Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Sometimes Westerners are Too Naive When Facing China

Now, I am not saying that people should be all cynical and look at China with hate, but sometimes their reaction toward Chinese officials is just so naive that I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.  First, let’s have a follow-up on Obama’s conversation with “Chinese student” last week.  Check out this article on Liberty Times.  Apparently, 3 out of the 4 students that asked the questions are fake student (I was guessing they are fake, but now it’s proven).  They are communist party officials.  The 4th one is a student, but has heavy connection with the party.  NY Times interviewed one student and find out all the students present have been indoctrinated not to ask certain questions.  Chinese official also admit they have done background check on all the students present.

Now I think of it…the questions are so well formulated it’s obviously scripted.  Usually in a conference, questions asked are formed on the fly and usually not extremely articulated and polished, even from a professional reporters.  But the questions from those students are so well-formed in English…and that is not even their first language…so yea, it’s obviously well scripted before hand, and probably they don’t give a f*ck on what Obama said before etc.   It is kind of funny to see how President Obama genuinely tried to answer the questions.  It makes me want to laugh now that I think back on how hard he concentrated and formulated his answer.  Psst, hey, Mr. President, here is a tip…you are not really communicating with the students so no need to try so hard, man.

The second incidence is just that a westerner who met the Chinese officials told me how they are now safeguarding their country from pollution and they don’t welcome factories that would pollute China to be setup.  From the sound of it, he genuinely believe every word the officials said, as if Chinese officials have become the Holy Mother of David Susuki. Now, I know the guy is a very intelligent man, but come one, you cannot expect that to be the whole story, can you?  Recently they just have another lead poison from smelting plants in China…Seriously, a lot of the pollution are from domestic factories and some are protected by local officials…So humm…yea, the Chinese officials are partially BSing.

An Ugly Marriage?

Interesting Washington Post Commentary.  Translated version can be found here.

In real life it is not too difficult to find couples in serious marriage crisis or dissatisfaction about the marriage soon after the marriage.  The usual reasons are common mistakes like hormone taking over the brain, passion without rational, act all nice before the marriage but soon after showing the “true color”…etc etc.

That is why I found the article’s analogy of the US and China’s relationship as a marriage quite interesting.  Although perhaps a bit of a stretched, it seems to me the US was hustled into a marriage they should have avoided.  China went into this marriage for money and power, but it made all this false promises, some even quite ridiculous, to the US, in such a way that the US found it difficult to resist.  For some reason, the US thinks they have the obligations to help transforming China, and for some reason, the profit chasing corporations were able to convince the US government that the only way to do so is by “dumping money into China.”

I remember when I was younger, I found it quite disturbing that the US give China all these special treatment in trade.  Back then, I just kept thinking why.  What did China do to deserve all these privileges and easy money?  I remember feeling an unclear sense of betray because the agreement obviously favours China in the expense of Taiwan.  I was young then and had less understanding, but even today I cannot find a justifiable reason…Perhaps the only explanation is the “post cold war hormone.”

Oh Man…How Pretentious

http://www.southnews.com.tw/videos/00/2009/11/1117_07.htm

Holy smoke…that question to Obama is just so fake.  Obviously that question is just made up by some Chinese officials.  Unfortunately thousands of students will yet again get brain washed by such question.  It is brave of Obama to face the questions “from Chinese students,” but unfortunately, whomever stands in that situation will be used by the Chinese government.  The questions are selective, some even fabricated.  No one can avoid answering in the way Chinese government want in such condition.

Another possible worry is that although most of Taiwanese and those who understand Taiwan will realize the obvious fakeness, it might not be very apparent to outsiders.  This might contribute to more misunderstanding between the US and Taiwan.  (I wonder, would Obama realize the fakeness in this question?)

Update: ha…found some serious error…can’t help it, wrote this in a hurry yesterday.

MOU Sneak In

http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2009/new/nov/18/today-fo2.htm

This is a worrisome development.  I am not sure what this mean actually, and I doubt many people know.  Because sh*t, they did not even disclose the content of the MOU.  They just sneak this in without any supervision!  This is really outrageous.  The lack of transparency and dictatorial behaviour is unbelievable.  Furthermore, this is not even constitutional.

