Jerome F. Keating's writings

2008 - 1st Quarter Writings

Ma Ying-jeou Wins Taiwan Presidency: Let the Flip-flops Begin

Wednesday March 26

On Saturday, March 22nd, 2008, Ma Ying-jeou of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) won Taiwan's presidency with a clear majority of over two million votes. Immediately afterwards local and international pundits began casting about for reasons to explain and/or justify his convincing win and why people voted as they did. These efforts at best remain highly speculative. As a young democracy, one that only recently possessed a free press after its martial law and white terror days, Taiwan lacks bias-free mechanisms of political analysis and even reliable exit polls. It will be sometime before a correct analysis of the public's mind can be done, so where do I stand? In my past writings, I have classified Ma as a weak, window dressing politician, lacking substance and dependent more on media hype and showmanship than fact. That opinion has not changed. ...

Taiwan's UN Referenda Fail to Reach Their Abnormally High Bar

Sunday March 23

In any other country if a referendum were held and 94 per cent of those voting on it approved, it would be considered successful. That is not the case however in Taiwan for Taiwan has unusually high requirements for success. First of all, 50 per cent of the eligible voters must pick up and cast a ballot, and then 50 per cent of those who cast a ballot must approve the referendum. Herein lies the problem. The first big hurdle requires 50 per cent of the total eligible voters and not 50 per cent of those who vote on any given day, so if there is a low voter turnout or even a medium sized voter turnout, a referendum is already in danger of not passing. ...

Election Day in Taiwan, It's Showtime!

Friday March 21

It has been an interesting election campaign in Taiwan and today Saturday March 22nd is a nice quiet and peaceful day; no noisy trucks in the street; the weather is cloudy up north at least but pleasant. There is no reason why people should not go out and vote. ...

How Does the US State Department Earn its Keep?

Friday March 21

Tibet still burns, Iraq is a quagmire where the USA is spending billions, the US economy is tanking and the only thing Thomas Christensen of the US State Department can think of to make a comment on is the democratic right of Taiwan to have a referendum. Shame on Taiwan it is not following the script that US State Department wants it to follow. How strange it is that while the US State Department continues to try and force feed democracies on the world; it continues to reveal that it does not want democracies that are real democracies; it wants only people that will follow its script. ...

How the Horse Got His Frozen Smile, a Strange African Folk Tale

Thursday March 20

There once was a horse that was raised by jackals. Now jackals are a devious group of animals; they are known for preying on the weak, pretending to be something that they are not and even claiming the territory of others. They may even pretend to be dragons. This particular group of jackals however had recently been driven from the land they lived in by a rival gang of jackals, who proved to be greater pretenders than they were. And so running with their tails between their legs these jackals came to the land of the black bear. They took up residence and pretended it belonged to them. They told the black bear that they were dragons and should therefore be treated as such i.e. like emperors; they would rule the black bear land while they waited to reclaim their own land. ...

Tibet Burns and the World Still Kowtows to China the Cause of it All

Tuesday March 18

Tibet burns; Tibetans suffer and die. Why? Tibetans want the right to self-determination. It is only natural; it is human nature. They want freedom and self determination. All men are created equal with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it seems to me I have heard words like that somewhere else. And yet the panda huggers in the USA and around the world so desire cheap poisoned toothpaste, cheap poisoned dog food, cheap poisoned toys for their children etc. that they choose to ignore the Tibetans plight. ...

Look Out Beijing, Here Comes Taiwan!

Friday March 14

Taiwan is concerned about its upcoming presidential election but it is not the only thing that is hot on the island. Yesterday Taiwan's baseball team qualified for the Olympics and today the 2008 Tour de Taiwan is entering its sixth stage. What all this says is that while China may try as it may to keep Taiwan down, Taiwan is showing the world it is here and it is not a part of the poor old People's Republic of China (PRC)...

Taiwan's KMT Has Too Much Power, and Yet It Still Wants More

Thursday March 13

Buoyed up by their veto-overriding majority in the Legislative Yuan, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is resorting to Gestapo and gangster-like tactics to carry out their whims. With no proof to back up their claims, KMT legislators Chen Chieh, Lo Ming-tsai, and Luo Shu-lei along with caucus whip Alex Fai forcefully entered the Democratic Progressive Party campaign offices on a fishing expedition. They had heard allegations that the First Commercial Bank had waived the lease on the office for the DPP. To the KMT, the mere suspicion of such gave them a supposed right to storm into the offices and demand records. ...

