Thursday, February 26, 2009

Does KMT Have the Ability and Credibility to Uncover The Truth?

Reading the title of the article actually gave me a shudder. Uncover truth?! Does the KMT government have the ability and credibility to do so? If we look at the past record of how KMT uncover "truth," we all know they are really bad at it.

And there was an incident back a few years ago that makes me really, really doubtful of KMT's sincerity and intentions. There was this TV call-in talk show, and the current head of Government Information Office (GIO), 蘇俊賓, was one of the guest of the show. I think it was just before 228 and the shows topic is also about the history during those era. It was a few years ago, so my memory might not be totally accurate, but I remember very clearly that when I heard some of the stuff Mr. 蘇 said, I felt an sense of unease and disgust.

Up to that point, 蘇 seems to be a reasonable and friendly person, and indeed a lot of people that call-in has something good to say about him. But when he talks about this history, my opinion of him suddenly changed. It's not because he denies 228 or anything like that. No...the problem is the way he tried to "theorize" history and making "connections" between Taiwan, China and KMT. If I remember correctly, he even openly said that what they (KMT) try to do is explaining the history, conceptualize it and making connection with KMT and Taiwan. To many, this might not matter. But I intuitively felt that this is a terrible...and indeed terrifying way of thinking.

History should not be studied in this way. And my intuition seems to be correct. In the book "The Road To Serfdom," it has some account on how Nazi studied history, and it seems to me to be the exact concept of "theorizing" history. "Truth" becomes meaningless and every study is there to support National Socialism's goal. This is exactly what 蘇 was trying to do. It seems truth is less, or not, important to 蘇, but how to theorize and make connections is his primary objective.

If it's a personal thing, perhaps it's not a big deal because all you will have is perhaps a misguided fool. But when it's some public figure as influential as 蘇, and indeed now his the head of really creates another danger for Taiwan. They way they try to study history could misguide the whole nation.

And indeed, wasn't this what KMT always do? They "study" history in ways that only serve KMT goal. They theorize, sometimes even fabricate, history to establish a firm grip of Taiwan through media and education.

So when Ma "promised to uncover the truth behind the 228 Incident," it only sends an alarming chill down my spine.

228...More Historical Resource

Mr. Turton has post on his blog about another eye witness account book of 228 in English.

And the link to the book:

I only read a few pages, but will continue to finish the book later. But already it pains me greatly to read it, just like when I read George Kerr's Formosa Betrayed. Greeks and Shakespeare often wrote what many considered great tragedy. But their tragedies are mostly personal one. The 228 IMO is almost like a Shakespearean tragedy in grand scale...a tragedy for the whole island.

Some people still think KMT somehow contributed to Taiwan despite the 228 massacre and the later martial law period. After reading those type of books and other research papers on the subject I have to disagree strongly with those opinion: Taiwan would be 100 times better if KMT did not occupy Taiwan after WW2. KMT looted and destroyed much of Taiwan in "hardware" and "software." Taiwanese are beaten to the ground.

Taiwan could have forge a new nation after WW2. With its already substantial infrastructures and industries its future certainly look promising. Yes, it has been bombed by the US during the war, but certainly not even comparable in severity as the bombing and nuking in Japan. Taiwan would have recovered very quickly from the war and prosper. With the intellectuals wanting for democracy for years (before and during WW2 already Taiwanese formed different political party and try to persuade Japan to have Taiwanese representatives in Japanese Diet), it's also most likely that a democratic system would be set, especially during that time UN, UK and US helps are also most likely available.

But why did Taiwanese choose a different path? Why did the US insist on this path for Taiwan? Reading those books will certainly give some insights, and to me it's just a great tragedy.

I hope people learn from this and don't make the same mistake again.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sometimes...It's Just Common Sense

We all know that 江丙坤 has a son doing business in China. How can someone like that leads the negotiation with China? It's common sense and well established principle in governing that if an official has some sort of interests in certain area, he should avoid getting involved in those area in the government.

In this case, 江 has great personal interest in China. How can Ma government pick him to negotiate with China? It's an extremely shameful act. IMO, they think they can just get away with it because they think no one cares...Yea, even I wonder if Taiwanese care. I hope more people know about this. Just by doing this, at least someone in Ma's government should be impeached, if Ma himself is not impeached.

But then again impeachment is very difficult in's a difficult problem indeed.

What's Taiwan's Grand Strategy? Part 1

Currently Taiwan is in some sort of crisis, in both economy and politics.

Economic crisis will pass and I am confident that the vibrant industries of Taiwan will recover. Also, during this time many reforms can be made, and many policy can be improved, so when the economy recovers, Taiwan can emerge in better shape than before, and even has some edge over others. (Of course, this time around whether the government is helping in this direction is a big question, but more on this later) Although a lot of people and businesses are suffering, this is perhaps not the prime danger Taiwan is facing. This type of economical crisis is always bound to happen, and Taiwan has to face similar trials in the past and in the future, again and again. It's like earthquakes, although it's devastating and create a lot of suffering, Taiwan always recover from it. Progress is always made with all the typhoon and earthquakes, and better preventive measures are taken by many to get Taiwan ready to withstand the next possible crisis. This type of thing cannot make Taiwan falter.

