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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Seeking a man of substance

Twenty months into his term, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has seen his approval ratings tumble almost monthly, with the latest poll by Global Views magazine’s survey research center hitting a new low of 23.2 percent.

In an obvious attempt to woo back supporters, Ma traveled to Hualien on Sunday and paid a special visit to Chiang Mei-hua (江美華), a Ma fan who drew the attention of the media — and the Presidential Office — after her son disclosed on his blog that his mom had lost her admiration for Ma because of the government’s poor performance.


What Haiti earthquake can teach Taiwan

On Jan. 12, the Caribbean nation of Haiti was rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake which shattered most of the buildings in the nearby capital of Port au Prince, including the presidential palace and killed over 110,000 Haitian citizens and residents from other countries and made at least three million people into instant refugees amid devastated infrastructure.

Although the magnitude of the earthquake was considerably less severe than the 7.6 magnitude temblor that struck central Taiwan on Sep. 21, 1999 and killed over 2,000, the epicenter of the Jan. 10 quake was located near the Haitian capital and other highly populated areas and the damage was magnified by widespread poverty and the poor building quality.


Ma is on the wrong track for Taiwan

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou needs to rapidly learn the fundamental lesson that a political leader needs both to attract sufficient public support to win elections and to cultivate a sustainable public support through dialogue, transparency and consensus-building to exercise effective governance in a democratic society.

The need for such a lesson was shown by Ma's fist-shaking gloating over the 'successful" use by the kMT's nearly three-fourths legislative majority last Monday to ram undemocratic revisions to the Local Government Act as a "beautiful campaign" and his instruction to the KMT legislative caucus to continue to "act like a ruling party" by using the same heavy-handed tactics to overwhelm any further "irrational boycotts" by the opposition DPP.


US arms sales crucial for Taiwan

The Obama administration is preparing a new arms package for Taiwan. Ironically, selling weapons to Taipei may be the best way for Washington to get out from the middle of one of the world’s potentially most volatile relationships — the one between China and Taiwan.

Relations between the two are improving, yet the former continues to point more than 1,300 missiles at the latter. The threat of military force remains a backdrop to expanding economic and tourist contacts across the Taiwan Strait.


Raising the red lantern over Taroko

Earlier this month, Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崑萁) said he had extended an invitation to Chinese film director Zhang Yimou (張藝謀) to produce an outdoor show at Taroko Gorge.

The news drew little attention, and it has yet to be announced whether Zhang, whose production company has created the Impression series of shows in West Lake, Lijiang and Guilin, has accepted the invitation, though his company has reportedly dispatched a team to assess the feasibility of the project. Still, the invitation itself is troublesome, showing local officials’ willingness to turn to China for talent when there is plenty of it right here in Taiwan. It is simply inconceivable that no one in the Taiwanese artistic community would be capable of orchestrating an outdoor show in Taroko. Neither Kaohsiung nor Taipei found it necessary to go abroad to find people to put together the opening and closing ceremonies of last year’s World Games and Deaflympics.


KMT turns back clock on Taiwan media reform

President Ma Ying-jeou and other leaders of his rightist Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) administration seem to believe that the plunge in his approval ratings to 20 percent and the sweep of three legislative by-elections on Jan. 10 by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are due to a failure to please fundamental KMT supporters.

Based on this "re-examination," the KMT has decided to "act like a ruling party" with "complete governance" and has reverted to the style of rule it adopted during its period of authoritarian rule or "one party dominance."

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A Web site aimed at attracting students from Taiwan to China with the phrase “Motherland Mainland” occurring twice is pictured in a screen grab from Feb. 23.
Screen grab from the Internet

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) yesterday pledged to propose an “anti-united front act” based on US legislation to counteract “severe undermining of Taiwanese democratic values” by Chinese “united front” tactics.