Sat, Sep 02, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: Chinese tourists? Get the flags out

Johnny takes the Mainland Affairs Council's democracy lessons for Chinese tourists to heart. Sign up for a tour now, comrades! No, not you, Chen Yunlin: Get back in your plane.

By Johnny Neihu 強尼內湖

If recent news reports are to be believed, the floodgates will soon be open to the hungry hordes of Chinese tourists champing at the bit to visit Taiwan.

And according to Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Joseph Wu (吳釗燮), any Chinese tourists that do manage to make it here will be able to use their trip to "talk freely to locals on the streets and read different kinds of newspapers. I believe that they will enjoy Taiwan's special political call-in shows," according to our own Taipei Times on Aug. 25.

"That," Wu said, "would be the best way for Chinese people to experience how vibrant Taiwan is thanks to freedom of speech and freedom of the press."

Taking this to heart, I and a few associates have decided to establish a travel company to ensure our comrades from across the Strait get a uniquely Taiwanese experience and make the most of their time on "Treasure Island" (and get fleeced for every Red yuan they bring with them).

Below is a sample of our comprehensive itineraries:

Neihu Tours Ltd presents: "Welcome to `Democracy Island' Three-Day Minibreak"

Day One

Morning: Arrival at Cash My Check International Airport. After waiting impatiently in line at immigration for five minutes, barge past the visa desk and make a dash for the tour bus, not forgetting to curse the awaiting Taiwanese press pack for sticking their cameras in your face on the way. Take bus to love hotel for lunch and a rest.

Afternoon: Visit Ketagalan Boulevard area for experience in political activities, including throwing a wet sponge at former splittist Shih Ming-teh (施明德); a one-hour silent sit-in protest on one of the capital's busiest thoroughfares (sponsored by Falun Gong Taiwan and approved by Mayor Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九]); shout abuse in the direction of the president's residence and afterwards tussle with Taiwanese independence supporters. Flare guns available for an additional NT$10,000.

Meal note: Hunger strike means no evening meal will be available.

Day Two

Morning: Tour the Legislative Yuan for a chance to see democracy and lawmaking in action (or not, as the case may be). Note: Control Yuan tour canceled due to lack of activity. Souvenir boxing gloves are available from the gift shop at NT$10,000 a pair.

Meal note: Lunch boxes and water cups may only be thrown after you have finished using them.

Afternoon: Trip to an Internet cafe where you will be free to access any news media Web site in the world and post something in a chat room about sticking the president's eye out.

Meal note: Nothing to do with democracy, but any trip to Taipei isn't complete without the obligatory three-hour wait outside DinTaiFung (鼎泰豐) on Yongkang Street to eat ridiculously overpriced dumplings that taste no different to NT$50 streetside fare.

Day Three

Morning: Election Day Fun (sponsored by the Chinese Nationalist Party [KMT], your only choice for democracy in China) includes voting for beginners; plus valuable tips such as how to get the best price for your vote, non-participation in referendums and protest tips should the results not give you the candidate you desire.

Afternoon: Trip to the National Palace Museum to see artifacts that would not have survived the Cultural Revolution.

Evening: Check out of the hotel and miss your flight back to the motherland. Spend the rest of your life in Taiwan as part of the Fifth Column (eventually becoming a pan-blue legislator).

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