Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

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.

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Thought On DPP’s 10 Years Policy Outlook (十年政綱)

Recently I tried to spare some time reading DPP’s 10 Years Policy Outlook (十年政綱).  I did not read the whole thing because I am more interested in only certain sections that contains topics in economy, domestic development, government finance, national security, foreign policy, strategy and education.  But the thing is indeed very comprehensive, covering wide range of topics that would be interesting to different group of people who are concerned about Taiwan’s future.

Some after thought on this:

Vision & Direction: the 10 years policy outlook IMO is well written strategy paper.  Everything stated within is aligned with a clear general strategy.  Thus it provides a clear vision and provided strategic directions on how to reach that vision.

Parts I Like: I especially like the section on national strategy, foreign policy and regional development strategy.  I also think it is an improvement that DPP considers the national security issues seriously, which a lot of politicians in Taiwan fail to do I think.

Feasibility: IMO overall the plan is feasible within 10 years, but some parts would be a lot more difficult than the others.  Also, things could change in the next decade, so future adjustment to the policy is also possible.  However, the purpose of the paper is to convey the general principles and strategies of DPP’s national policy.  In other word, it is trying to set a right direction, not yard sticks.  On this DPP is indeed acting more mature and responsible than KMT, which set some ridiculous and childish benchmarks (633, stock index reaching 20,000 etc) to woe the electors.

In conclusion, I think the direction set by the paper is correct.  The implementation will depends on Tsai and her team’s ability to execute, number of legislator seats DPP can get and other factors.  However, correct direction IMO is most important…what use is a fast car if you keep driving in the wrong direction.  Plus, lots of evidences have shown that DPP’s ability to execute exceed that of KMT (in terms of more economical and higher quality in less time).

UPDATE: another thought just occurs to me.  A lot of people feel that many reform (of different degrees) have to be made (example: the justice system), and DPP, with its experience during Chen’s term and the public feedback over the past 3 years seem to have recognize that, as can be felt within this 10 years policy outlook.  However, if DPP is going to accomplish what is specified with this paper, it will have to challenge some of the existing special interest group.  On this front DPP’s ex-president Chen has not been very successful, and KMT actually also have used the support of these types of group to bring Chen down.  Therefore, DPP should think ahead about how to overcome these types of challenges.  One thing it needs to do IMO is to use the 10 Years Policy Outlook not only to gather support for election, but also to gather support of reform if DPP wins the election…

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…

Result of CCP and KMT Propaganda

A lot of interesting happens recently.  But the following is just a random thought that has nothing to do with the recent events.

The more I think about it, the more I realize ever since WW2 information and ideas could be used as weapons, sometimes achieving destruction even greater than nuclear bombs.  The obvious examples are Nazi’s propaganda against Jews and political oppositions, communists’ propaganda and of course China’s “Great Leap Forward” and “Culture Revolution.”  However, a lot of times people don’t seem to realize what a lasting effect CCP and KMT propaganda has on the current delima faced by Taiwan.

Take, for example, CCP and KMT’s continuous claim that Taiwan is part of China.  If we ignore all the propaganda spread by them, we will realize that ROC(KMT)’s claim on Taiwan is really problematic, and PRC(CCP)’s claim on Taiwan is complete BShit.  However, because both parties have been claiming on it for so long, people actually take it “for granted.”  I don’t think people believe the propaganda fully, and take the statement with a grain of salt.  However, even this partial belief proves deadly to Taiwan.  Let me try to explain it below (I think it is kind of complicated so I don’t know if I can show it clearly, but anyway…)