But looking back in history, what can really make Taiwan fall apart? What can really beat Taiwanese down to the ground and make Taiwanese unable to stand back up for generations? Political crisis, misjudgement and betrayal. And this time around, the primary crisis, is perhaps once again on the political side, not on the economical side.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts On Economy, Politics and CECA

Economy is a complex subject, and history has shown that a lot of times even economic experts can be very wrong. Still, it's an important subject worth studying and researching. I am not an expert, but still I have some "philosophical" thoughts on the economy. I might not be able to be very precise on term I use etc, but anyway, here it is.

To my knowledge, there were 2 common types of analogy of economy. One is that economy is like a machine, the other is that economy is like a force (wind, ocean waves etc). Fundamentally, I like the second analogy better. Therefore, often when the politicians say they are going to "fix" the economy I don't particular like it because they are obviously trying to run the economy like a machine, that's why the term "fix." I think it's might also be possible to add on to the force analogy. I think it's possible to think of the governments or corporations etc as sailing ships in the ocean...that has to live with, and utilize the surrounding economic forces.

One of the reason why Ma got elected in my opinion is the public illusion about the economy. He gave out target numbers that seems concrete but is actually illusive. It's like in the movie Water World, where the leaders of the "bad guys" rally them to roll the tanker, by promising "the land", without actually figuring out where exactly they are going.

Illusion comes from lack of understanding I think. Of course even myself don't have enough economic knowledge, but some basic understanding of it makes me extremely doubtful of what Ma said during election. And in my opinion, even if Ma somehow achieve those promises, there will be long lasting side effects that Taiwanese has to pay for later.

The recent CECA situation also shows once again KMT's attempt to use faulty concepts to fool the public. KMT always say "this is about economy, not politics." or "ping economy, not ping politics." These slogans seem to imply that economic and politics are complete separate entity that can be treated completely as separated matter. This is basically a blurring of concept. Most people would acknowledge that the government shouldn't regulate all economic activities, and politicians should not just listen to big corporations and getting too close to only the wealthy and powerful. Thus, the concept of separation of politics and economics of a sort is there and valid. However, what the KMT is saying is totally different from this. They are claiming that some treaty or policy is just about economics, and nothing to do with politics. But every treaty and policy has political elements in them, and have to be considered as such. That's where their thoughts start to become faulty.

Let's use an analogy: A wild animal sees food on the ground. What would be going on in its mind? One part of his brain would say "Go, grab the food." One part of his brain would say "Be careful, there might be predator still around, and that food might not be real food and could be a trap."

Now, Taiwan is like this wild animal. The potential food is like CECA. The part of the brain that suggests taking the food is like some of those big cooperation communities that favors CECA. They represent the economic side, or the greedy side of the brain. The part of the brain that suggests otherwise are the oppositions, consist of different sectors of the society. They represent mostly political side, and some economic side (the food might not be real, it could be poisoned etc...).

If the animal don't even think about the potential's a dumb and inexperienced animal. If it's alert and examine the food and the surrounding more carefully, it's a smart and experienced animal. Which type of animal would Taiwan want to be? KMT seems to like to rush in. They just ignore the political side of thing and charge in for the food, and cursing others who voice concern. They have failed many times before under CCP's trap, would Taiwan want to charge in with KMT?

It's better to be alert. Even if the food is real and we avoid it due to the potential hazard that we just can't bet our luck on, the only thing we lost is the food, and there are always other food around for us to take. If we don't be careful and just want to charge in Taiwan could loss its life.

Remember..."If something looks too good to be true, it probably is."

Not to mention...CCP is the one that put the "food" there...we all know CCP wants to eat us...and been eaten is always not desirable. Of course, KMT might think otherwise because a lot of their members seem to always want Taiwan to be the food of CCP.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Sad News

Taiwan lost another ally. T_T

It begs the question...when will Taiwanese ever learn...Taiwan should have moved for independence after WW2, why did they accept the devils? After the massacre, today once again, Taiwan seems to be ready to open the door for the devils again.

Interesting talk

Interesting talk on economy and its effect on politics:

It's indeed tragic that Taiwanese elected Ma...

It's kind of interesting...before election and right after it, when I discussed it with others I often say that to accomplish Ma's economic target, he has to use "steroid" on the economy, which will have severe side effects. Now I think I am wrong...he is going to use the "steroid" (CECA) to get him out of this crisis, not reaching the target. Or perhaps, he and China has setup the trap. By following the bad global economic condition, they intentionally make Taiwan's economic situation worse, and using the condition to force Taiwanese accept CECA.

In any case, the "Steroid" won't help anything. And in Taiwan's current state, it might just kill (by overdose) or enslave (by addiction) Taiwan outright.

Thoughts On 民間國是會議

I sort of agree with Mr. Lin on several points.

Some people said 國是會議 is a waste of time. One reason I think they say that because maybe the DPP will just close the door and discuss among themselves, which might result in no new good ideas. But of course that depends on how it's run. If they make sure to open the door to recieve different voice and ideas, it might be better.

I think those people might also have stated it that way because with the current desperate situation, it really seems useless to sit around talking while Ma is selling out Taiwan in high speed. They are partially right. It's impossible to stop Ma just by sitting around talking.

But in my opinion, just go to the street, demonstrate, or even just start a revolution, might not work out well neither. See...I think in these type of situation, ideas are bullets, ideas are weapons. Because you need to win people's heart and mind at the same time you take actions.

