Sunday, March 30, 2014

Taiwan to America: Your Attention is Needed, for Your Own Sake

Taiwan is burning.

It is a feeling felt on the streets surrounding the national legislature, occupied by students for more than a week now to oppose the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement with China. It is an emotion that is gushed over the screams, the loud shedding of tears, and harsh words of the protest spokespeople who had chosen to stand the make-shift central stages in rotation. They speak without an end, keeping the voice of the movement continuously heard, and in the process tirelessly rallying the sit-in crowd, whose members, hailing from all corners of the island, gave up their studies, jobs, and families to hold their ground.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

the Bird Chirps of Regret

The first rays of light in the morning accompanies the receding darkness of the night.  When bright colors of nature once again scar off the uniform blackness that enveloped the land, it is time to start anew, completely anew.  The clear blue sky heads into the mind through the eyes, clearing out any mental debris that tired it from the night before.  Refreshing, reinvigorating...it re-balances the senses and reassures one that what is past is the past, and what is future starts now, ready to be written on a new, blank chapter.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Democracy in Retreat: Why Are the Students so Angry?

For those people who are following Taiwanese politics at the moment, the past few days have been a bonanza.  An ambiguous announcement by the ruling Ma Ying-jeou administration that the ongoing ratification process for a second-stage free trade agreement with China will somehow bypass the normal legislative process has triggered a severe backlash from Taipei's student community.  In response to the legislature's meek non-response to executive intentions from the presidency, the students have surrounded, stormed, and occupied the legislature, starting a sit-in protest that is now entering its sixth day with no stop in sight.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

the Pseudo-Internationalization Paradox of Taiwan's de-Sinicization

A massive marketing poster for a new book was splashed across the gigantic display window of a bookstore on a busy street of Changhua City.  "No Relation to China," the book title read, "only by taking China out of its psyche can Taiwan realize its possibilities."  Great, finally someone is openly on the same page as the author when he spoke of the need for the Taiwanese to focus more on domestic politics, period.  But for some reason, placed in context in this particular geographic location, this gigantic poster started to take on an additional nuance...

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

3/11 Three Years Later and Reflecting the Ephemeral Nature of Human Life

For those who survived that life-changing massive earthquake rocking much of Japan on March 11th, 2011, it is difficult to believe that the event has officially marked its third anniversary of two days ago.  For the author, the memories of coyly remaining in fetal position on the 20th floor of a near collapsed office building are emotional scars that will undoubtedly remain with him for the remainder of life.  The Armageddon-like aftermath, with continuing aftershocks, anxious people clogging roads leading out of town, and empty shelves in every store, continue to remind him daily the very fragility of human society.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Possible Conspiracy behind Malaysian Airlines Flight 370

With the news of "disappeared" Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 slapped across the headlines of major global and Asian news outlets for several days now, it seems that all the intrigues and possibilities for the flight has become the only newsworthy news as of the moment.  In contrast, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine has been pushed way down the list of priorities for coverage, so much so that the author is starting to have fantasies that the country has gone back to its usual state as a decrepit but calm "transition economy" he met in person a few years ago.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Being in the Economic Fringe" is Actually a Matter of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The author began this lazy Saturday with an afternoon coffee with a Taiwan-based political risk consultant, serving American companies hoping to get established in the local market on the island.  As much as he tried his best to portray some advantages of Taiwan, especially in the technological and cost side of doing business, the key takeaway, ultimately, was how difficult it is to attract clientele for the local office here.  This was especially so when compared to other offices based in China and Southeast Asia, where clients piled in to inquire about services offered.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Hidden, Ignored Minorities of a Trumped-up "Diversity"

Deep in the forested hills of Taiwan's central mountain ranges, there is a little aboriginal village of a mere thousand people named Fuhsing.  A winding paved road pass through its main tourist strip where urbanites with cars stop over before heading further into the mountains to see lakes and waterfalls.  There on the strip is a small hole-in-the-wall serving up hearty portions of stirred-fried wild boar meat.  Its relatively dark interior and rather run-down facade compared to neighboring restaurants made it rather unpopular with the tourist crowd used to Taipei's bright lights.