Jerome F. Keating's writings

2013 - 1rd Quarter Writings

Is Taiwan Finally Beginning to Smell the Coffee as Regards President Ma

Sunday March 31

Some people complain about how Ma gets blamed for everything that has gone wrong; too simplistic, unfortunately! Those same simpletons forget that Ma has long taken credit for his unfulfilled promises and all the hopes that he fostered about everything going right, like ECFA etc. being the salvation of Taiwan. ...

Taiwan at its Best! The Mystery Camera

Saturday March 30

Six years ago an American woman, Lindsay Scallan lost her camera while scuba diving in Hawaii (2007). That camera somehow managed to work its way across the Pacific from Hawaii to Taiwan and ended up on a beach in Taitung County (the southeast part of Taiwan). ...

Taiwan as the World Turns, More Questionable Government Promises

Friday March 29

Two recent items in today's news make one wonder what are the priorities of the Ma government. The first is that the government will ease restrictions for Chinese students to enter Taiwan universities. That may be well and good if the universities are getting low on their enrollment figures and therefore are in search of some extra income by allowing Chinese students to attend universities here. But there are other items where questions would arise. ...

Taiwan's Wang Chien-ming Signs a Contract to Return to the Yankees

Monday March 25

Take a step away from politics and other matters Taiwan, and celebrate native son Wang Chien-ming's return to the Yankee establishment. Wang had recently had two strong outings of six shutout innings over both Australia and Japan in the World Baseball Classic; and he may have been able to go more, but the rules would only allow each pitcher to a maximum of 80 pitches a game. For Wang, that would be about 4.5 pitches a batter--not bad. ...

Wu Li-pei Takes Taiwan's Dinosaur Prosecutors and Judges to Court

Sunday March 24

Taiwan got its full democracy in 1996 when all eligible Taiwanese were allowed to elect their president. However, that did not solve the nation's problems nor resolve the many challenges that remain. Among these challenges is how to rectify the problem of dinosaur judges and prosecutors from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) one-party state era where the KMT not only used the police force and military police to carry out its whims, but it also used the court system to punish any opposition that escaped the police and Garrison Command. ...

China, If it isn't SARS, or Buried Trains, it is Dead Pigs

Wednesday March 20

Hum the following to yourself to the tune of "Where have all the flowers gone."
Where have all the piggies gone, long time passing!
Where have all the piggies gone, long time ago,
Where have all the piggies gone, Dumped in rivers every one,
When will Shanghai ever learn? When will they ever learn? ...

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou to Attend Pope Francis's Inauguration

Sunday March 17

If one reads these columns, he/she would know that after some initial good impressions I have never been that appreciative of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou either from the standpoint of competency and/or ability as well as his over reliance on style rather than substance, so you may find it surprising that when I read that Ma was to attend the Pope's inauguration, I was pleased. ...

Taiwan and Chinese Taipei???

Thursday March 14

While politicians, pundits, media moguls and academics quibble, ponder and parse words in too often self-effacing kowtows to China over discourse, sometimes it takes a good old fashioned, common sense, down to earth baseball manager like Buck Showalter, manager of the Baltimore Orioles to cut through the crap and say it is time to tell it like it is and express what is a de facto reality, namely Taiwan is Taiwan and China is China--end of story! ...

Taiwan and Referendums

Wednesday March 13

Taiwan had a large protest against nuclear power and all polls point to a belief by the public that the 4th nuclear power plant should not be built. Will that come to a referendum or not? Even if it did, a lot could depend on how the referendum is worded. ...

Taiwan Prepares to March this Weekend and Many Issues are Involved

Friday March 08

While Taiwan's baseball team is playing well--not always winning, but playing well--the citizens are preparing to march this weekend. ...

Taiwan, Are you Feeling Like the World is Your Oyster?

