Thu, Apr 12, 2012 - Page 8 News List


Cold calculations

About 12 years ago, authorities in Taoyuan City decided to clean up Wenchang Park in the downtown area, which was overgrown, decrepit and a magnet for prostitutes and johns.

In typical bureaucratic fashion, officials turned the area into a barren, concrete jungle to discourage everyone from using it. Then-vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮), at the opening of the redesigned area, lambasted all concerned for deliberately creating an inhospitable environment that nobody could enjoy.

Within a year and after a tonne of additional spending, the park was again reopened with lush lawns, summerhouses, beautiful walkways, rolling hillocks, a children’s play area and modern band shell.

However, not everyone is equal in Taiwan. A new public “park” was opened about three years ago behind the Taoyuan Railway Station about 1km away. It remains a blighted concrete area with a few benches, a couple of scraggly trees and no cover from the blazing sun. The difference: The area is adjacent to foreign worker stores where Vietnamese, Thais and Indonesians struggle to find a few hours a week for leisure.

Nope, don’t give foreign workers any idea that they are of any value except for what Taiwanese can grind out of them. A disgusting, finely calculated insult!

John Hanna


Done with politicians

I went down to register for the election for the chairmanship of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), but they turned me away and I don’t think it was because I’m old, white or wear glasses. So, no racism there.

As it turns out, I guess you have to be a Republic of China citizen, which I’m not, and be able to fill out all the paperwork yourself in Chinese, which I can’t.

Furthermore, they asked me to “deposit” this absurd amount of money that I, as a humble editor, could only hope to “earn” by winning the uniform invoice lottery or running a gang involved in prostitution, drugs, “Linsanity” sports-betting and T-shirts.

No wonder the DPP candidates took so long to save up!

The people I spoke with also said that I wasn’t a member of the party, and I was like: “You call this a party? There’s no food, no music, no dancing, not even a KTV machine. People aren’t even smiling or drinking! How can you even call yourselves Taiwanese?” but they didn’t really get my point, maybe because of the language barrier. And after former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) troika of bimbos destroyed any chance she had of getting elected versus the incumbent and incompetent President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), I’m starting to lose faith in the DPP overall.

It’s truly sad that the government banned the pro-transparency, anti-backroom-deal Pirate Party in Taiwan, a decision that completely flies in the face of the many other Pirate parties growing worldwide. Apparently, the progressively democratic folks at the registration office didn’t appreciate my approach to cross-strait affairs, either. I explained that if you paint Taiwan’s map yellow, it kinda looks like a fat, upside-down banana. I wanted to explain to the DPP how my “one banana, two monkeys” foreign policy would be laid out, but they didn’t seem to have much patience for that.

Politicians of all stripes on both sides of the Strait, and elsewhere, seem to be widely ignoring the fact that both Taiwan and the US are rapidly turning into “banana republics.”

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