To a Foreigner Who Has No In Depth Understanding of Taiwan:  When a foreigner who have no understanding of Taiwan heard this propaganda, he/she might not believe it fully in that he/she knows that right now Taiwan is not part of China.  However, he/she is unable to deny such claim in any way, therefore, he/she will likely choose to believe that there is some truth behind this claim.  The usual conclusion they reach would be similar to the following “Taiwan is currently independent, but it is supposed to be part of China (legally).  Therefore, although I might sympathize with Taiwan’s situation, there is nothing wrong for China to “unify” Taiwan…”  They might even go so far as to feel sorry for China because it is still struggling to “unify lost territories.”  They will also be totally confused by all the names such as ROC, PRC, Chinese Taipei, Taiwan Province of China etc etc.  In this case, propaganda leads to confusion, which leads to less support for Taiwan.  (The situation is really like a tug of war, China will say one thing, and pan-green Taiwanese supporters will say another.  A foreigner who has no idea would think that the truth probably lies somewhere “in the middle.”  But by going “in the middle” they are actually falling into Chinese trap, because what China says is complete BS…but because China says it the loudest, it is able to pull some in its way.)

To Taiwanese Themselves:  This propaganda creates a lot of problems even among Taiwanese themselves.  The best way to described it is a psychological problem called “identity crisis.”  That is indeed the best way to describe it.  The propaganda often confuse the issues of culture, language and nationhood.  Taiwanese feel they are different from Chinese, but at the same time they use the same language.  Taiwanese also has a culture different from China’s, but at the same time, Chinese culture is indeed part of Taiwanese culture.  All these are actually not a big deal, but the problem arise when the propaganda linked and equate Chinese culture with Chinese claim of Taiwan.  Anyone with a clear head will note the falsehood immediately (ex. Canada, US and Australia not part of UK.  And Singapore not part of China)  However, because this propaganda has be driven deep into the mind of Taiwanese, there are still a lot of Taiwanese who can only think “inside the box.”  However, recently, there are more and more Taiwanese who is able to see through the box, but I do not know how many.

To Governmental Officials: The confusion doesn’t just go on in the public, but even governments of different countries are mostly confused.  This is quite evident in the US.  The US has vast interested in Asia Pacific, therefore, their officials often have to say something about China and Taiwan etc.  However, it is very clear that a lot of them have absolutely no clue to what the TRA says etc.  Some of them are even totally confused as to what their own US policy toward China and Taiwan is.  Some of them, I would even say, are influenced heavily by Chinese propaganda.

Taiwanese officials are not much better.  Especially the older KMT elite member, including Ma himself, are totally pro-China and seem to have this “big China dream” of some sort.  The recent misconduct of the retired generals are very good examples and evidences.  Interestingly, although their actions are filled with pro-China evidence, they try very hard to hide it when they speak, especially during the election.  They might even “get angry or nervous” when people point it out.  They, IMO, are a lost bunch…they will never be able to go outside of their current frame of mindset.

Ignorance brings tragedies, and Pen is indeed mightier than the Sword.  But, to be optimistic, I am pretty sure there are ways to peel away this layers of propaganda piled on by the CCP and KMT for the past…6 decades…but it is going to take time and effort.

The Death of ROC by Ma

Hehe…haven’t blog for a long time.  Recently there are a lot of things happenings in and around Taiwan that are  significant to Taiwan:

