Sunday, 31 May 2009

manhole (III)

while on the topic of menholes, i saw this one in Jinshan (金山) on taiwan's northern coast
the central motif are the double "candlestick holders", an eroded coastal feature of which the town is proud
the other 4 (top left then clockwise)
hot springs,
sweet potatoes,
duck (the town does roaring busineess in duck meat)
and fish

camera honestly taken

here's a rare(?) and touching sign of honesty from a photo viewpoint on the north coast.
the note says:

Girl in red dress,
you left your CyberShot camera here.
We were afraid someone else would take it,
so we are looking after it for you.
Please get in touch,

Mr. Tsai tel 09xx xxx xxx
4:30pm May 29, 2009

fish of the day

child's toys scattered on Wanli "Sunset" Beach

not my dog (III)

friendly dog on Wanli "Sunset" Beach

Saturday, 30 May 2009

NEW fish of the day

the Liberty Times: 我發現新種魚 巨體無線鰨
("I discovered a new fish: the giant-bodied stripeless sole")

[apologies for the English name, it doesn't seem to have one yet,
maybe the Taipei Times will have one for us tomorrow]

has a story about taiwanese ph.d. student Li Mao-ying who has discovered a new species of fish:

photo by Li Mao-ying (李茂熒)

apparently it had been found before, but not distinguished from its smaller, stripy relative

it's a flatfish, a member of the sole family, and lives in chilly waters around 450-700m down

rape is rape... but this is special

China Post: Man sues NYC, police for US$220 mil. for sodomy

A New York City man who says police beat and sodomized him on a subway station platform sued the city, the police department and the accused officers for US$220 million on Thursday for civil rights violations.
Three New York City police officers pleaded innocent in December to criminal charges that one of them sodomized Michael Mineo on Oct. 15 with a police baton on a subway platform and two others helped cover up the crime. “When you distill it, it was a male on male rape,” Kevin Mosley, a lawyer for Mineo, said on Thursday.

exactly, and why is that worth more than male on female?

taiwanese psychologically in bed with oppressor

nice interview with a pshychiatrist who reckons taiwanese have Stockholm syndrome:

taipei times: Taiwanese have Stockholm syndrome: psychiatrist

A majority of Taiwanese continue to suffer psychologically by sympathizing with their former captors, said a Taiwanese-American psychiatrist, who urged them to shake off their condition by recognizing their own worth and value.
...The KMT belief system is gaining strength, he said, principally through the use of language.

“Expressions such as ‘cross-strait,’ ‘mainland tourists’ and ‘mainland investment’ send the message that the relationship between Taiwan and China is one between a district and a country rather than two separate countries,” he said.
When the relationship between Canada and the US is described, no one says “this side of the Niagara Falls and that side of the Niagara Falls,” he said.

"spy" will not retun to taiwan

Taipei Times: Alleged spy laments ‘bad’ treatment

Chinese tourist Ma Zhongfei (馬中飛), who was released on Tuesday by Taiwanese prosecutors after being arrested the previous day for allegedly spying at an armed forces recruitment center, complained about his treatment in Taiwan in an interview with the Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po after his return to China on Wednesday.
In the interview, Ma complained about being handcuffed on Monday and said in a separate call-in to a Taiwanese political talk show that he would not come to Taiwan if he were summoned by court.

another correct prediction by VftH (though this one was easy)

CKS: greatly neutral and perfectly upright

in the Taipei Times: Old CKS plaque to be reinstated at Memorial Hall

talking about changing the name of the Democracy Memorial Hall back to CKS Memorial Hall, it says:
the Ministry of Education said yesterday it would hold three public forums next month to discuss whether to reinstate the four-character inscription, dazhong zhizheng (大中至正), which means “great neutrality and perfect uprightness.”

but fails to mention that this is also a reference to CKS, whose most widely used name in Taiwan was not Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) but Chiang Chung-cheng (蔣中正). THAT'S why the DPP and other's changed the plaque.

biking: if it's broke, fix it

taipei times: Kaohsiung bicycle rentals don't cover costs: company

The company that won the contract to operate a self-service bicycle rental system in Kaohsiung City complained yesterday it has been in deficit since the system was launched about three months ago by the city government.
When the service was introduced in March, there were 1,500 bikes available for rent at 20 locations throughout the city, but the number has since grown to 4,500 bikes at 50 locations, said city government official Wu Chia-an (吳家安), who supervises the bike rental system. However, Tung Li Development Co chief executive Yeh Chi-chung (葉致中) said operating expenses and depreciation costs have reached an estimated NT$1 million per month, while its monthly revenue is less than half of that amount.

getting people out of cars and onto bikes, buses and the KMRT is too important for our health, Kaohsiung's environment and the planet's survival

fix this problem


In a movie I was watching last night, the Chinese subtitles kept saying “TMD”,
which a) didn’t seem very Chinese,
and b) I hadn’t seen among the various “DM”, K-書” and other Taiwanese contributions to the "English language".

I finally worked it out as representing “ta-ma-de" (他媽的) [for explanation see VftH here],
but using the three English letter rather than Chinese characters presumably to convey the English “WTF”

(fortunately both main pinyin camps can agree on TMD, whereas old Wade-Giles would have had it as T'MT)

first woman ... again

Taipei Times: Climbers ready for next challenge

reports on Chiang Hsiu-chen (江秀真) [and her two companions who] who having climbed Mt. Everest, became the "first Taiwanese woman to conquer the highest peaks on seven continents"

which i don't quite understand, since Chiang has already climbed Everest, which surely means she'd ALREADY done all seven

oh well, it gives me a chance to run the article i wrote 4 years ago to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her first ascent, for which she was celebrated as the "first Han Chinese woman up Everest"

