Poll shows lack of trust
Nearly 80 percent of Taiwanese do not trust food ingredient labels and a similar percentage has low trust in the government’s management of food safety, a survey by Global Views Monthly found. The magazine found that 78.7 percent of respondents do not trust the government’s ability to manage food safety, compared with only 15.1 percent who said they trust the authorities. The survey, conducted from Dec. 3 to Dec. 6, was based on 1,026 valid samples from people over the age of 20. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. The results reflect several food scandals that have rocked the nation over the past year. The magazine urged the government to regain public trust by demonstrating its intent to push through tougher regulations on food safety.
Yunlin sculpture unveiled
An 8m-tall steel sculpture entitled Exploration — Farmer’s Foot, was unveiled on Wednesday at the Erlun Sports Park in Yunlin County as part of the Yunlin Agriculture Exposition. Yunlin County Commissioner Su Chih-fen (蘇治芬) said the sculpture by Lu Ping-cheng (呂秉承) symbolizes the future of the county and its agricultural sector. Su said the sculpture was one of the highlights of the exposition, which opened on Dec. 25 and will run until March 6. Lu said the sculpture, which features a walking foot, represents the persistent spirit of Yunlin’s farmers in their daily lives and work. Exploration refers to efforts to explore and move forward, while the steel used to produce the work represents technology and innovation, Lu said, adding that the piled-up texture of the sculpture’s surface represents agriculture’s long history.
Oriental stork eludes birders
A group of bird watchers had a good time looking for wild birds in Kinmen County on Wednesday, although they failed to find the species they most wanted to see. Led by the Wild Bird Society of Kinmen, about a dozen birders spotted several rare species, including black-faced spoonbills and black storks, near Lingshui Lake. However, they were not lucky enough to spot the oriental stork — an endangered bird that was the reason for Wednesday’s field trip. The bird, which can reach 1.29m in height and weigh up to 4.4kg, with a wingspan of 2.22m, was spotted seven weeks ago in the offshore county, prior to which it had not been sighted since 2000. It is likely that the birds were scared away by traffic and traveled to more remote wetland areas, local bird watchers said.
Literary critic praised
Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) praised the contributions of renowned Chinese literary critic Hsia Chih-tsing (夏志清), who died on Sunday last week in New York at the age of 92. Hsia was a unique figure in contemporary world literature, Lung said, adding that he was familiar with Western literature and had “prophet-like” aesthetic insights into Chinese-language literature. The critic’s passion and lifelong dedication to literature will be remembered, she said. Hsia, born in Shanghai in 1921, is known for introducing modern Chinese literature to the West and was credited with helping Chinese writers such as Eileen Chang (張愛玲), Shen Congwen (沈從文) and Qian Zhongshu (錢鐘書) to gain greater recognition in the West. Hsia’s book A History of Modern Chinese Fiction, published in English in 1961, was a pioneering study of 20th-century Chinese fiction.