During American Revolution, they setup the Continental Congress first. They do nothing but talking all days and sending envoys to British King probably. Then they setup the Continental Army, lead by General Washington. The 2 armies from both side fought each other of course, and without the Continental Army, there probably won't be an USA. But without a Continental Congress, would there be an USA as well? I am not sure. Certainly, the congress gave the Declaration of Independence. They formalize colonists desires and the reasons behind them. They sort of "provide the reasons to fight."

The same can be said with the current Taiwan situation. Well...of course, we probably don't want to and are probably not at the point where we need to setup some sort of "Island Army." But the ideas are similar. While the legislators resist, and discontent citizens demonstrate in the street, the 國是會議 type of thing can be a platform in which "reasons to fight" can be formalized. Some might say "we know the reasons already." Well, maybe you and me know the reasons. But does the majority of the people know the reasons well? If they don't, when they see all the chaos etc that will surely occur, with pan blue media smearing DPP, what do you think they will think? They probably will just get annoyed.

So basically we also needs to persuade the public of the reasons. And the reasons can range from short term to long term. Short term being something like why we don't want CECA, and maybe why we want Ma to step down. Long term can be more about what can pan green promise if Taiwan is independent. In another words, what could be Taiwan's future, and what's pan green's vision for Taiwan. Of course they have to be worth fighting for, but at the same time realistic.

The first thing is to come up with the "right stuff." Combining different good ideas and formalize them. Something that can really explain the reasons and echo people's inner thoughts. Well, maybe kind of like the movie Cape No. 7, which just bring out things that people feel but can't explain...but maybe not that strong in emotion but more in reasons. The second thing would then be getting those in DPP and TSU higher up people to hear the voice, so when the time comes, they can make the right decision or just the right speech. The third of course is to spread these messages through different means...internet, TV, books, newspaper, or just discussion amoung people.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The "Bright" Side of DPP Losing The Presidential Election and The Beauty of Democracy?

Hmm...this thought has linger in my mind for a while and I could be wrong. But I am thinking...was it actually better that DPP lost the presidential election? Don't get me wrong. I supported DPP very strongly during presidential election. I donate money to Mr. Hsieh's campaign and persuaded my relatives to vote for the DPP candidate. And I was sad when DPP lost.

Most people now can agree that Ma and KMT winning the presidential election (and 3/4 majority in Legislature) is not that good for Taiwan, and there are a lot of problems and worries etc. Even one of my relative whom I fail to persuaded and voted for Ma regretted the decision. And I believe there are quite many people regret their decision and are worry about Taiwan's future. Of course I know there are many hardcore KMT supporters and unficationist probably feel like they are in heaven now, but...I think they are probably not the majority, otherwise the support for Ma shown in the polls won't fall so dramatically.

But now I think of it...despite the extreme dangerous situation Taiwan is in now, there are actually bright sides of DPP losing...:
  1. Imagine if it's actually DPP winning the election. What would those irrational pan blue supporters feel? At the end of 2000 and 2004 elections, they rioted with extreme violence in the street for days. Imagine them losing again...boy, I think they would probably burn the whole Taipei city down. Of course rioting is not the major issue. But the point is their mentality...the pan blue media and supporters will continue to attack DPP and DPP government with extremity, like the past 8 or 10 years. And although I believe Mr. Hsieh's policy is 10 times superior than Ma, and I believe if he got elected, Taiwan will actually be better economically and without worries of being sold out, Taiwan will still get effected by the global economic down turn. With a pan blue majority in Legislature, irrational pan blue media, they are going to torn DPP government apart no matter what.
  2. It torn down the mask of Ma!! If Ma was not elected president, many will still consider him a "super star," a savior. Those irrational people would still say, "see, if Ma is elected, we will have 633." Since Ma is actually elected, people now knows that he is not some sort of savior or messiah that can just bring Taiwan to 633 or whatever other bullshits he promised during election. More people, I believe, now see through his deception.
  3. The difficult problem of ex-president Chen...well this one I am not sure...but imagine if Mr. Hsieh got elected, those irrational pan-blue supporters will believe none of the trials of Chen. They will of course starting accusing DPP for influencing trials, while in fact Taiwan's justice system are still dominated by KMT elements. They will have even stronger anger and hate toward Chen and DPP. KMT can utilize this hatred even more. It might even become a cancer of the society that's beyond repair.
So yea...there are actually bright sides, even in of course if Taiwan actually got sold out by KMT and Ma...all these bright sides means nothing. But if Taiwanese learn from these lessons, and somehow stop Ma...then perhaps the desperate situation becomes the spring board in which Taiwan can relaunched itself again. And perhaps that's the beauty of democracy...

Of course I still wish Mr. Hsieh been elected,...but hey, sometimes you got to look at the bright side of things perhaps. I think of it, I am like Longshanks in Braveheart:
"You see, as king, you must find the good in any situation."
Am I becoming an evil person? lol

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Very Interesting History

This section has very interesting history:

The 2 Types of Worries And What Are the Solutions

Someone else brought the same topic a few months ago. But just now I suddenly have this idea of categorize the worries about Ma in Taiwan now into 2 major types:
  • Ma intentionally not doing anything helpful about the economy. He just use lies and policies that delays people's uproar. To what end? To setup a trap to lure the Taiwanese in.
  • Ma is just foolish and naive
This in my opinion is very possible. One of the recent book I read "The Road To Serfdom" certainly indicate this as a possibility. The book is unrelated to Taiwan, of course, but the history etc it mentioned indicate that it is indeed possible to lure a nation toward its "doom" when the economy is bad and people are getting poor. It's a carrot and stick type of strategy. Using reliance on China as the carrot, and use economic problems as the stick, and direct the nation into China's arms. Certainly the recent arguments for CECA is going in this direction.

