Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Taipei city panorama from Guandu Nature Reserve (spot Taipei 101 in the background!) Posted by Picasa
Yangming Mountains panorama, from Guandu Nature Reserve Posted by Picasa

Democracy in Progress? ' Throwing Face' !

Yesterday was the first day of Parliament this year.
First thing in the morning, the opposition parties hijacking the parliament chamber.
They held banners and placards demanding the resignation of the Cabinet, and threatening to thwart whatever measures the government is planning to pass. Not the first time, but the scenes are getting tiresome.

In Mandarin when something or somone is embarrasing, we say how 丟臉
, or literally 'throwing face' (which is similar to the English 'losing face'). But throwing face was not the only thing Taiwan's parliamentarians were throwing yesterday...they throw cups, microphones, pieecs of shreded paper at one another, engaged in scuffles and "you-push-me, I-push-your"s, threw abuses and dirty words at one another, used placards and banners to hit one another... thank goodness they didn't throw furnitures and fists around, like they did in recent memory...

The issues of contention? a defence budget which has lingered on since 2001, when the US promised to sell Taiwan an artillery of weapons to defend against China's growing missile and war threats... budget to cure constant flooding caused by rain and destruction brought by typhoons... ailing state enterprises and whether to privatise them... the prolonged completion of the Taiwan High Speed Rail, which was supposed to be due by November this year... and, the general bitter feeling of the opposition to have lost elections twice in a row.

The opposition are mostly comprised of the so-called 'Pan-blue' parties, lead by the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party, KMT). Ever since the Chinese Nationalist regime lost power after a period of more than half a century of authoritarinism, they have been opposing almost every measure of the 'Pan-green' parties, most significant of which is the Democratic Progressive Party (DDP) in power at the moment. On TV, in the printed media, daily abuses and scandals of one another are revealed and thrown at one another. Politics here is thus a show, a reality soap of good actors, actrices, who use eloquent and sometimes vulgar language to sting at their opponents or hug their allies...a dramatic stage of infighting, of tears, envy, blackmail, of victories and sweats, of life and of squanders. And the hordes of reporters, journalists, paparazzis, 'analysts' add to the special effects, to give the audience the dazzle, the glitz, the shock and despair of their lifetimes. A colourful zoo, of elected representatives, channeled to our very homes and work places, to our bedrooms, eyes and ears.

Shame, that Taiwan's virgin democracy is jeopardised by sour-grapes, jealous mobs and politicians hungry for power. While most people are working hard to improve their lives, to further the development of this country, what are the MPs doing?
...all the while the Prime Minister Frank Hsieh sits silently, waiting for a chance to go on stage (which didn't appear) (Formosa News) Posted by Picasa
The male MP on the right was holding cups of water and pouring it at people he disliked (Much TV News) Posted by Picasa
Throwing paper at one another (TVBS News) Posted by Picasa
The two women are from different parties and involved in a 'push and shove' (TVBS News) Posted by Picasa
'Yellow' representatives of the people (San Lih News) Posted by Picasa
Chaos in Parliament (TCI News) Posted by Picasa
Pan Blue camp occupies the stage of parliament, halting the Prime Minister's intended annual report address (TVBS News) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Asahikawa Airport panorama, with the flight home...'time to say goodbye', for now Posted by Picasa
rice fields in yellow bloom Posted by Picasa
fields of yellow Posted by Picasa
The secret to the 'sweet' success of the spirit is the source of water, which flows from the Daisetzuan Mountains, a lady is filling canisters with the water to take home, as the water is purported to prolong life Posted by Picasa
A visit to the famed local rice spirit brewery, Otokoyama Posted by Picasa
second hand shop Posted by Picasa
visit to Japan is never complete without a visit to the ramen (soup noodle) parlour. This one is in a 'Ramen Village', which house around half a dozen ramen restaurants chosen by locals as the 'best'. Posted by Picasa
red coats Posted by Picasa
changing coats Posted by Picasa
red leaves! Posted by Picasa
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Originally the trip was supposed to mainly for the purpose of viewing coloured autumn leaves, but most of the trip we were disappointed as the trees have not changed their coats yet, until ... Posted by Picasa
View of the city Posted by Picasa
Asahikawa Snow Museum: the city experienced the coldest recorded temperature in Japan: some -40C!! Posted by Picasa
'wavers' saluting pedestrians at the parliamentary elections...I think this one was for support of one of PM Koizumi's 'assassins' Posted by Picasa