Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Another Excellent Blog on The Recent Issue with China and Philippine

Another excellent blog on the same issue: 轉移焦點的招數每次都會有效嗎??

Like I mentioned before, Philippine is not stupid.  When Ma government act like this, I don’t think even the pan-red(blue) people take him seriously.  International relation sometimes seems ridiculously complex and stupid, but IMO the underlining principle seems quite simple: if you don’t respect yourself and others, others will not respect you.  And the core of the problem, like the blog pointed out, is not the Philippine (or South Korea) but something along the lines of “a collective fear of the gradual loss of sovereignty to China”.  This is what Taiwanese might be worried about: “what if I also did something that somehow displeased Chinese government, would I also get send to China regardless of where I am?”  That is the tyranny of fear Ma puts Taiwan under, perhaps even more terrifying than the thousands missiles China placed across the strait.

DPP Has a Much Better Grasp About Foreign Relation

http://www.southnews.com.tw/videos/00/2011/02/0223_01_2.htm

Check out this clip and listen to the DPP legislator.  He has a much better grasp about the severity of the recent Taiwan-Philippine-China problem (much better insight than the KMT and pan blue media’s shallow emotional reaction).  As he pointed out, Ma is simply useless because he only complaints to Philippine but does not complaints to 陳雲林 and China, who is the one truly responsible.  Philippine is not a dumb ass.  It knows that Ma cannot offend China, so why should Philippine listen to Taiwan at all? 

For some reason, some people think that KMT and Ma is better at diplomatic relationship than DPP, but this incident clearly shows the opposite.  KMT and Ma really act like a bunch of idiots and whores in this one.  I think the primary reason why DPP had difficulty in diplomacy during the Chen administration, especially with the US, is because KMT still controls majority of diplomats.  The diplomats, instead of facilitating communication between Taiwan administration and the outside world, sabotaging communication and relationship.  This is very evident after the Chen administration, when these same diplomats (like the famous 郭 stationed in Toronto) start to show their true color by leaning toward China.

DPP needs to learn this lesson well.  The current ROC diplomats cannot be trusted fully.   Some counter measure and diplomats loyalty assessment is required.

The Cause of Taiwan’s Recent Predicament

Unlike what a lot of western media who choose to trust Chinese CCTV propaganda tried to portray, not everything is rosy between Taiwan and China, and for some in Taiwan, there are increasing evidence of impending storm on the horizon.  Things might not become worse, in fact, it might become better.  However, there are events happening at the same time that  really look quite peculiar, and really got me thinking:

China’s 遼寧 governor comes to Taiwan to lobby for more Taiwanese investment into China: 

The strange thing about this, as pointed out in the article, is that 1st, Taiwan really does not need more investment into China.  Common sense dictate that Taiwan already has huge investment in China and there is really no reason for more.  2ndly, as described in the article, at least one of the business man got hustled and lost about 100,000,000 NTD (about 3,300,000 USD), in which 遼寧 governor, 陳政高, is involved.  Obviously, this simple fact should be known by more people, and I am glad that TSU take the time to point this out.  On the bigger picture though, isn’t this quite ridiculous?  You have a Chinese officials with bad record, come to Taiwan to lobby during the time when Taiwan should not invest more into China.  TSU chairman said it very well…what exactly is the Ma government’s intention in facilitate this type of visit?

The Situation between Taiwan and Philippine: 

This is actually a quite interesting situation.

First of all, it reminds me of the fairy tale of the naked king and the boy who points it out.  In this case, Ma is the naked king, and Philippine is the smart boy.  When most of the Taiwanese choose to hide the heads in the sand, Philippine government does not give a shit, and uses Ma’s own agreement to “one China principle” against Ma himself.  Since Ma agree that Taiwan is part of China or “represent China” (whatever that means), Philippine did nothing wrong by sending those suspects to China, because they are “Chinese” by Ma’s own definition.  Of course, if you really look closely from a legal point of view, that does not make sense because they are in fact not Chinese citizens.  However, by Ma’s own logic, there is nothing wrong!  Therefore, Philippine of course does not need to apologize!

Looking from another perspective, however, one realize just how much trouble Taiwan is in because of Ma’s stupidity and China’s increasing assertiveness in Asia-Pacific.  It is obvious that Philippine was pressured by China into sending the suspects to China.  (Interestingly, there is news that some Filipino might get executed by China…which Philippine and China is still negotiating on it seems)  More and more, China is bullying its neighbours in every way possible.  Especially against Taiwan (which is kind of funny if you think about it…right after this incident, which clearly China is responsible, they have a huge group of people come to Taiwan to lobbying for investment.  How does that work?  Taiwan has sunk so low now that it looks like a whore).  China consistently uses its weaker neighbours such as ASEAN countries, South Korea and Japan to isolate and pressure Taiwan.  Hack, even the US and Canada is used by China from time to time.

So I think there are actually 2 things that Taiwan has to consider here.  First thing is, “dignity” does have a “worth.”  It is not worthless thing that you should just exchange for something else.  For some, “dignity” is even priceless.  Furthermore, without dignity, there is no reputation, no brand, which is bad for private enterprise and economies in the long-term.  Second thing is, more form of pact and alliance needs to be established between Taiwan and its neighbor.  Taiwan has long been ignorant of its southern neighbours especially.  It is time to form greater understanding and more collaboration with them.  It is the only way that smaller and weaker countries can gain more freedom of maneuvering in the face of stronger oppressor, by forms of alliance.  It does not mean formal alliance like NATO, because that is simply impossible given the current circumstances, but more loose and informal one could help as well.  Of course, conflicts of interest is unavoidable, but how one resolve them is more important.

