"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

I've got your "ethnic divisiveness" right here!

An anal-retentive analysis

When rumors, distortions, blatant lies, and outright libel/slander are being spread like the flu, I find myself wanting to investigate every misplaced hyphen.

Why the hell shouldn't I just believe everything the media tells me?

Well, beyond the contradictions that jump right out and grab you by the throat if you pay enough attention, I guess there really isn't any reason to distrust the media -- which is to say, you would do well to question everything you see, hear, and read (especially this post).

Which brings me to my main point.

The latest meme in Taiwan's news coming from the opposition crybaby losers in the recent presidential election (and from at least one turncoat within the Democratic Progressive Party), is that all of the trouble in the universe since the beginning of time was not caused by Clinton's penis, but rather by Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian and his "campaign trick" of "ethnic divisiveness."

(I did say to question this post, didn't I? Okay, just double-checking.)

On Monday night's "Xin wen wa wa wa" ("News, dig, dig, wow!"), Tung Chih-sen, an editor from the Chinese-language, pro-unification United Daily News stated that the pan-greens were the ones that created the so-called dichotomy of: "Do you love Taiwan or not?" This is incredibly bad framing of the debate because it never happened! This question was formed as a negative reaction by Taiwan's opposition (the pan-blues) to the people on the pan-greens' side who simply said they were standing up because they love Taiwan.

Is there any-fucking-thing wrong with that?!

An editorial in Tuesday's eTaiwanNews ("National identity, not ethnicity, is issue") takes a stance similar to my own position on this subject:
In essence, the question of whether someone "loves" or "sells out" Taiwan is more of an issue of national identity than of ethnicity or ethnic identity.The groundwork for our current "ethnic" problems was laid by the arrival of the Kuomintang-ruled "Republic of China" regime in 1945, which immediately put Taiwanese into the category of "this province" similar to people from provinces all over the China mainland. This division created considerable divisions and resentment during the following decades and inhibited the assimilation of "mainlanders" into Taiwanese society.

Another historical source of the current social tensions is undoubtedly the decades of fear, frustation, humiliation and hatred imposed on native Taiwanese by the massive slaughter of the February 28th Incident in 1947 and the series of "white terror" repression and numerous other cases of political suppression and human rights violations. During this time, the KMT also played on ethnic divisions within Taiwan society, brewing mutual suspicion among the Hokhlo, Hakka and indigenous peoples. [MORE]
Sisy Chen is another politician who loves, loves, LOVES to "ethnically divide," and now, even the KMT is starting to turn against her. She is a whore in the truest sense: she'll say anything for money and fame, no matter how ludicrous it may be. Once, The-One-Who-Can't-Spell ("Sisy Fuss"?) tried to fool people with her "good English" in a TV interview where she said she had gone to the Federation of American Scientists' web site (where it had been explained by Chen Shui-bian's administration that the information about the Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan could be found by one and all) and done a search for "496 missiles." Because she got no hits, that meant that President Chen was "lying." (Isn't her logic just amazing?!)


I was able to find the information, but that's only because I didn't limit myself to those search terms. (Sisy Chen obviously can't do math, either.) Here's something with more of an explanation:
In fact, the cited figure of 496 missiles does not appear on the FAS web site. It was evidently inferred from satellite photos and relied upon assumptions about the number of missiles per missile launcher detected and the number of launchers per brigade. [Emphasis mine] [LINK]
Now, if we expand the earlier statement to say that the fas.org web site was where some of the information about the 496 missiles was found, and consider the ability to do simple multiplication and addition, it turns out that President Chen was not "lying" at all. (If you want to see what is probably the original source of the information regarding the "496 missiles," take a look at this page on the FAS web site which has maps, satellite images, and descriptions of the types of missiles at various locations along the coast of China facing Taiwan.)

By the way, certain pan-blue politicians said that by telling the people of Taiwan about the missiles President Chen was "leaking state secrets." To tell the public that another country is pointing missiles at them is considered "leaking state secrets"?! I guess that shows which side of the Taiwan Strait their hearts are on, eh?

Who's creating this "ethnic divisiveness" again?

"Thanks" to one of my Taiwanese relatives
I was just reminded of something very relevant just this past Sunday when one of my sisters-in-law gave me a VCD commemorating the "228 Hand-in-Hand Rally." One of the first things you can hear on the VCD is a line that was shouted out by one of the event hosts on the same stage with Chen Shui-bian just as the 500-kilometer-long chain of people held hands and raised them in the air: "Zu qun da tuan jie, qian shou hu Taiwan." Directly translated, that's, "Great union of ethnic groups, hold hands [to] protect Taiwan," or translated a little more loosely, "All for one and one for all, join hands to protect Taiwan."

That doesn't sound very "ethnically divisive" to me!

This theme has been mentioned repeatedly since at least December 25, 2003. An article in the Taipei Times on that date says that the organizers were "calling for brave Taiwanese, regardless of their political preferences and racial differences, to show up and pressure Beijing to remove over 500 missiles targeting Taiwan." [Emphasis mine]

Does that sound "ethnically divisive" to you, or does that sound more like the behavior of the pan-blues (who were invited, but didn't show up at the rally -- which attracted around 2 million participants anyway)?

A quiz for those interested in "the truth" of the matter
To be perfectly clear about who -- if anyone -- is being "ethnically divisive," you only have to answer these questions:
* Who opposes teaching Taiwanese history in Taiwan's schools?
* Who wants Taiwanese students to learn more about China's geography than they learn about Taiwan's?
* Who in Taiwan can't speak -- or even understand -- the Taiwanese (Hokkien) language?
* Who "prohibited people from using Hokkien and Hakka and imposed censorship on the press, making the people of Taiwan feel inferior about their culture and oblivious to their history"?
* Who controls most of the media today, indoctrinating people on a daily basis with language like "throughout the province (of Taiwan)," "Mainland (China)," and "(the) national language" (Mandarin)?
If you answered "the pan-blues" to most of these questions, you'd be absolutely correct!

Further reading:
* Taiwanese identity
* Annette Lu says ethnic conflict is not a real concern
* Alex Tsai's historical contortions
* Special Report: China's Missile Threat to Taiwan
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