A growing concrete mess
The Taipei City Government's love affair with concrete (Let-ters, Sept. 17, page 8) combined with its eternal quality unconsciousness are resplendent in the parlous state of the new footpaths laid down by the city government in the last few months.
The smooth concrete cross-overs between curb and path are a detritus of rubble; the painted red or yellow concrete curbs have faded and chipped; the paths have a mystical numerological script in leaden, after-the-rain chalk scrawl over them (tribute to the diligence of traffic wardens).
Nature's fallen berries and man's failing motorcycles contribute their indelible shadows to this magic industrial ambience. Scooter bays that the city government intentionally under-supplied (to encourage MRT use) are a spectacular failure; city sub-contractors have repainted momentarily illegal parking areas on sidewalks that these bays were meant to replace.
Speeding scooters and cyclists now threaten pedestrians with renewed civic sanction. The crippled are back on the roads for a smoother, safer ride.
The city's inability to build a road or footpath that will last longer than a couple of months is a testament to civic insouciance that rests not with the political stripe of the mayor but rather with the quality unconsciousness he shares with his constituency.
Chang didn't look too hard
KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴) said he could not find any reference that qualified Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) as a dictator, so it was inappropriate for the first lady to say such ("John Chang says grandad was a hero, not a warlord," Sept. 17, page 4). He could have found something if he had cared to look up his grandfather's entries in popular encyclopedias.
"Chiang moved to Taiwan with the remnants of his Nationalist forces, established a relatively benign dictatorship with other Nationalist leaders over the island, and attempted to harass the Communists across the Formosa Strait" ("Chiang Kai-shek," Encyclopaedia Britannica). "On Taiwan, Chiang took firm command and established a virtual dictatorship" ("Chiang Kai-shek," Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Columbia University Press).
San Diego, California
The US has always had somewhat of a moral advantage in world affairs. The US leaned toward democracy and human rights, and against aggressors. But that advantage is now being wasted.
The CIA taught torture in Latin America and other places. When Iraq was busy gassing the Iranians, the US was silent. When the US rescued Kuwait, they restored a dictatorship rather than create a democracy. In the fight against al-Qaeda, the US does not treat their prisoners as prisoners of war, nor as criminals. Rather, they keep them blindfolded in open-air mesh kennels in Cuba. They prevent access by their consular officials or lawyers. This is all contrary to the Geneva Convention and international law.
The only white American al-Qaeda caught in Afghanistan faces charges in a US criminal court. But non-white Americans and citizens of Sweden, Canada, Britain, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others are just housed like dogs.
Now the US is demanding Iraq adhere to UN resolutions on threat of invasion. But they don't insist on the same compliance for Israel, which is violating more UN resolutions than Iraq is, and already has nuclear weapons. Power has never been so naked.
Isn't it time for the US to follow its own Constitution? Isn't it time for the US to regain the moral high ground as well as the military high ground?
Isn't it time for the only superpower to become a law-abiding member of the world community?
Or will the US continue to make enemies until the whole world is against them?
Late last month, Beijing introduced changes to school curricula in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, requiring certain subjects to be taught in Mandarin rather than Mongolian. What is Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) seeking to gain from sending this message of pernicious intent? It is possible that he is attempting cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, but does Xi also have the same plan for the democratic, independent nation of Mongolia? The controversy emerged with the announcement by the Inner Mongolia Education Bureau on Aug. 26 that first-grade elementary-school and junior-high students would in certain subjects start learning with Chinese-language textbooks, as
There are worrying signs that China is on the brink of a major food shortage, which might trigger a strategic contest over food security and push Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), already under intense pressure, toward drastic measures, potentially spelling trouble for Taiwan and the rest of the world. China has encountered a perfect storm of disasters this year. On top of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, torrential rains have caused catastrophic flooding in the Yangtze River basin, China’s largest agricultural region. Floodwaters are estimated to have already destroyed the crops on 6 million hectares of farmland. The situation has been
In 1955, US general Benjamin Davis Jr, then-commander of the US’ 13th Air Force, drew a maritime demarcation line in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, known as the median line. Under pressure from the US, Taiwan and China entered into a tacit agreement not to cross the line. On July 9, 1999, then-president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) described cross-strait relations as a “special state-to-state” relationship. In response, Beijing dispatched People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aircraft into the Taiwan Strait, crossing the median line for the first time since 1955. The PLA has begun to regularly traverse the line. On Sept. 18 and 19, it
Midday in Manhattan on Wednesday, September 16, was sunny and mild. Even with the pandemic’s “social distancing” it was a perfect day for “al fresco” dining with linen tablecloths and sidewalk potted palms outside one of New York City’s elegant restaurants. Two members of the press, outfitted with digital SLR cameras and voice recorders, were dispatched by The Associated Press to cover a rare outdoor diplomatic meeting on one of these New York streets. American diplomat Kelly Craft, Chief of the United States Mission to the United Nations, lunched in the open air with Taiwan’s ambassador-ranked representative in New York, James