Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"The Beauty of Airspace in Taiwan" (福爾摩沙 空中散步) - Video

Title and screencap of the video of mention

If you haven't seen this video of scenic places in Taiwan, it's a must see! Be sure to click the HD button, or watch it in 720p by downloading it here (it's a .mkv file and missing the last shots of Orchid Island; use VLC player if you can't play it). The video is called, "The Beauty of Airspace in Taiwan" I saw it a month or so ago, but forgot where, and then again this past weekend at the local Taiwanese Association of Greater Seattle (TAGS) 中秋晚會 event to celebrate-- the Mid-Autumn Festival. Then, finally again someone posted it on Facebook and it appeared on my news feed.

Seems like it's something that's recently picked up (again?) some popularity, so for us Taiwanese, who for some odd reason aren't celebrating the 60th anniversary of the PRC, take a look and enjoy the spectacular views of Taiwan. And if you missed it, the PRC has made a movie for their 60th birthday, called "The Founding of a Republic."

As far as for what reason it was made, looks like it could be an advertisement for

Monday, September 28, 2009

Taiwan's Tennis Star, "Chang," Prevails over No.1 Seed

Congratulations to the latest Taiwan tennis star, Chang Kai-chen, not to be confused with Taiwan's first tennis star (albeit played under the U.S. nationality), Michael Chang, for defeating the currently No.1 ranked woman's player, Dinara Safina of Russia.

As always with news surrounding Taiwan, there's controversy over whether Safina should even be considered being ranked #1 in the world. Safina has not won a single grand slam this year, and yet has held onto the #1 ranking due to consistent wins in the non-slam tournaments.

Also some weird commenting on this victory, as seen in this article:
Taiwan's Broadcasting Corp of China lauded 18-year-old Chang for 're-writing history (of tennis).'
Rewriting history of tennis? I can hardly see how that is so. Anyway you look at it, it's just another upset of the number one seed, one of the many that have occurred in the past.

Furthermore, absent in many of the match wrap-ups, is the mention of Chang's nationality. Readers and listeners of tennis matches know that the country is almost always mentioned. Such as, "The only American players left in this tournament after Round 2..." Or, "Nadal of Spain defeated..." etc. In this article, nationalities are mentioned of every single player, except for Taiwan's Chang. It's hard to believe this is just a slip-up/typo.

With that said, it is still a great accomplishment for her nonetheless.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Penghu Says No To Gambling- KMT

In a surprise (for most people), Penghu votes down the referendum to decide whether to allow casinos/gambling on their islands. In my opinion, this is a good thing. Arguments for the casinos were that it would boost the economy on the islands. A look at the casino and gambling paradise in the U.S., Las Vegas, would say otherwise to that argument. Las Vegas' economy is currently one of the worst in the states, with "official" unemployment rates upwards of 13%, with an actual rate of something likely north of 15%.

People just don't have money to throw away in gambling during bad economies. Furthermore, encouraging citizens to gamble isn't exactly the right way to set the economy on the right path to recovery. A better "gamble" would be to just throw your money into some company stock on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, at least the chances of your money going to $0 is much smaller than doing so at the Blackjack table. Add to that, if you're a fan of Ma Ying-jeou, you still have a 20,000 TAIEX to look forward to, sometime... sometime.

The second thing to mention about this Penghu referendum was that the KMT fidgeted with the normal referendum rule that normally applies to all referendums held in Taiwan, stating that there must be a 50% or greater turnout of registered voters in order to even consider whether it passes or not. Failure to reach 50% turnout results in an automatic rejection of the referendum. Considering that all (correct me if I'm wrong) referendums held in the past were rejected due to the 50% threshold not being met, it's rather ridiculous for the KMT to try and cheat its way to a victory in this one. Take a look at the 2008 referendums on joining the U.N. under the name, "Taiwan." Both referendums had overwhelming wins for the "Yes" column, but due to low turnout, both failed. The KMT and their campaign to discourage voters to vote on the referendums also contributed to the low turnout. Quite sleazy, the KMT encourages a boycott when they don't like the referendum, but then attempts to cheat the system by getting rid of the 50% turnout when they want it to pass. This nonsense needs to stop. How can you have a fair referendum system when the controlling party can basically reject or pass (in a sense) the referendum at will? In this Penghu-Casino referendum, it would have failed again due to not reaching a 50% turnout.