"Actually," said Chiang in an interview for Taiwan Journal last month, "the 'first woman' thing is not such a big deal. Sure, women are slightly less strong than men, but we more than make up for that with endurance and ability to tolerate hardship. In fact, experience and training are major considerations.
"Also, I never had much trouble carrying heavy rucksacks because as a child I used to help my mother, who was a nanny, by carrying other children around on my back. And I used to cry for hours on end, which probably helped me develop good lung capacity," she joked.
"I was still young, and was not scared of climbing mountains," Chiang recalled of her days as a 24-year-old mountain climber. She was aware of the dangers, however, having filled out a will before leaving "to travel in China," as she told her parents so they would not worry. Her parents first heard the news of her successful climb when journalists turned up on their doorstep clamoring for an interview.
For many people, climbing the world's highest peak would be the climax of a lifetime; to Chiang, it felt somewhat anticlimactic, but it was certainly a major turning point in her life.
"What might have seemed like big issues before tend to seem less serious now, after experiencing the danger and difficulty of those days on the 'Sacred Mother Peak.'" To date, more than 170 people have died climbing Everest, and Chiang described how she forced herself not to look at, or think about, the many frozen corpses she passed during her ascent. "The climb put my life into perspective." Having given up her job of eight years as an accounting assistant in order to undertake the attempt on Everest, Chiang spent the months after her triumphant return traveling around Taiwan, meeting with sponsors and politicians--including an audience with President Lee Teng-hui at the Office of the President--and thinking about what to do with the rest of her life.
"I knew I wanted to live close to nature, preferably in the mountains. I wanted to work in ecological conservation, but my qualifications were insufficient," she admitted.
She had hoped her successful climb might help her leapfrog into a top university program but, in the end, she opted to study plant protection at the Chiayi Institute of Agriculture, now part of the National Chaiyi University. She also spent three months on a study tour in New Zealand, where her homestay family took her to meet Sir Edmund Hillary, who, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, made the first recorded ascent of Everest in 1953.
"For nearly three years after graduating I worked as a horticulturalist and visitor guide at National Taiwan University's Highlands Experiment Farm at Meifeng in Nantou." She really wanted something even more outdoorsy, however, and in March this year became the first woman to pass the test for the position of mountain patrol officer at Yushan National Park, a job previously restricted to aboriginal males.
Her free time is spent volunteering at Fushan Conservation Area in Yilan County and at Taroko National Park in Hualien County.
Asked if she thinks Taiwan's environmental situation is improving and if she would consider using her fame to promote ecological issues, she laughed and said she had little time for politicians and Taiwan's media. Chiang also had disparaging things to say about today's Taiwanese youth, dubbed the "strawberry generation" because they bruise easily.
"No one has endurance and stamina nowadays. I was initially excited by Li Mei-liang's attempt, as it would disprove my doubts about young people's lack of drive and ambition. But then I found out that Li Mei-liang and I are actually the same age." Li is another female Taiwanese mountaineer who climbed more than 8,000 meters up Everest this past May.
Chiang hopes to meet Li after the latter returns from the Himalayas.
Chiang still climbs when she gets the chance. This November, for example, she is traveling to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak at 5,895 meters. Asked whether she always climbs the highest mountain in each country she visits, Chiang dismissed such notions as unimportant.
Chiang did say that she would like to return to Everest, but this time to lead a team to clean up the mountain.

Friday, 29 May 2009

fish of the day

… one of the beach boys climbed to the highest rock and waved a red shirt, shouting, ‘Pesce cane! Pesce cane!’ All the swimmers turned, howling with excitement and kicking up a heavy surf, and swam for the shore. Over the bar where they had been one could see the fin of a shark …
(from “The Golden Age” by John Cheever)

so apparently Italians, or those of the part of southern Italy where Cheever’s protagonist is on holiday, call shark “fish dog”

and apparently Pinocchio was swallowed by a shark: "il terribile pesce-cane" (the Terrible Dog-fish), also known as "l'Atilla dei pesci e dei pescatori" (the Atilla of fish and fishermen).

actually, I don’t really get Cheever ("Chekhov of the suburbs").
Maybe in small doses, one story a month say, in comparison with the other lighter-hearted pieces in the “New Yorker” or “Playboy”, his depressing observations of middle-class America might be ok, but I’m currently working my way through the 890-page “Collected Stories”, more than 60 of them. Day after day, breakfast after breakfast or bedtime after bedtime, their toll mounts up.

good news for swimmers

Taipei Times: Taipei exodus marks start of long weekend

With an eye on the long weekend, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) had conducted its water quality inspections this year of 12 of the nation’s most popular swimming spots.
The survey placed all 12 in the EPA’s “superior” category in terms of water quality.
The results represent a drastic improvement from last year’s beach water quality checks. An inspection of 10 destinations in June last year placed just one beach — Taipei County’s New Jinshan Bathing Beach (新金山) — in the “superior” category, while four had “good” water quality, two were ranked as average and three were rated as not suitable for swimming.
“On May 24 and 25 we inspected 10 popular beaches in Taiwan proper, and found all to have superior water quality suitable for swimming,” said Chu Yu-chi (朱雨其), director-general of the EPA’s department of environmental monitoring and information management.
Water quality at beaches is defined by the amount of E. coli bacteria in the water, Chu said.
“Those with E. coli concentrations of less than 1,000 colony-forming units (CFU) are defined as suitable for swimming,’” he said.
Besides New Jinshan, the beaches inspected this year include Baishawan (白沙灣) and Fulong (福隆) in Taipei County, Tunghsiao (通霄) in Miaoli County, Shanyuan (杉原) in Taitung County, Masago (馬沙溝) in Tainan County, Sizihwan (西子灣) and Cijin (旗津) in Kaohsiung City, Kenting Tiaoshih Recreational Seashore (墾丁跳石) in Pingtung County, Chisingtan (七星潭) in Hualien County, Houhu (後湖) on Kinmen and Shanshui (山水) in Penghu County.

ok, "my" beach isn't on the list, that's cos it's not a "swimming beach",
cos you cannot actually swim on a "swimming beach"
since they have a permitted area fenced off which are full of non-swimmers

but the overall status is good
so just go find yourself another beach
(but not one with life guards,
cos those jobsworth REALLY won't let you swim
like the two who threatened to arrest me near Hualien last month)

recession bites ... ?

Is this the first sign of recession hitting Taiwan?

Hearing of massive discounts in shops, real estate and so on around the world,
i have been waiting for some indication in taiwan
(especially in real estate)

finally, Carrefour has a new "buy one get one free" section in its stores.
I went to check it out,
but so far it is little more than pimping of overpriced goods,
or selling off of unattractive goods,
and if some were half-price, i might bite,
but who needs two bike seat covers,
or two saws,
or two sets of spanners
... ?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

fish of the day

this is vegetarian "fish" in my local supermarket
but it is exactly the same stuff as the vegetarian "pork"
and vegetarian "chicken"
(main ingredient: soy protein 大豆蛋白)
except in different shapes

i don't get it
what's the point?

