Mon, Jan 09, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Pandas should be welcomed

By Thor McGillacuddy

Doesn't it strike anyone other than me as more than a bit silly for grown-up government officials to be talking about Beijing acting "unilaterally" with its promise of a pair of pandas?

I suggest that the government welcome the pandas with open arms and then immediately rechristen them. We know that a contest is being held in China to name pandas No.16 and No.19, and that the names will be announced on Jan. 28. That's OK for their official names, but when they get to Taiwan, authorities should make it clear that their names are Freedom (自由) and Democracy (民主). If Freedom and Democracy don't sound enough like panda names, then we could use the Tongyong romanizations "Zih You" and "Min Jhu" in English.

I know there is a complex set of protocols for the lending and borrowing of pandas, and renaming the bears would probably break with tradition.

However, I don't think it's a big enough breach to do more than rustle a few bamboo leaves.

As to where to build an enclosure for the pair, I suggest somewhere very close to the Presidential Office. In this way, it is almost certain that the PLA would shelve any "decapitation strike" plans for fear of harming the precious pandas.

Thor McGillacuddy

Taipei

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