Sat, Jan 27, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's Mailbag

Where else but Johnny Neihu's Mailbag can you find a debate on the offensiveness of quotation marks? Luckily, Johnny's readers send him rewards for his hard work, even if they can't be shared with anyone else.

Quote this, Bonnie Glaser

Dear Johnny,

Did you read a commentary by Bonnie Glaser entitled "Whither Taiwan and cross-Straits ties in 2007?" in the China Daily on Jan. 9? It has quote marks around the words president, first family, vice president and even legislature and legislators. Is there any way you can verify that the quote marks were original rather than added by the newspaper?

Karl Chang

Johnny replies: One way or another, those quotation marks were going to be in the article, because the China Daily, like every other government-owned or monitored publication in China, cannot allow Taiwan's political system and leaders to be given any official recognition. So whether or not Glaser added them strikes me as, um, academic.

That you raise this question suggests to me that you don't think much of Glaser's writing. But even from a partisan's point of view, this seems a bit harsh. Glaser, I'm sure you will remember, reported on cosy ties between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that embarrassed a lot of pan-blue-camp people. And her article in the China Daily is interesting for the very reason that a lot of facts and no apparent propaganda (save the quote marks) are in the copy.

Check out this quote, for example: "The [Taipei and Kaohsiung mayoral and council] elections demonstrate that the DPP is a resilient party whose candidates and ideas still continue to attract significant voter support."

No, you're not hallucinating. This sentence appeared in the China Daily, which says more about how China is changing than Taiwan.

From your letter it seems Glaser has the ability to irritate people on all sides of politics. I think I'm in love.

Johnny robs his readers

Yo Johnny! my man,

'sup G? Here's a treat for the eyes when you're stressed out in Taiwan. Check out these video clips if you're okay with nudity. Keep up the fantastic column. I get a kick out of reading it every time. Peace out, dude!


Johnny replies: Uh ... thanks for the links and the reckless praise, JJ. Unfortunately, the dude at the Taipei City Government specifically employed to monitor the Taipei Times for depictions of alcohol and sex (and anything else worth a fig) forbids me from sharing with my more lascivious readers your links, as well as the original title of your e-mail, on pain of a hefty fine. But relax, G, I'm peacing out as fast and as hard as I possibly can.

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