This one is also possible in my opinion. A lot of people seemed to voted for Ma during mayor and presidential election due to his good look and his expertise in bullshitting. Some might wonder how come then people did not see it when he was Taipei mayor? Well, actually a lot of people did realize it. A lot of policy and constructions etc that are setup by Ma are utter failures. But I think perhaps a lot of people just didn't pay attention. After all, not everyone lives in Taipei City. Plus the big budget campaign Ma had, I think a lot of people are just simply fooled and overlooked Ma's lack of ability. Furthermore, during that time there were no major crisis like the recent economic trouble, that can really test one's leadership. (except SARS and 921 Earth quake, which Ma also has quite some records of mishandling, but I guess those things some people are willing to overlook) Also, don't forget, most major media are very pro-Ma. Those problems are usually under reported. But now the crisis is national and a lot of people can feel it...that's why the late realization perhaps.

I think perhaps it's actually both...but in both cases Ma will put Taiwan in danger. The question becomes...what can/should people do about it?

So Awful...

God...Ma's answers in this interview is just so awful...his logic and the way he thinks etc all seem to be messed up. Take this for example:

"Take sea transportation for example. Do you think we are a normal country if our ships are required to make detours to a third country and pay 30 percent to 40 percent more in total?"

WTF, that's not the element that determine if a country is normal or not. He is insisting that if Taiwan want to be normal, Taiwan needs direct link to China. But that's complete BS. Is he saying since the US was blockading Cuba, the US and Cuba are not normal country? Or was he saying during cold war the US and Soviet don't trade so they are not normal country neither? Or when during 19th century when British blockading other countries and when others trying to detour to avoiding blockade, they are not normal neither?? What kind of logic is this? Surely if the security demanded that ships take a detour, they should take a detour, there is nothing abnormal about it. And he is still talking about saving money!!! Does he actually know what happen to those gravel shipping? or what happens to the price of airline tickets? MAN...

And I think he actually lied when he said CECA is what he promised during election!! I don't think he ever say something like that. In fact, the vice president during that time seems to hold off on this type of things. Plus I think people voted for him more on other promises such as 633 etc, not CECA. If he actually enforce CECA concept and reliance on China during election, I wonder if he will even be elected...

Of course some of the question asked by the reporter in my opinion is not that great neither. But I will have to take a closer read...I want to attack on the rest of the BS he says but boy, reading what he says kind of making me want to puke...

I don't know...Ma to me has lost all his credibility...all these lying, BSing...boy, I just don't know.

And here is the counter points from academic who opposed CECA:

UPDATE: Taipei Times follow the interview up with this feature: The danger in national abnormality I would say it's actually a waste of energy to actually listen to Ma's lies, deciete and faulty logic, but it's nice TT bothers to disect the interview and have a good discussion on the problems of Ma's logic and policies. Hey, someone has to do it.

The US View On Taiwan and What Is the US Interests in This Matter?

It's always interesting and sometimes frustrating to look at what the US policy toward Taiwan is and the US policy makers' view of the situation. Because the US is democratic as well the view expressed by the influential policy makers, think tank members, experts, official etc all seem to varies quite a bit, even though the US seems to have an uniformed official policy on Taiwan. That actually another problem, because the US intentionally tries to keep the issue and their policy ambiguous. So it looks to me sometimes when the US official says something, it will shock people in Taiwan. Sometimes what they say will be interpreted wildly differently by pan-green, pan-blue and even pan-red in China. The media doesn't help much neither because each media has some inherited bias and they interpret or even translate differently what the US influential says about the Taiwan status problem and Taiwan strait tensions... I am of course biased as well. But in any case I will just attempt to be objective and look at what the recent US Official Blair says with a cool head and write out my opinions :
“Unless Taiwan does something about it, then we’re really the only other country helping them do it. That means we’re going to have to help them some more in order to maintain a balance,”
This is quite a clear statement, no ambiguity here. It's probably a derivation of basic TRA policy.
“Taiwan, as an area of tension in US-China relations, has substantially relaxed. Taiwan President Ma, inaugurated in May, has resumed dialog with Beijing and leaders on both sides of the straits are cautiously optimistic about less confrontational relations.”
Here I think is where a lot of US officials and people in Taiwan (and perhaps some people in Japan) view things completely differently. The US seems to only focus on the ease of tension, while a lot of Taiwanese, even some in the pan blue, are fearing that Ma is surrendering to China and selling out Taiwan gradually. IE, there is a lack of trust in Ma. And of course, when one side is surrendering, the tension will ease. It seems of course that Blair has more trust in Ma, that's why they are willing to re enforce Taiwan's defense. Otherwise what's the point if Ma is surrendering and selling Taiwan out. But I am wondering if their trust is misplaced and if they are over optimistic. More on this later...
“On the other hand, Taiwan has to realize that its long-term security lies in some sort of an arrangement with China. It does not lie in military defenses. So if we can keep that balance correct, then all of the incentives are toward solving the problems in political and people-to-people ways. I think there are arrangements that could be made that would give Taiwan the international space that they feel they deserve and give China the reassurance that ‘one China’ is a realistic policy,” he said.
Here is something interesting. I think Blair speaks the truth here. Althogh military defense is paramount for Taiwan, long-term security cannot be relied on military along. But the last few sentences again Blair goes back to the ambiguity's really difficult to see what exacly is he talking about:
  • International space: what does this mean? Does this mean Taiwan in UN or something weird?
  • One China: This one is indeed really confusing. If he is talking about just One China, it's already very assured, becasue no one really want to claim there are 2 Chinas. Only those minority unficationist in Taiwan think there are 2 China and therefore 2 China must "reunite," but then there won't be any use of international space for Taiwan. If he meant the full One China policy as explicily stated by China, "There is only one China, and Taiwan is part of China." then heck, if Taiwan is part of China, what international space can Taiwan have. Taiwan will always be under Chinese control. The best it can have in this condition is an illusion of international space. International space to Taiwan is not just some sort of seats in international organization, but a freedom from the constant pressure and blockade from China. If Taiwan is part of just doesn't make any sense. And overall I just don't know exactly what kind of arrangement he is really talking about. Another thing is, in my opinion, Taiwan cannot just focus on trying to reach some sort of arrangement with China. Surrendering is an arrangement as well but that's not in Taiwan's interests. There are other things Taiwan can and should do to increase its own security. Blair should emphasize more on the security of Taiwan, not arrangement with China, as the long term goal. The "arrangement with China" part is just one strategic possibility or option Taiwan should consider, but that's the mean, not the end. A lot of KMT leaders and perhaps some US politician seems to "take the mean as the end" when talking about Taiwan, and I think this kind of misunderstanding, being intentional or not, is actually dangerous to Taiwan.

