Archive for the ‘Domestic’ Category

The Tide Finally Change

Hahaha, haven’t blog for a long time.  But the recent event is definitely worth a blog.

After many years of blue/green deadlock and the more recent pan blue dominance, the climate seems to finally change.  In the recent nine-in-one local election, KMT suffers a huge defeat.

I suppose this is partly due to the weak candidates that pan blue put out, but more importantly, I think this is partly a reflection of people’s worsening impression of KMT as a whole (especially younger generations).  There are a lot of different things that contribute to this, and probably different people see different issues.  Some see KMT’s sellout of Taiwan to China, some see the failed promises (especially economic promises, where KMT thought itself as the expert, but really, all they can come up with is China, China, China, and nothing else…IMO they completely miss the mark on how to improve Taiwan economically), some see worsening cronyism and government corruption…etc etc.  You can make a huge list on this, but the point is…under KMT, things seem to get worse.

Another way to look at it though, is that there are definitely something new, something very different going on.  I think that the younger generation has finally join into the politic discussion of Taiwan, and with them, the new technology and culture.  This is especially evident in Taipei City election, where Dr. Ko won again Mr. Lien, using a complete different strategy and tactics.

In any case, the hope for Taiwan now, I think, is that non-pan-blue elements can hold or even advance further…keep KMT out of power for at least 10 years.  This can force KMT to change fundamentally or fall apart completely, in which case, another political party can take over.  Part of Taiwan long time problem has always been KMT’s illegally gained deep pocket and other legacy left from martial law era.  So if the non-pan-blue does a good job, they have a chance to really change Taiwan for the better.

But then again, to be a practical pessimist, KMT is no push-over, and the Empire might strike back.  This is only the beginning.  There would be many more challenges ahead for Taiwan, I am sure.

More Thoughts 1:  In any case, it proves once again that…democracy, although not anywhere near perfect, is better than other system…just look at what is going on in Hong Kong and compare…

More Thoughts 2:  I think that history might put the Sun Flower Movement as the turning point of this whole thing, and I would agree.  The movement literally saved Taiwan from the point of no-return.  But what is probably equally important and interesting, are the events that lead up to the Sun Flower Movement, and how it affects the events after.

Worth A Read

This piece is worth a read.  http://www.hi-on.org.tw/bulletins.jsp?b_ID=116499

You can say that Mr. 曹長青 is too conservative but he has some good point.  I also think that a lot of slogans DPP used during election are not clear and can give people the wrong impression.  The two slogans I do not like the most are 公平正義, which will remind Taiwanese of communism, and 大聯和政府,which sounds more idealistic than practical.

公平正義 is a prime example of bad slogan.  I think that what DPP wants to express here is to lower the payment and benefits to the government officials, and use the money for other more beneficiary purpose.  However, the slogan just sounds like DPP can be the judge of what is right and wrong, which is just too arrogant and too dictatorial like, and I think a lot of Taiwanese will be picky on that.  Therefore, DPP really needs to be careful of its slogans.

Also, some of DPP’s people really have to think about the party’s alignment, because I think actually a lot of Taiwanese do not like left leaning party.  Taiwanese ethic and culture believes more in people trying to stand on their own two feet, that is why the song 愛拼才會贏 is so popular in Taiwan.  Instead of just using left wing thinking like “fair” society etc, DPP should also think more along the line of creating more opportunities and create good environment for investment (without relying on China, which will create huge problems for Taiwan later).

Election Approaching

Only less than 2 months left until the presidential & legislature election for Taiwan.  The recent trend certainly looks very favorable to DPP.  However, optimism is still too much of a luxury right now I would say, given the past experience, KMT’s vast network and China in the backstage.

The good thing about the past 4 years is that it lets people remember or realize once again how bad KMT was and still is.  People had this false belief that KMT is very good at economy, when the economic miracle during that time is more of the result of Taiwanese hard work and the right global environment.  Furthermore, a lot of problems were also created during that time, but no one seems to notice.  Regardless, government might help in some area, and created problems in other area, but to say government can solve economic problem magically is just pure naivety.  Even if Tsai gets elected, there is no way she can improve Taiwanese economy to a whole new level.  However, government could setup a better direction and create a better economic environment, and this I believe Tsai has the ability to do, although still quite difficult.

The main point of this election IMO though, is about being realistic and honest to oneself.  There is no 633.  ECFA and China are not some miracle cure.  China’s intent toward Taiwan is clear and has so far never changed.  International environment  is tough for Taiwan, but Taiwan also has its advantages.  This is the current situation, and I hope Taiwanese will not be fooled by Ma’s lie and myth once again.

Ma’s Incompetence Gave Taiwan Another Chance

The presidential election is coming in a few month, and once again this could be a turning point…or not, we shall see.  But the fact of the matter is, Ma’s incompetence has given Taiwan another chance.  This might sound kind of counter intuitive, because if the President of Taiwan and his/her team are competent, then they will be able to provide Taiwan with a chance of further prosperity.  If they are incompetent, then they will wipe away opportunities and chances of better future.  However, it is so, because the direction Ma is taking is a completely wrong one.