Friday March 08

Within the last month, Taiwan's president Ma Ying-jeou has stated that the relations between Taiwan and the USA are the best that they have ever been in the last half century. He also stated that the relations between Taiwan and Japan are the best they have ever been in the last half century. And finally, he stated just yesterday that the relations between Taiwan and China are the best they have ever been, also in the past half century. ...

Taiwan, As the World Turns! Nuclear Power and more

Monday March 04

A current issue in Taiwan remains the question of building a fourth nuclear power plant. With the recent disaster in Japan and the current problems with inadequate nuclear storage, this is a problem that must be dealt with in the nation. However, it raises a deeper issue with it--the question of the high bar for referendums. ...

Taiwan Commemorates 2-28 When the KMT Began to Seriously Enforce its One-Party State

Thursday February 28

When WWII ended, Taiwan began to be denuded of everything from rice to steel to anything that could be used in the KMT's losing effort in China. But Taiwan's troubles are clearly marked by 2-28, er-er-ba, when the seething mistreatment boiled over with the striking of a street vendor selling contraband cigarettes and the shooting of an innocent protester. This brought about the upcoming Martial Law and White Terror in which over 30 thousand Taiwanese were killed and/or disappeared and thousands more would be imprisoned. ...

Finally! the Control Yuan Has OK's the report on the "flaws" in the Care of Former President Chen Shui-bian

Saturday February 23

There were many "flaws" in the trial and prosecution of Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian. Most notable was that the prosecutors would not allow him to meet privately with his lawyers to plan his defense. They did not allow it until Taiwan's Supreme Court said that it was out and out illegal; even after that declaration was given, they still blocked a private meeting until the court order officially worked its way down to be put in writing--a process that took over a month. The numerous other flaws I have written about earlier. ...

Taiwan's Lien Chan Goes to China Again Under a Cloud

Saturday February 23

Lien Chan is a man who grew up in the days of the KMT's one-party state in Taiwan. When democracy came to Taiwan, he was left wondering who moved his cheese. Lien Chan never won an election on his own. And so it seems ironic that a man who grew up in a one-party state (and was never successful in a democratic vote) would supposedly represent Taiwan's democracy in any shape or form as he goes to talk to the one-party state people in China. Not only that, he brings a 40-member delegation with him on this trip. ...

Will China Ever be a Democracy? Not in this Century!

Friday February 08

Taiwan's nascent democracy is less than two decades old. It was 1996 when all Taiwanese were finally able to freely elect the nation's president and despite its expected growing pains, this fledgling democracy has proven to be alive and well. As a result, pundits in the West and even Taiwan's current president are tempted to push forward the idea that Taiwan can be a model of for China to follow suit. Such is the unrealistic talk that pipe dreams are made of, or to borrow Samuel Johnson's statement on second marriages, the triumph of hope over experience. It just is not going to happen; certainly not in this century; the danger instead would be China's swallowing Taiwan's democracy. ...

Taiwan as the World Turns: a Potpurri of Events

Friday February 08

Premier designate Jiang Yi-huah is entering office with the shadow of tax fraud allegations; not a good sing for coming year of the Snake; it makes one wonder if there is any association. Not a good sign if this is the guy that is supposed to get the economy rolling; let's hope he does not rob Peter to pay Paul. ...

Putin Turns and Supports the Russian Orthodox Church

Wednesday February 06

As a man who constantly tried to stamp out religion and replace it with hard core communism, Stalin must be turning in his grave. Recently as a sign that one cannot control people's belief systems regardless of how hard one tries, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that the Russian Orthodox Church should have more control over Russian life, education, and military. That is a big Say What?? ...

Premier Sean Chen Barely Lasts One Year

Sunday February 03

Premier Sean Chen, one of Ma's appointees did the honorable thing and fell on his sword for Ma Ying-jeou. I had predicted that he would not last a year; I was wrong, he lasted a year and a month?? Sean Chen had a thankless job; he had to implement Ma's policies without having much control over stating what they should be. Basically it is being given the responsibility for a job, but not the power to change and establish policies. It was one of those jobs where people make a betting pool on how long he would last. ...