DPP bebigging Taiwan in Beijing

actually, that’s not fair
(“that” = suggesting in an earlier blog today that the DPP doesn’t win anything)

because, of course, DPP biggie and Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu went to Beijing and showed the KMT a thing or two about not belittling sovereignty by referring to Ma Ying-jeou as “President”,

proving that you don’t get locked up by the CCP for doing so

gategate (IV)

Taipei Times: East Gate emblem is debatable: meeting

Taipei City’s Cultural Assets Review Committee members agreed yesterday that preserving a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) emblem on the East Gate was a debatable issue and that modifications were permissible if done legally.
Three Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors — Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) and Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) — who slapped paint over the KMT emblem on the gate on Tuesday did not cause structural damage, so the Taipei City Government could reconsider bringing them to justice, members said. Committee member Huang Fu-sen (黃富三) said the Council of Cultural Affairs had failed to identify the emblem when it designated the East Gate a national monument in 1998.

“Now that we face this problem, what we can do is discuss whether or not the emblem, a product of a party-state, should be preserved. This is a debatable issue,” he said.

... KMT Taipei City Councilor Lai Su-ru (賴素如), who attended the public hearing on behalf of the KMT’s Culture and Communication Commission, did not clarify the KMT’s stance on the matter, and said the party would leave the issue to the CCA.

so it looks like the KMT is going to back down over painting its logo all over town
well done to the DPP councilors
jia-you DPP, you CAN win something

tourist not spy (update)

Taipei Times: Accused ‘spy’ is released

A Chinese tourist who was arrested on Monday for entering a military facility and taking pictures was released on his own recognizance late on Tuesday night.
Prosecutor Tseng Chun-tseh (曾俊哲) ordered the man’s release and did not ban him from leaving Taiwan.

well fat chance he'll come back for a court appearance

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said: “we respect the judiciary’s decision [to release him]. After all, the judiciary released him after conducting a thorough investigation.”

in other words: the KMT is desperate not to have its Chinese-tourist policy tarnished by even this single case

words not teeths

Taipei Times: DPP legislator stands by teeth remarks

Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) yesterday drew criticism from his Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) counterparts after Wang stood by his suggestion that Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) take care of his crooked teeth.

... The KMT lawmakers made the comments after Wang Sing-nan urged the spokesman to seek help from dentists to take care of his teeth during a press conference on Tuesday.
“You often have to speak on behalf of the Republic of China, the Presidential Office and the president. I feel awful whenever I see your face,” Wang Sing-nan said.

these are the people that we hope will bring change?

buddhists in the drains?

speaking of manhole covers
(or whatever they're called now)

have you noticed that as well as a T-design
(for Telecom?)

many of Taipei's manhole covers include a swastika design?:

(language note: 卍 in Mandarin is pronounced wan)

"island nation" or just an "island" ... (II)

Taipei Times: Wu shrugs off criticism over ‘island’ remarks

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) yesterday shrugged off criticism of his use of the term daonei (島內, “on the island”) to refer to Taiwan during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) on Tuesday, and called on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) not to over-interpret the issue.

... Wu said his meeting with Hu had proceeded on a reciprocal basis and that he also used the phrase “on the mainland” when referring to China during the meeting.

that's not "reciprocal, that's the SAME
"on the mainland" does not belittle China, it ALSO belittles Taiwan

... "If Taiwan is daonei, [President] Ma Ying-jeou [馬英九] is just an island chief, not a head of state. It is unbelievable that the KMT chairman belittled the country to such a degree. The KMT is like a vassal that belittles itself when dealing with the Chinese Communist Party [CCP],” DPP Legislator Gao Jyh-peng (高志鵬) said.

.. KMT caucus ­secretary-­general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) said Hu’s references to “Chinese Taipei” during his meeting with Wu Poh-­hsiung were a goodwill gesture.
Yang said this could be seen as recognition by Hu of Taiwan’s sovereignty.

er, run that one past me again

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

"fish" of the day

Most native english speakers will know this one, but some Taiwanese readers might not:

Q: How do you pronounce "ghoti"?
A: Well, following other pronunciation practices: FISH

("gh" as "f" as in "rough"; "o" as "i" as in "women"; and "ti" as "sh" as in "motion")

it is often attributed to George Bernard Shaw, but apparently comes from earlier, perhaps the mid 19th century.

gategate (III)

Taipei Times: City councilors eclipse KMT sun over East Gate
(CNA photo)

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors risked jail time after climbing onto the roof of the East Gate in Taipei City yesterday and slapping white paint over the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) emblem in protest against what they said was a “symbol of dictatorship.”

Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄), Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) and Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) accused Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs last week of taking advantage of repair work on the East Gate — also known as Jingfu Men — and three other historical gates to paint the KMT’s emblem. They climbed the scaffolding yesterday morning to paint over the white-and-blue emblem.
“The KMT emblem did not appear on the gate during the Qing Dynasty. What we are doing today is restoring the monument to its original appearance ... Goodbye to the KMT emblem,” Chuang said.

... Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) accused the DPP councilors of damaging the historical monument and said the city government would bring them to justice. “We must all be humble before national monuments. Even as a mayor, I cannot order the department to make the emblem disappear."

... Lee said the councilors violated Article 21 of the Culture Heritage Preservation Act (文化資產保存法), which stipulates that any restoration work on national monuments should be done according to their original appearance.The three could face up to five years in jail or fines up to NT$1 million.

surely, then, it should be she and the KMT that are sent to prison for adding the emblem

touristic spy or spying tourist?

Taipe Times: Prosecutors retrace steps of suspected Chinese spy

The chairman of a Chinese high-tech firm was taken into custody after taking pictures at a military recruitment center in Taipei on Monday

Chinese tourist was arrested on Monday on a charge of spying on a military facility, prompting accusations from Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday that the government was neglecting national security.

well they would, wouldn't you?

