2009 - 4th Quarter Writings

Taiwan's Prosecutors Continue to Abuse Their Power

Friday December 25

Taiwan's prosecutors continue to abuse their power in the Chen Shui-bian case as they set out on yet another fishing expedition. They recently announced a fourth round of indictments (22 people) in Chen's case. So far they have called in just about anyone and everyone that ever shook hands with Chen or offered to buy him a cup of coffee. ...

The Peaceful Need for Japan and Taiwan to Support Each Other

Thursday December 17

No one has ever defined what the status quo in the Taiwan Strait actually is, was or should be though everyone talks about it. So the charade continues that there is a status quo and that everyone supports it (peace included). Despite that, China regularly adds to the number of missiles it has pointed at Taiwan; it makes military threats and anti-secession laws, and jails any and all pro-democracy dissidents within its borders. In keeping with the same mythical status quo, Taiwan under the Ma government says that it believes its 23 million people should control their destiny yet it consistently ignores their input, currently tries to ram a non-transparent ECFA down their throats and promotes pro-unification policies. And the USA, if pressed, will state that Taiwan's status is undetermined, but in its actions the USA neglects any input from the actual people of Taiwan and tries to accommodate the China market. What then really needs to be done? ...

Taiwan, As the World Turns in December: Ma Turns to his Spin-doctor King Pu-tsung

Monday December 14

The December 5 election results were not a big loss for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but they did show the continuing ineptness of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou. As both President and KMT Party Chairman, Ma could blame no one else. He put his image on the line as he campaigned heavily throughout the country, and especially so in the County of Yilan where the KMT lost handily. Ma tried to explain it all as a matter of the economy (Ma's campaign promise of 6-3-3 is becoming 3-1-1) but whatever the reasons Ma gave, the outcome was clearly another vote of non-confidence in Ma ...

A Cause for Concern, Does Ma Ying-jeou Know What Time It Is?

Wednesday December 09

The elections of December 5th are past and one marked result is the fact that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has regained power in its former stronghold, Yilan County. Ma Ying-jeou as both President of the country and Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) had zealously and extensively campaigned there to prevent this, putting both his own reputation and the party's on the line. Despite this, the people voted in the DPP candidate. Whether this can be seen as an indication that the people of Taiwan are developing a growing mistrust of their president whom many are beginning to call the phony pony, is one matter. But there is another matter, that of Ma breaking the law in his campaigning. ...

Another Side of Taiwan, the Scots and St. Andrew's Ball

Wednesday December 02

At the end of November each year, the Scots around the world celebrate their culture, heritage, and nationalism with a meal and both Scottish and regular dancing at St. Andrew's Ball. Taiwan is no exception and we always try to make it a point to join them in their fun, merriment and fellowship. To see photos of this year's celebration and past years go to the heading "Another Side" on the left, click it and then click again on the category of St. Andrew's Ball. Each year is designated.

Taiwan Under Ma Ying-jeou, More Smoke and Mirrors as the Cross-strait Sell Out Continues

Monday November 30

As Ma Ying-jeou works his shady cross-strait deals, he tries to flash the carrot of how China will save Taiwan. Forget the fact that the Chinese dumped poisoned milk products etc. on Taiwan. Forget the fact that the great China tourist influx failed. There, not only did the numbers not materialize, but even the few tourists that came, how shall we put it, were cheap. They did not spend much. Certainly not as much as the Japanese or even the Koreans whose tourists Ma should have promoted more in the first place. But let us return to the cross-strait promises. Again, the reality is proving the opposite. Opposite, unless you want to say that under Ma the rich will get richer, but the poor will get poorer. Examine the recent housing news. ...

Kissinger, the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom and Democracy and Other Conundrums

Thursday November 26

The International Republican Institute (IRI) needs to do some serious soul-searching. Its stated purpose is to advance freedom and democracy worldwide; it promotes open elections, good government and rule by law. It supports the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights where "Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable and human right of all human beings." This is all well and good, so then why of the many people who have sacrificed for cause of freedom is it honoring former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger with the Freedom Award (October 2009)? ...

Taiwan, Where's the Beef Protest Photos

Wednesday November 25

In the previous posting, mention was made of the protest made by thousands of Taiwanese on the slipshod way that Ma Ying-jeou was handling Taiwan's international affairs. In this particular case, the problem was the questionable deal made on accepting tainted beef products that could endanger the health of Taiwan's citizens. Why was Ma so quick to make a deal, what was the quid pro quo in accepting dangerous products? Later Ma tried to dance around his acceptance saying in effect, we have accepted poisonous products but our testing of them will render them inedible. In other words, we are purposely spending (read wasting) tax dollars in buying useless products. Why do such? What was the quid pro quo in buying food to throw away. For photos of the protest, go to the left and click on the blue word Protest. Then select the subset of protest for Nov. 14, 09 ...

Taiwan: Where's the Beef? It's not with the USA but with Ma. Who Else?

Saturday November 21

A week past on Saturday November 14, thousands of Taiwanese took to the streets of Taipei to express their growing concern over the present government's continued mismanagement of the nation's international affairs. In line with this, the Legislative Yuan has been deadlocked on an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation. The issue of course has been the recent agreement of President Ma Ying-jeou to the import of American beef. Don't misunderstand this. It is not a matter that Taiwanese do not like American prime rib, T-bones or filet mignon; they love it. What Taiwanese are upset with is the continuing slipshod manner of negotiations and apparent deal-making that the Ma government is trying present as fait accompli for the people and the legislature to accept. ...

The UN Snubs Taiwan Again: Who is the Joke of Ma Ying-joke On?

Friday November 20

With the recent revelation of the United Nations past snubbing of Taiwan (it rejected in June the two human rights covenants signed by Ma Ying-jeou), the pitiful saga of Taiwan's President Ma continues. It is no wonder that many continue to call him Ma Ying-joke, for despite this and numerous other humiliations, Ma still claims that his China-friendly, China-centric policy is working. But the question or joke for Taiwanese is that it is working for what? This particular snubbing was in June for example, yet Taiwan's public has only been made aware of it now. If the policy is working, why the cover up until now? ...

Ma's Poor Performance Draws Yet a 5th Letter of Protest from International Scholars.

Thursday November 12

The quality of justice in Taiwan continues to erode and the freedom of the press declines; people wonder why its president, Ma Ying-jeou, like a one-trick pony is stuck. Abuses abound yet all Ma can think of is to try and push his dangerous and non-transparent ECFA deal on the people. Freedom House and Reporters without Borders express disappointment and give the country lower marks on Ma's performance. As a result the international group of scholars and writers have no choice but to write another letter of protest and concern on Taiwan's failing democracy. It is their fifth letter in barely one year. The number of those signing continues to grow as does the awareness of Ma's incompetence. The letter follows: ...

USC's Annenberg School for Communication Brings Soft Power to Taiwan: Part II

Sunday November 08

In session two of the conference, Jeffrey Cole Ph.D. Director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC addressed new trends in media technology advances and their relevance for Public Diplomacy (PD). He pointed out how the environment and the ways you reach people are constantly changing. He contrasted how people in previous decades would suffer withdrawal if there was a newspaper strike; today's people would suffer more if the internet of mobile phone use was disconnected. TV was introduced mainstream in the home in 1948 - though this author can remember watching Notre Dame vs. Army on TV in a Chicago tavern in 1947. (Of course I had accompanied my father there, I may be old but not that old). TV had a way of bringing people together (but actually radio did that previously with the difference that while listening to programs on the radio in a family circle, one could be doing other things as well - whereas with TV, one had to focus on the screen). ...

USC's Annenberg School for Communication Brings Soft Power to Taiwan: Part I

Friday November 06

"National Security, Public and Cultural Diplomacy, Smart Power: Future Directions for Smart Nations," isn't that a mouthful. Yet that was the long and unusual title for the conference on October 29, 2009, a conference sponsored by Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Four of the six featured speakers came from the University of Southern California's (USC) Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. So what did they have to say about smart power for smart nations especially small but smart nations? Below is a summary. ...

Nagano Link Back Up

Thursday November 05

To see delightfulpictures of Nagano from my earlier posting, the link is back up. Enjoy the scenery; it is a peaceful place and worth visiting. Go to the left and click on Nagano ...

November, Week One: As the World Turns in Taiwan

Thursday November 05

happening as the world turns in Taiwan, November 2009. First there is the import of "health threatening" beef products from a signed agreement with the USA. The Ma government approved the signing, but now is hesitating and looking for an out as members of Ma's own party, the opposition party and the general population are objecting to it. Why Ma approved it and what deals he may have worked out or thought he was working out with the USA seem to be blowing up in his face and add credence to his growing reputation as Ma the Incompetent. It is unsure where this is going, but one thing is certain that Ma will begin to distance himself as he always does from the decision. He will either place the blame on the Premier or will try to counter with a dodge statement like, "We approved the import of health-threatening beef, but we did not tell the people that they should buy it." Regardless, with this debacle, the population of Taiwan is increasingly worried as Ma the Incompetent ploughs ahead with his desire to also sign a non-transparent ECFA agreement with Taiwan's enemy across the Strait. ...

The KMT's Diane Lee Finally Admits, She Lied.

Friday October 30

The political bias and imbalance of Taiwan's Courts and its System of Justice were once again made evident in Taiwan when Diane Lee returned to court this past week. Lee, a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) ex-legislator finally admitted that she, in violation of the law, has all along held dual-citizenship between the United States and the Republic of China on Taiwan. Yes after months of denying this fact, after accusing the United States of poor record keeping, after using every excuse and trying to blame any and all parties for doubting her, Lee finally admitted the truth. But what has this to do with the bias of the courts. Lee is still presumed innocent in the eyes of the court; she is as free as a bird.

