Sun, Nov 17, 2013 - Page 8

Ma the ‘drunken driver’

To expect President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to make an apology to shoe-throwing protesters at the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) congress in Greater Taichung is like “a dog barking at a train” (“Taiwan losing patience with Ma, KMT,” Nov. 12, page 8).

Let us give up this wishful thinking. Ma thinks that he is always right. If something goes wrong, his lieutenants and subordinates are wrong and so they have to be responsible and take the blame.

No leader of a nation who is clear-minded, sensitive and responsible would have done what Ma has done to Taiwan: allowed the economy to gradually lose steam, chased foreign investments out of Taiwan, made it so that small businesses are unable to survive, allowed college graduate unemployment to keep rising, used the justice system as a political tool to punish his rivals, and made life so hard and miserable that Taiwanese are angry and complaining.

Even worse, people do not seem to be able to find a way to stop him.

A poll published by the China Times on Monday showed that only 19.1 percent are satisfied with Ma’s performance, while 70.8 percent are dissatisfied. However, the president shows no signs of concern.

In the same poll, 18.4 percent agreed that Ma should remain chairman of the KMT, while 59.8 percent disagreed. Yet Ma still stubbornly and aggressively wants to keep the job.

Another poll by TVBS showed that 71 percent are in favor of an independent Taiwan, while only 18 percent want to be unified with China.

In his Double Ten National Day speech to the nation, Ma said that relations between Taiwan and China are not international and that he is opposed to a “one China, one Taiwan” policy.

Ma’s position is always the opposite to that of the majority of Taiwanese. He has lost his logic.

He has acted like a drunken driver, steering a bus with 23 million people on board down a crowded street. Ma is going to hit something and make a big mess very soon. When faced with a political drunken driver, what should the public do?

Taiwanese have to be ready and prepared for something to happen that is going to be very costly.

Ken Huang

Murrieta, California

Rugby results are not good

It was interesting to hear that Taiwan’s rugby Sevens coach was happy with Taiwan narrowly beating the Philippines 19-17 and Thailand 14-7 recently (“Taiwan’s growth pleases coach Mauger,” Nov. 14, page 19). These are two of the weakest Asian rugby-playing countries. Taiwan used to beat the likes of Sri Lanka — not lose 0-38! However, some countries — like Sri Lanka — have been putting far more effort into their Sevens programs ahead of the sport being an Olympic event in 2016.

I have been watching Taiwan compete at the world’s top tournament, Hong Kong, since 1986, which was Taiwan’s third appearance there. They used to beat the likes of Malaysia and Singapore, thrash China and push South Korea. They reached the Bowl finals in Hong Kong in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

More recently, Taiwanese rugby has been sliding backwards instead of moving up; they should aspire toward Japan, not look back to the likes of Thailand.

Peter Holmes


Unrecognized gluten issue

I enjoy regular business visits to Taiwan. It is a beautiful country. The people are very friendly and helpful, and the transit system is amazing.

However, I would like to convey a serious problem which will eventually kill one out of 100 people who live in Taiwan. I have seen from my visits that Taiwanese are not yet aware of this.

The problem is wheat allergies, and specifically gluten sensitivity. The entire food supply of Taiwan seems to contain wheat, even when there is no reason for it. On my last visit, I was unable to find any food in restaurants which I could eat. I had to bring my own food from home.

Your doctors know about this problem, but it will not be obvious to regular people. They will only see friends and relatives who are sick all the time, and die young from cancer. People will say: “He was always sickly.”

Besides causing cancer, gluten causes a whole range of problems. Essentially, the gluten leaks into the blood and the antibodies think it is a bacteria. So they attack the body’s own cells. As these antibodies build up, they can spread to attack parts of the brain.

It does not have to be that way. In the US, and only in the last few years, it has become easy to get food that does not contain wheat. And most restaurants at least understand this issue and can tell customers what they can eat from the menu.

I expect that in another 10 years Taiwan will become aware of this problem, but in the meantime your people are needlessly suffering.

Here is how people can tell if they have a wheat allergy: If they have five or more of the symptoms in this list, they may have celiac disease and must find out as soon as possible: abdominal bloating and pain; chronic diarrhea; vomiting; pale, foul-smelling or fatty stool; unexplained weight loss; unexplained iron-deficiency anemia; bone or joint pain; fatigue; depression or anxiety; tingling numbness in the hands and feet; seizures; missed menstrual periods; canker sores inside the mouth; an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis.

Daniel Lawton

Buena Park, California