Ma Zhongfei (馬中飛) ... told prosecutors that he came to Taiwan on a nine-day tour and had planned to return to China today.
He left his tour group on Monday afternoon saying he was going to Sindian (新店) in Taipei County to pay his respects to a deceased Taiwanese friend.

i didn't know they were allowed off the leash

As he traveled along Keelung Road, he stopped at the recruitment center and took some pictures.
Ma said he entered the recruitment center to take photos of the buildings.
He said he asked the guards on duty at the center whether he could look around and take some pictures.
They told him it was permitted, as the building is open to the public, Ma said. The suspect took some photographs of the buildings, vehicles and people inside the center, Ma said.

oh, that's an anticlimax.
guess he really is a tourist then

... Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major-General Yu Sy-tue (虞思祖) told a press conference that Ma had been arrested because he had entered a restricted area through a back door, after which he immediately pulled out his camera and began taking pictures.

so he is
anticlimax over
(actually, i'm getting confused)

Yu said Ma violated Article 112 of the Criminal Code, for which he faces a prison sentence of up to 12 months if found guilty.

that doesn't seem very long for spying. i thought they had bullets/walls/blindfolds for that kind of thing

... Chinese tourists have also been found filming and taking photos of the air force’s Chiashan [佳山] base in Hualien when they visited a scenic spot next to the base, but the military and the government did nothing to stop it and prevent military secrets from being leaked,” DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said.“

...But Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang (林郁方), a member of the Foreign and National Defense Committee, ... urged the public to remain alert, but not to worry.
“Military facilities that perform classified duties are usually hidden somewhere,” he said.“Many military facilities of real importance are either underground, hidden in caves or in forests,” Lin said.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

fish of the day

taipei city manhole cover
(are they still called "manholes"?
--seems very unPC)

Monday, 25 May 2009

fish(ing) of the day

Taipei Times photo:
Curious onlookers yesterday try to get a peek at an amphora that the crew on the fishing boat “Minghungman No. 5” from Wuchi fishing harbor in Taichung County netted in the waters off Da-an River near Hoping Township. Several coins and artifacts dating from the Qing Dynasty were discovered inside.

don't they get it (again)?

Taipei Times: KMT legislator criticized over tea bought from brother

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus secretary-general Yang Chiung-ying (楊瓊瓔) drew criticism yesterday after she purchased tea from her brother’s tea plantation in China with caucus funds as gifts to her party’s legislators.

Yang said the money belonged to the caucus and should not be considered public funds.Yang drew criticism within the KMT after she gave each KMT lawmaker a 7kg brick of pu-erh tea in the shape of a gold ingot earlier this month.

... each caucus receives a monthly subsidy from the Legislative Yuan, with the KMT caucus receiving approximately NT$810,000 per month.
The caucus’ secretary-general receives about NT$300,000 from the fund for the caucus’ public relations, the story said.
... Yang said she chose the tea as a Dragon Boat Festival gift for fellow caucus members because many people consider drinking tea healthy.
... She also said she had covered part of the cost with her own money.“The tea came from a company jointly owned by my brother and his good friend. If anyone has a problem with the purchase, I will accept the criticism with humility,” she told reporters.

but not return the money, note.

The Liberty Times quoted an anonymous KMT lawmaker as saying that Yang’s purchase could be seen as a conflict of interest because she chose tea from her brother’s plantation.
.... "The fund is not granted to her to buy products manufactured by her family members,” the legislator was quoted as saying.
The legislator said Yang had made such purchases on more than one occasion since becoming secretary-general of the caucus three months ago.
“It is ridiculous for her to give [caucus members] tea leaves almost every month. Plus, the tea is made in China rather than Taiwan,” the legislator was quoted as saying.

actually, you have to laugh: "almost every month"
it seems that if she'd done it just a couple of times, KMT legislators would have connived with her, but they just got fed up with the same tea month after month.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

fish of the day

why 1966?

update on GateGate:

taipei times: Painting of KMT emblems ‘inappropriate,’ Hau says

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday ... said the four gates were national monuments and that the city government was authorized by the CCA to maintain the gates.
“It is inappropriate to paint the KMT emblems on the four gates if the patterns were not there originally,” he said.

... Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lee Yong-ping (李永萍) said the KMT emblems were first painted in 1955 when the KMT modified gates left over from the Qing Dynasty.

...“We are simply restoring the four gates and making the monuments the way they were in 1966. The KMT emblems were on the gates, and so it is natural for us to repaint them,” said Lee, who is also a KMT member.

critical something

ok, so Critical Mass taiwan-style wasn't what i expected:
we were only nine not the hundreds i'd imagined
and we took a tour with Mr. Hsieh of the taipei city government,

to see the state of the new bike paths through the city centre
(not sharing with pedestrians)

and then went for a little ride

and had some dumplings together

and shared stories

here's a couple more photos i took on the way to the ride,

which show the current level of respect offered to cyclists (and pedestrians) by car (and scooter) riders:

this man's found a way to avoid parking fees:block 4/5ths of the pavement.

cycle path? what cycle path?

Saturday, 23 May 2009

fish (?) of the day (II)

speaking of "to be or not to be a fish"
the Chinese language calls all manner of things "fish":

魷魚 (above) you-yu - squid (a marine cephalopod)
鯨魚 jing-yu -whale (a mammal)
鱷魚 e-yu - crocodile (a reptile)
鮑魚 bao-yu - abalone (a mollusc)

and if we look at words classified under the "fish" radical
there are also:

鱉 (right) bie - a kind of edible freshwater turtle (a reptile)
hou, a king crab
to be continued ...

(though not 鯁 geng--the favorite word I came across during my trawl for fishywords--which means “a fishbone stuck in the throat”)
In any case, of course English doesn’t do any better than Chinese with
cuttlefish (cephalopod),
jellyfish (a coelenterate) and
shellfish (molluscs and crustaceans)
and Webster’s dictionary second definition for fish is “loosely, any animal living in water only, as a dolphin, crab, oyster, etc…”

if they can ...

don't forget Critical Mass tomorrow

reminding car users of our needs, rigths (and responsibilities)

see you there

don't they get it?

Taipei Times - photo


The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) emblem is pictured on the Jingfu Gate in Taipei yesterday. Inset: Taipei City Democratic Progressive Party councilors Chuang Ruei-hsiung, left, and Liu Yao-ren hold up signs in protest in front of the gate, saying they would sue the Taipei City Government for damaging a historical relic by painting the Chinese Nationalist Party emblem on top of the monument.

is the KMT intentionally antagonistic or do they just not get it?

and what's with painting even the national emblem onto a historic building?

