Taiwan and the Old Historical Monuments

I wrote roughly one week ago (HERE), (among different subjects) about historical monument(s) in Taiwan on which Taipei City let put the KMT political party logo on it during its (their) renovation.

It concerns monument(s) made more than a century ago! Long time before KMT was created…

The KMT party, pro-China in charge now, said that the logo was put in the 50s or 60s.

So if I well understood, they consider that a renovation must include what was made just a while ago…

Anyway, any normal people will say that we are supposed to renovate old monuments as people could see them from the first second of their creation. Right?

So, you may be think what is my point now.

According the Central Agency News (CNA – HERE), M. Ma (President (?) chief of Taiwan) is offering help to Guatemala for its historical monuments:

[…]

Taiwan would like to help Guatemala conserve its historic relics

[…]

Oh yes?

Whoah…

What’s about Taiwan takes care about its own monuments first?

😆

 

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Taiwan: “Friends” Can’t Be Spies!

According the today Taipei Times (HERE)

“…Military police had detained the tourist, Ma Zhongfei (馬中飛), chairman of a high-tech company in China, for taking photos of military property at the Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Taipei. He was placed under arrest late on Monday night and detained for questioning…”

Officers yesterday escort Chinese tourist Ma Zhongfei, center, to reconstruct his movements at the Armed Forces Recruitment Center in Taipei, where he was arrested on Monday on suspicion of taking photographs for intelligence purposes.
PHOTO: CNA

He had been arrested because he had entered a restricted area through a back door, after which he immediately pulled out his camera and began taking pictures.

Ma (the tourist) claimed that he entered the MND center as he was on Keelung Road on his way to Xindian in Taipei County, where he planned to pay his respects to a deceased friend.

I have several comments or questions:

  • How come it is so easy to enter a military restricted area? Either this tourist is very good at that or the security of this area is highly questionable
  • Did officers verified his plan to visit Xindian?
  • Is taking pictures of restricted military facilities a common and normal activity for a tourist?

According Taipei Times, the tourist was still interrogated by the prosecutor.

But this morning on the CNA website (HERE), the tourist has been released…

No problem, no pressure on him to leave right away Taiwan, nothing.

If a Taiwanese tourist was caught doing the same thing in China, I don’t think so that Chinese authorities would be so “nice”.

Beside, Taipei Times quoted DPP Legislator Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津):

[…]

Chinese tourists have also been found filming and taking photos of the air force’s Chiashan [佳山] base in Hualien when they visited a scenic spot next to the base, but the military and the government did nothing to stop it and prevent military secrets from being leaked.

Perhaps the government should rename Chiashan air force base as Chiashan sightseeing spot

[…]

Sure, friends from China could not be spies here…

There are just tourists…

😆

 

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Taiwan: Exam Time Is Coming!

In Taiwan, it’s time now to pass the high school exam or if you are older, the University entrance exam.

I don’t know to who I am supposed to give credit for this cartoon. “close to home” according Yahoo where I got it?

But I am sure that you, my readers, will think about the past… As me 🙂

Yes… Who the hell are writing the subjects?

Wherever the country we are passing an exam, writers are always the same…

One more reason, I have to think twice when I am preparing final exams for my students…

😆

 

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Taiwan this Week: Sugar Talks, Rice, WHA and KMT

I will not talk about the poor reaction of the Taiwanese Minister of Health when facing students in Geneva. Anyone who watched the full video (HERE) and not the few “selected” seconds as shown in local media can judge without bias.

But I have several topics quite (I think) worthy to note.

Let’s talk about the sugar-coated talk of President (?) Ma, saying that Taiwan is going to recover soon this year.

By the way, anyone remember his campaign and his 6-3-3 slogan?

Looks like anyone forgot, especially him.

According IMD, Taiwan went from the 13th to the 23rd rank in the 2009 International Competitiveness scoreboard (HERE).

Taiwan’s economy contracted by a record 10.24% in the first quarter from a year earlier as Western consumers refrained from buying the island’s exports, prompting the government to revise down its growth forecast for 2009.

The government said it now expects gross domestic product to decline 4.25% this year, compared with its February estimate of a 2.97% drop (read more in Wall Street Journal HERE).

Major markets across the Asia-Pacific region ended in the red on Friday, mirroring the losses on Wall Street amid concerns about the pace of global economic recovery (HERE).