“We just have to make sure that military adventures are unattractive,” one will dispute this probably. That should also be the basic principle of Taiwan's military strategy.

Overall I think the US officials view are much more optimistic than the view in Taiwan. Perhaps they should and need to be because of course they don't want to create some sort of panic. It's in their interests to have stability in Taiwan strait. Plus hey, they are not Taiwan citizen, so why would they be worrying anyway? They have some good points in their views that Taiwanese need to think about as well, but perhaps they don't just sound optimistic but are genuinely over optimistic. They also don't seem to concern that KMT leaders might betray Taiwan public, and sell out Taiwan, and perhaps even the US, for their own benefits. It's worth while to look back in history. Former US president Truman:
"They're thieves, every damn one of them," Mr. Truman said later, referring to Chinese Nationalist (KMT) leaders. "They stole $750 million out of the billions that we sent to Chiang. They stole it, and it's invested in real estate down in S?o Paolo and some right here in New York."
And perhaps even Mr. Truman didn't get the full scope of the betrayal...because even Chiang himself and his surrounding family most likely get a boat load of money for themselves from the US and Taiwan. And I wonder what would Mr. Truman says when he sees the Chiang statues, from gigantic to penny size, all over Taiwan...rivaling North Korea's Kim statues.

And the betrayal wasn't just on the money. In the book Formosa Betrayed by George H. Kerr, which is probably the only publication that has the more detail account of the incidents that leads up to the 228 massacre, and how the US policy failed and unintentionally made Taiwanese suffered the 228, hyper inflation, unfair treatment and the White Terror period that follows. That book by the way, was really an eye opener for me a few years ago. I had difficulty finishing the book because it's just too sad and tragic. But it gave me a fuller understanding about Taiwan.

I definitely see some parallel between the current situation and the situation before 228. Before 228, Taiwanese are given false promises and false fantasy about China, partly from some foolish Taiwanese, and partly from the US propaganda during WW2. Now also Taiwanese are given false promise about economy from KMT and Chinese propaganda machines and media. The government that occupied Taiwan before 228 lacks ability, expertise and are quite backward and corrupted. The current government are also characterize by many as inadequate, naive, foolish, undemocratic and backward. While before and during 228, most US officials have no idea what's going on in Taiwan because the KMT has strong lobbyists in Washington and during that time they seem to have a common enemy. Currently, it seems a lot of the US officials are once again over optimistic about the current situation, and seem to focus too much on "the ease of tensions." Of course, the same type of massacre might not occur and in my opinion probably won't. But that does not mean KMT will not once again bringing Taiwan to another calamity and perhaps even to its doom for their own profits and gain. By then, like before, the US will not be able to do anything, and probably once again just another lowly official station in Taiwan recording the tragedy and publish Formosa Betrayed 2.

My point is...of course Taiwan cannot listen to what China says because China is the one that want to annex Taiwan, but Taiwanese also cannot just listen to whatever the American says. Yes, America might be a friend but as shown before by history a lot of times they don't know the situation well neither. Like Shaheen said
"Taiwan should always think first of its own self-interest and keep that in mind."
It's obviously wiser to take what American says as suggestions and advices but Taiwanese need to assess the situation themselves as well. Of course, this time around, we have 228 as a lesson, therefore it's possible to avoid the same foolishness, naivety and mistakes. But Taiwanese has to realize and learn from the lesson, otherwise the the sacrifice of our grand and grand grand fathers' generation would be in vein.

