Friday, October 27, 2006

Peking Duck at Anti-US protest in Taipei

Richard of the Peking Duck had a surreal Friday morn in downtown Taipei as he bumped into a protest against the US weapons purchase.

So the cameras are going out of their way to keep taping me as I take my pictures. And suddenly, a geezer in a straw hat wielding a large sign starts screaming at me in Taiwanese. I thought he was asking me to take a picture of him and his sign, so I raised my camera to do so. To my shock, he lunged toward me, still screaming, as if he was going to hit me with the sign. He then shouted, in broken English, "We hate you! Get out of here! Get out of Taiwan, American!" The TV cameras were taping the whole thing (all 5 seconds of it). With that, a group of police officers walked up, got between the angry demonstrator and me and led me away, insisting that I leave "for my own protection." I was the only Westerner there, and apparently this wasn't a good place for Westerners to be. For the record, the police were exceptionally courteous and I don't blame them for asking me to leave.
The protesters were repeating Blue camp agitprop that the special budget weapons are archaic weapons the US dumps on Taiwan at inflated prices. I've heard it from my own students many times. The PFP and KMT, the major Blue camp parties, once more prevented the arms package from reaching the floor of the legislature -- the KMT reversed its position. I sure hope that the US government has noted how well the KMT keeps its promises to America and serves US and regional security interests.


Raj said...

Michael, next time students say rubbish like that, ask them what military systems are more advanced than:

1. PAC-3 anti-missile batteries
2. P-3C Orion anti-submarine planes
3. New submarines, capable of firing Harpoon Block-2 UGM-84s

If they even know what you're talking about, I'd be impressed. The answer is of course - "nothing". All three systems are in service with first-rate militaries around the world. There is nothing better, except maybe nuclear attack submarines (and they'd cost more than the current defence budget itself).

Please do that, because I'd love to hear what the response was. :)

Sun Bin said...

michael, you are schizo.
you have said many times yourself that these weapons are not really useful, you also agreed that the prices are inflated (i thought), and that jets are more appropriate weapons.

Michael Turton said...

Sun: I do agree the prices are inflated, but they are certainly not second-hand weapons!

Raj: I know! My students don't even know what's being sold and for how much, let alone what the capabilities are.


Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. I'm afraid I have no opinion on the subject. I consider myself more of a pacifist, but sometimes weapons are necessary.

But the protests sound terrible. As a foreigner like Peking Duking, I would feel frightened or angry...what did I do to these people. I'm Canadian and not American (although Canada has been just as complicit in bullying sometimes). But people have to learn to separate the people who come here (who are not politicians and who, more than often, are allies) from the powers-that-be.

This blind rage at anyone who looks different is disgusting.

STOP Ma said...

You know, I think everyone should reflect on this guttural anger that has been displayed here.

WHY are these people so angry?

PandaMa, the KMT and its followers now have a clear choice. They can accept the American's offer of providing increased defence capabilities against an increasingly aggressive authoritarian nation which openly states that the goal is to annex Taiwan (with force, if necessary) -- or -- they can continue to refuse the offer and alienate the only nation that is willing to protect Taiwan. The latter choice, in effect, will bring Taiwan one significant step closer to annexation.

It's their choice.

The ball is in the KMT's court.

Again, why are they so angry when the decision is THEIRS to make?

I would suggest that maybe the anger is really vented "frustration" with the fact that Ma Ying-jeou cannot make an honest decision if his life depended on it.