  • The Earthquake/Tsunami/Nuclear Disaster in Japan: The devastation in Japan definitely has many significant meanings to Taiwan.  1. Because of the potential earth quake and tsunami in Taiwan, the disaster in Japan is a huge warning sign that Taiwan has to heed.  Taiwan currently has 4 nuclear power plants.  In so small an area, a similar disaster could be a lot worse in Taiwan.  Anyone with some brain would like to shut those nuclear plants down by finding alternative energy source and ways to use electricity more efficiently.  2. Taiwan actually donated the most money to Japan (even more than the US).  This surprised me somewhat because it indicates a very strong tie in private sector between Japan and Taiwan.  And for those that can understand Japanese or Chinese, there is an interesting discussion in a Japanese television show: http://video.hi-on.org.tw/view.jsp?id=1014
  • DPP’s  Tsai to Run for Presidency: Another big news is of course DPP’s chairwoman Tsai Ing-Wen victory in DPP’s presidential candidate election and is now running for Presidency.  So far the poll is positive, and there is indeed a chance that Tsai can win in 2012.  But I don’t want to be over optimistic here because I know KMT and CCP will do anything in their power to win, and their combined force would be considerable.  However, Ma’s (and perhaps even KMT’s) popularity is indeed dwindling.  We will just have to wait and see.
  • World Health Organization (WHO)’s Leaked Document: The most recent development is the leaked document from WHO in which it informs all its member to use the term “Taiwan Province of China” to call Taiwan….etc.  I don’t want to go into great detail here, because it is all over the news in Taiwan anyway.  Needless to say, this is a huge blow to the Ma government and China, and both are now trying to deflect the anger of Taiwanese by lying.  (check out the video…mildly funny to see jerks trying to cover lies with more lies).
  • Professional Starcraft 2 in Taiwan: This is not a big thing for Taiwan, but to Starcraft 2 fans this is a good news and actually it gave me some interesting insight when put together with the other major events.  Artosis, a famous Starcraft professional player and commentator, actually visited Taiwan and did a fantastic video of the new tournament.  It is obvious that he had a positive impression of Taiwan.

So basically here is just some of my extra thought based on these recent event:

Private sector and individual seem to have more appreciation of Taiwan.  As indicate by the events, it seems clear that private sector and individuals are much more friendlier than public sector and international institution to Taiwan.  At least from Taiwan’s perspective, international institutions have continuously add insults upon insults against Taiwan.  (Personally I want to put KMT, China, WHO, UN and Olympic flags together and burn them)

This is especially true for those private sector and individuals that do not have any tie with China.  Western game industry, for example, has a tough time in China (due to censorship), so they seem to be friendlier toward Taiwan.  Individuals such as 山際澄夫 and Artosis, who do not based their living on China, could be free in treating Taiwan as what it is, not what China says it is, based on simple conscience and common sense.   Where as international institutions have to be China’s bitches.  Of course, not all individuals and private organizations are friendly to Taiwan.  Some are brain washed by China and some have vast interests in China…etc, but nevertheless, overall they are better than large international organizations.

This re-affirm my theory that, Taiwan cannot gain international support through international institutions.  The more governmental and bureaucratic the institutions are, the more China has penetrated them, and the less support Taiwan can gain from them.  (WHO, Olympics, UN are the some top examples).  Therefore, perhaps this calls for a new strategic thinking in international relationship for Taiwan.  I am not saying giving up on trying to gain ground with big institution, but Taiwan should understand that organization such as UN is not the place where Taiwan can gain support.  Instead, perhaps Taiwan can gain more from individuals and organizations that are more immune to the economic leverage of China.

The recent actions of Ma government finally puts the last nail to the coffin of ROC.  The name ROC no longer has any meaning what-so-ever outside of Taiwan and history.  It is ironic that the final blow comes from someone who pan-blue thinks is the champion of ROC.  ROC IMO is now truly dead. (Taiwan might still use ROC flag and part of ROC constitution, but those are more like legacy inheritance from an entity that is already gone…like someone pull the boots from a dead body and wears them even though they don’t fit very well because he/she has no shoes)  But now the real question is, what will and should happen to Taiwan?  Ma and those around him is still eager to sell Taiwan out to China, as are some of the governmental officials in the US who have vast interest in China.  On the other hand, of course, there are those who want to defend the interest of Taiwan.  This is both an opportunity and a threat…I am optimistic, but will have to wait and see what happens next.

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.

Random Thoughts on Election Result

Following is just some random thoughts…no real organizations:

The 5 metropolitan area election is over. KMT maintains the hold of the 3 metropolitan areas, and DPP maintains the 2, although DPP did gain substantial increase of votes overall (now the situation is really 50-50, not 40-60). The result I would say is a stalemate. Neither side really gain much when all things considered. Even the city console election reflects this situation (130 DPP and 130 KMT). Therefore, although DPP continue to gain support after Ma became president, DPP did not win this election.