Even Taiwan's Pan-Blue Press Admit Ma Ying-jeou is Naive

Tuesday March 11

Well I have to admit I dropped my glasses (to use a local expression) on this one. The Tuesday March 11 editorial in the China Post spoke of the presidential debates between Ma Ying-jeou and Frank Hsieh as "Naivet?versus savviness" and it did not end there. The opening paragraph read, "Come March 22, a na髽 will have a face-off with a politically savvy defense lawyer in the race for the nation's highest public office. They had their last TV debate on Sunday, the latter apparently was the winner." ...

Taiwan Sex Workers Experience the Ma Ying-jeou Shuffle

Sunday March 09

Sex is in the air, not only in China but also in Taiwan. As Taiwan's presidential elections approach, the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COSWAS) called upon the candidates to make prostitution legal in Taiwan. The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Frank Hsieh pledged that he would work to decriminalize prostitution if elected. Ma Ying-jeou, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate on the other hand did his usual Taiwan shuffle off to avoiding responsibility. ...

Tough Love in China: Tang Wei Blacklisted for "Beautifying Collaboration"

Saturday March 08

The control freaks in China are at it again; not content with controlling religion, the media etc., they now want to control art. The latest to fall under their ban is actress Tang Wei because the character she plays in the movie "Lust Caution" falls in love with a Japanese collaborator. The way it is phrased is that the role she plays "beautifies" collaboration. Dear me, now actors and actresses must not only express personal party line sentiments but they must clear what artistic characters they will play in films and theatre with the freaks in Beijing. ...

Examining Taiwan's Pan-Blue Media Rag Spin

Friday March 07

"The China Post," an English paper in Taiwan is often referred to by ex-pats as the local Pan-Blue Rag, and that is on good days. Is the title deserved? Well let's take a look. An article on March 5th dealt with Lee Teng-hui's recent interview in Japan. When asked about Taiwan's upcoming presidential elections Lee stated that if Frank Hsieh did not win, Taiwan's democracy would be set back twenty years. Hsieh's main opponent of course is the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou; so what might one guess would be the headline for an article featuring Lee's belief that a defeat of Hsieh by Ma would set back democracy twenty years. ...

Taiwan Alert, More Pollution from China Coming

Saturday March 01

On Saturday, March 1st the Taiwan Central Weather Bureau issued two alerts. First the nation could expect a cold front for the coming week. Second, the Middle Kingdom of Pollution, Poison, and Propaganda was sending more of their pollution Taiwan's way. Japan had gotten some of their poison the previous week so Taiwanese felt it was their turn and sure enough, a dust cloud from China is expected to cover the country until Monday. Such is life when you have vulgar neighbors who care little for the environment. ...

Ma Ying-jeou's Shallow, Simplistic Economics: Promise the Moon

Friday February 29

Promise the Taiwanese anything and you will keep them from examining and facing the reality of their present and past, this is the continued strategy of candidate Ma Ying-jeou. Promises, promises, promises, if anyone would total up the cost of all the promises that Ma has made it would bankrupt the richest nation. Yet Ma keeps promising and the simple-minded keep believing. With no sense of economics and no sense of Taiwan history beyond the past ten years, many continue to be fooled by Ma Ying-jeou. They cannot even go back three years to two key promises that Ma made and never kept. ...

The USA and Britain Continue to Feed the China Propaganda Mill

Wednesday February 27

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband joined forces in their protracted overkill in trying to destroy democratic Taiwan's right to state its desire to have its 23 million people represented in the United Nations. Their duplicity is all the more evident when starkly contrasted with the bald fact that both the USA and Britain had barely just approved the declaration of independence of a few million people in Kosovo. Somehow the clear bold declaration of independence by Kosovo did not qualify for being provocative in the allegedly harmonious Balkans, but the simple voicing of their wishes of the people of Taiwan would be sending shock waves across the Taiwan Strait. Who is fooling who? And who is bending over backwards to be China's policeman in restricting Taiwan. ...

