That’s How It Really Happened

Upon arriving home in eager anticipation of a leisurely evening, the husband was met at the door by his sobbing wife.

Tearfully she explained, “It’s the druggist! He insulted me terribly this morning on the phone.”

Immediately the husband drove downtown to accost the druggist and demand an apology.

Before he could say more than a word or two, the druggist told him, “Now, just a minute, listen to my side of it.

This morning the alarm failed to go off, so I was late getting up. I went without breakfast and hurried out to the car, but I’ll be darned if I didn’t lock the house with both house and car keys inside. I had to break a window to get my keys.

“Driving a little too fast, I got a speeding ticket. Then, about three blocks from the store I had a flat tire.

“When I finally got to the store there was a bunch of people waiting for me to open up. I got the store opened and started waiting on these people, and all the time the darn phone was ringing its head off.

“Then I had to break a roll of nickels against the cash register drawer to make change, and they spilled all over the floor.

I got down on my hands and knees to pick up the nickels – the phone is still ringing – when I came up I cracked my head on the open cash drawer, which made me stagger back against a showcase with a bunch of perfume bottles on it, and half of them hit the floor and broke.

“The phone is still ringing with no let up, and I finally got back to answer it. It was your wife — she wanted to know how to use a rectal thermometer.

“Well, Mister, I told her!”



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Taiwan: Ministry of Justice Put Pressure on Chen’s Lawyer

According today‘s Taipei Times, the Ministry of Justice has asked the Taipei District Court and Taipei Bar Association to investigate whether former president Chen Shui-bian’s lawyer has violated the lawyer code of ethics by conveying his client’s messages to the outside world during Chen’s detention.

As far as I know about the laws, the lawyer didn’t break any rule, given the fact he never talked about the legal case by itself.

He only passed “outside” private thoughts of the former president and never, as far as I am concerned, any details about the legal case.

So, what is the point from the Ministry of Justice?

Does it want to shut up the lawyer?

If yes… Whoah… that is another story…

If it is the case, it is time to worry about freedom…


Feel cold here…


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Vouchers Plan in Taiwan: Who is the Winner?

I posted yesterday some comments about the vouchers plan in Taiwan (HERE) explaining why I do not believe in its success, using very simple economical tool.

But in today’s Taipei Times, I finally found a very happy Taiwanese who cannot wait to receive its vouchers.

In fact, he has some reasons to be happy 🙂

He has 8 “wives” and… 32 children, all registered in the same household.

I am curious to see the house…

So total is 41 people and he will receive 3,600 x 41 = TWD147,600 (about USD4,500)…

Don’t call the police: according him, his wedding ceremonies were presided over by “gods, ghosts and Buddha”.

Words are failing me…



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Taiwan: Who is worst, Foreigners or Taiwanese?

How many times did I hear Taiwanese complaining about foreigners such as Chinese: too noisy, too impolite, too dirty…

Just name it.

But leaving in this beautiful island, how many time I witnessed Taiwanese people acting strangely, without any common sense considering the environmental responsibilities anyone is supposed to respect?

How many time I saw plastic bags, paper, whatever, when I am hiking?

Taiwan is supposed to be their own country. Why don’t they respect their own country?

In today Taipei Times (HERE), this picture was published. Have a look:


This place is located in Chingshui Village in Tatung Township, Ilan County (eastern side of Taiwan).

It is a hot spring spot where people could enjoy free of charge what the Nature is offering.

See the pile of garbage…

Not only people are destroying their own environment, but they do not care to stay in this hot spring with all this garbage around them.

And then, they criticize foreigners?

Laughable… But so sad…


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The Vouchers Plan: Some "Naive" Thoughts

It is confirmed, the government will spend TWD 82.9 billion (about USD 2.56 billion) in a vouchers plan, which consists in giving TWD 3,600 to any citizen of Taiwan, whatever his/her age or revenue.

The government expects an GDP’s increase of 0.64%.

The government said that people can buy anything including gold or whatever similar investment.

Obviously the officials who mentioned that do not know about economics: at the level of equilibrium output, Savings = Investments, so it is not the way to increase consumption.

Anyway, let’s consider the above point as “theoretical”.

I just have some… “naive” comments or questions concerning this voucher plan and what it is supposed to bring to the Taiwanese economy.

Point 1

Money is fungible (property of mutual substitution) and so it could be strongly expected that people will use the coupon to buy daily stuff and save the cash. Consequences: consumption will not increase.

Point 2

When consumers stop spending because the economic situation and government give them cash or vouchers, it will not increase in the short-term the consumption because people will first re-adjust their assets by paying debts or saving.

It is a well known fact. See what happened in US or Europe during the 80’s. And see the failure of the similar coupon plan in Japan during 1998-1999.

Point 3

The previous point let us state that only negative consequences will result: debt will increase (this plan is based on new debt from the government), inflation will increase (monetary mass will increase faster than the GDP) and so the cost of debt will then increase too.

And taxation will also increase to let the government pay for that.

Point 4

Who has the right to receive the vouchers? Anyone, baby or grandfather if they are citizens of Taiwan.

This plan will be finally paid by taxes. In other words, it will be paid by taxpayers. But not all taxpayers are eligible to receive the coupons (even if you have a permanent residency status).

Conclusion, this plan is only for voters…

Point 5

This plan states that each citizen can receive TWD3,600. But do not expect that will represent the cost per people. You have to include interest, printing cost, distribution cost… and the total should be roughly 10% at least.

