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

Monday, February 28, 2011

My thoughts on February 28, 2011

Lest we forget the 228 Massacre (二二八大屠殺) of 1947

What am I thinking about on this 64th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in Taiwan's history?

I'm remembering with dismay that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) is still in power -- even after behaving as colonizers for over six decades -- because they still use illicit methods to get elected. Here are some examples:
* Vote buying is rampant even within their own party's Central Standing Committee, but they keep putting the guilty ones right back in.

* In the January 2010 legislative by-elections, "Two of the three seats up for grabs […] in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung counties were left vacant by former KMT legislators found guilty of vote-buying," reminding us of their "tradition of buying votes."

* Lee Min-yung (李敏勇) reminds readers: "The roots of vote-buying can be found in the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT) long hold on power and its system for distributing the spoils of government."

* Laurence Eyton enlightens in a 2004 piece in the Asia Times Online: "[The Chinese KMT] has traditionally used its wealth to engage in what it calls 'traditional electoral practices', ie vote buying […]"
I'm reminded that the Chinese KMT still uses thuggery to maintain their power. Here are some examples:
* When disgraced former Toronto-based Government Information Office (GIO) official Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英) returned to Taiwan, he was picked up at airport and "assisted" by thugs in black shirts assigned by Bamboo Union (竹聯幫) gang leader Chang An-le (張安樂).

* People wearing black T-shirts and vests bearing the name of the Matsu Temple (大天后宮) physically remove college students from a protest against the Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) government's policies regarding students from China.

* Despite denials by police, experience should tell you who the guys in the black shirts helping to defend Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) are.

* Read my post about the movie "Formosa Betrayed," which dramatizes real incidents involving the Chinese KMT, including their use of gangsters to carry out the assassination of a political dissident on American soil.
I'm reminded that the Chinese KMT is still distorting history. Here are some examples:
* A Taipei Times editorial reminds readers about Ma's empty promises: "So much for saying that the memorial hall [renaming] issue was 'not a pressing matter.'"

* Here's a photo of a display from the renovated 228 Memorial Museum which paints former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) as "recovering … order" instead of as being the perpetrator of the massacre.

* Exhibits at the newly-renovated museum paint peaceful protesters as "mobs."

* President Ma pretends that the Chinese KMT has "dealt with its past" to the same extent the government of Germany has done since World War II.

* On the blog of Taipei City councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) you can read some of the details (Hanzi) and see photos (containing Hanzi text and a little bit of English) and video (Taiwanese and Mandarin audio, Hanzi text and a little bit of English) detailing some of the changes to the museum.
And I'm reminded that while Chinese KMT chairman Ma Ying-jeou -- elected as Taiwan's president in 2008 on a promise of "no unification, no independence and no use of force" (不統、不獨、不武) -- has long claimed to support democracy, he still doesn't. Here are some examples:
* Remember the days when Ma was publicly against direct presidential elections.

* Remember when the Chinese KMT boycotted their own referendum about Taiwan's participation in the United Nations.

* The Executive Yuan's (行政院) Referendum Review Committee (公投審議委員會) turned down proposed referendums on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China three times, despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that it had more than enough signatures and support in polls!

* In mid-2009, the Ma government reverted the Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (臺灣民主紀念館) to its former name: the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (蔣中正紀念堂).
And I wouldn't be able to forget, no matter how hard I tried, that while Ma is in office as president of Taiwan, he primarily serves China. Here are some very recent examples:
* Ma wants people to stop calling China "China" and to call it "the mainland" or "the other side."

* A short time later, Beijing "praises" Ma for this.

* The Philippine government deports 14 Taiwanese suspects to China, basing the decision on a "one China" policy, yet Ma places zero blame on China.
People of Taiwan, when are you going to stop this from ever happening again?

If you have additional relevant examples to include in the topics above, please submit them in the comments below this post on Taiwan Matters! (use the HTML above the comment submission box for links) or via e-mail.

