A growing concrete mess
The Taipei City Government's love affair with concrete (Let-ters, Sept. 17, page 8) combined with its eternal quality unconsciousness are resplendent in the parlous state of the new footpaths laid down by the city government in the last few months.
The smooth concrete cross-overs between curb and path are a detritus of rubble; the painted red or yellow concrete curbs have faded and chipped; the paths have a mystical numerological script in leaden, after-the-rain chalk scrawl over them (tribute to the diligence of traffic wardens).
Nature's fallen berries and man's failing motorcycles contribute their indelible shadows to this magic industrial ambience. Scooter bays that the city government intentionally under-supplied (to encourage MRT use) are a spectacular failure; city sub-contractors have repainted momentarily illegal parking areas on sidewalks that these bays were meant to replace.
Speeding scooters and cyclists now threaten pedestrians with renewed civic sanction. The crippled are back on the roads for a smoother, safer ride.
The city's inability to build a road or footpath that will last longer than a couple of months is a testament to civic insouciance that rests not with the political stripe of the mayor but rather with the quality unconsciousness he shares with his constituency.
Chang didn't look too hard
KMT Legislator John Chang (章孝嚴) said he could not find any reference that qualified Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) as a dictator, so it was inappropriate for the first lady to say such ("John Chang says grandad was a hero, not a warlord," Sept. 17, page 4). He could have found something if he had cared to look up his grandfather's entries in popular encyclopedias.
"Chiang moved to Taiwan with the remnants of his Nationalist forces, established a relatively benign dictatorship with other Nationalist leaders over the island, and attempted to harass the Communists across the Formosa Strait" ("Chiang Kai-shek," Encyclopaedia Britannica). "On Taiwan, Chiang took firm command and established a virtual dictatorship" ("Chiang Kai-shek," Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Columbia University Press).
San Diego, California
The US has always had somewhat of a moral advantage in world affairs. The US leaned toward democracy and human rights, and against aggressors. But that advantage is now being wasted.
The CIA taught torture in Latin America and other places. When Iraq was busy gassing the Iranians, the US was silent. When the US rescued Kuwait, they restored a dictatorship rather than create a democracy. In the fight against al-Qaeda, the US does not treat their prisoners as prisoners of war, nor as criminals. Rather, they keep them blindfolded in open-air mesh kennels in Cuba. They prevent access by their consular officials or lawyers. This is all contrary to the Geneva Convention and international law.
The only white American al-Qaeda caught in Afghanistan faces charges in a US criminal court. But non-white Americans and citizens of Sweden, Canada, Britain, Pakistan, Afghanistan and others are just housed like dogs.
Now the US is demanding Iraq adhere to UN resolutions on threat of invasion. But they don't insist on the same compliance for Israel, which is violating more UN resolutions than Iraq is, and already has nuclear weapons. Power has never been so naked.
Isn't it time for the US to follow its own Constitution? Isn't it time for the US to regain the moral high ground as well as the military high ground?
Isn't it time for the only superpower to become a law-abiding member of the world community?
Or will the US continue to make enemies until the whole world is against them?
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday last week met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at an APEC summit in Thailand. The meeting made front-page news in Japan the following day. Three years ago, when then-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited Beijing to meet with Xi, no one questioned Abe’s attitude toward China, as the conservative parties in Japan had been spearheaded by Abe. However, Kishida could easily be labeled as pro-China, as he hails from Hiroshima — a place known for its anti-war, anti-nuclear movements — and was once the director of the Japan-China Friendship Association of Hiroshima.
It is quite the irony when former British prime minister Boris Johnson — a buffoon who for far too long was taken seriously — is branded a buffoon for saying something deadly serious. Following Johnson’s withering criticism of China at a business forum in Singapore on Wednesday last week, the event’s organizer, Michael Bloomberg, apologized to attendees, saying that Johnson was “trying to be amusing rather than informative and serious.” However, Johnson’s characterization of China as a “coercive autocracy” that had showed “a candid disregard for the rule of international law” was spot-on. His comments evoked the wisdom of the Austrian-British philosopher
Although the share price of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) has fallen significantly amid concerns over worldwide inflation, US billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway spent a massive US$4.1 billion on the chipmaker’s American depositary receipts. Reporting on Buffett’s investment in TSMC, some Chinese-language media outlets have said that it would give the Taiwanese economy a shot in the arm. Although TSMC has planted its flag in various countries around the world, Taiwan is still its most important base. The US invited TSMC to set up a plant in Arizona, because it was worried that its source of cutting-edge chips would
As campaign fever for tomorrow’s local elections turns white hot, supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been going head to head on social media. The latest row was triggered by a Facebook post on Nov. 13 by songwriter and KMT supporter Liu Chia-chang (劉家昌), who rebuked United Microelectronics Corp founder Robert Tsao (曹興誠) for advocating independence. “Although you regained your ROC [Republic of China] citizenship after returning from Singapore, you continue to help the green independents by guarding their flank,” Liu wrote, adding that it was an “insult to the nation.” “When [KMT