A snapshot of the Taiwanese Economy since M. Ma became president, from Taipei Times (HERE):

EXPORTS
April 2009: US$14.85 billion, down 34.3 percent from US$22.59 billion a year ago.

IMPORTS
April 2009: US$12.71 billion, down 41.2 percent from US$21.59 billion a year ago.

TRADE SURPLUS

US$2.14 billion last month, up 116.3 percent from US$1 billion a year ago.

EXPORT ORDERS
March 2009: US$23.94 billion, down 24.29 percent from US$31.62 billion a year ago.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

March 2009: down 26.03 percent from a year ago.

ECONOMY

2009 GDP growth forecast: minus 2.97 percent, versus 0.12 percent in 2008.
2009 per capita GNP forecast: US$15,957, from US$17,576 in 2008.

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI) INFLATION

2009 forecast: minus 0.82 percent, from 3.53 percent in 2008.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE

March 2009: 5.81 percent, with 630,000 people out of a job, up from 3.86 percent a year ago, when 417,000 people were unemployed.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE INDEX (CCI)

April 2009: 49.79 points, down from 68.48 points a year ago (a score below 100 indicates pessimism, while one between 100 and 200 indicates optimism).

TAIEX

Yesterday’s close: 6,655.59, down 2,639.61 points, or 28.4 percent, from 9,295.20 a year ago.

Not bad in just one year…!!!

Still, the central administration is saying (HERE):

“The worst is over as seen by rising export figures and the rallies in the equity market,” Tsai said.
Exports, the mainstay of the economy, are forecast to drop 21.81 percent this year, with a decline of 32.87 percent in the second quarter and 21.31 percent in the third quarter, the report said.

I don’t know for you, but for me, it’s pure sugar-coated talk.

Taiwanese, sleep in peace…

Last Monday, the Changhua prosecutor’s office alleged that at least eight rice merchants had bribed officials in five agricultural associations to switch pig-feed grade rice for premium rice used in school lunches countrywide so they could pocket the difference in price.

It’s still under investigation so as far as I know, there are no clear conclusions yet.

But why Taipei city waited 4 days (HERE) before taking safe measures to protect kids eating food for pigs?

Just in case?

Everyday, we can read or listen the news about Taiwan and the WHA: Taiwan is named “Chinese Taipei” as in others organizations Taiwan is a member too. So what is the big deal?

The big deal is that according the WHA, Taiwan is in fact : “Taiwan, province of China.”

This part is not so repeated in the local news…

And according the today Taipei Times (HERE), it seems that historical monuments in Taiwan do not belong to the country, but to the political party in power, the KMT:

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) emblem is pictured on the Jingfu Gate in Taipei yesterday. Inset: Taipei City Democratic Progressive Party councilors Chuang Ruei-hsiung, left, and Liu Yao-ren hold up signs in protest in front of the gate, saying they would sue the Taipei City Government for damaging a historical relic by painting the Chinese Nationalist Party emblem on top of the monument.

I don’t know… But it looks strange for me…

An active week in Taiwan…

 

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Taiwan: Change the Subject: Myron Scholes

Politics is not everything, OK 🙂

So, this post is for my students: Does he lack of sense of humor?

I am talking about the Nobel Laureate Myron Scholes. Have a look on the full article from New York Times ((the bold is mine):

You’re known as the “intellectual father of the credit-default swap.” Do you accept that label?
Let’s see. If it’s good, yes. If not, no.

In 1997, you shared the Nobel in economics for your Black-Scholes theory. Is the name intended as a riff on the black-hole theory?
No, but a friend of mine did tell me that when he was a physicist and wanted to get a job in finance, he interviewed at a bank, and the bank asked what he was working on, and he did say, “Black holes.” And they said: “Great! You’re working on Black-Scholes? You’re hired.”

Can you define the Black-Scholes theory?
It’s an equation that prices options on common stock and provides a methodology to value options on securities generally. It can be used to measure risk and transfer risk.

In retrospect, is it fair to say that the idea that banks could manage risk was a total illusion?
What you’re saying is negative. Life is positive too. Every side of a coin has another side.

The writer Nassim Nicholas Taleb contends that instead of giving advice on managing risk, you “should be in a retirement home doing sudoku.”
If someone says to you, “Go to an old-folks’ home,” that’s kind of ridiculous, because a lot of old people are doing terrific things for society. I never tried sudoku. Maybe he spends his time doing sudoku.