Further reading:
* Names and faces of some of the victims of the 228 Massacre (Hanzi)

* Wednesday, February 28, 2007 on Taiwan Matters!: Remembering two 228 Incidents (written before someone pointed out the obvious: that it should be referred to as the "228 Massacre" instead)

* Monday, March 1, 2004 on It's Not Democracy, It's A Conspiracy!: Hand-in-hand for peace (about my participation in the "228 Hand-in-Hand Rally" at 2:28 PM on Saturday, February 28, 2004)

* Monday, February 21, 2011 on Strait Talk: It's Taiwan, not China... Tales from Formosa, The Beautiful Island: "Formosa Displayed, Formosa Betrayed: Taiwan's 228 Museum Rewriting History?"

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lunar New Year in Taiwan: 2011

In Taiwan, you can even call it "Taiwanese New Year"!
I'm back from a long break in blogging with a slight variation of the "traditional" New Year post. To kick things off this time around, here's a musical video wishing you a Happy Taiwanese New Year (brought to my attention on Twitter by cyrixhero):

3:58 YouTube video: "快樂台灣年 Happy Taiwanese new year "

Thursday, February 3, 2011 (That's tomorrow!) is New Year's Day as celebrated by the citizens of several Asian countries as well as by many other people around the world. Too many English-speaking people use the term "Chinese New Year" to describe the holiday, despite the fact that the direct back-translation "中國新年" is rarely used by Mandarin speakers. Chinese people usually call the holiday "Lunar New Year" (農曆新年) or "Spring Festival" (春節).

Furthermore, the holiday doesn't belong solely to the Chinese.

Start with the person in the mirror
Why should you change the way you speak? Here's an example for your consideration.

Have you ever heard of the 228 Massacre? Like many others, I used to refer to it as the "228 Incident," but when someone reminded me about how that diminishes the fact that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) killed countless Taiwanese in that "incident," I immediately made the change in my speech and writing. What I don't get is how some people who I am certain are pro-Taiwan somehow cling to the phrase "Chinese New Year."

Are you that kind of person? If so, I hope you can ask yourself why you do that and if you can change.

Here's a clear and simple list of reasons to help you decide to make that change:
1. Lunar New Year is not exclusively Chinese.

2. Even Chinese people call the holiday "Lunar New Year," so you won't be hurting the feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese by using that name.

3. Since you're reading this blog, there's a good chance that you are in Taiwan or that you are Taiwanese. (Maybe neither of those things applies to you -- you might just be interested in doing something to help Taiwan.)

4. Way too many people already do things which confuse others into believing that Taiwan's culture is a subset of China's.

5. You don't have to do things just because others do them or because they're habits.
Language is a virus (from outer space)
For some more background (you'll have to follow the links and do some more reading), here's a recap (with some spelling changes) of a couple of my earlier posts related to why many people prefer to call this holiday "Lunar New Year" (Taiwanese: Lông-li̍k sin-nî; Hanzi: 農曆新年; Hanyu pinyin: Nónglì xīnnián):
It doesn't just belong to the Chinese

Nor is it just "politically correct." Read about it in English and/or Chinese.

Happy Lunar New Year! 萬事如意! [bān-sū jû-ì! / wànshì rúyì!]

Being in a bit of a rush to begin my vacation, I missed these links (all are presented in both English and Mandarin):* How the people of Vietnam celebrate Lunar New Year* How the people of South Korea celebrate Lunar New Year* How the people of Singapore celebrate Lunar New Year* How the people of Malaysia celebrate Lunar New Year
And here's an update on the Taiwanese Romanization which I derived by using a dictionary on the web site of Taiwan's Ministry of Education (MOE):
Lông-li̍k sin-nî khuài-lo̍k! (農曆新年快樂!) Bān-sū jû-ì! (萬事如意!)
If you're Taiwanese, stop inadvertently diluting your own culture. Remember (Ē -kì-tit/Ōe-kì-tit [要記得]): Every time you say "Lunar New Year," you're saying "No!" to those who want to promote China while diminishing Taiwan.

Related reading:
* Check out the Twitter search results for "Lunar New Year." I'm seeing Tweets there by people from Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, and other countries around the globe!

* See what Taiwan's Government Information Office (GIO) says about Lunar New Year.

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Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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