Games are about winning
The Olympic Games are a contest to win medals — at all costs — within the legal framework of each respective sport.
The actions of the South Korean, Chinese and Indonesian women badminton teams — where they deliberately threw their matches — at the London Olympics were shameful and regrettable. However, they were done in order to win.
I feel sorry for the people who paid good money to watch these matches, but that is where my sympathy ends.
These women, like all other Olympians, have trained for most their lives to reach this level. They knew the way the tournament was seeded and how things would end up, and they did everything within their legal rights in order to win their medals.
Even the No. 1 badminton player, Lin Dan (林丹) from China, spoke about the flawed seeding system employed.
Obviously, Torch Pratt is not much of a sports fan but rather a foreigner who invests heavily in Taiwan’s commitment to true independence. Hence his meandering rant which attempted to correlate China’s international geopolitical stance with the actions of these Chinese badminton players (Letter, Aug. 9, page 8).
If he was well-versed in sports he would know that athletes and teams from all levels have always conspired to match up or avoid a certain team or player.
The most ridiculous of all his arguments is his support for the Williams sisters. They have openly admitted that they have thrown matches multiple times in order to avoid controversy or rivalry.
The trends of religion
I recently used numbers from the Ministry of Interior’s Department of Statistics to calculate some trends in the government’s statistics for religion in Taiwan.
There has been a significant decrease in the number of registered practitioners of both Buddhism and Daoism since 2001.
However, the decline in registered Buddhists has been especially dramatic.
The documented numbers show a steep fall from 212, 671 registered Buddhists in 2001 to just 167,088 last year.
If we adjust these numbers to reflect the overall growth in population, the decline is even more dramatic.
Although I have read many publications on Buddhism in Taiwan, I have not yet seen any academic evaluation of this decline in numbers.
I would be interested to know to what extent the decline in the number of religious followers reflects real social change in Taiwan, and to what extent this may reflect changing institutional practices.
It would be interesting to examine if there really are fewer Buddhists, or if institutions are just doing a bad job of documenting them, or both.
The concurrent decline in the number of Taoists suggests that the trend is substantive and not merely an accounting error.