Friday, 22 May 2009

fish (?) of the day

new school artwork in Sanchong's latest park
but is it a fish?
who cares?

if they can ... (critical mass Sunday)

if they can cycle on a busy road under a hot noon sun...

don't forget:
critical mass
Sunday 3pm
Taipei Dome

biking to the limit of the law

Thursday, 21 May 2009

fish (recipe) of the day

fish cake
You can find fish-cake recipes in just about every cookbook. VftH includes the recipe today because of two “home cooking” hints that other recipes don’t include (see below).
Ingredients (serves 2-4 depending on what you serve with it):

i) 300g potatoes
ii)300g fish (vary the potato/fish ratio according to your diners’ tastes)
(You can use all manner of fish, probably even tinned tuna or sardines, but Malarkey says “fresh is best”. This time Malarkey used 石斑魚, whatever that is [Dr. Eye says “grouper, you scurvy dogs], because it was white and flaky, a bit like cod.)
iii) 4 spring onions
iv) 1/2 lemon
v)2 eggs
vi) 100ml milk
vii) 4 sprigs parsley
viii) salt and pepper
ix) 2 tbsp flour
x) 4 slices bread
xi) vegetable oil
xii) mayonnaise/ketchup to serve

1. Toast the bread at 90℃ until brown and crispy. Blend in food processor into small crumbs.
2. Peel, cut, steam and mash potatoes. Cool.
3. Cover the fish with milk (and water) in frying pan, then simmer till soft. Break gently into small pieces.
4. Grind 1tsp of lemon rind, squeeze 2 tbsp of lemon juice, slice spring onion, chop parsley, lightly beat one egg. Mix all with mashed potatoes, flaked fish, salt and pepper. Form into 4-8 cakes (depending on diners’ ages). Cover and refrigerate for 30 min (or overnight).
5. Place flour, beaten second egg, and breadcrumbs in three separate flat bowls.
6. Dip each cake thoroughly in the flour, egg and breadcrumbs IN THAT ORDER.
7. Heat oil over medium flame heat. Fry cakes turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides.
8. Serve.

Malarkey says:
a. Fish cakes are a great vehicle for leftovers from your fridge/pantry; you don’t have to follow a recipe blind and go stock up on special ingredients.
b. So that you don’t end up with milk in your pan, flour on your board, egg on your plate etc., cook up some extra potatoes and make potato cakes as these use many of the same ingredients (as long as you don’t mind a slight fishy taste in your potato cakes)

taiwan top cycling destination

Reuters has article on cycling in Taiwan:
Taiwan pedals ahead with bike tours to lure visitors

Taiwan is rolling out Asia's first comprehensive bicycle tourism plan, including rentals, special railway cars and guides for rides down the rugged coastline or up the island's steep central mountains.
...To keep its lead, island President Ma Ying-jeou announced this month the government would spend more than $20 million on a new network of bike paths.

good work ralph, but for f***'s sake, what is "island President",
you hoping to go back to BJ one day?
ok, i'm in a bad mood now, if you want to read the rest, go to RJ's blog or Reuters (c/o PRC)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

fish of the day

while on the topic of trees:
there is a fish-related tree idiom
(or rather, a tree-related fish idiom)

(yuan mu qiu yu, “to climb a tree to find fish”)

The original meaning of 緣 (yuan) was the “hem” of clothing (hence the糸 {mi, silk} radical).

From this comes 邊緣 (bian-yuan, border), and the idea of “to follow” or “go along” (as in 緣法, yuan fa, “to abide by the law”).

Thus 緣木 means “to follow (i.e. go up) a tree”, in this case to seek fish (求魚). This is clearly a waste of time; the meaning of this idiom.

It dates back more than 2,000 years to the text of 孟子 (Meng-zi, The Mencius), attributed to Mencius, one of the main figures in Confucianism.

thanks to The Shad for helping me not to embarrass myself

Taiwan acts IMMEDIATELY on VftH initiative

only yesterday VftH complained about smokers' bad habits,
today the Taipei Times reports:

EPA may require smokers to carry personal ashtrays

The Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday smokers may be required to carry personal portable ashtrays to dispose of their cigarette butts before the end of the year.

Cigarettes are not only harmful to health, they also pollute the environment, an official said.

Citing a “conservative” estimate, Yuan Shaw-ying (袁紹英), director-general of the EPA's Department of Environmental Sanitation and Toxic Substance Management, said that more than 10 billion cigarette butts litter the nation's streets, parks and gutters each year. Such a large number is a product of the nation's high number of smokers, with about 18 percent of Taiwanese — or 4.2 million people — being regular smokers, Yuan said.

irony of the day

this sign ("enviornmental protection" in Chinese)
is part of the fence around the old Songshan Tobacco Factory
soon to be the location of the Farglory BOT Taipei Dome Complex
689 trees, many protected by law, were removed to clear the site (see Taipei Times here)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

fish of the day

this is vegetarian 曼波魚 (man-bo-yu),
whatever that is
["sun fish" or "ocean sun fish" according to a 60 sec web search]
anyway, this isn't, because it's vegetarian
it was OK, but i had to watch/listen to some crazy religious cult lady on television throughout my meal

"drinking alcohol is part of students' life": Official

also in the Taipei Times: MOE says alcohol ads at university are in bad taste

The Ministry of Education said yesterday that it would tighten regulations on the types of sponsorship that schools would be allowed to seek after two large ads for alcoholic beverages on the walls of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) sparked controversy.
... Vice Minister of Education Lu Mu-lin (呂木琳) said ... students should stay away from alcohol.