Lastly, the interesting thing is that most polls and analysts predicted the referendum to pass. As this article states:

In a public survey conducted by the Research, Development and Evaluation Commission on Oct. 12, 2000, 44.9 percent of those polled favored the development of the gambling industry while 38.5 percent were opposed to it.

An overwhelming 80 percent of voters in a poll conducted by the "United Penghu Alliance" on June 8, 2003, said "yes" to casinos while the remaining 20 percent said "no".

In another "consultative referendum" held by the Penghu County Government on Dec. 27, 2003, 57 percent of the voters said they approved the establishment of casinos while 43 percent expressed their disapproval.

All polling results done before were pro-casino. So we can surmise a few things:
  1. The polls were awfully conducted, with a strong "TVBS" slant.
  2. Ma Ying-jeou's "無能" is actually taking a toll on the party.
  3. Penghu residents are much more resilient and not as pro-KMT as we all thought. Although I still believe they are largely pan-blue, they may have actually pressed on the issue instead of voting by party-line, which I always support, regardless if it's the stance of the KMT or DPP. It just so happens, the stance of the DPP is usually the one that falls in line with what I believe.
Reason #2 and #3 are the most likely candidates. In any case, I will touch on #2 in another post where I will discuss why Ma Ying-jeou's supposed "無能" isn't actually so. He's actually much more clever than we think.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chen, Still Detained

Nothing new here, as the Taiwan High Court ruled to extend Chen Shui-bian's dentention another 3 months, citing the same reasons as before- flee candidate, colluding with suspects, destroying evidence. All of these reasons are ridiculous, especially when you consider how well Taiwan media can track daughters of ex-presidents. If they want to keep an eye on you, they will.

As there are still reports of protests and gatherings outside the Judicial Yuan against the ruling, I'd like to point out that there are three main sides of this debacle that should be noted. There's one side of the protests that are likely calling for Chen to be released as the ruling was unfair, and the way the case has been handled goes against democracy, due process, and human rights. On the other hand, there are those that believe Chen is innocent. Lastly, there are those that believe he's guilty. Regardless of whether you believe he is innocent or guilty, everyone should support democracy, due process, and human rights. That is where I believe most of the protests are coming from, and rightfully so.

We can support the release of Chen Shui-bian, without supporting the actions he may have or may have not committed, so as to defend Taiwan's democracy and human rights.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How China Will Force Taiwan's Hand

As I've been mentioning, every time the ECFA is brought up, in posts such as this, Ma Ying Jeou's plan is to unite Taiwan and China gradually right underneath our very eyes by calling it a "non-political" agreement wrapped in something called the ECFA.

Why is it so hard for people to understand that when you open all your doors to Chinese investment, your enemy, that they will take advantage of the control they now have over your (Taiwan's) economy? My analogy that I've used before is that, when investing, we always talk about diversification and not "putting all your eggs in one basket." Well isn't that when the KMT and Ma Ying Jeou are doing right now? It's all well and good when China isn't upset with anything and continues to invest in Taiwan's economy, artificially propping it up; but when China starts steaming, they can just as easily deflate our economy and bend Taiwan into submission by cutting off their "stimulus." It reminds me of a Bible verse, Job 1:21, where Job was given everything by God, but in the same way, God had the power to take away everything.

This small example here is China using it's recent tourism investment in Taiwan to try and force Taiwan's hand into screening the films that have been entered into their film festival (small props to the WSJ for getting straight to the point with the opening line, but still doesn't do the job by going further and citing examples of where China has influenced things much more greater in scope and importance than just a film festival).
China appears to be using its growing economic clout in Taiwan to influence the island's free-wheeling cultural scene.
Why would they do this? Because it goes against their propaganda! We can already see that China is gaining clout over Taiwan, as the movie is still being shown in Kaohsiung, but not in the actual film festival- it is being shown at earlier days, outside of the film festival organization and event.

So here's another, "it's one thing for ________, but another thing to ________," for you to see my viewpoint.

