Monday, April 18, 2011

Various and Sundry and Bits and Bobs

Some links I've come across that are worth sharing:

Taishun Street on food culture in New York and Taipei, making a strong case that despite all the blather about New York being a culinary destination (well, it's not all blather; there's some genuinely good food to be had for reasonable prices), that Taipei has an advantage in its food stands, which are more authentic and cook up some delicious fare. I've long felt that the street stalls - which are genuinely good and "cool" in the sense that they're totally not cool, which makes them totally cool, but not really, if you get my drift - make some of the best food in Taiwan, and their ubiquity, low prices, deliciousness, general homemade-ness (the woman making your goosemeat or beef noodles probably isn't reaching for powdered dextrose, methylisosorbate-82 and hydrogenized extract of soy-polycarbate or whatever) and the fact that some of them have huge followings are what vault Taipei from "pretty good for food" to "culinary wonderland". Of course, there are restaurants that also make some smashing food, too.

A double whammy from Slate (OK, the first one is quite old but I just read it) on why we American expats generally do not have to pay taxes in the USA and on the probable post-2013 economic slowdown in China. I've long felt that China is headed for an economic brick wall, or at least a slowdown, and I'm no economic genius. It's just that it pretty much always happens that way. That doesn't mean that China isn't also a rising power at the same time or that it won't continue to be one; it just means that a.) we shouldn't assume, as we seem to do with every economic bubble, that this one is permanent and b.) Taiwan should not be so hasty in throwing its economic lot in with China.

The Taipei Times on Tsai Ying-wen's response to Shih Ming-de's asininery (I don't care if that's a word; it is now). I completely agree that dignifying this sort of excrement with a response is giving a legitimacy it doesn't deserve. While deep down I believe that Shih doesn't really care if Tsai is a lesbian or not, and likewise doesn't care why she's unmarried, and is only out to smear her as the presidential campaigns get in gear, it hardly matters. It's the most offensive thing I've heard in a long time - basically since I heard about what was said to Vigdis Finnbogadottir (former President of Iceland and the longest serving female head of state to date) when she ran for Iceland's highest office: Finnbogadottir was the target of a charge that she "couldn't lead Iceland; she was a woman" and as she'd undergone mastectomy as a result of breast cancer, she was "only half a woman at that". (Her response: "Well, I don't intend to breastfeed the nation of Iceland. I intend to lead it.")

Fortunately, I'm not the only one out there shouting down Shih for his idiocy. Was Tsai's reaction measured and appropriate or did it seem weak? I personally felt it was measured and appropriate: the best way to deal with that kind of rudeness is to simply not respond. She did respond to the sexist undertones of Shih's comment in noting that she intended to "end gender discrimination in Taiwan", which this unequivocally is (on top of being homophobic) - I really do not believe that this sort of comment would be hurled at an unmarried male politician. Nobody would be saying that "he needs to be true to his body in order to be true to...this country" about an unmarried and unattached male political figure.

But kudos to the DPP: as my husband pointed out, in the USA if this had been a Republican accusation against Democrats, or the other way around for that matter, while those implicated might get through it with decorum, some other blithering twit in their party would say something stupid, make an ass of themselves and by extension their party, and keep the whole thing churning for far longer than it deserves (not that it deserves any time).

Finally, Martin Jacques on the rise of China. I found this talk so inaccurate, so offensive and so historically wrong - a surprise for the TED conference - that I actually registered a profile on TED to make some comments. Unfortunately, a bunch of Chinese nationalist stooges did the same thing, including one who says she doesn't really care what the 24 million people of Taiwan think.

Note that his maps of the historic boundaries of China all include Taiwan...including from the Han Dynasty. When he talks about the future, he mentions " Hong Kong faced, and as Taiwan will face" - dismissing in half a sentence that Taiwan should be and will become a part of China.

Anyway, this bothers me so much that I'm planning to write another post on it, as a bookend to the "What Gives Me Hope" half of "What Scares Me and What Gives Me Hope".

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