Apologies to the Tribune
A letter I recently wrote to the Taipei Times (“Sneaky news,” March 30, page 8) contained a major error. Due to poor communication with our office’s mail room, I mistakenly accused the International Herald Tribune of distributing the propagandistic insert China Reports. In fact, it was the China Post which did so, as became apparent today when the next issue of China Reports arrived (Vol. 2, No. 11).
I therefore apologize unreservedly to the Tribune.
However, the issue remains at the China Post. A friend informed me that he has seen the insert at least three times in the China Post in recent months, and I have now received it on two consecutive Fridays. Since Taiwan’s laws require advertisers to be identified, this insert is not only unethical, but illegal. The political implications also remain clear, as the content continues in the same vein (the cover story, “Sea change,” is subtitled “Fuelled by rapid growth and driven by booming exports, Chinese mainland ports are steaming past traditional leaders”).
Something must be done; the Government Information Office cannot simply sit on its hands on this matter. Readers and subscribers of the China Post should also register their displeasure by complaining.
Blaming the DPP
I agree with what Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said: “It’s infuriating, but also laughable. They have to continue attacking the former Chen administration to keep Ma’s chance of re-election alive.”
Every time there is a major event, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) always seems to pull something out from around where its rear pocket is and say: “Hey, look what we found that the previous administration did or didn’t do.” So very convenient. We all have to ask what on earth the Ma transition team was doing. What about his own staff? What have they been doing recently? Your guess is as good as mine.
Three whole years, and all they can do is blame the people before them. Why can’t they do anything for themselves? Are they not in power? Fix it. Be a government, be responsible!
The toilets at Taoyuan International Airport don’t work. Blame the previous government. I have never seen a government like this one so quick to blame someone else. They talk about openness, yet they are one of the most closed governments ever when it comes to keeping people informed. Fairness and truthfulness? They can’t even spell the words.
Let’s vote in someone who really loves Taiwan and the Taiwanese. I haven’t seen that in this administration or in the past nine years from the KMT.
WEI BAO LO
Recently, I came across a word spoken in Taiwanese (Hoklo) that I had never heard before. The word is lo-lat and it means “thank you.” However, this word has pretty much disappeared from spoken Taiwanese today and I am trying to find out why. This letter is therefore an attempt to reach out to academics or senior citizens in Taiwan who might be able to explain why the word has disappeared from everyday use.
It was used in Taiwan long ago and up to about 1980. Since then, the younger generations who speak Taiwanese have stopped using it. Their grandparents still use it, and some of their parents, but for the most part, lo-lat has become a fossil word and that is too bad, I feel.
From what my elderly neighbors have told me, lo-lat was used to say thank you to someone, usually an older person, but it could also be used for everyone else, to express a deep appreciation for that person’s hard work and time spent doing something for you — such as tilling the fields, growing rice, cooking dinner or carrying a heavy bag for you at the bus station. It was more than a mere “thanks” and more than a mere “thank you.” It was a deep, sincere thank you for a person going out of their way to help you.
A few people still say gam sha lo-lat in Taiwanese, and I have heard that in Kaohsiung, some politicians of both camps — DPP and KMT — will use the word during campaign rallies, even this year. When a politician addressing would-be voters and supporters says gam sha lo-lat during a rally, he or she can be assured that the assembled crowd will be very happy to hear those heartfelt words, even though they are not always so heartfelt on the part of the politician. However, it garners votes and the gimmick works.
If there are any readers who can shed more light on the origins of the word lo-lat and why it has almost completely disappeared from use, please write in with a letter to the editor. Some academics say the word originates in the Hakka language, while others tell me it is 100 percent Hoklo. A few people have even told me they think it is a Japanese word.
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