THE SMELL OF baby vomit, soiled diapers and gripe ointment have been permeating the air of the office this week, as one of my colleagues recently became a father.
Now I'm not interested in settling down yet, although my gal Cathy Pacific has been pushing the issue, but I did take the opportunity to have a quick look at my colleague's copy of Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) Guide to Perfect Parenting (coming soon to a bookstore near you, I'll wager) while my workmate was on a bathroom break, and came across an interesting section called "Why a child brags."
Bragging, it seems, stems from a child's need to be wanted and is a result of low self-esteem. To combat a child's tendency to brag the parents should, the book says, increase his or her self-confidence with praise and affection.
Now this is apparently something that Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large and former Government Information Office chief Su Chi (蘇起) didn't receive much of as a young boy, as the serial bragger was at it again just last week.
In an interview with the BBC, Su claimed that he and his party had helped ease tensions in the Taiwan Strait since China passed its "Anti-Secession" Law, saying that because of the KMT's actions, China has "no need to attack or invade Taiwan. We have saved Taiwan's skin."
A slight exaggeration perhaps, but we should not be surprised by Su talking himself up. Just a few weeks have passed since his last spate of boasting, when he admitted to making up the "1992 consensus," saying then that he hoped the two sides could retain a "basis for dialogue." What a decent fellow he is.
What can we expect next from this compulsive attention-seeker? Will he claim that it was he who single-handedly built the central cross-island highway? Or that he will walk across the Taiwan Strait on a peace mission? Or even that Elvis Presley is alive and well and stuck in the body of the KMT's head of China affairs, Chang Rong-kung (張榮恭)? No wonder former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) referred to Su as a "mischievous little monkey."
While we're on the subject of cross-strait shenanigans, you would think that after 60 years of involvement in affairs between Taiwan and China that US officials would know how many "Taiwan Straits" there are. Apparently not, as just the other day in an interview with ABC's The World Today (and thanks to one of my readers for pointing this one out), US National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley drawled, "a conflict in the Taiwan Straits, everybody loses."
Maybe all this "one China," "two Chinas" baloney has got our old friends over in the US a little confused, or maybe it's just that they have their heads stuck up their Shanghai Communique.
Or maybe it's because Hadley sounds exactly like the kind of guy who, when you tell him you live in Taiwan, answers: "Gee, I love that place. All those quaint temples, the Boo-ddhism and those massages in Bangkok." You know the type.
Another grievance I wanted to get off my chest this week is the tendency for certain rags to avoid the use of adjectives when describing our good nation and its institutions. A good example is "Taiwan leader faces rocky US reception" that appeared on the Boston Globe's Web site on March 17.
Now I am all too aware of the space constraints editors suffer when writing headlines under pressure, but this particular example stinks for two reasons. As well as the aforementioned adjective avoidance, you could be forgiven for thinking that old A-Bian (