President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday he found it a consolation that the nation's title at the Olympic Games and arrangements for the opening ceremony procession have been resolved, voicing hope that there would be no controversies before the Beijing Games begin.
"Disputes over the designation of Taiwan's Olympic team ... and its order of appearance at the opening ceremony have been resolved," Ma said while visiting the National Sports Training Center in Zuoying (左營), Kaohsiung City, to present a national flag to the nation's Olympic delegation.
The former is from the Taipei Times and it tells it like it is.
The latter is brought to you by the China Post, and gives a distorted take on who/what "Taiwan" is.
WTF do they mean? You see, the ones who "insist on" the sovereignty-damaging "Chinese Taipei" are the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). During the previous administration, the fight was over calling Taiwan "Taiwan" instead, and while it didn't exactly succeed, no ground was lost.
With the KMT holding the office of the presidency (alternately, the office of "Mr." Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九]) and with them having a large majority in the Legislative Yuan, Taiwan is suffering immediate and possibly irreparable damage to its precious sovereignty.
Last Thursday, July 24, 2008, Taiwanese people had been "picking on" Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT]) -- about one particular thing -- for three whole days! What was this about? Ma said that the expressions on the faces of Taiwanese people had changed since before his inauguration.
I will explain this "change" shortly, but first some context.
During former president Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) term, the KMT constantly complained that prices were too high, that the government wasn't doing enough to control prices, that the average citizen could "barely survive" (快活不下去！), and so much more.
At the time Ma was promising voters the world, they looked so happy, he said. But now, in the wake of sharply rising prices of things like food, utilities, and many other necessities, with a stock market decline of over 2,000 points (so far), and with a minor typhoon (Kalmaegi) which wreaked major flood damage (probably because his party blocked the DPP's water management budget for political reasons), Ma said with a heavy sigh that the Taiwanese look so "cynical" now. Does that sound like a president who "feels the people's pain" (苦民所苦)?
Show me (where ya gonna get) the money! Ma made the voters believe that 3,000 Chinese tourists a day would "save" Taiwan's economy. That story changed pretty quickly, with the "promise" changing to an upper limit of 3,000 a day. But the tourists are barely trickling in. There were around 2,000 the first weekend (not 2,000 per day), and there are already fewer than 1,000 per weekend. That shouldn't be a surprise, as China subsequently limited the number tourists to 1,000 per day.
Remember what he told the voters about how long they would have to wait: "As soon as I'm president, things will be better."
The "bad" old days from which we're rapidly "escaping" By the way, the economic growth rate for the first quarter of 2008 under Chen Shui-bian's administration was a higher-than-expected 6.06%, but Ma's government now says that it will be difficult for his government to reach even 4.8% by the end of this year.
Did anything need saving, or do we now need to be saved from Ma Ying-jeou?
Just how badly has Ma screwed things up? Well, according to Global Views Magazine (遠見雜誌), his approval rating is currently the same as that of George W. Bush -- who had to invade another country on false pretenses, massacre hundreds of thousands of civilians, ruin the lives of countless others, spend gazillions of American tax dollars, throw the Middle East into turmoil, send the price of oil skyrocketing, and continue to threaten other countries. And we can't forget Hurricane Katrina and how many more flaws were revealed by that disaster.
That's right. After just over two months in office, Ma Ying-jeou's approval rating has slipped all the way down to 27 percent.
Talking Show (Monday, July 28, 2008) shows us Ma's survey numbers from the pro-blue Global Views Magazine (遠見雜誌) and the Economic Daily News (經濟日報) (Click to enlarge)
The smackdown On the Thursday, July 24 2008 edition of Talking Show (大話新聞), KMT spokes-whiner Chen Ming-yi (陳明義) made an ironic choice of words in his reply to someone during the call-in segment, and the caller smacked him right back.
The caller, a Mr. Wei (魏先生) from Kaohsiung, had joined in the discussion about Ma Ying-jeou's characterization of Taiwanese people as "cynical."
MR. WEI: Ma Ying-jeou's policies are giving Taiwan away to China. Does Ma care whether the Taiwanese people live or die? Therefore, Ma finds it easy to call the Taiwanese "cynical" or sei lai ko (it sounds sort of like "washing underwear" [洗內褲] in Taiwanese)?
(Laughter from the Talking Show panel about Mr. Wei's pun)
MR. WEI (continuing directly): Chen Ming-yi, I have a suggestion for you. Since you're here on this show, why don't you act a little more "humbly" and accept criticism from callers. Don't just sit there and protect your "boss" (Ma Ying-jeou), because people can tell whether you are speaking honestly or not. If you want to be like that, just don't come to the show.
CHEN MING-YI: Mr. Wei, I'm not here to protect Mr. [sic] Ma Ying-jeou. I just think that talking about this subject for three days straight is quite enough.
MR. WEI: What do you mean "enough"?! How long did you guys (the pan-blues and their supporters) rag on Chen Shui-bian?! You guys attacked A-bian 24 hours a day every day for eight years! Even during "midnight snack time," you guys attacked him! When our neighbors' ditch [the one that either they themselves or the local government should keep clean] was clogged, they acted like even that was A-bian's fault.
(More laughter from the Talking Show panel)
MR. WEI (continuing directly): So how can a ka hsiao [a Taiwanese insult at about the same level as calling someone a "bozo"] like you act like such a crybaby when the citizens complain about something for just 3 days? If you're going to be like that, just stay away.
CHEN MING-YI (off-screen): What gives you the right to call someone a "ka hsiao"?
At this point, host Cheng Hung-yi (鄭弘儀) is moving on to the next caller.
Mr. Wei from Kaohsiung didn't fall for the KMT bullshit! Show them that you know the real deal, and watch them whine!
Maybe it would be too much to request that the government pass on some of the blame to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators, whose unreasonable partisan bickering resulted in a more than 12-month delay in the implementation of the Democratic Progressive Party government's eight-year flood prevention package.
Instead, we have been treated to passing the buck par excellence, with Premier Liu Chao-shiuan's (劉兆玄) top-level meeting on Monday blaming the Central Weather Bureau and requesting that it submit a report on how to improve its forecasting capabilities. This call came despite the bureau's warning last Wednesday -- a full day before the storm made landfall -- that Kalmaegi would bring "considerable" amounts of rain to both east and west coasts.
On July 16, 2008, Caroline Gluck wrote an article for the BBC titled "Taiwan sorry for white terror era." The dateline on the article also indicates that it was written in "Taipei," but regular readers of this blog might wonder if Gluck was actually reporting from a different planet altogether.
However long ago it was written, Gluck's misreporting on Taiwan should be neither forgiven nor forgotten.
Let's start by looking at just the headline.
First of all, "Taiwan" can't be sorry for the era, since Taiwan and its people were the victims. The assailants weren't even from Taiwan. They were the Chinese Nationalist Party (中國國民黨 or KMT).
The next mistake has to do with the lack of capitalization. "White Terror" should have been treated as a proper noun here, the same way that word combinations such as "Treaty of Shimonoseki," "Green Island," Jade Mountain," "Jiancheng Circle Market," "Boston Communiqué," "Taiwan Relations Act," and "Declaration of Independence" should be capitalized when they refer to unique geographical locations or historical documents.
"Sorry" seems to mean something else on Planet Gluck Saying "sorry" and being sorry are often two distinct things. Let's see which one applies here.
The words being interpreted by Gluck were spoken by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) (Chinese KMT), who was inaugurated on May 20, 2008, and whose administration quickly turned the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (台灣民主紀念館) back into a place where people could "pay their respects" to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), the former dictator who oversaw the White Terror period. (See also this Chinese-language CNA article about the removal of the 228 Exhibition.) The new administration also quickly put so-called "honor guards" back at the mausoleums of Chiang and his son (head of the "blue shirt" secret police) Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).
The resumption of the so-called "honor guards" happened just over one month ago.
In tears, Yao said the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government had wrongfully convicted her parents and ruined the lives of her and her entire family.
Yao said her parents, both journalists, were accused of spying for the Chinese Communist Party. Her mother, who was convicted without a trial, died of torture 85 days after being arrested, Yao said.
Her father, also convicted of spying, served 10 years in jail, Yao said.
Yao said she and her two older sisters were labeled as the "daughters of spies" and blocked from promotions at work and from taking national examinations for civil servants.
So-called "reporting" In the first sentence that follows the article's subheadline, Gluck waffles:
During the so-called "white terror" period, martial law was imposed by members of Mr Ma's Kuomintang party, after they fled to the island in 1949.
Again, the subject gets the lowercase treatment, but even worse, Gluck refers to it -- in compound "those-aren't-my-words" fashion -- as the "so-called 'white terror' period," writing as though it were the figment of someone's imagination. If the hyphenated modifier weren't enough, she puts scare quotes around the already-degraded term.
Imagine what Gluck's reaction might be to a foreign journalist who (fictionally) referred to the "so-called 'blitz' of London" during "world war ii," and you might be better able to understand this from a Taiwanese perspective. Do the math, and you'll figure out the sum of insult + injury.
Gluck's so-called "journalism" frequently misrepresents the area she is supposed to knowledgeably cover, and this example is no exception. Although there's a bit of what might otherwise be called "balance" on the subject in her article, the aforementioned offenses negate any merits those points might otherwise have had.
FURTHER READING: * Take a look back at some of the BBC's anti-Taiwan bias as previously covered at It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy and Taiwan Matters:
Over the past weekend, CNN's Anjali Rao interviewed Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the program TalkAsia.
CNN got it halfway right and called Ma "Taiwanese president" (he's "Taiwan's" president, but he's not "Taiwanese") in the interview and in on-screen descriptions, but their web page messed up his job description supremely:
A ministerial mess-up from a "premier" news source (Click to enlarge)
The text version of the line highlighted in the image above says [emphasis added]:
· Taiwan's premier, Ma Ying-jeou, elected by biggest margin in history
Can't make up their minds Check out the other inaccurate description below the video on that page [emphasis added]:
CNN's Anjali Rao talks with popular new Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou about [...]
We've seen some unusual things in just this brief look. Watch carefully for more fawning by Rao and for the outright lies you'll find within -- even though there may be a glimpse of truth to be seen if you don't blink.
Some screenshots from the end of the interview
Maybe it was there for "balance" I only caught the tail end of the program on Sunday night, but if you've been keeping up, you wouldn't be surprised to know that the program described above was followed immediately by a promo for another CNN special: Sights & Sounds of Beijing. Could it be a subtle attempt to confuse viewers about which country's president they were just watching an interview of? Y'think?