Monday, October 26, 2009

Daily Links, Oct 26

Panorama of Lishan
A panorama of the view from Highway 8 looking northeast toward Lishan in central Taiwan (original 7100 x 2200).

Went biking in the mountains this weekend, going up from Taroko Gorge. While I took two days off, the world went on at its usual furious pace. But I got some lovely pictures....I'll stick a few in here -- more later. [UPDATED: corrected broken Global Views survey link and broken Sponge Bear link]

Biking through Taroko Gorge, the best way to see it.

What's out there on the blogs?
A temple complex in Taroko Gorge national park.

More blog stuff.....
Above Tianxiang a massive landslide has blocked the road. Entrance is controlled to four times a day. Here we waited a couple of hours to go up. The slide was still live as we rode past, and it hissed like a million spiders scuttling across the floor as the rocks settled into new positions.

MEDIA: Global Views survey last week shows widespread mistrust of Ma Ying-jeou, rising support for outright independence and near-majority support for long-term independence (corrected link). WSJ on China-India problems in the Himal, one of the world's great unknown flashpoints. It will be interesting to see how India will tolerate China's damming of the rivers of the Himalayan plateau. Brookings Fellow Liu Shih-chung points to the possibility of Ma-Hu meeting in 2011. Chinese general visits Washington, from the China Daily. Taiwan's defense ministry says China military can deter other militaries from helping Taiwan in the event of war. China expands cyberspying in US, says Congressional report.

Staggering mountain vistas along the road. Here is the turn at Shibao, 915 meters up.

MEDIA: Export orders hit 11 month high in September. Openings for jobs are also up. Recovery may arrive in time for December elections. Mark Beeson at Japan Focus on the decline in US influence in East Asia? Richard Fontaine in WSJ argues that the US should monitor things more closely and boost ties out here to ensure China doesn't make cross strait agreements a zero-sum game. ECFA is not a free trade agreement, folks -- using that term in association with ECFA, I've come to understand, is merely an attempt to harness laudable support for freer trade in the service of a bilateral agreement on finance and certain sectors of the economy, which at least one of the governments is treating as a domestic agreement. If that's free trade, bald is a hair color. Also, if the WSJ wants the US to pay more attention to Asia, it should stop agitating in support of every war that comes down the pike. Believe it or not, resources are finite.

Looking down on some of the steepest mountains in the world.

MEDIA: Disturbingly, the anti-gay group Exodus was one of the Christian groups involved in the march of the anti-gay bigots the other day. I think it is sad that the West has exported its worst out here. BBC actually put the word threat in quotes in Taiwan warns of China 'threat'. Heavyweight businessmen from China to arrive to discuss 'bridge building' between Taiwan and China. Lawmakers blast opening market to US beef, because of safety. Yes, because everything else in Taiwan is so safe, there remained only this problem of mad cow to solve. At least it will end the US obsession with selling beef here, and enable the Taiwan-US trade talks to continue. Allegations of vote buying in the election for the KMT's Central Standing Committee. Imagine that! China trumps Taiwan's democracy. Recalling Taiwan's days of dance.

Yes, even after climbing 1900 meters, some of us could still smile.

AFP WATCH: AFP, an inexhaustible resource of media follies, had a great one in a report on press freedom here in Taiwan. Check out these three paragraphs and note the second two:
Some observers and journalists say the RSF index is a warning of how far Taiwan is prepared to go to appease its giant neighbor.

“More media outlets are self-censoring on sensitive issues such as the Dalai Lama or Rebiya Kadeer by downplaying their coverage or focusing on negative angles,” said Leon Chuang (莊豐嘉), head of the Association of Taiwan Journalists.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of trying to separate Tibet from China and blames Kadeer for bloody ethnic unrest in her home region Xinjiang in July.
Yes, immediately after noting that the head of the Association of Taiwan Journalists says that media types focus on negative angles here, AFP then in the very next paragraph regurgitates two negative pro-China claims about the Dalai Lama and Rebiya Kadeer, with no balancing positive information whatsoever. No irony there, eh?

On the second day the air was chill and clear.