Democratic Taiwan Supports Tibet: Take Note World

Monday February 25

Let the control freaks in Beijing take note; Taiwan does not need an LKK (lau ko-ko, out of touch old grandfather) trying to tell it what it has the right to do and not do. Taiwan is an open democratic society. As a result, not long ago, Taiwan refused the Olympic Torch of Beijing because Beijing wanted to use its passage through Taiwan as a way to belittle Taiwan's democracy. Yesterday, however, Taiwan welcomed the Tibetan Olympic Torch to pass through its country in anticipation of the upcoming Tibetan Olympics (held in exile in India, May 15 through 25). This was clearly celebrated in front of Democracy Hall in Taipei along with Miss Tibet, Tsering Chungtak who preferred to be expelled from Malaysia's 2007 Miss Tourism competition rather than conform to China's demand that she wear a sash reading "Miss Tibet-China." ...

China, the Frustrated Potentate, Continues to Try to Isolate Taiwan

Saturday February 23

There is something laughable and almost senile at the attempts of China, the frustrated potentate, laboring on and on to try to isolate Taiwan in the world. The latest example is of course Kosovo where China has told Taiwan that it does not have the right to recognize Kosovo. As if who cares what China says Taiwan has the right to do and not do. Then there are the countries that have their self created hypocritical hoops that they try to jump through. They try to defend their recognition of the right of a few million in Kosovo to declare independence but at the same time deny the twenty three million people in the democracy of Taiwan that same right. Fortunately more and more people in the world are seeing through this charade. ...

Why Ma Ying-jeou Should Not Be President

Monday February 11

Ma Ying-jeou is the quintessential politician, one who smiles and smiles and promises and promises but rarely delivers. Born into the privilege of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) one-party state, he was educated, and supported by that state throughout its White Terror dominance. He didn't question its rule and served its ends both as a student in the USA and back in Taiwan where he was awarded with appropriate positions. To gain insight, compare and contrast his response to the KMT's enticements and rewards for service to that of Peng Ming-min and you will see the difference in their characters. ...

Ma Ying-jeou, a Weasel Under Pressure?

Friday February 08

Ma Ying-jeou continues to be the perfect example of how a person with an unearned sense of privilege and entitlement is unable to handle adversity and pressure. Case in point is the recent revelation that Ma Ying-jeou had a green card. Whether Ma had a green card or not is really not the main issue. What is of more importance is how a man whose whole political stance is built on image and style as opposed to substance and honesty becomes a weasel when that image is threatened...

Taiwan, East Germany, and "The Lives of Others"

Thursday February 07

Von Donnersmarck's film, The Lives of Others, (Das Leben der Anderen) is a film well worth seeing. It is well worth seeing not simply because it won the Oscar Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 2006 and numerous other awards, but because it provides a strong, sobering insight into what life is like under a totalitarian regime. Here the regime is East Germany, but the lack of human rights, of freedom of the press, and the constant surveillance by an elaborate system of spies and informants etc. could apply to any one-party state dictatorship, past or present including Taiwan when it was under the dictatorship of the Chiangs and their watchdog, the Garrison Command. ...

China's Snow Storms Expose its Controlling Cabal's Exploitation of the Masses

Monday February 04

China--never have so many been ruled and controlled by so few! Yes this is the same China which Taiwan knows as its greedy and rapacious neighbor and that despite its inability to take care of its own 1.3 billion people it still always wants to control more. Now as winter storms of ice and snow hit China at its most crucial travel time of the year (Chinese New Year holidays) the chickens have come home to roost and the world sees the other side of China or at least as much as the state-controlled media allows it to. ...

The Fat Lady Sings for Boston in Arizona

Sunday February 03

Super Bowl XLII proved to have the classic finish. The underdog is down by four points. A field goal will not save them; they need a touchdown. Still, they have the ball and just enough time for one last drive, yet the drive must cover close to the length of the field. The game has been a defensive struggle up to that point. Can the underdog do it? The rest is history, New York Giants 17, Boston Patriots 14. ...

Taiwan Searching for Identity in the Bamboozle of 2008

Saturday February 02

Thoreau stated it succinctly in Walden, "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation," and I would add a corollary to his words, "Most men lead lives of willingly being bamboozled." This flaw is what drives companies to hire marketing executives to persuade consumers to buy what they don't need; this flaw is what allows the media to try and get away with providing pap instead of substance; this flaw is what allows politicians to posture and to promise and not worry about being held accountable. Everyone has their favorite examples of such posturing and promises. ...

