Jerome F. Keating's writings

2010 - 1st Quarter Writings

The ECFA ads, Who is Paying for Them? Taiwan's Taxpayers? the KMT or China?

Sunday March 28

It is two years into the reign of Ma the Incompetent and it appears that the one-trick pony is getting desperate to defend his ECFA efforts and drag Taiwan into economic dependency on the People's Republic of China (PRC). The latest effort of Ma and his combination hired gun/snake oil salesman King Pu-tsung are expensive TV ads saying how the country will totally lose its competitiveness if it does not give the government a blank check to sign ECFA. Allegedly if the people don't sign this blank check by June, it is all over for Taiwan. Can you believe such absurdities? ...

Taiwan and China, Geographically Close but Miles Apart Otherwise

Friday March 26

Taiwan and China are two countries separated by some 100 miles of the Taiwan Strait; they are close but so far apart in so many ways. Take today for example, it is ironic that as Google is leaving China because it no longer wishes to be part of its censorship of news and information, in Taiwan, Portico Media is launching WOW (Watch our World) tv. With WOW tv, Portico presents what it terms a "bouquet" of channels for Taiwan on Chunghwa Telecom's IPTV (Internet Protocol television) MOD (Multimedia on Demand). ...

The 1996 Consensus, an Idea Whose Time Has Finally Come!

Saturday March 20

Although Taiwan's current President Ma Ying-jeou regularly repeats and revels in this 1992 fabrication, the time has come for all Taiwanese to once and for all dump the hypocrisy of the "1992 Consensus." The so-called consensus of 1992 is a fraud, a deception, a duplicitous trick formulated by Su Chi. Allegedly the purpose was to facilitate cross-strait talks, but even then the People's Republic of China (PRC) never even publicly agreed to it. Further, the talks that were being "facilitated" at that time were not nation to nation talks, but rather they were party to party talks between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). What was really happening was that both parties were trying to find a way to maintain the legitimacy of their roots, and claim that there was only "one China" and each of course represented it. That idea must be scrapped. ...

"Formosa Betrayed" Movie Review by Roger Ebert Lays it Bare

Friday March 19

If a picture is worth 1000 words, imagine what a film can do in enlightening the audiences of America about Taiwan's White Terror Period (1947--1987). It is a period that most Americans know little about. If Americans believed that Taiwan was championing democratic values under Chiang Kai-shek, they are in for a rude, major shock. This film gives a much clearer picture of what was really going on on this side of the world. It was not that long ago and many of the political figures currently active in Taiwan were involved in the many cover-ups of abuses of justice and human rights. The story line is a composite of several real murders from the 1980s. I came to Taiwan in 1988, the year after Martial Law was lifted, and have written numerous articles on this topic. The following review of "Formosa Betrayed" by film critic Roger Ebert confirms them all. Ebert's comments and review follow. ...

Taiwan's Poltical Soap Opera Update: The Diane Lee Effect and Justice Served?

Sunday March 14

Taiwan's political soap opera under Ma Ying-joke continues, and a new factor in the political scene is what can be called the "Diane Lee Effect." Suffering from it is Kaohsiung's People First Party (PFP) City Councilor Yang Se-yu. Diane Lee, for those who may not recognize the name, is the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator who for 14 years had illegally collected over US$3 million dollars in salary in violation of the Nationality Act. The KMT Lee had held dual passports for both Taiwan and the United States. The national loyalty of any government official with dual passports is immediately suspect; with that is the possibility that they can easily do things harmful to the national interests of the country. In this, they possess the relative immunity of having the means for an immediate escape if the harm of their actions is revealed. ...

Cambodia Part III, Angkor Wat and Other Scenes

Tuesday March 09

The main temple of Angkor Wat is designed to be a microcosm of the Hindu universe. The moat that surrounds the temple symbolize the mythical oceans that surround the earth; the concentric galleries and the towers represent the mountains that lead up to Mount Meru the home of the gods. It should be visited more than once if time allows and one of the times should be at sunrise. The opening photos of this sequence display the quiet mood that pervades as visitors have come across the causeway ...

Cambodia Part II, Ta Prohm, Mystery, Intrigue and Wonder

Sunday March 07

I must admit, that Ta Prohm was for me the most engaging part of Angkor Wat. True, it was the focal area of the film "Lara Croft, Tomb Raider;" but that wasn't the reason, and the film had taken a lot of liberty with set and camera angles. No, the appeal lay in the fact that it was this temple and its environs that the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient decided to leave (as much as possible) in the natural state that the whole of Angkor Wat was found in by its 19th century discoverers. ...

Cambodia Part I, Tonle Sap, the Great Lake and People

Friday March 05

Among Cambodia's many unique features, Tonle Sap (The Great Lake) stands out. Enhancing the lake's uniqueness is its relationship to the 7th largest river in Asia, the Mekong River. The Mekong begins way up in the Himalayas and drains down through China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos into Cambodia. It does not stop there of course; from there it goes into Vietnam (remember the many war movies that treated it there) and finally the sea. ...

February 28, 2-28, Taiwan Remains a Day of Mixed Emotions

Sunday February 28

One can always look at Taiwan in terms of the past or in terms of the present. Never is that brought home more than on February 28th. In terms of the present, today many are celebrating the victory of the DPP party in 3 of the 4 by-elections held yesterday. Again as a statement of no-confidence in the Ma administration's policies, and despite heavy campaigning by the KMT including President Ma, the voters by way of the ballot box re-iterated the fact that Ma's approval ratings and performance ratings remain low, a low that is somewhere between 20 to 30 per cent. So Taiwanese can be happy that they can democratically and freely express their disapproval. But 2-28 means more. ...

Angkor Wat and Mysteries of Cambodia

Thursday February 25

I will be posting shortly on experiences in visiting Angkor Wat and the mysteries how such a thriving civilization and large temple array around which once lived over a million people could disappear into the forests and trees of the land for centuries. In the meantime, if you want to whet your appetite, go to the left column where the photographs are listed and click onto Cambodia. There you will find three sets of photos, including Ta Prahm--the area made famous by the film, "Lara Croft, Tomb Raider" Enjoy.

Taiwan, As the World Turns in February, Chou Hsi-wei Breaks down in Tears

Tuesday February 23

It was another dramatic Taiwan Kodak moment and Chou Hsi-wei was there in the midst of it. After many years of incompetent rule, this Mayor of Taipei County with his flair for grandiose drama tearfully announced that he would not run for re-election. Why? It wasn't that he did not want to run; it was that his party, the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) politely refused to let him. Five crucial elections are coming up in December and the Mayor of the newly formed Sinbei City where Chou would run is one of them. The KMT cannot afford to lose any one of the five, but Sinbei City is one of the more crucial. ...

Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou Continues to Invite Voters to Live in his Fantasy World

Friday February 19

Caught in another faux pas, Taiwan's sometime-president, Ma Ying-jeou, (a.k.a. Ma the Incompetent) crawfished backwards from his recent statement that China and Taiwan were two different nations. In an effort to save face, Ma has chosen instead to continue to invite Taiwan and the world to join him in his make-believe, fantasy world. Key to that world is the out-dated and out-moded 1947 Constitution of the Republic of China (ROC). In Ma's fantasy world, the ROC is the sovereign nation of China and the People's Republic of China (PRC) is a non-entity. According to Ma, he does not recognize the sovereignty of the PRC nor their rulers' rightful existence. Skip the fact that they do hold the United Nation's seat for China. All that Ma will concede is a "non-denial" of their existence in that nebulous "area" on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. ...

Taiwan's Double Standard and the "Dogs of Bias"

Wednesday February 10

Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian has been in jail since December 30, 2008 (over 400 days). The change in judges requested by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to keep him there has extended his imprisonment for the third time. This time it is for two more months. His case reeks of the double standard that has never left Taiwan's prosecutorial function and the courts since the one-party state days of the KMT. While Ma Ying-jeou's former law professor Jerome Cohen and scores of professors have written open-letter after open-letter to point out these inconsistencies and erosion of justice, all the Minister of Justice (MOJ) and the Government Information Office (GIO) do is to laugh and try to create a veneer of legitimacy over Ma Ying-jeou's government. ...

The Continued Hypocrisy of Ma Ying-jeou's Government I

Monday February 08

The hypocrisy and pretense fostered by the government of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is once again demonstrated by Ma's former law professor as he observes how Ma's Minister of Justice attempts to make Taiwan emulate China. An edited version of this text appeared in English in the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) on January 20, 2010 under the title "Under Threat," and appeared in Chinese on January 21, in the China Times (Taiwan) (繁體中文)(简体中文). by Jerome A. Cohen and Yu-Jie Chen. It is important to read this to understand the continuous and disparate double standard that Ma's people place Taiwan under. Wake up Taiwan! ...

Taiwan Struggles with Its Identity and the GIO is No Help

Tuesday February 02

Taiwan is a nation replete with anomalies, an out-moded constitution and a big identity problem. Only the Taiwanese can solve this problem, but to do so, they must face up to the totality of their past, admit who they are and decide where they want to go. Nowhere are these issues and problems more easily seen and recorded than in the recent and annual Government Information Office's (GIO) publication "The Republic of China Yearbook 2009." If you think the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing or wants, you need look no further. ...

Forcing Taiwan's KMT to Face the Reality of Loss

Saturday January 30

The death of a dream and the loss of a country are terrible things to face and admit. It has been sixty years since the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lost its civil war in China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) drove them into exile. Sixty years! But even though sixty years have passed, many KMT members have still not gone through the five stages of the grieving process and come to accept that loss. Instead, they remain locked in one or other of the earlier stages of grief (denial, anger, and bargaining). Acceptance is too hard a pill to swallow, but as the KMT wallows in its grief, denial and pity, Taiwan suffers. ...

Taiwan's Great ECFA Debate that Never Was and Probably Never Will Be

Tuesday January 26

Ma Ying-jeou has been president of Taiwan for almost two years and Taiwan's economy still flounders. Like a one-trick pony, Ma seems only capable of playing the run-to-China card, but so far his panda and tourist gambits and direct flights have done nothing. His advisors have no other pro-offered plans or proposals. So as desperation mounts for the past year he has been touting an unknown economic framework agreement (ECFA) with China. Despite previous failed experiments, this will be Taiwan's salvation. That is great but despite his claims of transparency and openness, no one still knows what Ma's ECFA will entail. Not to worry, says Ma, just give me a blank check and I will take care of everything. That of course is what a growing number of Taiwanese fear, i.e. that Ma will take care of everything so that there will be no Taiwan left. ...

Taiwan, As the World Turns, Life Under Ma the Incompetent: the Great Panda Fiasco

Sunday January 24

The soap opera of life in Taiwan continues under its so-called President, Ma the Incompetent, a.k.a. Ma Ying-joke. People no longer commiserate about the joke of his 6-3-3 campaign promise. Nor do they even mention the joke of his promise that his great rapprochement with China would bring over 3,000 well-heeled, free-spending Chinese per day to turn Taiwan's economy around. All Taiwan got were loud mouth pikers who when they weren't spitting on the sidewalks were trying to stiff restaurants because they didn't bring much money. The latest sad thing that makes people wonder "Why did we ever believe him?" is the great panda fiasco. ...

The KMT's Sordid Past Relives Itself under Ma Ying-jeou

Wednesday January 20

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is a past master of fat-cat positions and bought loyalties. Who can not help but remember the inequalities of its forced forty year one-party state rule of Taiwan. Who cannot help but remember how while promoting the ruse of being pro-democracy the KMT guaranteed party members lucrative lifelong positions in the Legislative Yuan (LY). After it lost China's Civil War, the KMT retreated to Taiwan in 1949. Party members elected to the LY in 1947, never had to face another election until 1992 when Lee Teng-hui finally cleaned house. Most LY members by that time had either died or were ready to retire with fat pensions. Is the past, the past? Not on your life. ...

Friedman Leaves Me Cold, Flat, and Disgusted

Friday January 15

Between the known and the unknown, falls the shadow. Between the surface and reality falls the guess. Between what can be controlled and what cannot, falls the wish. Between the shadow, the guess, and the wish, comes the consultant, a shadowy seller of guesses striving to say truisms that the wishers want to hear. Thomas Friedman, "The World is Flat" (2005) and the World is "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" (2008), recently graced the shores of Taiwan, and demonstrated this process. Unfortunately the more one listens to him, the more one wonders how he ever became a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner. Or better yet, what judgment standards does the Pulitzer Prize Board have? In the 14 Journalistic categories awarded only to paid entrants, does cleverness trump content? Does style trump substance? ...

Taiwan, January 2010: As the World Turns

Saturday January 09

Saturday January 9, 2010, a clean sweep for the DPP as it took the three Legislative Yuan positions that were up for re-election when vacated because of among other things previous KMT vote-buying. Ma's new spin-doctor KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung is going to be working overtime to try and put a positive spin on this one. All three positions had been KMT held. More by-elections in February, but the immediate damage is that the DPP now has more than one-fourth of the Legislative positions and can officially challenge the President in legislative matters. ...

Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou Rules by Fiat, Why then is No One Listening?

Thursday January 07

The more one watches Ma Ying-jeou's distant management style, the more one thinks of Swift's floating island of Laputa in his satire, "Gulliver's Travels". From high above, the king of the floating island communicates with his subjects down below via written orders, directives and messages lowered in a basket. His subjects must respond in kind placing requests and petitions in the basket to be hauled up for consideration. Swift is satirizing the Hanover King George I of England who did not speak the language of the people and preferred to rule from afar (Germany to be exact). Ma of course does speak a faltering Taiwanese, but his mind is not on Taiwan. It's elsewhere dreaming of restoring the mythic Republic of China that never lost the Civil War and still rules China by its 1947 Constitution. ...

Taiwan Up, Now There is an Embarassing Expression

Monday January 04

Even though Dubai now claims the world's tallest operative building, Taipei 101 (having held that boast for 5 years) still stands proud and tall over the city of Taipei. Proud and tall, that is, except for one item, the unfortunate glowing lights spelling out "Taiwan Up" on its façade. Taiwan Up, who came up with that embarrassing inept slogan? ...

Where's the Beef? It's Smell the Coffee Time in the USA

Friday January 01

Those of us, who live at ground zero in Taiwan, have long grown tired of hearing pundits and distant observers in USA media etc. judge things from a distance and spout or believe the pearls handed them by their past wine and dine Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) friends. For the past eighteen months we have heard those pundits speak in glorious terms about how the election of Ma Ying-jeou was going to solve all the problems in the Taiwan Strait, harmonize the triangle of the USA, Taiwan and China and allow everyone to become millionaires. ...