Ma is different
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has complained that his proposed peace agreement with China has drawn criticism, whereas former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) were able to talk about the topic without such a backlash. Ma believe this double standard applies because he is a “Mainlander.”
However, if that were a big issue Ma would not have been elected president in 2008. The basic problem is his thinking and performance.
Ma’s father asked him to “dissolve independence and gradually achieve unification,” and Ma himself has declared a desire for “eventual unification.” He even named one of his daughters “Only China” (唯中) — nothing but China.
Ma thinks his peace proposal is exactly the camouflage he needs to pursue unification. His “golden decade” might mean unification in 10 years. He has completely forgotten his promise to not negotiate if China has missiles aimed at Taiwan.
There is a broad consensus in Taiwan that Ma is incompetent. Some people even call him a “Diarrhea Horse” or a poor performer. His lack of negotiating skills worries Taiwanese.
Ma loves Taiwan only when he runs for president. In the last election, he said he would be Taiwanese even after he was cremated. For next year’s election, he now says he is Taiwanese because his kin are buried in Taiwan.
Ma was acquitted of pocketing public money when he was Taipei City mayor. Chen has been jailed for years, ever since handing over power to Ma, and Lee is being indicted despite having left the presidential office 11 years ago. Ma is the only favorite son of the law.
When Wu Po-hsiung (吳伯雄) was Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, Ma asked him to “divest the KMT of its assets,” but now that Ma is party chairman and president, he has decided to hold onto them for use in KMT campaigns. In contrast, Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-Wen (蔡英文) depends on small donations from the public.
Getting it right
The other day I received a letter from a top corporate newspaper company in Texas, delivered to my local post office box, with a computerized address label that correctly spelled my name and box number, but ended with the words: “Chiayi, Taiwan, -Province of China.”
Now I’ve seen everything. My address was printed on corporate stationary and was part of an window envelope. When I wrote back and told the company in question that Taiwan is not part of China and certainly not a province of China, a secretary wrote back and apologized for the mistake. She blamed it on the corporate computer that uses a “one China” map of foreign countries that simply does not list Taiwan as a nation.
This is not an isolated incident. In fact, many corporate computer systems in the US are incorrectly set up to address mail to Taiwan as a “Province of China.”
It is not the fault of the US Postal Service, it is the fault of the UN and those private companies that use Beijing-licensed addressing equipment.
The power of reading
Lii Ding-tzann (李丁讚) says that reading in a way that connects to your own life can make a powerful contribution to an individual’s intellectual development (“Reading your way to true wisdom,” Nov. 3, page 8). Research strongly supports his position. Studies show that wide, self-selected reading is related to literacy, knowledge of the world and achievements: People who read more, read and write better, know more and accomplish more in life.