It is well-known that Ma government wants to sign this MOU and ECFA, however, the “must do it no matter what” attitude, undignified sneaking and the total lack of transparency really surprise me.  Are KMT and Ma really so arrogant to the point that they think they know for sure, without any public discussions, that MOU and ECFA will benefit Taiwan greatly?  Certainly, only if they think like that could they be so zealous about signing different agreements without any public consensus. Or maybe they just want to sell out Taiwan for their own benefits, thus the eagerness and the lack of transparency.  Either way, it is bad for Taiwan.  If they are so arrogant, it means they have tunnel vision and blind sighted, which means great danger for Taiwan.  If they just want to sell Taiwan out, it also means great calamity. 

Can Taiwan survive this….?  Hopefully.

If Something Looks Too Good to be True…

Here is another very interesting article, in which the author argues that the US beef and baseball scandals are just covers for ECFA.  I think this is indeed a possibility.  Using the greed of others to their advantages seem to be a usual trick of KMT and CCP.  Therefore, it would be wise to keep an eye on the ECFA as well.

Two interesting news coming out recently are related to game industries and China.  Interestingly the news come from different places but there are similarities: both are lured by China’s “big” market but lost big time in China.  I will write about them separately in the following:

Taiwanese Game Industries’ Waterloo in China

First news is from Taiwan.  It talks about although Chinese market looks attractive, entering it is actually a lot of trouble and quite risky.  Furthermore Chinese basically seems to “use” foreign companies to start things up and then just kick them out, which is basically the case for Softworld.  It interview several game industries veterans in Taiwan, including chairman of Softworld, on this matter so there are definitely some valid points and facts.  Last paragraph is particular interesting.  It talks about how much mony Softstar and 遊戲橘子also lost big monies in China.  (Softstar lost 3,320,000 NTD in 2005 and 1,000,000 NTD in 2006).  Company such as 華義 also lost considerable talets and knowledge to Chinese company 盛大 and 騰訊 in 2005.  In this case, it’s not just the training cost that is wasted, but the knowledge, trade secret and know how are all lost to the competitors.  Nice going, 華義.  Idiots.

No wonder I haven’t seen any good games coming out from those companies for a long time.  I was wondering WTF are they doing.  Now I understand.  I just hope Taiwan’s game industries can stay alive, and let someone else who is more capable than those morons to take over.  Because I like Taiwanese games, and I know there are a lot of talented software developers and artists in Taiwan.

Activision Blizzard’s WoW is no Longer Active in China

The second news is also very interesting.  This one is from the US of A.  The company, Activision Blizzard is one of the largest game publisher in the world, rivaling EA.  Their world-famous franchises include Starcraft, Warcraft, Diablo, Guitar Heroes and Call of Duty.  This is not a small chicken, yet even it got screwed by Chinese.  lol

Although I am not a World of Warcraft fans I sort of follow its progress into the East Asia because I paid attention to the game industries news in general.  Before Blizzard is acquired by Activision, the company starts to expand its Massive Multiplayer online game to the east asia market.  Actually, Blizzard was very cautious and tentative to their expansion.  It actually first setup the service in Taiwan in cooperation with a local Taiwanese company because it wants to see how the product do in a Mandarin speaking market.  In another word, they think because Taiwan and China speak the same language and have some cultural linkage, they can test the water with Taiwan.  The game is quite successful in Taiwan.  Unfortunately, as can be seen later, their assumptions turn out to be a mistake, or at least an over estimation.

The first major news, and one of the most bazaar news that indicate Activision Blizzard’s difficulty to operate WoW in China came out a few years ago.  Basically, Blizzard has to remove all the undead skeleton soldiers from the Chinese version of the game.  Why?  Because apparently, in China, you cannot show skeleton in any game.  Now that is just a very bazaar regulation.  In any case, Blizzard actually has to spend extra money to do this (no idea how much).

After that, however, it is no smooth sailing neither.  The game went into an online and offline cycle.  The detail reasons of the suspensions of their services etc is unknown to me.  However, it just seems that the Chinese government does not like the game to operate in China, and continuously make the life of Blizzard difficult.  And that brings us to this point, when Activision Blizzard finally decide to shut it down for good, but not without some major damage and lost investment in this long years of fiasco.

Update: Some more news on this.  Actually I made a mistake.  It’s not blizzard who is shutting it down but one of the Chinese agency.  But now the conflict between Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) intensify.  The fate of the game is still unknown.

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So yes…if something looks too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

To wrap this log up, this piece from Taipei Times has an interesting theory.  Again, the question of where is Taiwan going is always in the back of my mind.  Sure, I imagine most people wants Taiwan to continually prosper and improve, but how to do so depends whom you speak to.  My gut feelings tells me that the author of the article is correct.