... The dean of NTNU’s College of Sports and Recreation Cho Chun-chen (卓俊辰) said the school had to accept sponsorship from the liquor company for this year’s National Intercollegiate Athletic Games because it was short NT$60 million (US$1.8 million) and could not find other sponsors.
Cho said putting the advertisements on campus was not tantamount to encouraging students to consume alcohol, adding that drinking was part of culinary culture ... and that the university could not just break its contract with the liquor company.

criminal Aborigines ... or ?

the Taipei Times has an interesting language tidbit at the end of today's "Head of Council of Indigenous Peoples comes under fire" article:

Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), another KMT lawmaker ... said that in its online dictionary, the Ministry of Education (MOE) had recently listed the title “head leader” (頭目) as ringleader of a criminal organization.
In Aboriginal culture, the term is an honorable title bestowed upon the patriarch of a tribe who has demonstrated superior wisdom, leadership and bravery.

pet hate no.4 (when your ashtray is full, feel free to use my face)

it is going to be very hard to apply "blogrule no.1" (to find something postive to say about smokers and/or drivers)

Monday, 18 May 2009

fish of the day

fish art in 101 food court
not that you're supposed to take photos, i guess
in fact, the first time i visited the building i was deleting pictures off my card
and some jobsworth came and told me to stop taking pictures
WHAT? Of my feet?

now every PRC tourist walks round snapping
pictures on his or her cellphone
deal with that!

DPP potty-mouths … or “how to swear in Chinese” (if you like that stuff)

this posting contains bad language
– not to be read by minors or easily offended people

the Taipei Times report on yesterday’s anti-KMT rally, “Protesters find novel ways to voice discontent”, included the following:

One man in Taipei was spotted wearing an upside-down bamboo basket … on his head as a hat with a banner reading “With the ECFA passed, farmers will eat shit.”
Another protester, surnamed Wang (王), wore a banner reading, “Fuck, where is 6-3-3?” referring to Ma’s campaign pledge that Taiwan’s annual economic growth would be 6 percent, per capita GDP would be US$30,000, and the unemployment rate would be reduced to 3 percent if he were elected.

I know what you are all asking: “Finally, who cares about Wang? When there’s something useful to know, why doesn’t the Taipei Times put the Chinese in brackets behind the translation?”

So I dusted off my press card and headed down to Day 2 (the "illegal" bit) of the rally, whose theme was

哀 (ai, mourning) for Ma's 無能 (wu-neng, inabilities)

The good news: I had a very nice, civilized conversation about politics with Ben, a retired professor.

The bad news: A fair sized proportion of slogans on banners, caps and t-shirts on display at Ketagalan Boulevard are unnecessarily rude, probably libelous, and in at least two cases, anti-gay. Is this really the way to create a better society?

馬的 (ma-de, "the horse's", or since this is also the president's family name, "Ma's") is a pun on similar sounding 媽的 (a shortened version of 他媽的 (ta-ma-de, “his mother’s …”), which itself is possibly associated with 幹你媽的 (gan-ni-ma-de, “fuck your mother’s”) or its Taiwanese equivalent 幹你娘 (gan-lin-ngia, “fuck your mother”).

In any case, it's slightly rude even without the g-word.

ah, that makes it clearer.

And here's another, with the 馬 upside down, and 我受夠了 (wo shou-gou-le) added to give "Fuck it, I've had enough."

[reader Leou Chia-feng (柳嘉峰) reports that the KMT started it themselves: "The KMT had a banner reading 他馬的,真好 (which perhaps translates something like: Fucking Ma, really good!) on a banner at a rally in Kaohsiung. They took it down pretty quickly, but not before DPP members had seen it."]

獨裁者滾下來 means “dictator, come rolling down”,
though 滾 (gun,roll”) has a vulgar usage, it perhaps falls short of outright swearing.

This next one is a bit complicated:

貓纜趴落土 basically means "Mao(kong) Cable (car) fall down (to the) ground"
馬統土土土 means "Ma President tou-tou-tou [Taiwanese for “completely fail"] "

but 纜趴 is pronounced lan-pa in Mandarin,
and sounds like the Taiwanese slang for male genitalia,
normally abbreviated to “LP”
(in fact, if your vehicle number plate has LP on it, you can change for free,
as you can with GY, Taiwanese slang for female genitalia)

Ma-tong also could be translated as “Unificationist Ma”,
and also sounds exactly like 馬桶 (toilet)

this one is simpler, he is just saying
"Jiang family [蔣家, including presidents Chiang Kai-shek and Chiang Ching-kuo] has had seven widows" [i.e. the males don’t live long],
"[it] is a warning from the gods [神] to Chinese people[華人]"

This one is interesting because of the character [top-left] 屌 (diao, “penis”), which used to be a swear word but for the younger generation now just means “cool”

This one is in very poor taste. It plays on the “pun” of comrade 同志 (tong-zhi), which is commonly used for "homosexual", and says:
"Comrade Ma, have you washed your arse, Brother Tao [CCP Chairman Hu Jintao] is waiting for you."

Before you think the whole DPP has gone down the toilet, there were some funnier signs such as this one:

which says 兩用口罩 既防豬流感 又防限制集會遊行人權的馬流

wear a face mask to protect from horse (Ma) flu as well as swine flu, since Ma's flu will restrict the human right of assembly and parade

(Chairman Hu, I have your gift ready, please happily accept)
(死旗 = Dead flag [upside down])

and others simply engaged in earnest political discussion

actually, perhaps the saddest thing was that, on seeing a foreigner with a camera, many in the crowd automatically assumed I was with some big important international media organization, and their plight was about to get transmitted around the world. If there is one thing the KMT is good at (and the DPP not) it is getting its message out to the lazy foreign press.

[thanks to Shad for help with interpretation]

if he can ...


Sunday, 17 May 2009

taiwan's athletes disabled or just lazy?

I don't know about the Deaflympics,
but Taiwan will do very well at disabled baseball and basketball
since there are huge numbers of athletes incapable of walking 50 metres

a friend of taiwan?

TT: Obama picks Republican governor as China envoy

A Republican governor whose name has come up as a potential challenger to US President Barack Obama in 2012 intends to go to work for the president as ambassador to China, a source close to the governor said.

the big news (for Taiwan, at least) is that the ambassador was a Mormon missionary in Taiwan:

Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (洪博培), who is fluent in Mandarin from his days as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, has accepted the appointment, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity before a White House announcement expected yesterday.

Now VftH may not like missionaries of any religion, and particularly the Mormon variety, but hopefully JH Jr. (the real JH is a billionaire businessman) has a personal connection with (and many friends in) Taiwan, which should influence his response to the incessant chanting of "台灣是中國的一部分".

fish of the day

smoked salmon for breakfast again?

well, once you open the packet ...

