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Taiwan Tati Cultural and Educational Foundation

Ma’s lack of competence, humility is all on show

During his visit to the disaster areas in the wake of Typhoon Morakot, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was quoted as saying, “But I’m here now, aren’t I?” Such a reaction shows the Ma administration’s aloofness and lack of empathy for disaster victims.

Since the typhoon wreaked havoc in southern Taiwan, we have witnessed the incompetence of Ma and his government and their attempts to shirk responsibility on various occasions.

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Legislation that befits a disaster

The hits just keep on coming.

If Typhoon Morakot was not a sufficiently traumatizing experience for the land and people of central and southern Taiwan, and if the central government’s indifference to the environmental destruction and death toll was not enough to induce general rage among victims, then the Cabinet’s clumsy draft legislation for reconstruction could make up the gap.

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The Kuayue drill: Chinese goodwill?

Those who argue that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) cross-strait policies are bearing fruit would have rejoiced at news earlier this month that, for the first time in decades, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held a major drill that did not include a Taiwan scenario.

On Aug. 12, the South China Morning Post reported a drill codenamed Kuayue (“Stride”) 2009 had been launched, mobilizing 50,000 heavily armed troops from four military zones — Shenyang, Lanzhou, Jinan and Guangzhou — over thousands of kilometers. Ni Lexiong (倪樂雄), a Shanghai-based military specialist, said the unprecedented maneuver reflected the new circumstances in the Taiwan Strait.

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What next for the disaster zones?

Two weeks have passed since Typhoon Morakot brought disastrous floods and landslides to southern and central Taiwan. According to the three-stage view of disaster relief, we have now entered the second phase: short-term recovery.

However, many tasks associated with the first phase — emergency rescue — have not been completed. For example, defining disaster zones, exhuming bodies, evacuating the injured and so on. The window of opportunity for most of these tasks has passed. The authorities have come under a lot of criticism for their slow response, and the government’s abilities to handle the disaster are not up to scratch.

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What was the NSC's role in US aid delays?

A week after Typhoon Morakot wreaked havoc in southern Taiwan, US Marine helicopters landed here for the first time since the US switched political recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.

The helicopters are stationed at the US military base in Okinawa, Japan — less than 1,000km from Taiwan — yet they needed eight days to get here, thus missing the critical 72-hour post-disaster window.

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The political disaster is just starting

The government’s procrastination and passive attitude toward relief efforts in southern Taiwan is bringing additional suffering to victims of the disaster. The nation is in uproar and support for President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) has dropped below 20 percent. Although Ma says a Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards, Presidential Office Spokesman Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) has said that Ma and Liu will not discuss the issue until next month, suggesting that Liu will stay.

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Newsflash


Former president Chen Shui-bian, center, returns to his hometown Tainan on Jan. 20 last year after being granted medical parole.
Photo: Yang Chin-cheng, Taipei Times

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) is planning to attend a fundraising dinner for the Ketagalan Foundation in Taipei tonight, despite Taichung Prison advising against his attendance, Chen’s son, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), said, adding that his father would comply with all of the preconditions of his medical parole set by the judicial authority.