Already Lost Track of How Many Times…

Holy smoke…it happens again.  Taipei’s MRT Naihu line is out of service once again.  This time for 2 hours….

It happens so many times I already lost track of how many times it had happened.  It is a total joke…I don’t know how they are going to solve this.

Update (more thought on this):

I guess this type of thing just keeps reinforcing Ma’s image as the sh*t finger in my mind.

A lot of people living outside of Taipei might say “this is none of our business, it is Taipei City’s problem.”  But that cannot be further from the truth.  The fact is, it is everyone’s problem.  Why?  Because why can’t Taipei City pay back its health care debt?  Where is the money of the construction come from?  Now they want to spend more money to fix it up, where would that money come from?  Think about that! 

Those money come from tax payers’ pocket, not just Taipei City’s tax payers, but tax payers in the whole Taiwan.  Furthermore, because Taipei City refuses to pay the health care money, all Taiwanese are forced to cover it.  They already raise the health care payment on small business owner, and actually backtrack 2 years.  That is ridiculous.  Why do they need that much money and where does the money go?  Wasted on the sh*t Ma created (Health Care debt, Nainhu Line, Maokong) of course.

UPDATE: Taipei Times has a comprehensive report on this.

Sometimes Numbers Just Speak For Themselves

http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2009/new/nov/1/today-fo3.htm

I think DPP actually did a great job here in just showing the numbers and let the numbers speak for themselves. 

To summarize the statistical data in English:

  • Time frame: This year, from January to September. 
  • Number of Japanese tourists to Taiwan decreases by 8.32%
  • Number of Korean tourists to Taiwan decreases by 38.46%
  • Number of US tourists to Taiwan decreases by 7.66%
  • Number of European tourists to Taiwan decreases by 2%
  • Current average daily number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan is 1307
  • Current number of Taiwanese tourists to China is 8.2 times that of Chinese tourists to Taiwan

The Number and The Tourism

And for me, the number strongly indicate the following: 

Ma’s policy to target Chinese tourists have failed miserably.  The number of Chinese tourists to Taiwan is not great, especially considering Ma and those tourist industries’ great effort to put this stupid thing in motion.  The reward and effort is not porpotional. 

Furthermore, by focusing on Chinese tourists, the government and the industries forgo other possible opportunities such as Japanese, Korean, American and domestic tourists.   Therefore, there is a what economists called opportunity cost or implicit cost associate with it.  The problem, of course, is that the overall economic profit from the increase in Chinese tourists is smaller than the economic cost from the decrease of other tourists.  This means overall lost. 

For example, a hotel reserves rooms for 100 Chinese tourists, and therefore, has no room for another 70 Japanese tourists.  For the hotel, 100 is more than 70, and they gains from it.  However, if the 100 Chinese tourists can spend up to $10,000 in Taiwan while the 70 Japanese tourists can spend up to $15,000 in Taiwan, then overall Taiwan actually lost $5,000 dollars.  This is just cold number, and the reality might be a bit more complex, but it neverthless reflects the reality.

Interesting enough, after more Chinese tourists come, those hotels etc start to engage in price cutting war.  Therefore,  for the hotel, 100 Chinese tourists might not actually even mean more money than 70 Japanese tourists…  I really wonder if the tourism industries actually make more money.

Lastly, 8.2 times more Taiwanese tourists to China is just shocking.  China has what…60 times more population than Taiwan and there are 8.2 times more Taiwanese went to China.  Hmm…very interesting. 

But those are money talks only.  Money is important, but another side of it is the total strategy…where is Taiwan trying to go?  To me, tourism is only an icing on a cake.  Taiwan should not focus too much on this industry, because there are so many other options and industries that are more important to Taiwan.  Taiwan has some nice places.  Treat the environment well, make the city clean, respect historical sights, and the tourists will naturally come.  There is no need try to target Chinese tourists.  It is useless.  Remember, China is not really free market, and Chinese government is in control of everything. 

DPP

I think DPP did a good job of using solid number to support the arguement.  They need to do this more.  Of course, not on everything and not just number.  However, sometimes general sense or feeling is just not good enough because Taiwan is not small to the point that everyone can just sense what is going on just by looking around in the neighbourhood.  A good number can give people a sense of what is happening and is a strong support of an arguement, and DPP needs good arguement to get Taiwan rid of KMT’s stupidity.   I think even for this tourism thing, more good number might bring out more light on the current situation.