SPECIAL: Just as the CCP and the KMT are making out like teenagers in the back of a '57 Chevy, comes a "reassessment" of Chiang Kai-shek in several different spheres. What a coincidence! Jay Taylor, who wrote what I thought was a highly sympathetic biography of Chiang Kai-shek's son, junior dictator Chiang Ching-kuo, has recently come out with a work on Chiang Kai-shek himself. Two reviews by noted thinkers out already: Jonathon Spence's review of the new biobook on the elder Chiang. Arthur Waldron has a review of the same text at the Jamestown China Brief. Gerrit van der Wees will also review the book at the Taiwan Communique later. Spence and Waldron come from different Cold War analytical backgrounds and thus come to differing conclusions about the book. I think Waldron is just plain wrong to lay the blame for the negative assessment of Chiang largely on Stilwell -- the incompetence, venality, and greed of the Chiang regime is a theme in much reporting on Taiwan from the post-1945 period. Can't wait to read this book, though.

Ever wonder how farmers get up and down those terraces?

ANNOUNCEMENTS: The movie Formosa Betrayed will be out in the US in Feb of 2010.

The resort and farming town of Lishan. That tiny blot of clouds in the distance is I-lan.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

Would like to see that Global Views poll on PDF but it appears you've got the link set to your Google Mail page.

Todd said...

Cool shots Michael, let me know when you want to come down here for a nice one-day ride. Maybe Jiufen Ershan or Jiji Dashan.

English Teacher Guy said...

I have GOT to get back up in those mountains soon

Anonymous said...

The presence of highly visible anti-gay, born-agains is the best possible news for gay activism in Taiwan.

I'm sure most people don't even notice that gay activism here is moribund because the government simply ignores it - which is twice as effective in making a political movement impotent than enacting laws against it.

Hopefully, the visible and regular presence of gay haters will revive the gay movement from its indolence.

Craig Ferguson (@cfimages) said...

I think you should continue to break the links up with photos. Makes for a much cleaner reading experience and is easier to follow.

Michael Turton said...

That's a good point about the gay haters. But still, as an American, I'm ashamed that we're exporting our bigotry and sham science. Although since we've offshored all our industries, perhaps bigotry is the only export we have left.

Anonymous said...

The US is being an asshole in East Asia. Check out the Japan base issue and Taiwan's import of risky US beef issue (mad cow).

With Japan already moving towards a more anti-American stance, I fail to see how "playing hardball" on the base issue is going to accomplish anything. Even if you win, Japanese will feel less and less that the US is an ally.

Meanwhile, the AIT idiots are trying to cram US beef, including the parts like bone and spine that are high risk for mad cow, down the intestinal tracts of Taiwan. Taiwan is getting nothing in return; only rumors of being able to restart free trade talks again. But that's ridiculous--if they want to resolve economic/trade issues, then sign an FTA where you have framework for tit-for-tat!

Yet again, US diplomatic corps are run by a bunch of incompetent white guys with conservative hair styles with little true international perspective or ability to think from another's perspective.

Gerd said...

Great pics!

Anonymous said...

Would also like to ask if you could fix the Global Views PDF survey link... Thanks!

Jenna said...

Great photos. I recognize so many of those places from my own albums - Lishan is one of my favorite places in Taiwan and we head there whenever we need to seriously get away. It doesn't even have a 7-11 or Cafe 85. Awesome. I'm sad that not many people seem to appreciate it, but happy that as a result, it's quiet.

Michael Turton said...

Ok, Global links now corrected.

Anonymous said...

Wow, douchebag AIT official on TV today that can't speak any Chinese:

X number of people die of scooters per a year. Therefore, you should import potentially mad cow carrying US beef, and however many die, it's not a big deal compared to scooters.

Yeah! Nice logic! So the alternative to a scooter is a car if you can afford it or living in Taipei City, but you definitely can't afford that. The alternative to US beef is Australian or New Zealand beef. How does this compare?

Anonymous said...

"Staggering mountain vistas along the road. Here is the turn at Shibao, 915 meters up."

The scenery is nice and your photo is very nice too. Good colors--lush, vibrant green against a dark bluish mountain backdrop and a very happy sky blue.

A lot of Taiwan photos are just green after green after green. It's beautiful scenery to live in, but since a photo only captures a limited frame with limited color and details, it really gets boring after like the tenth one.

Anonymous said...

"as an American, I'm ashamed that we're exporting our bigotry and sham science."

Homophobia wasn't made in America.

Michael Turton said...

It's true that homophobia is not American, but Exodus, the anti-gay group, is.