Safety is a two-way street
In response to Mr Aaron Andrews’ comments on the cultural aspects of bad driving (Letters, April 30, page 8):
There was nothing written about “cycling supermen” or anything of the sort. What was stated was the need for constant alertness when riding in traffic or when walking on the street.
One need only remember that as a cyclist you are at the bottom of the proverbial vehicular food chain and as such, you need to be aware of what is going on around you — pedestrians even more so than cyclists. It is true that poor driving habits are not something particular to Taiwan.
What I have observed, though, is larger, more expensive cars being driven in a much more aggressive manner than a car like a Toyota Corolla.
We see the same thing in every corner of the US. For example, with the increase in cyclists in Minneapolis, we are seeing an increasing number of incidents involving car/bicycle confrontation. Cyclists need to understand that when you ride on a road you are bound by the same traffic laws as motorcycles and cars. Motorists need to be aware that the road is meant to be a shared space. I believe “courtesy” is the operable by-word.
In my original letter I said that “riding in Taiwan is a challenge.” It is not particularly dangerous, but it goes without saying one must stay alert. Drivers need to start seeing bicycles and cyclists need to wear clothing that can be seen. Too many times have I come home late at night and seen bicycles on the road with no lights and the cyclist wearing dark clothing: a recipe for disaster. As bicycle and car operators we have a responsibility to one another. Let’s try living it.
Deluded nature of KMT
I would like to respond to Dan Bloom (Letters, April 30, page 8) concerning what he believed to be a misstatement by the Dalai Lama.
The statement was in fact correct and intentional. The Dalai Lama supports self-determination for the people of China as well as the many areas of the country which claim to be separate from China, including Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The Dalai Lama, I believe, intended to say that any government that claims to speak for the people of China has no right to do so until the people of China have the freedom to voice their own opinion on the matter. So why did he apparently equate the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)?
As a government in exile, the KMT has never renounced its claim to China’s mainland. They have never embraced their role as the rulers of just Taiwan — hence the title Republic of China — but instead consider themselves the legitimate rulers of the whole of China.
They still maintain that there is one China, but what the KMT and the CCP do not agree on is not boundaries, but who is the rightful heir to the mantle of Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙).
The CCP says it was chosen by the people and legitimized with the expulsion of the KMT, while the KMT says that people were coerced, bribed or murdered for opposing the CCP.
As such, the KMT never lost its role as spokesman of a people on either side of the Taiwan Strait.
The KMT does not reject the possible unification of Taiwan and China as long as they are at the head of the unified entity.
What Mr Bloom got wrong was not the intention of the Dalai Lama, but the degree of the KMT’s delusion.