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Thursday, August 24, 2006

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Taiwan politics like a typhoon

I was thinking today that political waves in Taiwan rush in like Typhoons. Like the typhoons that come rushing in from the sea, some cause a lot of damage; others slight. We could see the recall coming in from miles out at sea. James Soong and a lot of other people made a lot of noise. Around that time or soon after, there was a real Typhoon and I remember the weatherman saying it had 3 eyes and they were all fighting for control. It never amounted to much, in my reckoning. James Soong performed his not-so-quiet sit-in and then the recall failed, as everyone knew it would.

Then there were the pro-green academics with their letters and petitions and requests for President Chen to step down.

Suddenly, a hunger striker performed a little quiet sitting of his own. I walked by there several days and I can tell you, there were a lot of attempts to mobilize a crowd. It never seemed to materialize, though every media outlet was on site. I'm glad they saw a story there, the big scoop: "Hunger striking student attracts almost no attention from passers-by." A little drizzle and a light breeze.

Next came former DPP leader, Shih Ming-te's quiet sitting. It is still unclear, at least to me, how much damage this typhoon will cause. Only time will tell, though it seems more and more former allies of Shih are coming out against him.

Do I see a pattern here? Is it the quiet sitting or the hand above that seems to be orchestrating events? Is it the similar tactics used by all of these dispossessed?

That's where we are now. A few short months in freewheeling Taiwan's vibrant democracy.

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