Taiwan's Identity: the Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Wednesday January 30

As Taiwan searches for its identity, it must remember, The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is the principle of emergence and the principle by which the identity of Taiwan should be understood. It is the proper way to perceive Taiwan's past and what makes Taiwanese to be Taiwanese. From ancient times of over 5000 years ago, when thriving aboriginal civilizations quarried jade and did a burgeoning sea-faring trade with Southeast Asia, Taiwan has had its uniqueness. It later had the influx, influence, and contributions from the Dutch, the Spanish, the Hoklo and Hakka seeking freedom, pirates, Ming loyalists, Qing conquerors; you name it and Taiwan received it. Each contributed a part, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. ...

Katyn, a Polish Film, Resonates in Taiwan

Monday January 28

How a nation deals with its past is vital to its present health and existence. A recent Polish film "Katyn" addresses an "unhealed wound" in Poland's past, and a recent review of that film (as presented below) in the January 24, 2008 Economist illustrates the issues and its need for closure. Taiwan has its own "unhealed wounds" and a need for transitional justice which still cry for closure. Unfortunately the recent disproportionate victory and control of the Legislative Yuan by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) point to the fact that this need for transitional justice will remain unanswered and continue to fester beneath the surface in Taiwan. ...

Taiwans 2008 Legislative Elections, Ma Ying-jeou, a Weak Man Becomes Weaker

Saturday January 26

Despite what the average observermay think, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is not a monolith. Numerous contrasting points of view exist within it, and power struggles continue beneath the surface. However, like the Republican Party compared to the Democratic Party in the USA, the KMT manages to hide its conflicts, power struggles, and dirty laundry much better than its Taiwan counterpart the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). That being said, the conflicts are alive and well, and remain even after the KMT won big in the recent Legislative Yuan elections. ...

Taiwan's 2008 Legislative Yuan Elections: Lesson 2, Examining the McGovern Factor

Tuesday January 15

After the overwhelming and disproportionate defeat of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the January 12 Legislative Yuan elections, many DPP party members and supporters were obviously disheartened. Certainly if one looked at a district by district color-coded map of post election Taiwan, it was a sea of blue with a few islands of green. Despite this, party members need to remember that Taiwan is a democracy and not a totalitarian state; therefore, a defeat even if devastating, is never the end of the road. The DPP must in other words develop a longer term perspective and examine what can be called the McGovern Factor. ...

Taiwan's 2008 Legislative Yuan Elections: Lesson One, in Search of an Adequate System

Monday January 14

As the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regroups after its huge defeat in Taiwan's January 12 Legislative Yuan elections there are several things that its members should realize for perspective. First the defeat became larger in reality than it should have been because of the inadequacies of the electoral system. This does not excuse other faults and poor strategies of the DPP but it does give a more appropriate perspective. No election system is perfect and this is the first time that the new system for the Legislative Yuan was used, but it quickly proved in need of restructuring if Taiwan's citizens are to have proper representation. ...

Taiwan's 2008 Legislative Yuan Elections Update

Saturday January 12

It appears that there has been only a 58 per cent voter turn out. This has already doomed the referendums. If such a low turn out continues in future elections, any referendum will certainly face extreme difficulties passing with the present rules. ...

Taiwan 2008 Legislative Elections: On the Spot

Friday January 11

The voting stations are open today and already it is evident that the Pan-blue party is out to kill the referendums by boycotting them. ...

Taiwan's 2008 Legislative Yuan Elections

Friday January 11

Big changes are coming this Saturday January 12, 2008, Taiwan will vote to select members of the upcoming Legislative Yuan in an election that will have several new wrinkles and be a first in many items for Taiwan. First of all, the number of legislators has been halved from 225 to 113 so a number of the old faces will not be there simply because of this reduction. Second the legislators will be elected one member per district. This means that candidates from the various parties will be going head to head with each other and not just hoping to luck out in being one of the top ten or such in multiple members for single districts as in the past. Each has to win now solely on his or her own personal record and/or relationship with voters in their district. Because of these two changes we will no longer see characters like Li Ao who lucked out last time in being the 10th of 10 legislators selected from his district. He has chosen not to run and not be embarrassed by a small number of votes. But there is more. ...

