Sat, Sep 09, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu' s Mailbag

The Airport Formerly Known As CKS suffers another blow, while Johnny fends off a missive that thinks NewsWatch is an attempt at satire. Really, some people have (meat)balls.

Another CKS tale of woe

Dear Johnny,

In his letter on CKS airport (Johnny Neihu's Mailbag, Sept. 2, page 8), Benjamin Adams misses two key points.

First, have you ever noticed how much longer the lines are for people without a Taiwanese passport? While the locals can pass through immigration within a few minutes, as a foreigner you have to stand in line for up to 30 minutes. While most countries have this kind of "separation," normally the difference in waiting time is nowhere as big. Ironically, last year I was given a "Welcome to Taiwan" brochure directly behind immigration after standing in line for more than half an hour. How do you expect to ever have tourists?

Second, every time I check into CKS I am terrified by the security measures there (the total absence of any). I find it really hard to believe how careless and inattentive the staff at the security checkpoints are. I think you could easily smuggle a machine gun onto a plane without getting caught. Of course, I know that Taiwan is "such a peaceful country" and they don't have to be afraid of anything (that's what Taiwanese people tell me). But do the "bad guys" also know this?

Horst Kohlmeier

Frankfurt, Germany

Johnny replies: Points taken, Horst. There are times when it pays to be regarded as a backwater, but that's no excuse for negligence and complacency. I could lecture at length on how both points you raise reflect the mindset of a nation that has not purged itself of its colonized psychology, but both of us have better things to do. Who knows? Now that CKS airport is known as Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, maybe the staff will experience an epiphany and become super-efficient, super-courteous, super-alert and super-looking decked out in a gorgeous taoyuan (peach-green) outfit.

Meatball pacifism

Dear Johnny,

Satire is hard to do, even harder to do well, and as "Chinese tourists? Get the flags out" (Sept. 2, page 8) more than amply demonstrates, often is impossible for some people to do at all.

Where on Earth or any other semi-civilized planet did Taipei Times ever get the notion that we needed a pale reincarnation of Durdly Drinkright to further inflame this infernal era? Don't know who that is/was? Ask me nicely and I'll fill you in.

Vincent Battaglia

Chingshui

Johnny replies: Now, now, Vincent. I'm sure that the Taiwanese tourism industry -- or at least that part of it that thinks Chinese tourists will line its pockets -- is grateful that it has you as an amateur lobbyist.

But I'm much more interested in your claim that I'm "inflaming an infernal era." You're right: We wouldn't want to hurt the Chicoms' feelings, would we? The poor dears are, like Frankenstein's monster, so misunderstood. They have so much love to give.

I conclude that you must be having a seizure from wolfing down too many meatballs, that renowned delicacy of Chingshui, Taichung County. Unless you're from Chingshui in Hualien County, of course, in which case I can only say: Mind you don't fall off a cliff. But if you do, and you survive, ask me nicely and I'll pull you up.

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