Clinton has given me no indication she would disassemble the police state apparatus that's been built in the US by this administration. Your thoughts?
Sep 28, 2007
Sep 26, 2007
Internet at home is almost a reality, so I should be able to post more regularly soon enough.
The spokesman for the PRC's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, Li Weiyi (李维一), has said that the next PRC People's Congress will:
... decide on a philosophy for the direction of current and future efforts
related to Taiwan affairs in response to the recent and developing situation in
the Taiwan strait, as well as decide on the overall demands [regarding Taiwan]
and important missions [relating to Taiwan]. This is meant to encourage
development of cross-strait relations and push for the peaceful unification of
the motherland, and will provide direction for progress in Taiwan-related
This could mean some major restatement of policy that would seek to paint more clear red lines. You might expect something like the anti-succession law v2.0 come out.
Sep 17, 2007
KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that "Taiwan is the ROC" during a speech at the "re-enter the UN" rally on Saturday (Michael Turton has a post on the rally). He said the reason some people want independence for Taiwan is that "the mainland is doing everything it can to destroy the ROC."
This is being billed as a sort of policy shift toward localizing for Ma, and is rumored to have caused an internal debate within the KMT. However, KMT legislative whip Kuo Su-chun (郭素春) toed the line for Ma, adding that saying 'Taiwan is the ROC" or "the ROC is Taiwan" are identical statements, and it doesnt' matter how you phrase it.
The People's First Party is in denial, saying Ma's statement merely describes the status quo and is not in conflict with the constitution, which claims the entire mainland China and Mongolia as part of the ROC's territory.
DPP chairman Yu Shyi-kun more or less called Ma a copy cat for adopting a long-held DPP position, while DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh welcomed Ma's progress while sneaking in a comment that a president should be a leader, not a follower.
The presidential office asked the best question: Ma should state clearly if he believes the ROC's territory includes mainland China. Because the KMT has such problems answering questions like that, I believe they still can't convince people on the identity issue.
KMT legislator Ke Jun-hsiung (柯俊雄) announced that he's joined the Taiwan Farmers Party last night. He is still a KMT member, however, and it's unclear what penalty the party will impose. Hopefully, this will be the first of several such defections.
Sep 15, 2007
Hey! I thought I've waited long enough to write an update on how I'm doing down in Kaohsiung, so I thought I'd give you a quick update.
Before I started the job, I suppose I had some fantasy about how it would be me sitting in front of a computer and just effortlessly selling steel. Of course, now that I've started the job and been to a few suppliers to visit, I realize it's a lot more complicated than that. First of all, I've got to develop personal relationships with the suppliers so that I can get the best possible price from them. Second, I've got to watch market prices like a hawk and know when you will get something from a sale and when you won't. Third, I have to go aggressively find purchasers and end users instead of sitting around and waiting for inquiries to come.
I've also been reading about the physical properties of steel and the elements that go into it, as well as the crystal structure and grain of the steel which are some of the reasons it's so strong. It might not be useful for actually selling the product, but I find it interesting.
The boss is very nice and the working environment is great. They give all the sales people a lot of respect and let us do our job.
So far, I haven't really done much except learn some basics about how to operate our software and visit some suppliers in person (very productive). Those visits also gave me a chance to be a guy in a dress shirt walking around a factory with a helmet on. I felt like I was in a movie.
She's doing well right now. She is considering getting a job at this point since she's starting to feel a little bored at home, but I'm not gonna push her or anything (I sorta like getting a lunch box every day and having a home made dinner!). We'll see what she wants to do as time goes on. Other than that, she's well. Jennifer's family lives so close by (35, 40 min. drive?) that we've already gotten to see them 5 times in the two weeks we've been operating down there.
Quality of Life
Things are still great in this catagory. No need for the A/C, just open the windows and smell the fresh air blowing through the house. Great, cheap food. Big, comfortable bed. Two very cute cats, one of which likes to play a game I've named "spider cat" (the cat lies on it's back and then uses it's claws to drag itself along the floor using the sofa for leverage. He'll crawl from one end of the sofa to the other upside down like this). Over all, things are great.
I've got a free gym in our complex I've been using as well as a nearby driving range/ golf course (one bucket at the range is only US$2) as well as a super cheap and super close batting cage. Between the three of those, I have a way to have fun and get my exercise while not getting too tired of any one routine.
Well, the main bad part is missing everyone from back home, really. I can't wait to get a chance to see everyone.
I still don't have the internet at home, so forgive the lack of updates and slow repsonse to emails and other communications.That's all for now!
Written by 阿牛 on 9/15/2007
Sep 4, 2007
Being here in Kaohsiung has been like being at a vacation home, more or less. The air is heavy with the organic smell of the forest and the lungs appreciate every second of it. Every day I wake up feeling well-rested and healthy, regardless of how long I've slept. A few early guests have been shocked we don't have the air conditioning on -- even in temperatures of 34C (93F) in the city, we simply open the windows and let the wind, forest and elevation keep us cool. Anyway, I'll put pictures of the place online Thursday or Friday once our internet is installed.
Moving was slightly painful -- it took two different all-nighters of packing and going back and forth, but all our belongings are now here. We have managed to isolate the unpacked items to one room alone, helping to clear up our space and make is feel we live in even more luxury.
The food so far has been plentiful, cheap, and varied. Lunch today included pork with kimchi, apple slices, cherries, miso soup, a rich rice with mushrooms, and a nice after dinner cigarette.
I am in no hurry to do anything, ever. I simply do whatever chores are necessary, sit around for a while, listen to the radio, watch sunsets and read on the back porch, and occasionally watch the few television channels we have -- no cable yet. I have fallen in love with the back porch most of all. I just sit in my chair out there, feet hanging off the balcony, watching and listening to the forest.
For fun, I can always go sing karaoke, hit the batting cages, use our community gym, have a swim, go shrimp fishing or ride a horse -- all without driving 10 minutes from my place.
There's never any rush here. Some people even walk much more slowly than in Taipei. As my friend Hal said when he saw my watch: "You won't be needing that around here."
Speaking of Hal, my co-worker and technical boss, we've been hanging out most nights. Been watching Family Guy, talking a little about work and enjoying the view from his place too. His 8th floor view of the forest roof contrasts sharply with my view of the forest floor on 2nd-3rd floor). Over all, we've been having a great time.
Work so far is great too. Although I'm mostly just learning the basics of trade, metals, steel and our company's procedures, everyone has been friendly and people seem to be in no particular hurry in the office, either. And the commute is only 10-15 minutes!
The ONLY downside so far is that people are a little more humored by and unaccustomed to a foreigner hanging around, so I get a lot more people trying to practice English with me. Still, it's been great.
The cats love the new place too. They can actually run around and hide in the room that's so filled with boxes, a person can't walk in!
I'll start posting again more regularly once the internet is in my place.
Written by 阿牛 on 9/04/2007