Well, at least when I am searching for what Blair says, one newspaper actually get it closer to the fact when describing Taiwan's post WW2 history. Most other news agencies just use "split from China during civil war" which is completely false. Although from what I read, Japan actually didn't cede the island to anyone. They just surrender to allies and gave up the island. It's an improvement but still need to be more accurate:

"Japan ceded control of the island, then called Formosa, to the United States. The U.S. in turn allowed the nationalist Republic of China to set up shop on the island as a 'Cold War' government-in-exile following the 1949 Communist revolution. However, the United States has never ceded the island to anyone thus creating the current 'Taiwan question'."

KMT Worries Me More And More Indeed

Coincidentally, this section of 大話新聞 coincide with my last blog. It really looks like Ma and KMT cannot differentiate between corporation's interests and national interests, and it seems Ma and KMT are trying very hard and quite forcefully to persuade for CECA...even using a lot of false facts and logic. They seem to try to rely on corporation for their support of the policy, which is just totally wrong. Of course, corporation has their own interests and they are selfish and strive to make profit. Without selfishness the society probably won't work. But the government has to guard national interests, which is not always the same as corporation interests. KMT always seem to ignore this facts. No wonder they can made a mess back in the 90s, and also causing hyper inflation during 1950s. I just hope the public can realize the problem and the DPP can attack vigorously on it, to halt KMT from the current course or just pull KMT down.

Plus this CECA and the last agreement between KMT and CPP were never open for public to see. It is really pathetic that the negotiation between 2 political parties has to be force upon a nation. The problem is really not if those agreement are in Taiwan's interests... the problem is Taiwanese public has no say in this matter and have no idea what the agreement between KMT and CPP is. That's why I say Taiwan has reverse back to the 80s in certain area...this type of thing is not democracy, but dictatorship.

I also hope that some of the corporation of Taiwan that just hope to rely on the government or China, stop doing so and think about it. It's just wrong and might not even be in their interests to do so. They should look at what happen to the hotel owners, the gravel transportation company, the tourism industry...etc etc...

Also it looks like KMT still want to rely on China for economic...or maybe they just want to sell out Taiwan...I really have no idea now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Warning From The Book The Wealth of Nation

The recent economic situation in Taiwan is getting worse, as everyone knows. Economy will of course eventually recover...but many people in Taiwan I believe are not only anxious about economy, but indeed about the fate of the whole nation. There is a paragraph in the book The Wealth of Nation that makes me worry more, or rather, confirm more about my worry about where KMT is taking Taiwan. It's common knowledge that KMT is quite close to most big cooperation, and a lot of times KMT listen to business people, to get more support during election...A few examples are the recent direct link between Taiwan and China, and the current plan for CECA. KMT did all these quite forcefully, without much discussion in legislatures and in public, even though a lot of people express great concern over those policy. Of course now a lot of benefits of those policy the KMT promised has proven to be false.

But what concerns me is this passage from the chapter Rent of Land: Conclusion in the book. Basically the book separate the society into 3 types of great, original orders from which other orders derived: those who live by rent, those who live by wages and those who live by profit. And it has this to say about each of them:
  • Those who live by rent (TLR):
    "They are the only one of the three orders whose revenue costs them neither labour nor care, but comes to them, as it were, of its own accord, and in dependent of any plan or project of their own. That indolence, which is the natural effect of the ease and security of their situation, renders them too often, not only ignorant, but incapable of that application of mind which is necessary in order to foresee and understand the consequences of any public regulation."
  • Those who live by wages (TLW):
    "...But though the interest of the labourer is strictly connected with that of the society, he is incapable either of comprehending that interest, or of understanding its connexion with his own. His condition leaves him no time to receive the necessary information, and his education and habits are commonly such as to render him unfit to judge even though he was fully informed. In the public deliberations, therefore, his voice is little heard and less regarded, except upon some particular occasions, when his clamour is animated, set on, and supported by his employers, not for his, but their own particular purposes."
  • Those who live by profit (TLP):
    "...But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension, of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin....As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have frequently more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercised rather about the interest of their own particular branch of business, than about that of the society, their judgement, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every occasion), is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former of those 2 objects, than with regard to the latter. Their superiority over the country gentleman is, not so much in their knowledge of the public interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own interest than he has of his. It is by this superior knowledge of their own interest that they have frequently imposed upon his generosity, and persuaded him to give up both his own interest and that of the public, from a very simple but honest conviction, that their interest, and not his, was the interest of the public. The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market maybe frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought always to be adopted till after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most scrupulous, but wit the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it."

These quote are now common knowledge of course. Public mostly dislike political party and government getting too close with the lobbyist from corporations. Monopolies etc are considered a grave danger against fair competition in a free market economy etc. But still, to read it in detail, and the original reasons behind these common knowledge, enlighten me in a sense. And indeed, although it's common knowledge, a lot of people in Taiwan doesn't seem to pay much attentions to this. Taiwanese media etc, also seems to have a tendency to idolize major business leaders in Taiwan into heroes, myth and legend etc. Of course, those business leaders have their merits, and their success story are worthy lessons. But to idolize them might give them too much influence on the public opinion...when their business interests are not exactly align with the public interests and they are still able to persuade the public into following their direction, that could put the country in danger.

