Tuesday, October 10, 2017

ROC National Day Goes on "Amid Tensions"

ROC people visit local historical site amid tensions. I'm sorry that the tensions are obscuring the clarity of the photograph, but my hands were shaking from tensions.

President Tsai of the Republic of China spoke on ROC National Day. The official text of her speech is here. AP reported "Taiwan leader: Protect regional stability amid China tension". The opening paragraph said:
Taiwan’s independence-leaning government will defend the self-governing island’s freedoms and democratic system amid heightened tensions with rival China, President Tsai Ing-wen said Tuesday.
That's right. Ralph Jennings has simply added "tensions" much as a chef adds fat to make a dish tastier, not that this will surprise anyone who has read his stuff before. Tsai never referred to "heightened tensions" or "tensions" in her speech. The opening sentence is thus, at best, misleading. The speech is the usual boilerplate, with references to peace and stability, and a long section devoted to the new southbound policy. There is no reason that AP simply couldn't have reported positively on it: Tsai affirms commitment to peace, or Tsai emphasizes relations with neighbors. May as well wish for unicorns...

[UPDATE: Since I posted this, AP has re-organized the opening sentence to move "heightened tensions" and add Tsai's call for dialogue. It now reads:
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday said her government will defend the self-governing island’s freedoms and democratic system amid heightened tensions with rival China, and renewed calls for dialogue that Beijing suspended more than a year ago.
...now the "heightened tensions" might not be something she said.]

 One light moment in geography...
Tsai said Taiwan plans to open a greenhouse gas monitoring station in the Pratas Islands, another South China Sea chain. She also said Taiwan has started helping Southeast Asian countries fight dengue fever.
Pratas is an atoll consisting of three islets, not a chain. But I guess if you're inflating tensions, inflating islands is no problem.

Speaking of inflating tensions, Lawrence Chung, who seems determined to create some kind of incident, was out this week with his third piece on how the horrible independence beliefs of Premier Lai will create problems with China. No analysts in Taiwan are reporting this story, because there is no story. This is what I mean when I say the media helps create tensions.

Meanwhile, as we close in on the elections in 2018, the mayor races are starting to bubble. This week Yen Kuan-heng, the son of Yen Ching-piao, who is definitely not the biggest gangster in Taiwan, but is just a law abiding businessman, put out feelers for a Taichung mayoral run. In Taipei KMT veteran Chou Hsi-wei has already announced his candidacy, and former KMT Chair Hung Hsiu-chu has set up a school to field reactionary candidates for the KMT mayor candidacies in the major cities. Hung has made a few noises about running for Taipei, and so has Alex Tsai, who managed Sean Lien's busted campaign that put Ko Wen-je in power.

Since the beginning of summer I have been hearing mutterings from many corners that the Vatican is negotiating with Beijing on switching recognition to China. With the mutterings crescendoing, the Vatican put out a denial this week.

No doubt it occurred amid tensions.
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Anonymous said...


Give them a break! Those tension-pushers have families to feed, you know. Have compassion!

StefanMuc said...

Second time I saw this article, but I only just noticed that subtitle to the picture ...

Matt Stone said...

Interesting story about Betel nuts.

I don't know whether they are used in Taiwanese cooking, but wild betel leaves are an essential ingredient in one of Malaysia's culinary highlights. They have a dish called 'Nyonya Fish Custard' which is wrapped with banana leaves', also known as (Otak-Otak).

The words 'Fish' and 'custard' together wouldn't normally sound very appetising, but if you get the chance, it is something not to be missed.

There is a similar dish in Thailand called Hor Mok, which uses slightly different spices. Also a delight.