Taiwan's Ma Admits Pension Plan Problems

Thursday January 31

Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou recently announced that there will be pension reforms to the current system. In saying this, Ma described the Pension Plan as a runaway train that is traveling toward a cliff. All well and good--there may be some comfort in Ma admitting this, but an obvious questions follows. ...

Taiwan as the World Turns: Diaoyutais/Senkakus Madness

Thursday January 24

Recently, a group of shall we say "crazies" or "fanatics" chartered a ship to go from Shenao Port (New Taipei City) to place a statue of Matsu on the uninhabited Diaoyutais/Senkaku Islands--the same ones contested by Taiwan, Japan, and China. All well and good, if such types feel the need to do so and that it would make an unofficial statement by them as they try to claim Taiwan's sovereignty over the islands. ...

New Thoughts for a New Age: Japan as Taiwan's Ally, and not a Threat

Tuesday January 22

In politics and war, the truism holds that no enemy is an enemy forever and no friend is a friend forever. Whether that is absolute or not, a quick look at the frequent changing and shifting alignments between allies and foes from World War I (WWI) to World War II (WWII) on into the subsequent Cold War suggests its accuracy. Thus, today, in the Asia Pacific region, for example, countries that previously fought against Japan's WWII expansionism now find themselves more threatened by a different expanding power, their previous ally, China. In a recent Financial Times's interview, Albert del Rosario Foreign Secretary of the Philippines saw fit to address his nation's changing concerns this way. He said in effect that the time has come for Japan to be an active player in regional security; it should upgrade its military and to change article 9 of its "Peace Constitution." ...

Jan 13 Protest Brings Out the Crowds But Even More Trouble Looms on the Horizon

Thursday January 17

The Protest on January 13th was very successful in expressing the voice of dissatisfaction among the people. And if there are any in Washington DC or China who think that the Taiwanese are happy with the direction that the Ma government is trying to take Taiwan, they can be classified as "self-delusional fools." There can be no doubt that in the minds of some in DC and Beijing that they think that they can settle the Taiwan matter between themselves; such thinking is paternalistic and as I said self-delusional. Hopefully, there are at least some wiser and more perceptive minds in Washington. ...

Taiwan as the World Turns: Big Protest on January 13

Friday January 11

On January 13, the DPP opposition party and its allies will be taking to the streets. Reminiscent of the film, "Network" it is a chance for everyone to say, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" from the bumbling Ma administration. Officially the translation goes something like, "Giving vent to fury!" All in all it is a chance for anyone and everyone who have grown tired of the failed Ma promises and posturing to say, "enough is enough." This is an interesting scenario for a man who barely a year ago was re-elected to the Presidency by what some false prophets called a "landslide" and others of us who saw something different in Ma's dwindling numbers from his 2008 win, called the hand writing on the wall. ...

Ma Ying-jeou Against a Statue of Liberty in Taiwan?

Friday January 04

There is a developing case against Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou and Kinmen County Culture Affairs Bureau Director Li Shi-lung in a US District Court. The case again seems to be both an example of more bumbling by those led by Ma, and Ma's need to micromanage all things that would hurt his image. ...

Ma's Next Promise--He Will Keep the Labor Pension Fund Afloat. How?

Thursday January 03

Close on the heels of his New year's promises comes Ma's next promise. #2 for this year's record. As Ma's Premier approves substantial bonuses for the state run businesses, Ma is promising he will turn things around. For those who were here last fall, Ma said that his government would do that in 3 months; that promise was made about 4 months ago, so it is no wonder that people are beginning to take their lump sum retirement benefits out of the Labor Pension Fund quicker than Ma can make a promise to keep it from going bankrupt. ...

Ho-hum, Another Promise from Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou; This One at New Year's

Wednesday January 02

There are times when one does not know whether to laugh or cry at Taiwan politics. The New Year address of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou is just another example of such. To laugh? Well actions speak louder than words. ...