But in Taiwan's recent case, it's even more complicated. The recent gravel and sands transport incidents, over blown tourism prediction, and new problems faced by China Airline and EVA air transport (China Airline is Taiwan owned company but called China Air, confusing, but that's the name) can only means 2 things:
  • Ma and KMT are naive to the point that they did a very crappy job in the point that China took a big advantages out of them.
  • They just intentionally want to hustle even those TLP.
I believe it's actually 2 of those things at the same time, ie Ma tried to bullshit during election, but by setting up time lines and overblown target number, he and his government basically flip all their cards open before the negotiation. Their open cards, naivety and false fantasy on China, cause the later problems to occur. I can go further and speculate a theory of conspiracy between people in CPP and KMT, to sell Taiwan out, but that would be too speculative, and probably useless. Suffice to say that CPP and KMT seduced TLP, TLP then convinced TLR and TLW to support KMT...on things that does not align with public interests, but the interests of CPP, KMT and those TLP who didn't get hustled by CPP and KMT.

The important thing is that it's very obvious that China want the control over Taiwan, and Ma's eventual goal is unification with China. Right now they are creating conditions for quite a speedy way. Even the promises Ma made during election are broken. That is why a lot of people are worried.

A year or so ago KMT's Lien announces "unifying KMT and CPP power to subdue Taiwan (Independence)." CPP also said they will use the strategy of "Using TLP to effect Taiwan Politics." I definitely see their strategy at work right now.

Another Unimportant But Interesting Topic: The Standard of Taiwan?

Being a casual painter myself, I am always fascinated by arts and symbols. And a few months ago I start to wonder what would a true Taiwanese national flag looks like. Yea, I know, it's not that important, but I do have some thoughts on the different flags in Taiwan now. Here it is:

The ROC National Flag
Well...this is a ROC flag, not really a Taiwan flag. But right now even a lot of TI supporters are waving this around even protects it with their bodies, since it's currently the only symbol that identify Taiwan (ROC) exist as a nation, even though a lot of TI supporters don't like flag. It sounds really contradictory and ironic, but that's the way things are. The pan blue supporters of course love this flag to death but you really come the government they supported only show this flag in Taiwan and when there are no Chinese around? But politics aside, there are something fundamentally wrong with the flag in my opinion:
  • The upper left symbol of white sun and blue sky is basically KMT's party symbol...that is just wrong...I you see the US put an elephant or a donkey on their national flag?
  • Visually speaking...the blue and red contrast is just too strong. My Computer Graphics prof once told us scientifically speaking because blue and red are the extreme opposite of optic spectrum which our visual sensory, eyes, can pick out, looking at blue and red side by side for too long can give some people headache. Looking at national flags around the world, it's rare you see big block of blue right beside big block or red...the US one for example it's not red all the way, but red and white strips, with a blue block. Netherlands and France for example, has white block between the red and blue block. UK's Union Jack has white between blue and red area as well. The only other one I can think of that has big blue beside big red is Russian flag, but even that one probably has a equivalent white block on top to balance it out.
Plus Taiwan obviously cannot use this flag anymore if Taiwan becomes a new republic etc.

DPP Type of Flag

A lot of Taiwanese seem to like the idea of just putting a green Taiwan right on the national flag. While it looks nice and is certainly a possibility, I don't particularly like this idea, and here is why:
  • Same reason as point 1 in ROC flag section. DPP and other Taiwanese organization already used the same type of symbol in their party flag. Just using the same idea is probably the same as KMT putting their party symbol on national flag. If the future Republic of Taiwan has another political party in the future (and most likely so if ROT hopes to be a democratic nation), they might complain why do we put DPP symbol on national flag?
  • Rarely do we see people just stuck their national territory map right on their national flag. Even the US flag, for example, abstract their territory into stars (or a snake in the early days?). If Taiwan wants to some how represent it's territory on the flag, it might be better to use some sort of symbols.
  • Too hard to draw by hands. Well, perhaps in this computer age, it's not a big deal...but it might still be worth while to keep flag's pattern simple...
The Four Hearted Flag
Hmm...this one for some reason I just don't like the visual symbols of it. This is more of an intuitive visual preference though, and some people might like it a lot, but I don't...I mean seriously...flower, consisted by four hearts...come on...the national symbol of Taiwan is similar to Valentine's day's symbols? That to me just sounds a bit wrong. Couldn't they use symbols other than flowers and hearts to represent the 4 groups of Taiwan in harmony? Funny I first notice this flag on the US TV show The West Wing, but even at the first glance, I just think that it cannot really represent Taiwan...But it's nice to see it on TV though, because it's probably the only recent flag that's designed specifically for "Republic of Taiwan." Hm...and now I look at it looks like a symbol from the game Ma-Jian.

The Old Taiwan Republic Flag
Ah, this one looks very different from the other flags. Definitely I like the tiger a little bit more than the flowers but what does tigers got to do with Taiwan? Does Taiwan even have tigers? It would make a bit more sense if they use some animal that Taiwan actually has like Formosa Black Bear or Cloud Panther. It's probably a flag designed in a rush that just use some art pattern from Ching Dynasity.

