Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thursday Short Shorts

Morning walk in rainy Hualien

The Administration is forging ahead with what it said it would do, quietly, without fanfare or drama. That's Tsai's leadership style. It's great for the nation, although it doesn't supply pyrotechnics for this blog. So you'll have to forgive the recent lack of blogging.

KMT: Yeah, the KMT is so wrecked it is taking money in the form of loans under Party Chair Hung's name just to pay its salaries. Note that these are loans, not gifts. Newly appointed Spokesloon Alex Tsai wasted no time in engaging in bizarre attacks on Ma Ying-jeou, no ideological slouch himself, who is looking surprisingly reasonable compared to Hung and her appointees after disagreements at a high level dinner party. Hung denied there was any trouble, but reportedly asked the former president, who was trying to explain (mansplain?) cross-strait policy to her, why "reunification" isn't on the table (China Post). I am so glad Hung is Chairman of the KMT.

The fight over the 1992 Consensus one interpretation or two, is another one of those disguised identity struggles within the KMT. The KMT's attacks on Tsai reached new heights of absurdity this week as well as they called Tsai "Taiwan's Hitler". They did the same thing to Chen Shui-bian, readers will recall (and also effigies of him as Hitler during the faux protests against him) and PRC officials referred to Tsai as Hitler as well, though in a different context than accusations of authoritarianism.

Note that this conversation on the 1992C is taking place almost entirely between mainlanders at the top of the party. None of the party's Taiwanese heavyweights except Wu Den-yih has weighed in on the issue.

FOOD: the Taipei Times editorialized vaguely about food prices, which have skyrocketed with the recent typhoon blitz.The Tsai Administration needs to be seen to be loudly doing something. Vegetable prices are stratospheric -- I couldn't even find carrots at the supermarket the other day because they were so pricey, and quarter heads of cabbage require a mortgage. Hopefully things will calm down a bit soon. The massive spike in prices is quite painful at the moment, though.
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Kaminoge said...

From the NewsLens article:

"This spring, Japan’s main opposition party, the Democratic Party, voted to change its name from Minzhudang to Minjindang (民主党 to 民进党; democratic progressive party), a symbolic transformation that did not disappoint Taiwan’s ruling DPP and offered additional justification for future intraparty cooperation."

Um, no, Lauren Dickey, it did not. It voted to change its name from Minshutō 民主党 to Minshintō 民進党.

Reminds me of the time Compass Magazine in an article referred to a certain Japanese city as "Quiet Hill" instead of Shizuoka 静岡.

Matt Stone said...

It will be interesting to see how President (fingers crossed) Clinton deals with the China Fantasy.

Possibly related to matters in Taiwan, if somewhat tangentially:

A couple of weeks ago, the Singapore PM, Lee Hsien Loong, addressed the Australian Parliament for the first time, to mark the beginning of a new defence partnership here. Singapore is investing heavily in training facilities etc., in Northern Australia.

Lee spoke quite eloquently I thought, and with some rather cautious phrasing about China.

He described the USA as a 'benign force' in the region – while welcoming China 'in engaging constructively'. (Hmmm, so not also a benign force then?)

I gather that Taiwan has a defence agreement with Singapore called 'Operation Starlight', which China isn't too happy about. I wonder if this will be affected.

Text / video here of Lee's speech:

luxmoti said...

Excellent link to James Mann's Op-Ed, "America's dangerous china fantasy" on NYT, I am reminded vividly of what William Stanton had said in his 2013 presentation on Taiwan's strategic importance to US national interest.

This is the follow up report in 2014:

Here is the 2013 presentation:

Anonymous said...

Doofus KMT don't even know their own history. Sellout Hung is a gift to Taiwan with here idiotic statements and actions.

Marc said...

Michael, do you think if the Philippines continues down its path of political recklessness that this would open up the possibility of the US military opening bases in Taiwan?

Marc said...

Matt Stone, I believe the Clinton Foundation has China relationships. I'm not very optimistic for any progress for Taiwan coming from the Hill on the hill.

Michael Turton said...

Marc, not a chance. That's a PRC red line, I've heard.

Herman said...

Here's where all your carrots are!

TaiwanJunkie said...

Michael, can I just tell you how much I'm in love with Hung!!! She'll do more to help destroy KMT than 30 years of DPP put together.

Anonymous said...

A concept relevant to localists joining with pro-Taiwan forces is political philosopher Slavoj Zizek's concept of an emancipatory collective, which is tied to Zizek's atheistic Christianity. For Zizek, Christ's resurrection was metaphorical rather than literal. Instead of literally rising from the dead, Christ lived on metaphorically through the community of believers who followed his teachings, surviving as the love between members of this community. Zizek interprets Christ's anguished cry of "Father, why have you forsaken me?" as a momentary embrace of atheism that we should emulate. For Zizek, one has to be an atheist in order to be a true Christian. In the community of believers, one's particular background is not what defines one, but rather one's love of other members and devotion to radical freedom. Thus, people of an array of backgrounds are united. Zizek sees the emancipatory community as a force that has never been realized in the Christian religion, but has been existed as radical movements such as psychoanalytic circles.

What does this have to do with Hong Kong and Taiwan? The answer lies in how the formation of ties between pro-independence forces from both places could create a sense of collectivity. People from both Taiwan and Hong Kong could come to see their identities not as defined by particular backgrounds (Hong Konger, mainlander, Hokkien, Hakka, etc.), but as participants in an effort to achieve liberation from tyranny who are bound by love to one another. Such an emancipatory collective would challenge KMT ideology that mainlanders should be the dominant force on the island, as well as DPP members who conceive of the DPP as a Hokkien party rather than a party for all Taiwanese (a prejudiced stance that has historically alienated Hakkas and aborigines). A community of believers would also challenge the CPP's notion that China has claims upon Taiwan and Hong Kong because these regions share ethnic roots with Chinese people. In response to China's claim of ethnic-centered hegemony, members of the collective could respond that what defines them is not their place of origin or ethnicity but their participation in the struggle for freedom.

Does anyone have thoughts on this matter?