Sun, Jan 17, 2010 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Pressure on Shezi Island

The decision to develop Shezi Island (社子島) in Taipei City as a new Manhattan is an example of short-sighted decision making (“CEPD passes Shezidao development plan,” Jan. 6, page 2). It shows that governments in Taiwan are not aware of, or planning for, the future impact of climate change.

In its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that sea levels would rise between 18cm and 59cm by 2100. However, in recent years increased rates of melting in Greenland have led many scientists to believe these estimates are conservative.

Whatever the case, rising sea levels will pose a significant threat to Taipei and other coastal areas in Taiwan in the coming decades. It is essential that governments begin planning for this now.

It may be necessary to construct a barrier at the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) soon to reduce flood risk. There is already a flood control barrier on the Thames in London.

Beefing up infrastructure is essential to reduce the risk of flooding. However, it is also necessary to halt further development in coastal areas that could be subject to inundation and flooding.

Massive development of one of Taipei’s most low-lying and flood-prone areas is a ridiculous idea. The only thing that Shezi Island may have in common with Manhattan in the future is that it will also have been inundated as a result of climate change.

DAVID REID

Sindian, Taipei County

The US’ second nature

Your Jan. 5 editorial “Afghanistan: Opportunity for Taiwan” on support for US military efforts needs a rethink.

For the last 40 years, Afghanistan has been trapped in civil wars and invasions, which are the direct result of the clumsiest interference by the US — either on its own or after choosing the ugliest of proxies to do its dirty work. Everything about this “mission” smells, and much worse.

It was second nature for the US to support the Republic of China when a notorious military government ruled this island. But ever since democracy bloomed in Taiwan, Washington has aided and abetted China in its relentless application of pressure on Taiwanese, resulting in the isolation and strangulation of this country for the sake of crass commercial interests in China and amid near total indifference to Taiwan’s welfare.

Throughout its history, the US has supported tyranny against freedom and has axiomatically retarded progressive change against the numerous thugs it installed as puppets around the world for its own diplomatic, economic and political self-interest.

That Taiwan might become a fall guy amid this litany of lies and deceit, and among Washington’s most disgusting predatory agendas, is totally unworthy of the place.

JOHN HANNA

Taoyuan

The ROC’s Y2K?

Will Taiwan have a “Y1C” computer glitch on Jan. 1, 2011, when the Republic of China (ROC) enters its 100th year? Some are already discussing this issue online.

Mark Spofford dubs the issue “Taiwan’s Y1C problem” on his Pinyin News blog. The year 1912 is the founding date of the ROC, of course, and since this year is year 99 in ROC parlance, next year will mark year 100.

Will the extra digit cause headaches for Taiwan’s computer systems handling bank transfers, university tuition, insurance premiums, medical records and driver’s license applications?

Some people say any Y1C problem might promote more debate about the relevance and practicality of the ROC calendar.

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