Some economists believe that mathematical models like yours lulled banks into a false sense of security, and I am wondering if you have revised your ideas as a consequence.
I haven’t changed my ideas. A bank needs models to measure risk. The problem, however, is that any one bank can measure its risk, but it also has to know what the risk taken by other banks in the system happens to be at any particular moment.

What good is a theory of risk management if it applies to one tree instead of the forest?
Most of the time, your risk management works. With a systemic event such as the recent shocks following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, obviously the risk-management system of any one bank appears, after the fact, to be incomplete. We ended up where banks couldn’t liquidate their risk, and the system tended to freeze up.

Why did you retire from teaching at Stanford?
Students were getting too young.

After leaving academia, you helped found Long-Term Capital Management, a hedge fund that lost $4 billion in four months and became a symbol of ’90s-style financial failure.
Obviously, you prefer not to have lost money for investors.

What are you doing these days?
I split my time between giving talks around the world and running a hedge fund, Platinum Grove Asset Management.

Does a place or a city called Platinum Grove exist on any map?
No. One of my partners is Chinese, and he said we needed a name that had one metal in it and one wood.

When will banks resume paying 5 percent interest on savings accounts?
You’re asking me to forecast. These are macroconditions that you are asking about. Macro! We’d have to spend a lot of time setting the predicate to be able to answer that question.

It’s been said that economists cultivate complexity and resist simplicity, because there’s no money to be made if everyone understands everything.
When there is a lot of uncertainty, it takes a lot of effort to understand things. Einstein said at one time, to paraphrase it, that in all science, any model should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Actually, I think that’s one of the many quotations he is likely to have never said.
So what am I supposed to say? The guy’s a schnook? He should have said it.

Whoah!

Which one do I prefer?

The Sudoku one?

The forest one?

I think all 🙂

Enjoy 😆

 

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Taiwan: One Picture and One Cartoon

First, the picture of the week:

Minister of Health Yeh Ching-chuan shows his World Health Assembly admission pass (detail in inset) after arriving in Geneva yesterday. PHOTO: CNA (HERE)

Of course, it seems a good news. At least, Taiwan could join the WHA even though as only an observer. That is better than nothing, right?

But at what price?

China made it. Not the WHO. And it’s for one year. So in 2010, if China says no, guess what…

And beside, Taiwan is there under the name of Chinese Taipei.

So, there are no other cities in Taiwan?

Kaohsiung, Hsinchu, I-Lan, etc… do not exist? They all belong to Taipei?

ARRGGGHHH! No need to put salt on the wound…

So I stop. 🙂

Now, it is the time for the cartoon of the week:

Taipei Times Editorial Cartoon (HERE).

I believe that it is clear enough and explanations are not needed…

🙂

 

Taiwan: Casino or Not?

Last January, the Legislative Yuan (lawmakers) passed amendments to the Offshore Islands Development Act, allowing casinos activity if more than 50% of the concerned population agree through a referendum.

Many people at that time protested for different kind of reasons: ethics, politics, black money whatever, just name it.

But at least, the final world should belong to the people.

According the Taiwan Referendum Act, there are 2 stages before a referendum could take place:

  1. collect 0.5% of the voters signatures to propose the referendum
  2. then, collect 5% to let the referendum to be launched at a further decided time schedule

But today, in an article from Taipei Times (HERE), we could read:

[…]

Earlier this year, Penghu County Commissioner Wang Chien-fa (王乾發) said that the county would hold a referendum next month and start reviewing investment plans from interested parties, and — if everything went smoothly — casino resorts would begin operation in 2013.

[…]

Obviously for him, asking the opinion from the population was just a formality…

But if it was easy to pass the first stage, it seems that the second one is far to be done.

I supposed that a lot of officials and KMT legislators must be “disappointed”.

And they expressed it:

[…]

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Penghu County Councilor Hu Sung-jung (胡松榮) said:

“The county government should be more active in mobilizing people to sign the petition so that the problem can be resolved,”

[…]

But why?

The government is supposed to remain neutral, isn’t it?

Or does it has some special agenda?

Finally, it seems that the population is realizing that this casino project may not be a so good idea at all…

We will see…

 

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