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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

First it was US beef, then an ECFA

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) endured possibly the biggest setback of his political career on Tuesday when, after months of to-ing and fro-ing, the legislature finally came around to re-imposing restrictions on certain US beef products.

Not only was the move a slap in the face for the executive — which had negotiated the deal with the US — it was also a severe blow for Ma as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman. KMT legislators put on a show of defiance in passing the amendment, while also laying down the law for the executive on future handling of beef imports.


KMT trumps Taiwan public television

President Ma Ying-jeou's ruling right-wing Chinese Nationalist Party (Kuomintang) government appears to have finally succeeded in its drive to take control over the Taiwan's Public Television Service Foundation (PTSF), which manages the Taiwan Broadcasting System (TBS) on behalf of our nation's citizens.

On Monday, a new stacked board of PTSF directors, which are legally mandated to manage the Taiwan Public Television Service (TPS) on behalf of our nation's citizens in the public interest, will elect a new chairman subservient to the restored "formerly authoritarian" ruling party after abrogating the three-year contract of the incumbent a year in advance.


Yen Ching-piao is Yi-ge repackaged

The Ministry of Economic Affairs has invited Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標) to be its latest spokesman for the economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) that the government is eager to sign with Beijing.

Arguing that Yen is someone who “uses ordinary language to communicate with ordinary people,” Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) said Yen was suitable for the task as the ministry had been criticized in the past for using “complicated” language to promote the planned pact. Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also lauded Yen as “having a local air (本土味),” suggesting TV appearances and other settings designed to promote the pact will speak volumes and have traction with the government’s target audience.


Ma, not the people, bears blame for U.S. beef flap

President Ma Ying-jeou displayed to a national television audience yesterday his inability to grasp the fundamentals of democratic politics when he blamed Taiwan's 23 million people for the flap on the question of liberalization of risky beef products from the United States.

Based on a bilateral consensus reached after two months of a filibuster by the DPP caucus, the Legislative Yuan approved without dissent a revision to Article 11 of the Food Sanitation Act that will ban the importation of ground beef, beef offals and other beef parts such as brains, eyes and intestines from any country in which any cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (also known as "mad cow disease") have been documented during the previous 10 years.


Taiwan Up, Now There is an Embarassing Expression

Even though Dubai now claims the world's tallest operative building, Taipei 101 (having held that boast for 5 years) still stands proud and tall over the city of Taipei. Proud and tall, that is, except for one item, the unfortunate glowing lights spelling out "Taiwan Up" on its façade. Taiwan Up, who came up with that embarrassing inept slogan?

All sorts of connotations come to mind. Reverse it and you have the insulting "Up Taiwan" or the sexual connotation in, "Can't you get it up." Then there is someone talking to their dog, "Up boy, up!" or Superman saying "Up, up and away." All are part of the language, but "Taiwan Up" is not.


Afghanistan: Opportunity for Taiwan

Pundits have busied themselves in the past week trying to determine whether a decision by Taipei to renegotiate US beef imports with Washington will have implications on US security commitments to Taiwan. Already, an unexpected delay in US President Barack Obama’s weapons sale notification to Congress — which had been expected soon after Obama returned from climate talks in Copenhagen last month — had prompted speculation that Washington may be tying economic matters to political ones and retaliating for the about-face.

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Twelve days after Typhoon Morakot lashed the nation, President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday visited Xiaolin Village, Kaohsiung County — one of the hardest hit areas.

Ma was confronted by angry relatives and friends of the approximately 400 people who are believed to have died when the village was destroyed by mudslides.