If you are on a transportation vehicle heading toward a cliff running at full, and you already have lost control over it, you would most likely wish that this vehicle is a donkey instead  of a F-1 racing car, so you can jump off without getting killed.  This is exactly the situation Taiwan is facing now.

Many people bash Ma’s incompetence over the years, from burning the government treasury which creates huge debt, to lack of readiness and capability and crisis management, to over emphasis on media coverage without putting any real thought into how to manage the government and plan for Taiwan’s future….etc etc etc.  All these are valid and important, but I think what worries many, deep inside their hearts, is that Ma is leading Taiwan toward a point of no return.  The way Ma and China coordinate to bring Taiwan further and further into China’s orbit is quite evident in the past 3 years.

On the other hand, despite his incompetence, he is still able to fool many.  Unfortunately despite all his incompetence he is still a very good actor, and the media, whose industry consist mostly of traditional pan blue supporters, is able to give him a stage.  Plus the KMT have a complex web of connections in the local governmental organization, and of course they have a huge amount of “illegal” fund.  All these still give Ma plenty of support.

But, Taiwan is indeed blessed with another chance.  If Ma is a competent leader and if his team is very competent, they will be able to do an even better job at sugar-coating and misdirection…and less people will be able to recognize the problem and the risk.  Because of his incompetence, he busted his promises during election (such as 633…well that one and stock index to 20,000 are just too big of a bullshit even extremely competent people will not be able to accomplish), which cause more people to examine and realize that he does over promises and lies many times…

Don’t Say “It Does Not Matter Whomever Get Elected?”

A lot of pan-blue supporters who pretend to be “neutral” or people who do not care so much about public matters like to use this phrase “it does not matter whomever get elected” ever since there is an election.

But of course it matters.  Maybe shit won’t happen to you, but it might happens to your children.

Look at today’s (or maybe it was out yesterday, I don’t know) news:

現在國二生適用 / 四書列高中必選 不及格不能畢業

THIS IS TERRIBLE.  A totally brainless and backward education policy that is so bad and “China Center”.  It cannot get any worse than this.  (On a second thought, under Ma, worse things are possible) Would this absolutely terrible policy happens under DPP administration?  NO.

This terrible policy is not a matter of blue or green, it is an atrocity to our next generation’s education.  Would today’s corporation welcome this policy?  No, because how does studying 四書 help them become more effective employees?  Do students like this?  Absolutely not.  It is a complete waste of their time.  This only people that would like this is the absolute deep blue that still live in 10th century probably.

Give the students time to immerse themselves in subjects that are more important and useful.  If some students like to study 四書 (which I doubt there are many), let them.  Make 四書 an elective.  But making them mandatory is an absolute tyranny.

Explosion of Foxconn

Recently there was an explosion in Foxconn’s factory in China.  This happens right after the company tries to move its supply chains west inland in China to lower the labour cost.

Like I mentioned before, I do not like the company Foxconn that much and I don’t like their strategy of just keep chasing after the cheapest labour in China.  From the company point of view, I don’t think this is the right and sustainable strategy.  And looking at it from a Macro perspective, it does not add much economic benefit to Taiwan.  On the bigger scheme of things, the company and its capital basically got dragged by China’s policy further and further west (yea…the company really looks like China’s bitch) while its profit margin gets lower and lower.

I already mentioned a lot why I think these type of companies do not benefit Taiwan and can actually create problems for Taiwan…so I won’t repeat them here.  And now it seems the company’s relentless pursuit of cheap labour (instead of automation or other strategy direction) really back fires.  (6 suicide, and now explosion in its new factory…really a managerial disaster that few companies face).

Right now the company still makes money simply due to economy of scale, but I think in the long term there should be other Taiwanese companies that can substitute it.  I think we can also use Foxconn as a benchmark that Taiwan should cross over…in another word, when Taiwan has some companies that surpass companies such as Foxconn that have to rely on China, in terms of profitability and size, then you know Taiwan has successfully upgrades its economy.

Help? Show Off? Or Just Create Chaos?

Recently Taiwanese media paid a lot of attention to 陳光標, a Chinese tycoon that come to Taiwan to “throw money around.”  I used the phrase “throw money around” instead of “donation,” because indeed, he is literally throwing money around instead of donating.

I have never seen anyone, west and east, who is so “flamboyant” when trying to help others (he even pile cash into a wall…now you don’t see people do that every day).  Especially in Taiwan, a lot of people prefer not to gain too much publicity when helping others.  There is a large amount of anonymous donation made in Taiwan every year.  (For example, 陳光標 plans to throw out 100 million NTD, which is actually quite small in comparison to Taiwan’s 6.8 billion NTD donation to Sichuan earth quake.)  In any case, the sum is not the real point.  Sure, some money will help people to get by for a few months…but then what?  They will face the same money problem.  Once again, social safety net, sincerity, kindness of the society, and government or NGO’s ability to help those to help themselves, are what really counts.  This whole thing is more like a fiasco and propaganda.