So the minimum cost per people will be TWD4,000, paid back in the future.

Meaning? People spend now but they let the next generation to pay.

Point 6

According the DGBAS, the average annual disposable income per household is TWD 960,000 which is compatible with the TWD550,000 annual GDP per people.

On average, there are 3.4 people per household (DGBAS) which mean that on average, each household will be eligible to receive 3.4 x 3,600 = TWD12,240, said less than 1.3% of their disposable income.

Hum… Not so much so do not expect too much…

Especially the same household will have to pay back all the cost, said roughly TWD 14,000 in the future…

Point 7

The yesterday China Post published the results of a poll conducted by 1111 job bank.

The purpose of this poll was to see if people believe or not in this plan.

According the details of the results, 5.4% consider this plan very helpful and 14.51% helpful. So the total of the “believers” is 19.91%.

36.4% of the people expect a limited effect, 33.4% a little help and 10.3% think it will not be successful. So the total of the “non-believers” is 80.10%.

But the title of the China Post article (China Post is blue) is: 89.66% of the population believe that this plan is an effective mean to improve the economy.

How do you explain that?


Beside, the same poll shows that 57.9% of the people will use the coupon to buy daily necessities, which confirm my Point 1.

Only 36.6% will buy extra items and… 5.6% will try to exchange the vouchers against cash.

Point 8

The government expects a GDP growth rate for 2009 of 2.12%.

In quarter 3, the GDP growth rate contracted by 1.02% and some analysts forecast pessimistic growth rates for Taiwan: from -0.4% (JP Morgan) to +2% (Goldman Sachs).

But how the government could be so optimistic?

Let’s try to understand.

Firstly, it expects an increase of 0.64% thanks to its voucher plan. But I have pointed above that the success is highly questionable.

Secondly, it expects a 1.59% from an unspecified TWD 400 billion in infrastructure. (unspecified plan… and for sure impossible to implement in 2009).

Thirdly, it expects a 0.5% from the 3,000 Chinese tourists (for now, roughly only 200 or 300 Chinese are visiting Taiwan).

So what do you think?

As a former CPA, I call that window-dressing.


And by the way, just few months after arriving at power, the government increased the level of the debt by roughly TWD 500 billion…

Taxpayer, be prepared. It is not finished yet…


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About the Arrest of Former President of Taiwan

As you know, the former president was arrested on laundry (among others) suspicions.

We will see what will be the results from the investigation and the trial. If he really did something illegal, he has to be punished according the laws, assuming that the trial was fair.

Because I have no idea about what he really did or did not, I will not of course write about the case by itself.

But as many already observed, it seems firstly that the treatment reserved to him and to other previous or actual DPP members are far to be the same than the one used for KMT members in the past.

Secondly, it seems that only DPP is involved in corruption cases. No KMT have been subject of suspicions… OK. Maybe… Let’s believe it…

Thirdly, it seems that prosecutors should begin questioning a suspect as soon as he or she was detained, but it had not been always done. Any legal basis for that?

Fourthly, is the theatrical way (in jail without charges and handcuffs) backed by the laws?

Where is the principle of presumed innocence?

Where is the respect of the human rights of people, especially when justice has not made any decision yet?

Final comment: some pundits or international media are praising the democracy in Taiwan because prosecutors jailed the former president, which means that the judiciary system is independent.

My point of view is a little bit different: if the judiciary system jails a former president which belongs to the same political party in charge, yes, I call that an independent judiciary system.

But it is not the case here.

Let’s think about that.


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Behind the "Diplomatic Truce"…

Last week, the “Chief of the Taiwan Region” praised his diplomacy and success.

He said that thanks to his moves, he obtained a great victory: the APEC website (in Peru this year) introduced Taiwan and Ma as the President of Taiwan.

Well, few hours later, all the data mentioning Ma were erased by the authorities.

What a big slap in his face… Just a short moment after he celebrated “his victory”.

Then later, Taiwan had to face an exclusion from an informal meeting of APEC foreign ministers.

I thought Taiwan was a member?

But still, it seems that Ma does not realized the real situation.

When a journalist asked a question to a Chinese official about Taiwan and addressing Ma as its President, the Chinese pedantically corrected the journalist’s use of “President Ma.”

Then Lien,  the Taiwanese envoy (former vice president of Taiwan and former chairman of the KMT) met Hu, the president of China. Big news here! Historical meeting!

Well… Lien addressed Hu as general secretary of the CCP and was addressed as chairman.

Beside, it was not a side meeting as usual, but a private meeting…

I call that not an historical meeting but a move which belittle the status of Taiwan.

Moreover, Lien described this encounter, as a meeting between “two old friends”…

I think that it is very clear… And no more explanations are needed.

But something more to be added: not only now the government is preventing Taiwanese to use their own flag and sing their national anthem, but obviously the classic separation of powers is not respected.

KMT is back not only to power but also in charge of everything.

The four agreements signed few weeks ago was on a party to party basis and when the legislature is pointing some legal questions, it has been rebuffed.

Moreover: KMT has announced that its highest decision-making body will now include seats for “five top Cabinet members.” The reason given for this change — and said with a straight face — was to “enhance cooperation” between the party and the government.

Who is in charge? The cabinet or KMT?

I never saw that in any democratic country.

But I supposed that the “two old friends” are pleased with this new situation…



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