Taiwan Desperately Needs a Green Legislative Yuan: Problem Two, Sabotage of the Country

Saturday January 05

When I say that the pan-blue Legislative Yuan led by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) sabotages the country I do not mean that they have guerilla bands blowing up bridges. I speak metaphorically. The KMT's sabotage is of a much more subtle nature; it is a sabotage that is willing to drag the country down as it strives to regain its lost privilege. Despite the pan-blue media hype, Taiwan's problems of today stem from the Legislative Yuan and not from the President. Since the mid-nineties, the controlling power of the country has shifted from the Presidency to the Legislative Yuan, and the Legislative Yuan has always been under the control of the KMT and its pan-blue alliance...

Ma Ying-joke, Would You Want This Man as Your Leader?

Thursday January 03

Does Ma Ying-joke know what time it is? Does he even know where his party is? Shortly after Ma promised Taiwan citizens that he would definitely vote on the two anti-corruption referendum ballots in the up-coming election, his party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), announced that it would boycott the referendums. Who is in charge here? It certainly isn't Ma Ying-joke. ...

Why Taiwan Needs a Green Legislative Yuan: Problem One Justice

Wednesday January 02

When Taiwan was a one-party state dictatorship under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the power of the country was in its president. The Legislative Yuan was a rubber stamp body in which each legislator who had been elected ages previous in 1947 was guaranteed his position for life. All each legislator had to do was approve what President Chiang Kai-shek and then later what his son President Chiang Ching-kuo directed. This all began to change under President Lee Teng-hui when the "iron rice bowl" legislators who had not yet died off, had to step down. After 1992 legislators had to run for office and compete with members of other newly allowed parties. ...

Is AIT as Dumb as the KMT Thinks That They Are?

Wednesday January 02

In early December, Raymond Burghardt, Chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), visited Taiwan to speak and listen to the presidential candidates from both major parties as well as to receive assurances from President Chen Shui-bian that Chen would do nothing drastic before the end of his presidential term. To speak to the two major presidential candidates would be natural for the AIT head in order to get a feeling for the priorities of each. To be concerned about President Chen doing something drastic is a bit over the top and another indication that the US has never had good communication channels with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). While the fault of this lies on both sides, it also continues to show how many in the USA's bureaucratic ranks not only don't have an ear to the ground in Taiwan but that they also still rely on their past wining and dining buddies of the past Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) era for information. Examine the laughable but oh-so-typical of media hype that followed Burghardt's visit. ...

Myth #3, Chiang Kai-shek Created the Taiwan Miracle for the Sake of Taiwan

Wednesday January 02

The Taiwan Miracle is regularly brought up by KMT to show its care for Taiwan. Myth #3, Chiang Kai-shek so loved Taiwan that he created the Taiwan Miracle for it. Answer: The Taiwan Miracle is a fact of history but it was not created for the sake of Taiwan. It was created because Chiang Kai-shek and the KMT realized that they would never retake China and that they might as well try to make a "heaven of their hell" in exile in Taiwan. To gain a needed and full perspective on what this means, one must compare it to the German Miracle and the Japanese Miracle after World War II. ...

Debunking the Myths of Chiang Kai-shek: Myth # 2, Chiang Kai-shek Rebuilt Taiwan

Tuesday January 01

A second myth that the profiteers and exploiters of Chiang Kai-shek's dictatorship use to justify their position and profit is to promote the idea that the people of Taiwan should be grateful to Chiang Kai-shek because he rebuilt it after World War II. This is Myth # 2: Chiang Kai-shek rebuilt Taiwan. Answer: Chiang Kai-shek (CKS) did not rebuild Taiwan; in reality, he is the one who brought it to its lowest degradation. ...

Debunking the Myths of Chiang Kai-shek: Myth # 1, Chiang Kai-shek Saved Taiwan

Tuesday January 01

There are many myths that surround Chiang Kai-shek. Most are perpetuated by those who still profit from his one party state dictatorship on Taiwan; these people use the myths to justify their gains and cover what really happened. A series of posts will follow debunking those myths. ...