On the one hand, there were so many things going wrong for KMT, it is really a surprise to me (and probably a lot of people) that they are still able to hold the 3 metropolitan areas. On the other hand, they are indeed losing votes. From the DPP’s perspective, it really sucks that after so much KMT screw up they still cannot gain 1 extra metropolitan area. But then again, they are able to gain more votes overall. Comparing to the elections before, this is probably the best result yet. However, it is true that the pace of DPP’s gain of support is not as fast as people thought, and I think that is the main reason for the disappointment. It is also quite interesting to observe that changes seem to come slowly in Taiwan. We usually don’t see a dramatic victory or loss over the years actually, at least for DPP.

Another thing that is really a surprise is how well DPP did in Taichung. It is not a surprise if we consider how Hu gradually losing votes and Su gaining votes over the course of the election. However, it is quite surprising if considering people’s expectation at the beginning of the election, when Hu has solid support. But I guess in the end the changes is not enough at the time of the election. It might be that if Su is given 1 or 2 more months, he might just win the Taichung election.

Another thing that DPP has to wonder about is why people in Taipei continue to have strong support KMT candidates. There might be two reasons. One is that majority of people in Taipei simply benefit more or have the perception that they gain more by supporting KMT. Now, maybe for these type of people, there is simply no way DPP can gain their votes, because their interests simply do not align with what DPP offers. Therefore, perhaps DPP should take this into considerations. Sure, DPP seems to gian ground in the younger voters, but there are a lot of older people in Taipei as well, and probably more than half of them will vote for KMT by default.

People really have to ponder on this one thing though: what does the high expenses of flora expo in Taipei really accomplish for Taiwan? Do Taipei citizens feel any better, more secure after the flora expo? How does the whole Taiwan feel about it? Shouldn’t the money be spent on something more worth while? The lack of strategic direction for Taipei is really scary. They can spend millions, putting Taipei City in huge deficit, to accomplish absolute NOTHING. I would say to pan green, don’t give up. Hau might have won the election, but their policy is absolutely a disaster when you look at it from the long-term perspective. Keep examining them, and truth will triumph.  (But again for those who don’t care…you simply just cannot win them over, and that is the unfortunate reality)

However, for DPP’s own benefits, I think it’s better for them to take this as losing (or at least not winning) and reassess: where they can win, where they cannot win, and how to win in the former completely.  (where in this case is not just geographical, but demographical and social as well).

There are a few things that worry me though:
KMT will interpret this as an approval of ECFA and further leaning toward China.  Given KMT’s past record of moving ahead even without solid support, approximately 45% support might seem to be enough for them to continue the current trend. The problem is not for DPP, but for Taiwan overall. Because strategically speaking KMT could create a huge blunder for Taiwan in the next 2 years.

PS.  The shooting of Sean Lien, some think it has a negative impact on DPP etc.  However, just how big or small the effects are is really difficult to assess.  Suffice to say though the shooting might add to the inaccuracy of the election.  In any case, I just hope things become clear later and KMT won’t try to hide stuff (because some of their politicians did try to use to incident to rally their supporters…they might try to exaggerate or cover up things to save face…we will have to wait and see).  However, I think overall it could not just be because of that single bullet….And if there are people who vote for KMT based on a single incident,  can DPP ever gain their supports anyway?

What is China Up to?

I found this report on some forum discussion a bit interesting.  The discussion that came out all seem quite obvious, especially for those who paid attention to Taiwan for the past decade.  But perhaps for those who only pay attention to China for the past 10 years, Chinese behaviour become something of a puzzle.

To those observe from Taiwan’s perspective, Chinese policy and strategy seems quite consistent.  They never change much.  But to those outside, the recent expansionism attitude from China might strike as odd because they are not used to it, whereas those Taiwanese who paid attention notice them frequently and recognize the pattern.