(anyway, that's it finished now ... till the next time)

penghuans fight back

TT: Penghu residents reluctant to sign for casino referendum

Although the Penghu County Government considers construction of casino resorts there an important policy objective, the plan may be postponed because an insufficient number of signatures have been collected to hold a referendum.

of course local elected representatives and non-elected government officials support the building of “casino super resorts”; they stand to make lots of money from hand outs (sorry, typo: “consultancy fees”).
it seems that local people are smarter than the electoral cannon fodder they are taken for, and realize that the advantages will go to the private companies in profits and central government in taxes, and the best islanders can hope for is a few convenience-store-style, minimum-wage jobs (unless Chinese workers are filling such jobs by 2013)

… only weeks away from the month when the referendum was to be held, the county’s Civil Affairs Bureau director, Chang Jui-tung (張瑞棟), was quoted by the … Penghu Times as saying that an insufficient number of signatures have been collected to hold the referendum.

…in the second stage, a petition with signatures from 5 percent of the people who voted in the last county commissioner election—3,521 in Penghu’s case—must be submitted for the referendum to take place.
... while both Chang and KMT Penghu County Commissioner Hu Sung-jung (胡松榮) declined to reveal the number of signatures collected at the moment
[Ed. a good example of KMT’s “fair and transparent government”?], Hu said that “it will be impossible to hold the referendum in June and it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.”

VftH prediction: The referendum will be passed eventually. Inspired by concerns for public good (typo: personal greed), the local officials will keep pushing and postponing until they get their way. If 99 referendum results (or pre-referendum polls) find less than 50 percent of voters support the policy, they will have repeat referenda (or just bide their time) until the ONE occasion they can pass 50 percent. Once they have the result they want, they will never go back to the electorate and ask again.
And once private firms have paid their “consultancy fees”, there will be no going back on building the casinos. Remember the N4 (fourth nuclear plant) shenanigans.

Saturday, 16 May 2009

fish of the day

TT: Clown fish aquarium opens

The world’s first clown fish aquarium opened yesterday, featuring 18 species and nearly 1,500 clown fish. The Aquarium of Anemonefish is located in the Aquatic Ecosystem Exhibition Museum in Chengkung Township (成功) Taitung County.
The public can see many rare species of clown fish and learn more about the progress in local artificial fish-breeding techniques, aquarium planner Ho Yuan-hsing (何源興) said.
The 18 species on exhibit consist of five native to Taiwan and 13 developed by scientists — five in Taiwan’s research center and eight from abroad, Ho said.
One of the many special and rare types of clown fish on display is the skunk clown fish, which has a long, straight white line on its back and comes from East Africa, Ho said. Some other rare species are black in color, he said.

I'm looking to find God again (VII)

I guess you can just about get "Sun Star" from 順達 (Shun-da in Mandarin)
or Hoklo?

fish of the day


I missed a day -- am i getting obsessive? when did FOTD become a daily necessity?

btw, the Portuguese claim to have at least 365 ways of cooking bacalhau (dried and salted cod), a different one for each day of the year.

and apparently they salt it because they've ate it and traded it long before the invention of refrigeration, so the first step in any recipe is to soak it in water, milk or oil.

among the offspring of Portuguese bacalhau recipes are the "fish" of Britain's "national dish"--fish and chips--(while the chips come from Belgium), and Japan's tempura, which are essentially the same thing, i guess (Malarkey's uses a tempura-style batter for its "British Chips and Fish").

I've only been to Portugal once, a couple of weeks cycling in the south--but it was (is) one of my favorite places. Nice countryside, great food, friendly people. We just stopped at small restaurants that had lots of vehicles parked outside, and had, almost without exception, excellent meals at reasonable prices.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

fish of the day

ever wonder why lots of Taiwan's crockery has pictures of fish on it?

it's because "fish" (魚, yu2) sounds the same as "surplus" (餘, yu2), so the picture carries the same wish as the New Year greeting 年年有魚 (nian2-nian2 you3 yu2), which means "every year have a fish" but is a pun for "every year have more food than you need".

in fact, some linguist-anthropology-paleography types suggest that rather than "fish" sounding like "surplus", the opposite is true: surplus sounds like fish.
their explanation is that fish was THE original surplus, that when hunting or gathering people stopped when they had enough to eat, but with fishing sometimes the nets came up empty, but sometimes they produced more than people needed for their immediate needs.

Riddle No 7

兩個軍人 兩個軍人
跑得慢 跑得慢
怎麼運動 ? _ _ _

[a sport, 3-character answer]

a rare pro-government posting ... well almost,

... perhaps:

TT: Premier defends move to allow Chinese students in

Recruiting Chinese students to study in Taiwan will help boost cross-strait ties, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄)said yesterday.

I’m not sure about that, and I don’t know what kind of students will come (though hopefully not student-spies), and I’m sure the majority of Taiwanese students going to the PRC are just getting a cheap poor-quality education, but the bit I do agree with Liu is:

… “If Chinese college students are allowed to study in Taiwan, it will provide good opportunities for students from the two sides to learn from each other,” he said.

When the former Yugoslavia broke up and the various new states and factions within the states began fighting each other, I remember thinking that the European Union (and in particular, the peoples of individual European nations) would intervene to help keep peace or even take sides.

My conviction was based on the fact that every (“every”) German I’d met had lain on the beach at Dubrovnik (Croatia), and every Dutch I’d met had had a skiing holiday at Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina). These millions of individual vacations add up to a lot more influence than government-to-government relations, which tend to wilt when economic winds change direction.

Similarly, no country could ever invade Thailand, because every European paedophile and backpacker has made friends there. I’ve long suggested, therefore, that Taiwan promote its tourism more effectively in the West (not, of course, by promoting child prostitution), so that holiday-makers’ memories of Taiwan’s “friendlier-than-Chinese” inhabitants will save the country from PRC invasion.

