Sat, Jul 15, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: Robots and the 'highly educated'

The FIFA World Cup may be over, but bleary-eyed Johnny is not so exhausted that he can't spot Ma Ying-jeou pulling swifties on a hapless reporter from Time magazine.

By Johnny Neihu 強尼內湖

So it was the Azzurri of Italy who took home soccer's biggest prize last weekend when they beat France on penalties to claim their fourth World Cup. As I mentioned in this column just a few weeks ago, Taiwan may be to soccer what TV personality Hu Gua (胡瓜) is to a friendly wager, but when it came to kicking Chicom butt in the recent Germany 2006 robot World Cup penalty shootout, the boys from Tamkang University did us proud.

According to an article on the government's Taiwan Headlines Web site entitled "Taiwan team of robot developers win honors at robot football World Cup," the Tamkang team's robot came from 2-0 down to beat the Harbin Institute of Technology's piece of junk 5-2 in the final.

Way to go boys, I always knew there was something we could beat the commies at. Watch now as a humiliated China protests to the World Robot Soccer Association and forces Tamkang University to participate in future events under the name "Chinese Taipei."

While we're on the subject of soccer and prizes, if there was a World Cup for the stupidest, most hare-brained scheme, then this year's winner would have to be President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) for his ridiculous idea of sending the nation's young soccer players off to Brazil for training in the art of the "beautiful game," a proposal highlighted in the July 7 edition of our gracious publication: "Send kids to Brazil for soccer training: Chen."

You have to wonder whether the president's recent decision to hand over most of his power to the premier has not left old A-Bian with a little too much time on his hands.

What other bright ideas can we expect to see emanating from the business end of Ketagelan Boulevard over the next few weeks? A plan to send Taiwan's budding politicians overseas so they can learn to behave like statesmen instead of a bunch of amateur boxers, perhaps? Or maybe a scheme to send Taipei's taxi and bus drivers abroad to learn the subtle arts of changing gear, braking slowly and using their mirrors and turn signals?

Talking of pie-in-the-sky ideas and hot air, the patron saint of joggers was on his travels again this week as the latest leg of the "Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) 2008 Presidential Roadshow" hit Japan for a five-day tour. How does Taipei City manage to keep ticking over in his absence?

Anyway, before he left, Mayor AWOL found enough time between workouts to answer "10 Questions" in an interview with Time magazine. And it was another outstanding performance from Taiwan's self-styled man of substance, full of half answers and responses designed to hoodwink Time's clueless foreign readership.

For example, when asked about his efforts to fight corruption within the ranks of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), Ma talked about his record as justice minister: "During my tenure, my prosecutors indicted 341 city or county councilors out of 881 -- almost 40 percent -- and the majority of them were members of my party," he bragged.

He neglected to mention that his commendable efforts soon earned him the sack from the Mafioso-type upper echelons of the KMT regime, whose members were worried they would be next on the indictment list -- and that it is these same people who hold the reins of power in the party even though Ma is now its chairman. But Time readers don't need to be worried about such small details, do they?

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