It's one thing for Taiwan to push for economic agreements with China, but another thing to do so and ignore everyone else, especially our main allies- US and Japan.

The DPP has always been willing to negotiate terms and cross-strait agreements with China. But, tt has always been China who has been unwilling to come to the table during the 2000-2007 years. The DPP was ready to negotiate direct flights and the three-links, but it was China who insisted that they would not negotiate on anything as long as Taiwan's government continued to insist on their sovereignty and independence- something that Ma and "Taiwan's" government has caved into.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"The Founding of a Republic"

Releasing tomorrow, Sept. 17, "The Founding of a Republic'' (建國大業) is China's new propaganda movie, just in time for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. This movie has an all-star Chinese cast from Jet Li, Jackie Chan, to Zhang Ziyi, which is something sure to catch the attention of many people. From the trailer, seems like a decent film from a purely entertainment value standpoint. But I'd be very cautious to take any of what is portrayed in this "historical" movie as anything but close to accurate.

A first for these types of movies coming out of the PRC-controlled, China Film Group, is that it will be the first time that the KMT is semi-portrayed as the good guys (along side the CCP obviously), with Japan (always) as the bad guys. This movie is likely to get a screening in Taiwan next year, and will likely be used by both sides of the CCP-KMT platform to promote a greater "Chinese consciousness. " Think of it as a way the reconcile the two sides of the Taiwan-strait, ignoring the fact that China continues to hold Taiwan hostage with estimates of anywhere from 1000 to 1700+, just for Taiwan.

Monday, September 14, 2009

New Beginnings

Back from my temporary hiatus. While I'm at this pseudo-fresh-start, I'd like to try and take a new approach towards the whole Taiwan issue.

With the sentencing of ex-president of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian, to life in prison, it got me thinking- It is one thing for the public to be angered about the president of your country being convicted of corruption charges, but another to do so and look away when other politicians do so.

If you may recall back in 2006, then Taipei Mayor, Ma Ying-Jeou, was indicted on charges of corruption as well- misuse of "special allowance" funds. Was Ma ever detained in any amount of days, weeks, months at a time due to likelihood of fleeing the country? Nope. And while Ma and Chen have both admitted that they have used the funds towards things that are likely not meant for it to be used for, you see a stark difference in the resulting cases. One is currently sentenced to life in prison, and the other was elected to be the next president of Taiwan.

While the amount of money may be different in magnitude, what's wrong is wrong. The fact that Ma had made more donations to certain organizations than the amount he was accused of misusing, should make no difference. After all, even if they were charity donations or donations towards some organizations, those same organizations could very well be in support of Ma or the KMT. Think about it this way, if back when Bush Jr. was still president, had he made donations using some special presidential fund towards Christian churches or other "right-wing" organizations, is it not the same as if he used that same money towards his own personal expenses? In the end, the money is not going towards the building and growth of the country, rather towards certain individuals or groups.

The only thing that makes me more mad than Chen Shui-bian letting down a whole lot of Taiwanese (and this is no understatement), is the Taiwanese who are letting down our country of Taiwan, by seemingly ignoring the fact that corruption is everywhere, both KMT and DPP. I hope most of my readers are past profiling a group of people based on one person, so that there should be no more of that stupidity about not voting for the DPP candidate because of Chen Shui-bian- it has already been done in the 2008 presidential elections when you [unfairly] took out all your anger on Hsieh Chang-ting.

It boils down to this, both sides have corrupt politicians. Corrupt politicians come from everywhere and all backgrounds of life- from Taiwan to China to Chicago. Yes, Chen Shui-bian has failed us and we are deeply hurt and angered by it. Taiwanese gave the DPP a shot in 2002 and again in 2004. Besides this one period of 8 years, from the 1950s to the late 1980s, Taiwanese were forced to be ruled under the KMT regime under a dictatorship and martial law. Taiwan has given the KMT basically 50 years of chances and shots, even while failing the people of Taiwan many times. I hope that the Taiwanese can once again give the DPP another shot at this end of year elections, as well as in 2012, because thus far... Taiwan, you have only given the DPP one shot. And well, we are human, after all.