An article on the CNN Web site that labels Taipei as a city of “gluttony” has angered some legislators and prompted Government Information Office Minister Philip Yang (楊永明) to say that the government would have to fill CNN in on the nation’s cuisine and culture.
Answering questions yesterday from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers at the legislature’s Education and Culture Committee on concerns over the CNN report, Yang said it had “damaged” the nation’s image.
CNNGo, CNN’s culture and travel Web site, on April 20 used Catholicism’s seven deadly sins to describe the seven best Asian cities for indulgence, with Taipei named as the best city for gluttony.
“We understand the media’s need for interesting and provocative articles, but gluttony, the word … is indecent and it has a negative connotation,” Yang told KMT Legislator Chen Shu-huey (陳淑慧).
The CNN report was an issue of interest among several KMT lawmakers at the committee.
“I can’t stand the idea that we are described as gluttonous. Saying that Taipei is a city of gluttony is definitely not praise for its delicacies,” KMT Legislator Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) said.
KMT Legislator Chiang Nai-shin (蔣乃辛) also said the incident had hurt the nation’s image.
KMT Chiang Yi-hsiung (江義雄) said the CNN report suggested that people in Taiwan are “fond of eating and averse to work.”
“What’s wrong with eating?” Chiang asked.
CNN showed a lack of courtesy by attaching such a vulgar label to Taipei, Chiang said.
In response, Yang said Taipei is a city where visitors can enjoy gourmet food.
CNNGo said visitors can find cheap meals everywhere, day and night, in a city that sports 18 streets dedicated to nothing but food.
“Where you might usually expect a bus shelter, instead you’ll find a barbecue. Sidewalks become snack stalls. The pungent smell of stinky tofu fills the air. Night markets in Taipei have become famous for their snack selections, or xiaochi, literally meaning ‘small eats,’” the article says.
“The dishes may be little, but so are the prices, running [at] about US$1 or US$2,” it said, adding: “A fat gut never came so easily.”
Speaking to reporters later yesterday, Yang said he had asked the Department of International Information to communicate its concerns to CNN.
“I also feel that [gluttony] is a strong word to use. We don’t need to be too angry over this, because this is the bantering style of the report,” he said. “Nonetheless, it has affected the nation’s image to some extent and some people do care about this.”
On the bright side, Yang said, the government would use the incident to boost international recognition of Taiwanese gourmet and culinary culture.
The Tourism Bureau said “gluttony” was an interesting way to promote Taiwan when compared with the other words used by CNNGo to describe other Asian cities, including “sloth” for Seoul and “wrath” for Pyongyang.
The Discovery channel once introduced Taiwan in a program titled Glutton For Punishment, it said.
Cheng Ying-hui (鄭瑛慧), an official at the Tourism Bureau, said gluttony does not always have to be interpreted as meaning something negative.
INCREASED RISK: The Omicron BA.2.75 subvariant has higher immune evasive capacity, but the CECC is more concerned about newer subvariants such as XBB and BQ.1 With the peak season for infectious respiratory diseases coming to an end, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday said that details of the next phase of lifting COVID-19 masking rules — removing the mask requirement in most indoor settings — are to be announced this week. Discussions on lifting other COVID-19 restrictions are also being held, including further easing border control measures, home isolation requirements and revising the definition for reporting cases, while also downgrading COVID-19 to a lower category of notifiable communicable disease, said Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝), who heads the CECC. As the daily
GUT FEELING: In the leaked memo, US Air Force General Mike Minihan urged mobile command personnel to go to a firing range, shoot at a target and ‘aim for the head’ A four-star US Air Force general has warned of a conflict with China as early as 2025 — most likely over Taiwan — and urged his commanders to push their units to achieve maximum operational battle readiness this year. In an internal memorandum that first emerged on social media on Friday, and was later confirmed as genuine by the Pentagon, Air Mobility Command Commander General Mike Minihan said that the main goal should be to deter “and, if required, defeat” China. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight in 2025,” Minihan said. Minihan said that Taiwan’s presidential election
PEACE AND STABILITY: The two nations called for the peaceful resolution of cross-Taiwan Strait issues through dialogue without the threat or use of force or coercion The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday thanked France and Australia for voicing their support for Taiwan, saying that peace across the Taiwan Strait is crucial to the stability and prosperity of international society. France and Australia on Monday pledged to deepen ties with Taiwan and reiterated their support for its participation in international organizations at this year’s Foreign and Defense Ministerial Consultations in Paris. The meeting between French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong (黃英賢) and Australian Minister for Defence Richard Marles was the second
DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM: Czech president-elect Petr Pavel said his nation stands firmly on the side of democracy and would boost cooperation with Taipei in all aspects Czech president-elect Petr Pavel spoke by telephone with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday, a highly unusual move given the lack of formal ties and a diplomatic coup for Taipei. Tsai spoke with Pavel for 15 minutes in a harmonious atmosphere, Presidential Office spokeswoman Lin Yu-chan (林聿禪) said, adding that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) was also present during the conversation. Lin quoted Pavel as telling Tsai that Taiwan is a trustworthy partner, adding that the Czech Republic stands firmly on the side of democracy and supports Taiwan in maintaining a lively democratic system free from authoritarian coercion. The Czech Republic would