Something about how Chinese recent aggression is some sort of result of self prophecy is very interesting though, and I think it might be true.  People often underestimate the power of human psychology.  Consolidating this and from the one taking about Chinese thinker using “warning” state era as a model, we can summarize:

  1. One view is that China’s previous conformity to international rules set by the west is only a temporary mean to obtain an end – Chinese hegemony in Asia and ascension to become a global super power.  This is not too different from the traditional Chinese rulers’ world view, in which China is the centre (especially centre of Asia where all minor states have to pay tribute) and the top of a hierarchical world.  In their view, that is the road to order and peace.  (In Chinese movies, this is quite evident.  Heroes often have to “unify” China to bring order and peace.  When China is unified, all the minor states around China pay tribute…this is part of Chinese ancient history and mythos).
  2. Because people keep saying “rise of China” and “21st century belong to China” etc, Chinese thinkers and general public have become arrogant about the state of their country.  Who wouldn’t?  If most people around me keep saying I have become stronger I will naturally think that I have become stronger.  Furthermore, because things seem to be working out very well, call for democracy or political reform has been largely marginalized.

Adding to all this is that in the past decade, the US really suffered economically and in wars.  Although technological advancement (such as internet and its utilization innovation) still largely come from the US, its economic problems have become quite severe.  Even worse, China and the US now have this huge trade deficit problem.  This globalization really has created some serious problems which those economists have not foresee or fail to come up with a new paradigm.  I am no expert in this trade thing so I don’t want to dig too deep into it.  But I think it is suffice to say that people on either side are happy (American thinks they are losing jobs to China because Chinese artificial suppression of RMB, while Chinese thinks that the US just want to ruin China or use China as a scapegoat).

In conclusion, I think the combination of Chinese leader’s (and its people’s) traditional mindset, West’s corporations’ and leaders’ over flattering attitude and appeasement toward China, and the macro global situation all create the current predicament we are in…As for what does all these mean for China and the world?  I really don’t have a clue, because it’s just too big of a topic for one person to comprehend.  But the question of what does it mean for Taiwan is probably more important for Taiwanese leaders.

Professional Gaming in Taiwan

There is a big event for professional gamers going on now: the BlizzCon at Anaheim, California.  There are actually two professional gamers from Taiwan in the invitational tournament of Starcraft 2, SEN and SoftBall:

South Korea is the bastion of professional gamers, especially with Starcraft.  However, Taiwan also had some very good professional gamers.  For example, SEN is a famous long time Starcraft player.  Obviously, not everyone knows much about computer / videos games, and most of us see it as just an entertainment.  However, to some, it’s more like a competitive sports or Chess.

So while Taiwanese cheers for the professional baseball, tennis, and other sport athletes, and Go masters who have successful careers in Japan, maybe some attention should be giving to the emerging professional gaming.  There are already substantial gaming community in Taiwan.  From the standpoint of view of Taiwan, there are some benefits:

  • Taiwan has a lot of computer and high-tech related industries, whose sponsorship would benefit both the players and the company in terms of brand building and marketing.  (In fact, ASUS is one of the sponser of BlizzCon, along with Intel and Nvidia).
  • The professional gaming community is highly internationalized.  More attention to it would be in accordance of the general strategy of “internaionalize” Taiwan, which the government likes to advocate but often fail to do.  (KMT even thinks they can “internationalize” through China, which is completely BS…if we look at Taiwan’s history, the further away it is from China, the more internationalized it becomes…but that’s another topic.)
  • It’s just entertaining to watch as well.

Currently, there is a TV channel that broadcast some game tournament, but it would be nice to see more of it.  Of course, this depends on Taiwan’s society and market etc, but I think the computer and media industry should recognize this opportunity.  Many people are complaining that the government and society do not show enough support for athletes and only cheer for them after they succeeded.  Well, perhaps in the video / computer game arena, more support now could mean a big difference in the future.

(Once again, an important thing to note is that for Taiwan, not every opportunity lies in China.)