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?
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has created a dilemma that could soon cause him to be hoisted with his own petard, bringing his leadership of China to an end. His threatening rhetoric over the unification of Taiwan with China, in which he has said, “we are willing to draw blood if necessary,” has placed Xi in a corner. Xi is portrayed as a strong world leader, yet he has created a scenario for himself that most likely would have an unfavorable outcome. With the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) scheduled to convene this month, Xi cannot
I was privileged to meet with many of Taiwan’s leaders and leading thinkers during a study tour visit in August. One theme I heard several times during that trip was that bad relations between the United States and China benefit Taiwan. At first thought, I empathize with the argument. After all, there is a troubling record of America’s leaders negotiating with Beijing over the heads of Taiwan’s leaders. For example, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt returned Taiwan to China after World War II. President Richard Nixon surprised Taiwan leaders with his 1972 trip to China. President Jimmy Carter unilaterally chose to normalize
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I live in Taiwan because, like many foreigners, I fell in love with and chose to align my life with a Taiwanese. In an era where personal freedoms are mandatorily ceded to government decree, I am thankful to the Taiwanese government for the spousal visa, as well as the lack of demeaning bureaucratic hoops and hurdles needed to get a work permit, residency permit and healthcare. However, if I then choose to attempt citizenship, this enlightened attitude spasms to seizure, culminating in what appears to be blatant xenophobia. In contrast to Western countries, the path to citizenship mandates a protracted period