I WAS SURFING the Internet the other day when I heard a giant sucking sound coming from the Web site of Australia's main national newspaper.
The sound was similar to that of two puckered lips engaged in a lengthy smooch, and it was emanating from my computer because the paper in question, the Australian, had its mouth surgically attached to the posterior of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (
From a March 4 article about President Chen Shui-bian (
Now I don't take issue with Chen being called a nerd (the man refers to himself in the third person, for heaven's sake). But why dub Ma the JFK of the KMT?
Look, they both went to Harvard, but that's as far as the comparison will take us. Kennedy was a decisive leader who stood eyeball to eyeball with Nikita Khrushchev over Cuban missiles in 1962, risking global nuclear war, and won. Ma's an indecisive bureaucrat who stood eyeball to eyeball with the betel nut girls of Taipei City over their scanty attire in 1999, risking the sight of bare flesh, and won.
So I say until Ma (1) has an affair with the Taiwanese equivalent of Marilyn Monroe, and (2) rearms KMT veterans and sends them off to invade China (a la the Bay of Pigs), he doesn't qualify for the JFK title.
Then again, the way that the KMT celebrated Women's Day definitely had a 1960s feel to it. The party asked women to make wishes to a statue of Ma on its Web site, with the promise that the woman who asked for the "most original" wish would have it granted by the Taipei mayor himself. This, the KMT felt, was an appropriate way to celebrate the achievements of women. By having them beg for favors at the feet of an effete lawyer. How progressive.
But women weren't allowing themselves to be trivialized by everyone in Taiwan. On the contrary, the Central News Agency reported on March 6, in a story titled "Number of Taiwanese seeking jobs in China growing rapidly," that: "The survey [by a recruiting firm] also shows that among those who are willing to work in China, men accounted for 72 percent, but women for only 20 percent." Yet more statistical evidence that women are, in fact, smarter than men.
Just look at microbiologist Jane Lin (林惠嘉), who happens to be married to Ang Lee (李安). She supported the budding director for six years while he was waiting for his big break. Describing their relationship to the TV station CTI, she said simply: "I did not support him, I just left him alone."
China, too, can claim never to have supported Ang Lee, but it can't claim to have left him alone.
It isn't often that I am willing to dole out praise to a news agency, but I am glad that Reuters on March 7 picked up the story about China's hypersensitive censors cutting Ang Lee's Oscar acceptance speech from their coverage. According to the report, even as the Das Reich of the Chinese Communist Party, the China Daily, gushed that "Ang Lee is the pride of the Chinese people all over the world," it also "cut the part of his speech in which he thanked everyone in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong."