Jerome F. Keating's writings

2012 - 3rd Quarter Writings

Taiwan/China Questions, Part I

Thursday September 20

As one observes goings on in China, that country on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, a number of questions naturally arise. Some are inspired by the behavior of the people of Hong Kong, a city that was returned to China in 1997. So now some 15 years after the return of Hong Kong to "mother" China what comes? ...

Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou Gets Caught Again with a Foot in Each of Two Boats

Tuesday September 18

While the disputes over the sovereignty of the Diaoyutai (Senkaku) Islands continue to dominate the news, Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou finds himself once again in a conundrum that his posturing and bravado will not solve. One cannot deny that posturing has served him well on occasion in the past, but at root here is something deeper, Ma's inability to break with his Chinese past. This attachment to his past leads to a divided thinking which in turn then dictates his unfortunate but frequent modus operandi, that of trying to keep a foot in each of two boats. ...

Taiwan vs. China, So Different in So Many Ways

Monday September 17

Taiwan and China are separated by a short distance across the Taiwan Strait; some of their past history is shared, some of it is not. But more important is to observe their protests,look at their focus, how they are organized and allowed and you will start to see how these two nations, one a democracy and the other a one-party controlling state and you will get into their differences.

The PRC Takes on Corvallis, Oregon and David Lin: Let 100 Murals Bloom

Wednesday September 12

A standard complaint of the People's Republic of China (PRC) is that others should avoid getting involved in China's internal affairs. This makes it all the more surprising when the Chinese consulate in San Francisco not only sent a strongly worded letter to the Mayor of Corvallis but also sent two of its diplomats up from San Francisco to the small town in western Oregon. Their complaint: remove the mural from David Lin's building that he owned there. ...

The Rules of the Game Have Changed: Taiwan's Next Big Protest is?

Friday September 07

Taiwan is no stranger to protests. From 2-28 on up to the present, protests have occurred with increasing frequency and over an increasing variety of issues. More recent protests include issues like the red shirts against corruption under Chen Shui-bian, China's anti-secession law, the import of beef, and even the anger and dissatisfaction following President Ma's first term in office. But with any social movement/protests, questions naturally arise on how to evaluate their success and effectiveness as well as how crucial they were to a nation's development? This past Saturday's protest against the WantWant China Times Group's attempts to create a media monopoly while comparatively small in size to other past protests ranks high in importance because of its link to democracy. A true democracy cannot function well if one corporation controls the media. Whether this protest was successful, however, still awaits judgment on the National Communications Commission's conditional decision on WantWant's purchase. If the conditions are too vague or "unmet" what will happen next? With this in mind, it is good look back and to examine three definitive protests in the shaping of Taiwan's democracy. In what ways can their success be measured and what was their price? ...

Hong Kong Protests Chinese "Brainwashing" in Textbooks

Wednesday September 05

Taiwan has its problems with Ma Ying-jeou's efforts to influence the textbooks used in its classrooms, but it is not the only place that faces that problem. A recent AFP article in the September 5, "Taipei Times" recounts how Hong Kong is similarly challenged by its government. ...

Taiwanese Take to the Streets Against the WantWant merger

Monday September 03

Scroll down to August 1 and August 12 where you see how WantWant began its attempts to monopolize the media in Taiwan. Despite editors quitting and the expressed concern of many, they have continued so the next step was to take to the streets. On Saturday, September 1, a highly successful protest was organized by the Association of Taiwan Journalists, the Campaign for Media REform, Taiwan Media Watch, the Alliance against Media Monsters and the Youth Alliance against Media. It was joined by many thousands ranging from students, concerned citizens, and participants from all walks of life. ...

Taiwan's Minister of Culture Leaves Questions as to What Country She is Minister of?

Thursday August 30

Speaking in Washington DC, Taiwan's Minister of Culture, Lung Ying-tai confused listeners as to what country she was actually the minister of. Lung was so overly apologetic and sympathetic (sometimes a bit condescendingly) on China, one wondered who had really given her, her credentials. ...

Taiwan & Deng Nan-jung's Death: It was not that Long Ago!

Wednesday August 22

It was barely 23 years ago; I was here but I was not paying attention to such things at that time; now I see its importance. Deng Nan-jung committed suicide by self-immolation when in 1989 the police tried to arrest him. His crime? He printed a proposal to have a new constitution--one for the Republic of Taiwan. In hindsight, he was ahead of his time. Taiwan does need a new Constitution; it should not have the 1947 one that the KMT brought with them when they lost the Civil War in China and imposed it on Taiwan. ...

Tsai Ing-wen Expresses What She Means by Thinking about Taiwan, Let's Join Her.

Monday August 20

With the presidential race over, many have asked what I plan to do next. For them I always have but one answer: think hard about Taiwan. Most respond to this with more than a little curiosity and skepticism. What exactly, they ask, is thinking hard about Taiwan? ...

Ma Ying-jeou's KMT Government is Lost and Fishing for Help

Thursday August 16

The most recent flap over the Diaoyutai Islands exposed the lack of policy direction in the Ma government. Ma of course had held that the Diaoyutai Islands belong to the Republic of China (ROC because of a 1952 treaty signed between Japan and the ROC. Ma of course ignored two key elements of history; the fact that in the 1952 San Francisco Peace Treaty Japan never stipulated to whom it would give Taiwan, while the Diaoyutai were omitted. Further Japan signed a treaty in the 1970s with the People's Republic of China (PRC) making all previous treaties with "China" null and void. So much for Ma's knowledge of history. ...

China as the World Turns, What about Bo Xilai? And ...

Sunday August 12

Scroll down to August 1 where we mentioned how the Want Want China Times Group started to present its version of "bully news." Bully news means that if we don't like the real news we will re-write it till it says what we want it to, and in the process will try to bully anyone who criticizes or exposes us.

China as the World Turns, What about Bo Xilai? And ...

Friday August 10

It has all the makings of a true page turner as the plot thickens. Any aspiring murder mystery/espionage novelists out there? When Neil Heywood died in China, the body was immediately cremated so that any trace of foul play/poisoning etc. would be destroyed. Now Gu Kailai, the wife of Bo Xilai (a man with many enemies though previously on a track for a higher position in China) all of a sudden admits to the murder despite lack of any hard evidence. Gu is rumored to have been linked romantically with Heywood. Heywood allegedly endangered Gu's playboy son in England?? You could not get a better novel if you spent a year inventing the plot. ...

London's Regent Street Exposes Charades Over Taiwan

Friday August 03

There are charades and then there are charades; so too there are pretensions and then there are pretensions! And while political, economic and even social necessities often dictate that nations and their people are periodically involved in some form of political charades and pretensions, there also comes a time when those nations but more particularly the people of those nations will say, "Enough is enough; this is becoming ridiculous!" That is what recently happened at the 2012 Olympics in London in what could be called the Regent Street Affair. ...

Want Want China Times Turns into a Media Bully in Taiwan

Wednesday August 01

While the Olympics are going on in London, back home in Taiwan the Want Want China Times Media Group is seeking to control much of Taiwan's media by acquiring cable TV services of China Network Systems. Students and academics are protesting this. Want Want's response with its bullying tactics is proving just what the protest is about, the media being abused by corporate groups for their own end. ...

Hsu Shu-ching Brings Home Taiwan's First Medal at Olympics

Tuesday July 31

Taiwan's first Olympic medal was brought home by Hsu Shu-ching as she lifted 123 kg to secure second place in the women's 53 kg weightlifting event. This earned her a silver medal. Much to the happiness and pride of her compatriots and of teammates who have to participate under the offensive out-dated name of Chinese Taipei, she declared on the podium, "I am Taiwanese." Hopefully, others will join her in getting rid of the aforementioned name which harkens back to the days when Taiwan had to endure one-party state rule ...

Lin Yi-shih Exposes Taiwan's Unfinished and Unresolved Past

Tuesday July 24

A key theme in Sophocles' tragedy, Oedipus Rex, is the inescapable legacy of unresolved past crimes involving the state; with them came their prophetic curse. The people of Thebes, caught in the mire of these past crimes (perhaps because they purposely overlooked them) suffer. As they struggle to get on with life with its immediate challenges including the riddle of the Sphinx, they find that even when that is solved, they still cannot escape the past. Their former king, Laius, is part of it all. He had been welcomed despite his own past of having abused the hospitality of the King of Pelops. Laius in turn tries to escape the prediction of death by his son by binding that son's feet and ordering him to be left for dead. Oedipus, that son, in trying to avoid his role unknowingly makes his way back to Thebes to fulfill the curse. As the play opens, the citizens have ironically come to Oedipus for the solution. But Thebes will not be cleansed until justice is rendered and retribution for past crimes achieved. Taiwan finds itself in a comparable situation; it struggles with many external threats, a hegemonic neighbor, the troubling economy of a modern world etc. But Taiwan also remains haunted by a failure to face and resolve its inescapable past. The widening corruption case of Lin Yi-shih highlights how that past, periodically buried, regularly resurfaces in the corrupt systems endemic in the state's legacy.

Taipei Zoo Touts Baby Koala Coming Out

Monday July 23

On the lighter side, Taipei Zoo announced that its baby koala has finally come out of the mother's pouch (after 179 days) to face the world. Perhaps it is telling us something. Nonetheless, the young koala seems to be doing OK; good news for the staff and the mother since first born koalas have a 70 per cent mortality rate. ...

US Homeland Security Recognizes Taiwan

Sunday July 22

Finally some sense is being made in the US; the Department of Homeland Security will now allow Taiwanese citizens entering the US to list Taiwan as their country of citizenship instead of China. ...

Another Ma Ying-jeou Failure Adds to His Legacy

Saturday July 21

There are some who may wonder why many people in Taiwan refer to its current president, Ma Ying-jeou as Ma Ying-joke, or Ma the Incompetent, but the recent revelations on the Maokong Gondola seem bent on cementing that legacy for Ma. ...

Lin Yi-Shih KMT Scandal Continues to Unravel

Wednesday July 18

As the KMT corruption scandal continues to unravel, an interesting twist or irony came out; Lin Yi-Shih had failed the lie detector test; and as could be said, like mother, like son came true in reverse. Lin's mother, Shen Juo-lan failed the lie detector test as well when she was brought in by the Special Investigation Division (SID) as well. Lin's mother is the one that was caught stuffing some NT$18 million dollars into plastic bags and throwing them into a nearby pond--presumably to be retrieved later on. She also was burning an large sum of US$ dollars in her backyard. ...

Matsu Rolls the Dice on More than Just Casinos

Saturday July 14

There are many reasons for voting to have a casino in one's county, city or even neighborhood just as there are many reasons for voting not to have a casino there; this piece is not going to examine those arguments. Nonetheless having said that, when the island of Matsu recently voted in a referendum to approve the building of a casino resort, it had to consider such. Yet what happened went beyond that and revealed a happening that promised to shake Taiwan. For the Matsu vote involved not just the weighing of the pros and cons of casinos; it involved other factors that dealt with democracy and rule of law as well as the real and metaphoric aspects of gambling and bluffing. ...

Book Review on Taiwan's Politicized Society

Thursday July 12

I share this book review from the Taiwan Communique, No. 136. It highlights a key issue of what is still wrong in Taiwan and why there should be little surprise with the recent corruption scandal Lin Yi-shih who was appointed by Ma Ying-jeou; it further highlights why Ma's platitudes are not the way to root out ccorruption; he must go deeper into his own party and heritage, an area where platitudes are ineffective. It is a matter of taking apart the house that supports him. ...

Matsu Casino Adds Spice and Controversy to Taiwan's Problems

Monday July 09

While Matsu was able to resist constant bombardment and attacks in the past, it appears that the island fortress will soon fall to the combined forces of the gamblers of Taiwan and China. By a narrow referendum vote and again the use of a double standard for referendums, the citizens of Matsu voted to approve a casino on their island. When built the proposed casino will host some 2000 gamblers--one fifth of the population of the island. Yet another drama is added to the challenges facing Taiwan and a more spicy topic for the bhagwa mill. Stay tuned on this one; not as deadly as the KMT corruption issue, but certainly something with interesting future results ...

Lin Yi-shih Brings More Shame to the Ma Administration in Taiwan

Thursday July 05

It is time for Taiwanese to do what was important in the Watergate scandal in the USA; it is time to do basically what Deep Throat recommended. "Follow the money." Lin Yi-shih was accused of taking bribes; he denied it; then in two days he reversed that and admitted guilt. The obvious question is why would a KMT person all of a sudden do a 180 degree turn and admit to what will bring him a prison term. ...