Friday, October 10, 2008

Daily Links, Oct 10, 2008

A letter sent a reader in Taipei... our out of touch IRS is not aware that Taiwan is not a part of China; nor is it US policy to say that it is.

Another week has gone by, and I'm off to Washington DC next week to give a paper at a conference there, and look up old and new friends. If anyone knows of any Taiwan-related seminars, talks, etc, in DC at that time, please let me know. Dunno how much blogging I will be doing. Don't know if I can tolerate a state of non-blogging for long....

In this sequence, my wife and I watched in disbelief as this Mormon missionary, first seen taking notes by the side of the road, strides out into the street to accost a couple on a motorcycle. Probably just a coincidence that the girl was the most attractive femme in the street. Alas, the light changed and the potential income stream for the Church for the next four decades peeled off, unmormonized. Just to make sure he was completely rude to everyone in the intersection, the missionary kept talking well past the light change, forcing everyone in the traffic line to wait for him. Please stop behaving in this rude, self-centered, and irresponsible way, guys. There's no need to put everyone at risk by accosting passers-by in the middle of the freakin' intersection!

Speaking of Washington, before I forget, even if you have forgotten to register to vote, you still can. Click on link at the top of the blog, fill out the forms, print out the emergency ballot, and follow the instructions for printing it out. Even if your state is a lock for one campaign or the other, you can still affect the results of local campaigns.

Death lurks in the green leaves.

What's lurking on the blogs today?

  • A teacher in China plans to sail all the way to Taiwan on a boat that is glued together.

  • The ROC tourism director touts "traditional Chinese culture" on Taiwan. Along with the old politics, the old colonial tropes are returning too. UPDATE: Commenter below rightly points out I am wrong.

  • Michella reports on her new boss at the news station.

  • Sponge Bear looks at a piece that points out that Taiwan is closer to Japan than you think. He also writes eloquently on the bizarreness of Sinophiles in Taiwan.

  • Taoyuan nights points out the stupidity of Taiwan's stock market policy. It's a good thing we got the adults into power with their cool pragmatism instead of ideology, eh? Although I have to admit that I never thought they'd turn out to be eff-ups to this extent, a phrase I'm hearing many a local voter utter.

  • Taiwanonymous on baked raw oysters and joss carving.

  • Wild at Heart blogs on the problems of pandas and goats and other rare animals being exchanged.

  • Vets in the good old days.

  • Riding the Houfeng bike trail in Taichung.

  • Fili on local expat blogs in English.

  • The Bala Daily on one of the most important motivators for studying in Taiwan: comparisons to the dreaded straight-A relative...

  • Lao Ren Cha on Taiwanese pride.

  • The incomparable Victor Mair, one of the most fecund China scholars of our day, on common bisyllabic terms in Mandarin.

  • The statuesque Joanna Rees has some lovely images of her Japan trip.

  • This shows the plan for Highway 4, which comes out of Fengyuan near the mountains, runs down the ridges south to Dongshan Rd in Taichung, and then swerves to follow the river down to Guoguang Rd. Taichungers, if you see construction on the roads running parallel to Jungong Rd and south, that's what's going on. The large circle, representing an exit, near the river in the center-right foreground is at the intersection of Dongshan and Jungong.

    OUTRAGES: Article in today's Taipei Times warns that much folk art connected to Penghu temples is going to disappear. Note the headline and teaser:

    Penghu’s old temples face demolition
    DISAPPEARING: Many of Penghu’s temples, which were built during the 1960s and 1970s, are too new to be categorized as protected sites of national heritage

    Yes, but when the DPP wanted to do something about Dead Dictator Memorial Hall in Taipei, it was instantly classified as a historic site, although it had been built in the late 1970s. There's something wrong with the world....

    In Chinese, this sign in the parking lot of the HSR says this is a special parking space reserved for women. In English, it is complete gibberish.

    IMAGES: A friend tipped me off that these image collections of Old Taiwan have been expanding. Enjoy...

    Colonial Pictorial Works

    Gerald Warner Taiwan Image Collection

    The Michael Lewis Taiwan Image Collection

    Professor Paul Barclay along with his assistants have been hard at work over the summer to produce a digital collection that is second-to-none.

    There's a whole class of magazines that publish magical systems for winning the lottery.