Conclusion

It is quite interesting that Ma before the election portray an image that he and KMT are more “internationalized” and have more “international” view of the world.  I would say they have fooled many.  They promise to lead Taiwan further into the global society, but after 3 years, Ma and KMT “sinolize” Taiwan more instead of “internationalize” Taiwan more (a very good evidence of this is Ma government making old Chinese literature mandatory in high school curriculum).  The simple fact is, KMT and Ma’s thinking never changed for the past 40 years, except that their loyalties now lie with the CCP.  They just know how to package themselves to look modern and “internationalize.”  However, their policy, their interview, and their day-to-day action and talks simply reflect how old and how “Chinese” they are.  There is nothing wrong for them to choose to be that way, but the problem is, can Taiwanese see through the disguise and do Taiwanese want these type of people to continue their leadership?  That is the real unknown here.

Why Taiwan’s Video Game Industry Never Able to Take Off

Someone has notice the declining state of Taiwanese gaming industry in Liberty Times:  http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2011/new/feb/20/today-o13.htm

And here are some observation and opinion in a pan-green forum:  http://www.news100.com.tw/viewtopic.php?t=19492

I am glad that some people have notice this and have similar opinion as mine.  Actually, I would say Taiwan’s game industry is not in a very good state for quite a long time, and with the recent decline (in general) of world wide video games sales, Taiwanese companies would perform worse as well, naturally.  Sure, MMO games have been made, but how much money they made?  How many people actually play them?  Comparing to the success from small iPhone games and blockbuster games like Starcraft 2, Mass Effect and Street Fighters, Taiwanese games are in a sorry state.  But they shouldn’t be.  Taiwan has a good pool of human resources in software, art, anime, music and film.  They might not be refined, but with the right polish and training, the result could be quite good.

So why can’t Taiwan game industry really make a big impact internationally?  Why is it after all this year, it is still struggling consistently in general?  I am no expert, but here is just some of my thoughts:

Focus on Narrow Topic/Market which It Has No Competitive Advantages

Like I mentioned before in my blog, Taiwanese video game companies focus too much on the Chinese fantasy stories.  Look at Japan, the US and others, they don’t just focus on one thing.  Japanese companies target western fantasy, anime, Japanese fantasy, sci-fi and others all at the same time.  The US has sci-fi, fantasy, historical, hollywood style games etc.  One UK company (Creative Assembly) is even making a quite authentic Japanese historical game: Shogun 2 – Total War.  Heck, even Chinese companies don’t make every game in Chinese fantasy.  The point is: don’t just look for inspiration in one place.  Taiwanese companies focus too much in one thing and they are running the water dry.  Taiwanese gamers are bored by them, and no one else cares about it.

There are a few attempts by a few companies to break out from it, but the commitments are not big and good enough.  Half-ass attempts cannot make it in any circumstances.  Given the recent success of Taiwanese movie industries’ focus on Taiwanese topics instead of trying to jump onto Chinese market (like what the gaming industries did), perhaps it is time game industries to reconsider.  (In fact, in that article, movie industries insiders point out that Chinese movie market is actually extremely hard to crack, would this also not be the case for the gaming industries?)

Wrong Direction of Expansion

The narrow-mindedness mentioned in the previous section naturally leads these companies into a completely wrong path.  These companies invested heavily into the Chinese market in two ways.  First, they tried to utilize the cheaper labour in China, and second, they try to enter the Chinese market.  They are all quite optimistic.  However, as incident such as the near fatal blow of 大宇 and huge loss of money of other companies after their venture into China can attest, they are too over optimistic.  A more careful consideration would have reveal the great risk behind:

China at first lacked human talents You need to invest significant resources in order to fill the pool first, and even then the quality of your games would be severely hindered.  Games made in China would have lower quality because lower experience overall, and games made in Taiwan would have lower quality because lack of funding and time (resource drained).  Furthermore, they do not have loyalties after you trained them (I don’t remember which companies, but there was one Taiwanese company that lost most of its talents who formed another company).

No Clear Advantage in Chinese Market –  Taiwanese companies should realize that they have no clear advantage in Chinese market.  Sony, Microsoft and others will try to dominate it.  And this Chinese fantasy games, can they compete with the Chinese fantasy games made by Chinese companies?  Not really, after China learned the technologies from foreign companies, it can make all the Chinese fantasy games it desires.  Can you compete with them on Chineseness?  Absolutely not.

Instead, probably what Taiwanese companies should have done a lot more and focused more on is joint venture and partnership with top developers and publishers in the US and Japan.  (As indicated by this interview, Japanese and the US companies invested in other developed countries in order to develop new technologies etc, where as Taiwanese companies focus very heavily in developing countries such as China only.  Perhaps it is time for Taiwanese video game industries to reconsider its overall strategy)  Learn from them and create something unique.  And don’t tell me Taiwan is too small to do that.  If BioWare, a Canadian (Canada pop. approximately 30,000,000, just a bit more than Taiwan) developer based in the middle of no-where, “man, that is cold” Alberta can make it to the big time, why can’t these Taiwanese companies?  This is really something to ponder on.

Hopefully though new generation of Taiwanese game developers can really develop something good and unique.  Develop some sci-fi games, instead of just Chinese fantasy.  Some RTS instead of just MMO.  Some RPG with mecha that uses 2237 AC Taiwan and Asia Pacific as the back drop.  Who knows.  Just give us something fresh that have good quality, and I am sure Taiwanese gamers and gamers from other countries will support them.