Monday, January 08, 2018

LinkZ for a Rainy Monday

Caoling from above

This weather is dreary... but the commentary isn't.

Before we get on to the serious stuff, AmCham, whose work is usually stellar, published this strange piece on eating in "Taiwan": From Night Market Treats to Food Court Fine Dining. It describes:
The evolution of Taiwan’s mass market eating establishments has speeded up over the past decade to meet developing tastes and higher expectations.
It says Taiwan, but describes only Taipei. *sigh*

It is chock full of Celestial Dragon Kingdom disdain for and ignorance of the rest of Taiwan disguised as modernity:
In recent years the long and colorful tradition of food vendors setting up roadside stalls has become less common, as hygiene requirements and city ordinances tighten up. Taking its place is a multitude of food courts at MRT stops, department stores, shopping malls, airports, hospitals, and universities – even in one of the world’s tallest buildings, Taipei 101.
There seems to be a whole segment of Taipei writers for whom "Taiwan" ends at the toll booth on Highway 1 out of Taipei just before the Linkou exit. The writer nods with approval at one of the chief horrors of modernity: the corporatization, discipline, and control of space to form alienated, sterile, and homogenized consumption experiences that completely lack any authentic connection to the world around them:
As has been the case elsewhere, however, changing demographics led to the need for the 101 food court to be renovated in 2012 in order to meet higher consumer expectations. Chen describes the new look as “seriously upmarket, a more stylish space for a high-end shopping mall.” He notes that to “complement the luxury retail space, we wanted an excellent quality food space, with LED lighting, TV wall panels, expansive chandeliers, and improved seating to produce a lounge-effect style.”
Just glad I live in the Real Taiwan where I can still scoot down the hill and get decent food from local vendors. Because when I buy from a vendor I can watch the food being prepared, and I can develop an actual human relationship with the vendor whose food will have its own unique variation from the mean. The idea that food court restaurant kitchens that you can't see are hygienic is a droll little fantasy....

On to the more serious stuff....

Ian Easton on Defusing the Cross Strait time bomb. Don't miss it.

Ed Wong, formerly here in Taiwan for a year or so, moved on to China to report for the New York Times. He released his thoughts on leaving China in a piece for the NYT. It is getting passed around everywhere, hailed as strong, insightful. and analytical. It is all those things. For example:
From trade to the internet, from higher education to Hollywood, China is shaping the world in ways that people have only begun to grasp. Yet the emerging imperium is more a result of the Communist Party’s exercise of hard power, including economic coercion, than the product of a gravitational pull of Chinese ideas or contemporary culture.

Of the global powers that dominated the 19th century, China alone is a rejuvenated empire. The Communist Party commands a vast territory that the ethnic-Manchu rulers of the Qing dynasty cobbled together through war and diplomacy. And the dominion could grow: China is using its military to test potential control of disputed borderlands from the South China Sea to the Himalayas, while firing up nationalism at home. Once again, states around the world pay homage to the court, as in 2015 during a huge military parade.
Yup, you read that right. Wong's analysis consists of commentary that is maybe sixty years old among us on the pro-Taiwan side. Not to take anything away from Wong, he is a keen observer and masterful writer (and a very kind man). It is good to see this understanding of China as evolving imperium rapidly becoming mainstream, even cited with approval. The terrifying thing is that it took so long... the China Explainer brigade isn't going to be well treated by history. But at least they made a lot of money, right? And that's the important thing...

Lin Fei-fan of the Sunflowers has released an open letter on Facebook objecting to the labor law amendments. Brian H at New Bloom has been live-tweeting the labor protests in Taipei. Follow him on Twitter at
Daily Links:

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...

The malware was added in Taiwan. It didn't come from China.

"The 8-gigabyte thumb drives were purchased from contractors and some of them were made in China, but the bureau has ruled out Chinese espionage, it said, adding that the infection originated from an infected work station at New Taipei City-based contractor Shawo Hwa Industries Co (少華企業).

An employee at the company used the affected computer to transfer an operating system to the drives and test their storage capacity, transmitting the malware to 54 units, the bureau said."

Anonymous said...

DPP has clearly shown it's position on the labor issue. One university professor, a long time member/supporter of DPP, was so disgusted that he cut off his membership card and mailed it back to DPP. I suspect it is not an isolated incident. Anger is building among some DPP supporters. Will this impact the upcoming elections? Has NPP started to mobilize its youth base to channel the anger?

The labor issue might be even bigger than air pollution.