And it can only help to have PRC students learning about the functioning of an open and democratic society, where ideas start from the ground up rather than the government down. The more that come and take classes and make friends with Taiwanese students, the more voices there will be in China cautioning against military action, and the more chance that China will change for the better.

new verse

today I did a poetry reading at the Rotary Club of Taipei
and as always, I tried to write a new poem for the occasion
but I failed to come up with anything over the preceding couple of weeks
and even forgot about it
until I was walking the ten minutes from parking lot to hotel
when this popped into my brain (well, 50/50 insp/persp):

There once was a tiny coterie,
of people established the Rotary,
and what was their plan?
why, to help their fellow man,
and put an end to business cut-throatery.

it won’t win any prizes,
or ever make it to publication
but it went down well as a last offering to the lunchtime group.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Taiwan was/wasn't part of ...

my enemy's enemy says:

TT: John Tkacik on Taiwan:
Taiwan’s ‘undetermined’ status

It is hard to believe that retired ambassador Saito Masaki, head of the Japan Interchange Association (JIA), Tokyo’s de facto embassy in Taipei, would deliver himself of so profound a “personal” observation as “Taiwan’s status is unsettled” without instructions from his government. With the Taipei government increasingly inclined to define Taiwan as China’s sovereign territory, it’s no wonder Japan is alarmed. Taiwanese themselves should be alarmed. Taiwan’s post-World War II “undetermined” international status, an explicit artifact of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, is after all the metaphysical nucleus of Japan’s relationship with Taiwan.
It is the core precept in the US’ relationship with Taiwan as well. Other countries that signed the treaty, like the UK, Australia and Canada, also share a philosophical appreciation of Taiwan’s "undetermined-ness,” although 58 years later, they don’t necessarily lie abed every night fretting about it. Taiwan’s “undetermined” status does, however, keep Japanese diplomats awake at night — at least the ones dealing with China and Taiwan...

read the rest in the Taipei Times (here)

Ma discovers time warp

TT: WHO document does exist, says MOFA official

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday confirmed the existence of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between China and the WHO in 2005, contradicting comments by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) a day earlier.

The existence and content of the MOU have been discussed publicly on numerous occasions by MOFA and its Chinese counterpart, but on Monday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) raised eyebrows by saying he could not be certain that the document existed because the Chinese Nationalist Party “was not in power in 2005.”

in other words: when Taiwan's history is written (the next "official" one after Lien Chan's baba's)
only periods when the KMT was in power will be included

fish of the day

next time there's a typhoon,
go check out this temple:
it's on a hydraulic jack

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

"peace" = unification

Ma would consider peace talks in 2012

Beijing has a political agenda behind its economic exchanges with Taiwan, the president said, but added that his administration ‘handles it rather well’

... President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday said he would not negotiate unification with China during his presidency, but would consider launching talks on a peace agreement if re-elected in 2012.

which, as everybody already knows means "peace" = unification
(China will not invade and unilaterally unify if Taiwan willingly unifies)

fish of the day

smoked salmon again
("beans again! that's not a proper vegetable" my mother would say,
--it's because i already had the tin open
--no waste, Mum
and beans are only available because i was in Thailand, where they sell Malaysian baked beans at a price i can afford
[unlike Jason's]
--one good result of British imperialism!)

Monday, 11 May 2009

whose birthday?

TT: Crowd marks Sakyamuni birthday

Politicians gathered yesterday outside the Presidential Office to celebrate the 2,552nd anniversary of the birth of Sakyamuni Buddha.

No they didn't

The sunny weather attracted thousands of people including diplomats, religious leaders and politicians across party lines to the gathering on Ketagalan Boulevard.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday the birthday was an important day for the Buddha and all mothers. If it were not for Buddha’s mother, Queen Maya, who gave birth to Prince Siddartha, the Buddha’s teachings would not have enlightened the world and benefited mankind, he said.

what a piece of tosh
i've nothing against mothers, but if we're going to celebrate the mother every time her daughter or son achieves something, we'll never hear the end of it.
trust politicians (and TzuChi) to come up with some non-connection like this

Ma said he was happy to see religious groups from all around the world come together on this day.

hmm. some of them maybe, but even within buddhism there are various traditions, no one can agree which year he was born never mind which month and which day.

It symbolized that “the Republic of China is a country with religious freedom and is a nation that is open and diverse.”

'scuse me while i puke

"Over China’s long history, there was never a war caused by religious conflict,” he said. “It is a remarkable contribution to world culture.”

no, it is only remarkable how little history Ma knows of his own country (can i say that, he was born there, right?)

Before his speech, Ma performed the “bathing Buddha” ritual.
...Legend has it that when Prince Siddhartha was born, there were auspicious signs heralding his birth. They describe the sky as blue and clear on his birth, with dragons spurting purified water to bathe him. Since then, Buddhists have celebrated his birthday by using fragrant water to bathe the image of Buddha.

no, no, no
this is some latter day (tourism inspired? - well, maybe not) tradition
they didn't even have statues of the Buddha for the first half millennium or so, and the "prince" bit and "spitting dragons" stuff was all added later

The KMT chairman said yesterday’s gathering showed public support for the Ma administration’s efforts to improve the economy...

so, apparently, Chairman Wu thinks that what started off as politicians gate-crashing a religious event, is really religion gate-crashing a pro-Ma rally
you're kidding, right?

fish(ing) of the day

I'm looking to find God again (VI)

presumably "cher chen" is a romanization of 車成 (Hanyu Pinyin: "Che Cheng"),
two queries:
i) if you name your child 車 ("vehicle") will he/she have increased tendency to become a bus driver?
ii) if he/she hadn't told us the pronunciation, could the alternative "Ju-cheng" have been possible,
that is, do Taiwanese/Chinese sometimes suffer (like many Japanese) from having names no one knows how to pronounce,
not because the characters are rare,
but because there is more than one possible pronunciation?

after i'm re-elected ...

while still with the China Post and Ma:

... In an interview in Taipei with the Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao, President Ma said he does not rule out the possibilities of talks on political issues [with China], if the are urgent after he is re-elected in 2012.

probably CP's poor translation rather than Ma's arrogance about his re-election, but he has spoken in this vein before.

if you thought the Times was bad ...

If TT had a bad editorial last week (VftH here), it didn't come close to the nonsense printed in the China Post today:

... Ma Ying-jeou the presidential candidate was an idol, if not a hero, of millions of voters young and old. But President Ma Ying-jeou seems to have been transformed into a new punching bag for almost all the people, fans and opponents alike. It's unfair.

somehow CP gets from this, to a rant about Confucianism and Chen Shui-bian:

... Confucianism, the pillar of the world's oldest continuing civilization... Mao Zedong tried to de-Confucianize China. He failed because he himself was a Confucian like practically everybody else in China and Taiwan is.
... Former President Chen Shui-bian tried in vain to de-Sinicize Taiwan. He failed because he is Chinese.