying Jeou complains about it back in 1997), -- or the general shortage of lawyers and judges that overworks both. But then, it's not my job to sell newspapers by slanting the news and ignoring the past. The reality is that such corruption cases are common, and it will be many years before this culture of corruption in Taiwan's legal universe is cleaned up (remember how long it took to get rid of the culture of impunity in the US?). But Apple Daily thinks that a judge boinking KTV girls is more serious than convicted murderers getting an official blessing to revenge themselves on their prosecutors or the Chair of the Judiciary Committee being an organized crime associate.

For those interested, the Taipei Times has the piquant tale of the former prosecutor who swapped a vagrant for his client, and had the vagrant serve out his client's sentence.

"Former prosecutor Ko is the attorney of Chen San-lung (陳三龍), who paid a vagrant surnamed Chung to serve a prison term for him. As Chen's attorney, the prosecutors suspect that Ko was involved in the switch," Taipei Prosecutor's Office spokesman Lin Ban-liang (林邦樑) said.

"Ko has been charged with concealment of an offender and destruction of evidence. Prosecutors ordered that he be released on NT$300,000 bail," Lin said.

The Ministry of Justice tried to blame the jail in Taoyuan for not checking his ID, but I think it is a pardonable error. Who would expect someone to stand in for someone else in a jail sentence? This kind of use of vagrants by criminal interests is common in Taiwan -- criminals often rent the IDs of vagrants to open bank accounts, for example. Given these habits, it's natural that the idea of paying a vagrant to do time would occur to someone. I'd bet money it is an old trick, and those with long memories here may know of other cases.....

BTW, ESWN, Chen's argument is not against anonymity on the internet, it is an argument for sanity. If you've ever been the victim of one of these anonymous postings -- and I have -- you'd have some sympathy for his point of view. Anonymous posting boards are used as political tools in many places by people within the institution to attack each other. Last year an anonymous attack on a colleague at my university, which I and others suspect came from another teacher, did grave harm to him personally and professionally. There is a real problem here, and casting the issue as one of "freedom of the internet" is too simpleminded.


Speaking of gangsters, Rank narrates this tale of gangster social life:

And all this just a week after what has to be one of the great quotes of the year. Ke Jun-xiong (KMT, Hsinchu) and TSU caucus leader He Min-hao took advantage of their taxpayer-funded junket to Japan to visit a notorious Yakuza leader there. Ke defended the visit by telling reporters that "I'm sure that most of the men sitting in this room have friends in the mob." Ke and He are both members of the legislature's defense committee.

ROFL. What I love about stuff like this is how innocently brazen it is....


The Gentle Rant describes his metamorphosis into a terrifying Mercedes Benz driver....

Then I strapped one to the front of my jet-black Duke 125, which is the Mercedes 500 Benz Sedan of scooters. And then I welded another one to the back, for good measure. I covered my eyes in mirrored Saigon's to hide them from the public, less I seem too human, and to mimic the near-black, mirrored windows found on most big, luxury cars and SUV's, and proceeded to drive around terrorizing the neighborhood.

I'll be watching for this fellow on the road, so I can genuflect....

Rank tells the Only-In-Taiwan story of a 38 year old virgin and a hapless doctor.

Ms. Wang, a 38 year old woman who says she is a virgin, goes to Cathay General Hospital with her mother, where Dr. Lin Hui-lin, a minor celebrity herself, gives Ms. Wang a pelvic exam without getting Ms. Wang's permission first.

During the examination Ms. Wang's hymen was ruptured. Ms. Wang then filed a complaint with the Consumer Foundation. After mediation by the Consumer Foundattion, Cathay General Hospital said that it would repair Ms. Wang's hymen free of charge or give her NT$100,000.

The Wangs, however, were not satisfied. Ms. Wang's father, one Wang Xian-ji, held a news conference where, brandishing his daughter's bloody panties (the print version of the Apple Daily story actually had a picture of this), he demanded NT$5 million in compensation and an apology from Dr. Lin or he would take her to court for medical malpractice. In the China Times verion of the story Mr. Wang said that although his daughter had had boyfriends, she had protected her virginity like a treasure. Now her ill-fated doctor's visit had destroyed a woman's most valuable possession-her hymen.

what a tragedy that a father was obsessed with his daughter's virginity, so that she couldn't lead a normal and healthy sex life -- she's suing the wrong person.....and speaking of weird sex about this tale of the man who dumped his girlfriend after discovering that she was a he. The Taipei Kid makes the call:

Remember that movie "The Crying Game"? I had to re-read and re-read this article about the guy-who-dressed-like-a-girl-and-threw-acid-on-his-boyfriend to understand what the hell was going on, but what I can't believe is that these are two grown men. OK, so 26 really isn't "grown man" in Taiwan years, but still.

If an editor got a book with this as a fictional tale, it would rejected for being unbelievable. How could you not know you're spelunking in the rear tunnel?


Scott Sommers has been blogging periodically on the teacher preferences of Taiwanese college students.
In this post, I talked about a forced-choice study I did of student's preference for foreign teachers. I have also surveyed my student's attitudes using a 5-point Likert scale, but it's taken me a while to dig this out. Here are some of the results of this study and some other related work I have done.
Both the post and the comments are well worth perusing.


MeiZhongTai marvels at the trusting Mr. Soong:

Most amazing about this whole ordeal is a quote from James Soong explaining the decision:
In May, when I went to China, (Chinese President) Hu Jintao clearly said if Taiwan doesn't pursue independence, there won't be any military threat in the Taiwan Strait.
Mr. Soong is taking the word of President Hu that Taiwan needn't fear China and thus doesn't need to buy more sophisticated weaponry. This is baffling to say the least. wonders what other promises were made to Soong. Does he get to Tung Chee-hwa when the Chinese come over?


David on Formosa expresses the shock many of feel at hearing that the widely-admired Linda Gail Arrigo may be denied residence in Taiwan:

I was shocked to read today that Linda Gail Arrigo may possibly be forced to leave Taiwan this month over problems with her residency status. The Taiwan News thought this news worthy of an editorial while the Taipei Times merely ran it as a photo with a caption. It is also a topic at Forumosa.

Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time this has happened to a local expat who has made contributions to the island....Linda's home page at the Taiwan Green Party.


Corporate Social Responsibility in Asia is a unique blog focusing on labor and business issues. My hat's off in awe to anyone who attempts to bring Asia's runaway corporations to heel. Taiwan is a frequent topic on their blog.


SHORTS: Kate goes go-kart racing and comes back full of pictures. Parentpages visits Tatun Flower Farm. India heaved a sigh of relief as Karl returned to Taichung. As always, don't miss the pics at onebackpack, photoactionboy, Leftmind, andres and Cat Piano. a better tomorrow really scored with great pics of the Ghost Tower....


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