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

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Lunar New Year, same old liars

Maddog gone astray
I've been away from the blog for way too long. I'm officially on vacation, but that hasn't kept me from being busy.

But now it's time to get back to bullshit detection. Even though the following story has been covered quite well, it's worth repeating.

"Macking" shit up
ESWN's Roland Soong, posting on a topic which was immediately deconstructed by both David at One Whole Jujuflop Situation and Michael Turton on The View from Taiwan, pulls one of his favorite rags (Apple Daily) out from under his pillow. Then, after lubricating the readers with several paragraphs' worth of titillating quotes about "macking," he reaches a climax, simultaneously pulling this howler:
[T]he City of Taipei Department of Information had an English-language page that teaches foreigners how to go about macking in Taipei.
Taiwan's foreign bloggers immediately understood what a balls-out lie that is.

If you're a male foreigner in Taiwan, you'll easily meet more women than you can shake your stick at. But more to the point, you won't need to go to the friggin' Taipei City web site that teaches English at all!

The story was clearly a lie when the Apple Daily published it, it was doubly a lie when ESWN repeated it, and he's doing a service to nobody but the liars by doing so.

Go read the other two blogs linked above for other angles on the story, more details, and more related links. David's explanation reveals Soong to be a triple-crown liar (see the part about "satire") and expounds on ladyboy[s], napalm, and English as a "disease." Michael Turton's post links to a Forumosa discussion of the topic.

A meme-avoidance reminder
"Lunar New Year" doesn't just belong to the Chinese, so don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

UPDATE: John Bucher, the English editor of the web site which posted the original "Macking in Taipei" piece that was misrepresented by Apple Daily, responds in the January 28, 2006 edition of the Taiwan News to Apple Daily's lies. After offering an apology to anyone who may have been actually offended by the piece, Bucher hits back with some simple facts that should have been obvious to both Apple Daily and ESWN's Roland Soong:
[T]he Apple Daily and other local news outlets have make [sic] critical mistakes in their reporting of the incident. Chief among these is the fact that "Macking" was not intended for "lao-wai." The articles were written for ESL students (most foreigners already speak English) by a Taiwanese, John Lee. English Corner exists to improve the English (colloquial and otherwise) of the citizens of Taipei; the media misunderstanding of the word "mack" proves the need for such a site. Although "mack," like all words, has shades of connotation, I believe most foreigners would agree that in meaning it comes closest to "flirt." It is not an explicitly sexual term, as the Apple Daily and others have suggested it is.

The title of the original Apple article-"City Government Web site Teaches Foreigners to Womanize" - is plainly deceptive. Nowhere in "Macking" were the words "hunt (獵豔)," "play (玩)," or "cheat (騙)" - anything that could be translated as "womanize."

Likewise, there was no mention of bars, clubs, or other places some foreigners congregate; there was no mention of foreigners at all. The Taiwanese media's focus on sex, drinking, and bars underscores the fact that they need to work harder to understand foreigners, as well as foreign language and culture.
Go read the whole thing.

Year-of-the-dog tags: , , , , ,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Test post #2

Well, the tag from the previous post showed up, but was it because I manually pinged Technorati? Let's try it one more time and find out...

Mambos: ,

Test post

How strange. The WYSIWYG editor is letting me type today, but it's not letting me use the WYSIWYG features. I hope inserting my code manually works on this one.

This post exists merely for Technorati to give me some assistance. If you're not with Technorati, please clear the area, and let them do their jobs.

For your perusal:
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