Monday, February 27, 2006

The China Times is reporting that Chen Shui-bian has 'terminated' zhong1zhi3 the National Unification Council and the National Unification Guidelines. More specifically, he has terminated the operations of the Council, halted its funding, transferred its personnel, and will notify the Executive Yuan. The 'applicability' shi4yong4 of the Guidelines has also been terminated. The terms 'terminate' and 'applicability' are legal terms. A party to a contract may terminate a contract while a court decides whether a law applies to a given set of facts. Rank raises the issue because in the countdown to the announcement, some of the local press spilled a lot of ink about how the US was pressuring Chen not to 'abolish' fei4chu2 the council.

Chen will issue a presidential decree formalizing the decision tomorrow "if time permits." This is obviously symbolic since tomorrow is the 59th anniversary of the February 28th uprising on 28 February 1947 against the KMT and the second anniversary of the 2004 'Hands across Taiwan' rally.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Taiwan Sunset

Ahhh...a beautiful Taiwan sunset over the Linkou Power Plant. This was in yesterday's China Times which described the scene as "not only beautiful, but also evocative of science fiction."
Curling for Asians
There are 1001 news tidbits that I could be blogging here, but I'm afraid I'm not finding the time.

One story that caught my attention yesterday was an Olympic news feature about curling. The reporter's angle was that this "strange" (mosheng; as in a sport no-one really knows about) sport is attracting a lot of attention in Turin (or Torino) because it's easy to understand.

The reporter ends by noting that there is no optimal body type for curling; therefore it is suitable for Asians. Man, all these years we Canadians have excelled at a sport that we can practice with a beer in hand while sporting a beer gut (for a lower center of gravity, you understand) ... with barely anyone else taking notice as we haul in medals. Now the Asians are going to be coming in with their typical diligence and a will to prove that the beer gut isn't even necessary. That's so cold, man. I need a beer. What the hell - make it a Taiwan Beer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

After a very long absence... I blog.

(still without formatting, however)

Last week, within two days, I had two beautiful Taiwan moments.

First, I was walking through back-alley Taipei in the late afternoon and I saw a very old man approaching me. He must have been 80, but he was standing upright and striding energetically -- and he was pushing a carriage with an infant in it. Meanwhile, a couple of scroungy little dogs were trotting down the street. This caused the old man, who was clearly having the time of his life with what must have been his great-grandchild, to exclaim in a voice of wonderment, "Ah! Liang ge xiao gou!" (Oh, two little doggies!)

I would have paid to see that.

The next evening I was standing at an intersection with my wife, waiting for the light to turn. We were feeling lovey-dovey -- nothing inappropriate, mind you -- but
we were clearly a couple of little lovebirds. Along comes a heavy, middle-aged lady on her bicycle, grinning broady and looking at us like we were just the cutest thing in the whole wide world. I'm not sure I've ever made anyone happier (not even my wife).

Nothing about these moments, now that I think about it, was peculiarly Taiwanese. But they were beautiful moments anyway.