Overall I realize currently there is no symbol or flag that can really represent Taiwan. They have some temporary ones that's good enough for now I guess. But I wonder, what will a real Republic of Taiwan flag looks like? Whatever it is (maybe even on the ones above), I hope it has the following features:
  • Easy and immediate identification with Taiwanese: in another word, it symbolize the essence of Taiwan, and when a Taiwanese sees it, he/she should feel good and proud about it.
  • Stands out and Easy to Remember by Foreigner: it should be original so people outside Taiwan won't confuse it with another country's flag and it should be easy to remember so when next people see it they know what it represent.
Humm...but even that sounds like a tough

Flag reference:

Most Difficult Yet Probably Least Important Topic to Taiwan: Ex-President Chen

I have some of my own ideas about the "big picture" of Taiwan. However, when it comes to the recent ex-President Chen's case, I have no clue what to think about. Note though what I am talking about here is about ex-President Chen, not the whole problem about Taiwan's unfair judiciary and justice system. Everyone (at least everyone in pan-green) noticed the heavy handed influence of KMT on the courts etc. Switching judges, put Chen in jail during trial without good reasons, prosecutor showing lack of understanding of the the basic principle "innocent until proven guilty, " violation of Mr. Chen's right...etc etc. I can go on and on about this. But that's not what I am talking about here...I am talking more about Mr. Chen himself and what I think of him. There are few things I can say about it, although I don't have a clear thought on it:
  1. Personally I don't really care about Mr. Chen, other than his unfair treatment. Some pan green people hate him a lot though...which I kind of understand if they are long time close supporters of him. Because you will feel betrayed if someone you support strongly do something like this. And beside, what ex-President Chen and his wife did sounds so stupid. What were they thinking anyway? On the other hand, there seem to be some supporters that still strongly support Mr. Chen. I think for them though, it's probably more because they oppose the unfair treatment Mr. Chen received. Even during Mr. Chen's 8 years term as president, he is always under unfair attack from the pan-blue media and KMT. I think perhaps that what those Chen supporters are after: opposing lack of justice.
  2. Ex-President Chen did indeed accomplished some stuffs for the green supporters during his term. Although what he accomplished is far from what pan green supporters wanted, the accomplishments are undeniable. And I for one would say during his term and my absence from Taiwan, I can feel the improvement over the years when I went back to Taiwan. It's not only the hardware like Taipei 101 or the high speed rail...there are changes in the atmosphere as well, like way more different TV channels and much cleaner public washrooms . It's true I still see some stuff which I would like it to be changed but haven't, can't improve everything you want in 8 years. Of course, not all accomplishment are directly due to Mr. Chen's effort, but he was the head of the state, and during his term, Taiwan has certainly progressed, that is the truth. And by looking at how fast Taiwan reverse back to the 80s in some area recently after Ma took over, I realize Mr. Chen's presidency was difficult and part of the reason for Taiwan's progress in the past few years.
  3. Some might say his "corruption" has destroy all his accomplishment for the pan green party because he tarnished the pan green flag. Now when people think of pan green, they think of corruption. That is very true. However, if you look at it another way, it does not have to be so and it is only so because some people allow it to be so and some people want it to be so. Why is it someone's own foolishness means the whole movement's foolishness? Why is it someone's mistakes means some ideals or some principle is a mistake? When a teacher teach us to respect the law, but for some reason he/she got a ticket for speeding and going through red light, does that mean we should just say whatever teachers say is wrong, and therefore we should disrespect the law? In another words, in my opinion, the reason why Mr. Chen mistakes effects the independent movement is because pan blue media, politician and supporters use the false logic to connect Mr. Chen's mistake and independent movement. However, I do hope the wisdom of the people will sense the false logic, see through deception, and realize the big picture. Of course they can still be angry with Mr. Chen, but they should not give up their ideals and principle because of him.
  4. A lot of Taiwanese, in my opinion, also seem to forget or choose to ignore what it was really like during the KMT rule. I for one certainly remembered well. During that time we only have 3 TV stations, school teaches us about China all the time, to the point that my sense of what my country is get really blurry. During that time no one knows or don't talk about 228. Me and my classmates don't know shit about Taiwan but we memorize all those history and geographical stuff about China, and are proud of it. We have to read all those ancient Chinese text that basically don't say much except how beautiful Chinese mountains and rivers are etc, just because they are hard to understand and require a lot of interpretation works. There are so many more interesting stuff around the world and in Taiwan that we can read, why do we always have to read some old Chinese shit that basically says nothing? And now some people say KMT and DPP are the same? Please, spare me the bullshit. DPP didn't accomplish all they want to accomplish during the 8 years, but the principle and characteristic of DPP and KMT are completely different. It's simple. One party goes in this direction, the other goes the other direction. How can people say they are the same? Yes, they both have corrupted officials (KMT have way more by the way, but they always have better way of getting away with it), but whose direction is more aligned with your interests and your vision of Taiwan, that is the real question.


Ah...finally I have decided to blog my thought on Taiwan. I always think a lot about Taiwan, its people and its future etc, but don't know if it's worth while to write them in blog. But heck, why not. Might as well write them down and keep track since I always think about it. As the first post, I will just state what this blog is about:

It's about Taiwan, of course. I am pro Taiwan independence (even TI a lot of time is misinterpreted by foreigners and Taiwanese alike in my opinion, but more about this later). In another words, I am so called pan green supporters in Taiwan. So this blog will most likely be around this type of topics. Most likely I will post my thoughts related to Taiwan that has occurred to me when I read some news and books etc.

I am not a big professor, politician or economic academic, so I know for sure I cannot be correct or accurate all the time. This blog is more of my thoughts, not some research paper anyway, so I won't bother to always carefully research on everything I write here. However, I believe and am convinced that my big principle to be true, ie, I won't start thinking "I made a mistake, it's better Taiwan not to be indepedent, " because I have already gone through many research and thought on those and I believe TI to be better for Taiwan.