Let’s pull up stuff just for some interesting comparisons:

  • First, remember those car chase in movies…sometimes the one being chase just throw money and expensive stuff out of the car to create chaos on the road in order to delay the chasers.  Remember the movie Batman (the old one, not the new one), where Joker and his gang goes to downtown to throw money around during the New Year?  That is so similar to this situation.  Of course, 陳光標 is not releasing some physical poison gas…but, is he not releasing some psychological poison into Taiwanese society?  Just look at the madness and chaos that follows him.
  • Let’s look at what other NGOs are doing in Taiwan, and those other donors in Taiwan…and compare…don’t you find this really weird.  Why didn’t the media reports more on this?  Just because a guy is a lot more eager to show off? 
  • Finally let’s look at how the US helped Taiwanese during the 1950s when Taiwan was in real trouble…do they just throw money around and create chaos?  Or do they try to help Taiwan catching its own fish?

But in any case, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that all these are caused partially by the lousy job Ma is doing.  The weird, stupid and crazy phenomenon is a reflection of how much worse Taiwan has become after Ma become president.  (Man…if you look at the 18% interest shit and this…you really wonder, WTF is Ma thinking?)

UPDATE: A very good point brought out by this short article.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

This is what happens when you have a government that is incompetent and likes to show off.

Funny how KMT accused Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu of DPP that the only she is capable of is doing fireworks, because KMT is not even able to get fireworks right.  I have a tip for KMT and Taipei 101 in terms of fireworks: don’t try to make it too complicated, because you will waste huge amount of money and  trip yourself.

DPP Needs to be Ready to Clean Up the Mess That KMT Will Leave Behind

In DPP chairwoman Tsai’s New Years Statement, she outlined DPP’s objectives in the coming years.  One of the chief political objective of DPP is of course to gain more (a lot more) seats in Legislature, and win the presidential race.  Make no mistake, KMT will do everything in its power to stop this from happening, as the 18% interest legalization can attest.  Not only this, CCP will also get involved for sure.  The “vote buying” action will be in full swing.  I hope Taiwanese can see that when these supporters speak for KMT and CCP, if they are  just doing so for THEIR OWN INTERESTS.  (Example: all these public employees that defend Ma and support KMT candidates.  Now you really have to wonder, maybe they just do this so they or their relatives can get their 18%).

However, more important issue is, DPP really has to be prepared to clean up the mess that KMT will leave behind, and it will not be easy.  A few things DPP has to deal with that I can think of:

  • The impact of ECFA and potential economic retaliation and threat from CCP
  • 18% interest and its side effect on Taiwanese economy and society
  • Large amount of government deficit
  • Lack of budget for local government

And those are only the immediate problems.  Medium term problems would include problems from education and judiciary system.  The task would be daunting, and DPP cannot underestimate it.

Ma’s New Year Gift: Organized Corruption of 18% Interest Rate

http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2011/new/jan/3/today-p1.htm

This news make me extremely angry, and I believe I am not the only one feeling that way.  Basically Ma re-initiated the 18% interest rate (and fully legalize it) to the public employees (軍公教, Military, Government officials, and teachers).  There are no words to define this atrocity.

18%!  You don’t often get that much return even if you take on substantial risk like stock market investment.  And what is the current interest rate banks pay: between 1 and 2%.  Are they out of their fucking mind?!?!  Many decades ago, 18% made a little more sense because during that time interest rate were at 8 to 10%.  But now, 18%!!!  WTF!

I do not know if they have a special term for this type of stupidity.  I just want to call it organized/legalized corruption.  Majority of these group of people in the past decade constantly accusing DPP government of corruption, but they are the one that steal money from the national treasury / tax payers.  These people cover for the government’s action and feel no shame in doing this.  Despicable!!!

One teacher call-in to a talk show and just said they get more money because they work hard, pass the examination and are highly educated.  BULL SHIT!  Taiwanese private sectors have many talented, highly educated and hard working people that do not get paid as much.  Why you government workforce deserve that much more security and payment than the private sector workers.

The only people that I think deserved to get paid a little more are the military because they put their life on the line for the country’s security (more risk), and therefore, they might deserve a bit more.  But government workers and teachers?  In what way are they contributing more than private sector work force?  Even if for some fiscal economic policy reason, the government wants to raise the wages of public workforce, this is WAY TOO MUCH, especially under the current economic condition.

All I can say is: DAMN!

UPDATE: List of Legislators who passed this stupid law (all KMT).  Taiwanese history shall mark these people for their vote-buying corruption.  Source: http://www.twimi.net/