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?
Palauan President Surangel Whipps Jr in a letter to an unnamed US senator on Feb. 9 said that China has offered to “fill every hotel room,” in Palau, “and more if more are built” if the small island nation were to break ties with Taiwan. The letter further claims that China offered US$20 million per year for the creation of a “call center” in Palau, a nation whose economy relies heavily on tourism. It is more evidence that for China, tourism is an economic tool for its political gain. Cleo Paskal, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, posted
Due to enduring the Kafkaesque situation of having two accidents in 30 minutes, one involving an accident with an ambulance, I would like to share my personal experience. Both cases show the loopholes of Taiwanese law, which is a driving factor for the terrible traffic conditions in the nation. I was driving my scooter on the main road in Taoyuan’s Yangmei District (楊梅). Despite there being no cars behind me, a young man in an old car made a sudden left turn and I bumped into his vehicle. At first, the man tried to run away, but was blocked by other
It has been a year since China relaxed the “zero COVID-19” measures that had been stifling economic activity, but the country has yet to experience the rebound that policymakers and pundits anticipated. Instead, economic indicators from last year have painted a disheartening picture. The fallout from the massive property developer Evergrande’s 2021 collapse is far from over, and the sector continues to struggle, even after the Chinese government relaxed purchasing restrictions in cities like Guangzhou and Shanghai. China’s financial health has also declined as local government debt has snowballed, leading Moody’s to downgrade the country’s credit outlook in December last year.
Beijing’s diplomatic offensive highlighted by Lin Tzu-Yao (林子堯) and Cathy Fang in a recent op-ed (“Beijing’s new diplomatic offensive,” Feb. 7, page 8) is nothing new, as were the authors’ unwarranted smears on Taiwan’s major opposition party. They peculiarly meshed together a wide array of talking points to try to put an innocent face on president-elect William Lai (賴清德), concealed behind the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) failure to manage cross-strait relations and ties with diplomatic allies. They also attempted to discredit anyone who dares to oppose the DPP’s imagination-based politics. It was most unfortunate that the authors deliberately misconstrued parts of Taiwanese