    MEDIA: Taiwan offers deer, goat in exchange for pandas. Let's send them Li Ao instead; he's very entertaining and he loves China. The Straits Times is Xinhua mouthpiece. China warns Obama and McCain that they had better not sell more weapons to Taiwan, or Beijing will take its ball and go home. Ma Ying-jeou hails arms sales, after his party held them up for years. John Tkacik points out the arms sales aren't all they are cracked up to be. SHOCKER: 6 arrested for rigging Taiwan baseball games. Is Taiwanese baseball any less scripted than pro wrestling? Taiwan cement export prices go up 50%. KMT goes after Taiwan Foundation for Democracy? AND IN OTHER NEWS: Arms deal riles China. There was a weird moment this week when it was suggested that SARS was China biowarfare, and then retracted the next day. "Made in Taiwan" food zone at supermarket does booming business. Taipei Times sees ROC fiction replacing Taiwan reality. Milk powder scandal exposes China's worsening administrative problems. Taichung Jazz Festival to open soon....

    An old man eats breakfast in the Taichung suburb of Taiping.

    It's Double 10 Day, so don't forget, as a friend reminded me, to 熱烈慶祝台灣地區區慶!!


    B.BarNavi said...

    My great-aunt, who works at TECRO, is a pro-Taiwan activist. We are both based in the DC area. I would love to meet up with you, but keep in mind I've got a litany of Jewish holidays going on (the hardest of which we just finished).

    What are you coming to DC for? A conference?

    Robert Scott Kelly said...

    Michael, you wrote:

    "The ROC tourism director touts "traditional Chinese culture" on Taiwan. Along with the old politics, the old colonial tropes are returning too."

    I don't think you read the article. It makes perfunctory perfunctory gestures towards traditional Chinese culture in Taiwan (eg, architecture in our cities and the contents of the Palace Museum) but almost completely focuses on what is unique to this island: the Matsu festival, the Yenshui fireworks festival, the Pingxi Lantern Festivals, local foods, Cloud Gate, etc etc.

    To quote Lai:

    "Taiwan is a country that values its cultural assets and the promotion of cultural tourism. It has developed a variety of tourist packages with an emphasis on local cultural uniqueness. "

    But the fact remains that many people are interested in traditional Chinese culture and the tourism board would be fools not to promote, hell, scream from the rafters, that it is better preserved here in many ways. Want to see the greatest collection of Chinese art in the world: go to Taiwan. Then stay for all the local stuff which is more interesting anyways.

    Unknown said...

    If you send an email to HSR with that photo, they will fix it.

    Don said...

    "Vets in the bad old days," huh?

    Gee, we thought we were supporting the sovereignty of the people of Taiwan. Sorry if our presence offended you, Michael.

    Anonymous said...

    This Heritage event on October 16 should be interesting. Even if it's not directly about Taiwan, several of the panelists are knowledgeable about Taiwan issues:

    Michael Turton said...

    Don! I meant "bad old days of KMT rule" I'll change it!

    Of course your presence doesn't offend...


    Anonymous said...

    Funny "China" labeled on your ballot. However, I have another interesting example of the use of China by ignorant people in our US Govt. My wife (Taiwanese by birth) was at her US citizenship ceremony, and was handed her citizenship certificate to make sure there weren't any errors. The certificate stated, "Country of former nationality: Peoples Republic of China". My wife being the educated woman she is, replied, " I'm not from that country, I have never been there, I have an ROC passport and was born in Taiwan." The USCIS official state, "Sorry, the US has a one China policy, we don't recognize Taiwan." Well, long story shot, she was given the option to not sign her certificate and not become a citizen, or sign it and become a citizen. She signed it, and when she brought it to my attention, I went crazy, and printed out the TRA and a few USCIS legal documents and made some copies of other legal documents that USCIS and the AIT have stamped "Taiwan" before on her papers/certificates, and demanded they fix this critical mistake, because she is not from the PRC and has never been a citizen of that nation. After a few months, she got a new certificate that now says, "Country of former nationality: Taiwan". My wife and I were so happy when she got her new certificate with "TAIWAN" printed on it. Yeah!

    Anonymous said...

    That the IRS letter was marked China is pretty crazy. Hard to understand where that came from... it's embarrassing.

    Eli said...

    Victor was my professor in graduate school. Great guy as well!

    Anonymous said...

    "After a few months, she got a new certificate that now says, "Country of former nationality: Taiwan". My wife and I were so happy when she got her new certificate with "TAIWAN" printed on it. Yeah!"
    Good job! My wife's US passport lists her place of birth as "China" even though she was born in Hsinchu..... Freaking ridiculous......

    Anonymous said...

    Good job! My wife's US passport lists her place of birth as "China" even though she was born in Hsinchu..... Freaking ridiculous......

    Have her apply for a new US passport, with TAIWAN written in as country of birth. Unless anything has changed in the last couple of years, the US government still permits passport holders to specify Taiwan rather than China.