Who is Worse, the Thief or the Fence?

Tuesday October 27

The word fence has different meanings. As a noun, it can denote a barrier or divider. Robert Frost has the well known line, "Good fences make good neighbors," in his poem "Mending Wall." In a different realm, the verb "to fence" describes a sport of swordsmanship where opponents use blunted foils, epees or sabers to register hits on each other. But there is third totally different meaning. The noun fence also can describe a person who receives and sells stolen goods or who acts as a conduit for stolen goods; this is the meaning that Taiwanese need to become aware of because it concerns their President. ...

Taiwan's Dream Community Parade, Fun for All

Tuesday October 20

What are dreams made of? Taiwan has its answer. From media reports, one may be tempted to think that Taiwan is all politics and business, but there are other more delightful sides as well. One such side is the Dream Community under direction of Gordon Tsai which on October 17th held its eighth annual carnival parade in the streets of Taipei. This year's theme treated Taiwan's unique identity, a blending of the variety of Taiwan's aborigines with the many others who migrated here from China and elsewhere. How does that identity show itself? Creativity knows no bounds. Just view the pictures of the Dream Community parade and see for yourself. ...

Ma Ying-jeou Recycles His Old Promises but Taiwan is None the Richer

Monday October 19

The world continues to turn in Taiwan, and Ma Ying-jeou is once again the official Chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). For those whose memory is short, Ma had been chairman from 2005 to 2007 when he had to step down because he was indicted for corruption. Fortunately, Ma got his secretary to take sole and total responsibility for depositing roughly a half-million US dollars into Ma's personal bank account; as a result with his secretary in jail for putting this money in Ma's personal account, Ma has dodged the bullet. So now Ma has been re-elected chairman and is recycling his old promises. Recycling old promises, what's that? ...

Nagano, Relax and Enjoy the Scenery,

Thursday October 15

There are times when one has to get away with no other purpose than just to relax and refresh the spirit. Nagano, Japan is one such place that offers a quiet retreat into nature amidst its mountains and lakes. There, one can hike up mountain paths to waterfalls or temples and be alone to contemplate what is before one. As Thoreau said in his essay Walking, "What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods." Don't worry about accomplishing something, just enjoy the scenery. And if you can't get there right now, at least you can go to the left and find the name Nagano in blue. Click on to it and you will find some 48 pictures of various scenes. If you want to enlarge any photo, just move the mouse to where the words "full resolution" appear and click again. Enjoy.

Is Ma the Incompetent Becoming Ma the Fawning Dog?

Monday October 12

6-3-3, how those numbers must haunt the mind of Ma the Incompetent. Or let us rephrase, how they would haunt the mind of Ma the Incompetent if he were a person who felt responsible for the truth, accuracy and sincerity of what he says. Unfortunately, there are many in Taiwan who don't have that opinion of Ma. Even the foreign media is starting to catch on to the two-faced façade that he and his PR team have built in the past decade. But that is not the point here; it seems that a new name for Ma is developing among the Taiwanese people, Ma the Fawning Dog. ...

What's This? The Republic of China on Taiwan Has No National Day Celebrations?

Friday October 09

Tomorrow is 10/10 day, the National Day of the Republic of China (ROC) and for the first time (as far as I remember), the ROC is not going to have a celebration and parade honoring its founding and/or honoring Taiwan. China just spent billions to honor its national day by parade and festivities, and many KMT supporters even attended those celebrations. So why is Taiwan doing nothing and shame-facedly hiding in the corners? ...

The PRC's Seven Axioms of Peaceful Rising

Wednesday October 07

The People's Republic of China (PRC) recently celebrated its 60th anniversary with plenty of fanfare and a superb show of military power. The cost while not spelt out was undeniably large. In the previous year, Beijing hosted the 2008 Olympics and put on a US $43 billion dollar spectacle to awe the world. So, it is no wonder that even with a billion people at poverty level or below, pundits are continuing to say this is China's Century, and expound on how the PRC as the World's factory is also a world power ready to challenge anyone. What else is there to say? One can of course choose to examine the formula behind this hoopla, but do we really want to face the axioms it depends on? ...

Taiwan's Aborigines Suffer More Than Morakot

Friday October 02

Typhoon Morakot did more than expose the incompetence and lack of leadership in the Ma administration; it highlighted another salient issue in Taiwan, the plight of its aboriginal people. Like many indigenous people suffering the fates of past colonialism, these people are pulled in opposite directions. Tugging on the one side is the wish to maintain their traditional life styles and identities; on the other side are the demands for survival and dignity in the modern, fast-paced, high-tech society surrounding them. As a result, they are being marginalized to the point of extinction. Even if they do fit in, at best, they often face the life of second class citizens teetering on the brink of welfare. If ever the aboriginal community needed vision and leadership, it is now. ...