Taiwan: ECFA Is Magic!

You got a flu? ECFA will cure it.

You want to protect your car? Sure, according the way people are driving here, it’s better! How to do? Easy: Write on a piece of paper the word ECFA and stick it on your rear mirror. Done!

Employment statistics are not good enough? Guess the answer: yes, you are good! ECFA!

5 Elections in 3 months and guess what: precisely in those 5 areas, the ECFA (did I mentioned that ECFA is magic?) will provide 34,009 jobs.

34,009 jobs, not 34,000 or 34,100 or 34,010 but… yes, you read it, 34,009 jobs!

Why not 34,010? Don’t ask me 🙂

And wait, not everywhere “34,009” jobs will be created, but just in the 5 areas where elections will be held on November.

Whaoh! Beautiful!

I told you, ECFA is magic.

At least, it is what the president (ahhhh whatever his title for the place is not considered as a country by him: “ECFA is not a treaty between countries”) said HERE.

What’s about in other areas?

Not important, no elections 🙂

Statistics here are very interesting…



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My New Baby

My campus is quite far away from everything, so not always easy to buy some stuff, such as food or whatever.

My Queen with her car are not always available and same for my very good friend who lives about 45mn from my campus even though she often helps me on Sunday to buy food in Carrefour.

So Queen and I decided to buy another car, and my life should be much easier now.

We picked it up last Saturday morning in the showroom. Here is the baby before driving it out of the showroom:

Colt Plus

Colt Plus from Mitsubishi, negotiated with all options. Deflectors have been just received and will be installed this afternoon or whatever.

The volume is quite impressive.

It’s supposed to be an environmental friendly car, consuming very few.

I will drive to go back to my campus this afternoon or maximum tomorrow morning.




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Taiwan, China, ECFA and… My Birthday

You may wonder, what could be the link between Taiwan, China, ECFA and my birthday…

Seems strange, as a title… 🙂

Today, it is April 25th, my birthday.

Today, there is a TV debate between the Chairman of the political party in charge – KMT(who is also the President of Taiwan at least if he is not talking to Chinese in which case, his title becomes Mr. Ma) and the Chairwoman of the opposition party – DPP.

A debate about what? About the ECFA between Taiwan and China, economic agreement which will be signed, whatever the opinion of the Taiwanese.

If you look at the news in China, officials from the Chinese government always clearly mentioned that the ECFA is a first step toward unification.

But the Taiwanese government and KMT seem to totally avoid to detail this fact to the Taiwanese people.

We do not need to feel surprised about it. The simple fact Taiwanese officials mention the potential unification in a more or less far future between China and Taiwan is enough for us to understand that obviously the KMT is in favor of such a political move.

Obviously, the big majority of the Taiwanese are against it. So how the KMT may put forward its hidden agenda?

When Taiwan will be totally dependant to the Chinese economy, the game will be over.

And the Taiwanese democracy too.

It seems that the Chinese Communist Party and the KMT are having the same agenda, as illustrated by the Editorial cartoon in Taipei Times (April 22 20190):

The government is so proud of the “new diplomatic policy of Ma”,citing for example Taiwan been an observer in the WHA.

Every normal person understand that it is the case only because the conditional approval from China.

But this year, it is the first time that US had officially showed that Taiwan’s participation in the WHA was fully contingent on approval by Beijing (HERE).

If something is getting wrong, of course China will not renew it.

How many times we could read in the news, Taiwanese officials saying that after the ECFA is signed, Taiwan will be able to sign FTA with other countries.

Who is so naive to believe that?

The ECFA is leading to a common market, concept promoted by the actual vice-president of Taiwan since 2000 as a recent editorial mentioned (HERE):


During an exclusive interview with Mexico’s largest newspaper, the Sun News on Aug. 26, 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that the cross-strait relationship was not a matter of relations between countries, but rather a matter of relations between regions. By making this claim, he diminished Taiwan to a region, which was a clear hint at his preparedness to signing an ECFA


By the way, Google published the Data or Removal Requests made by countries (seems to still be in a beta version) (HERE).

We can observe that all the countries let this information been freely published except China… Surprised?

KMT is siding with China. So does it mean that KMT approves the Chinese system?

Tim Maddog put on his Twitter (HERE) the first polls after the debate which is just now finished:


ETTV (pro-Chinese KMT) asks: Do you support ECFA? Yes: 6,762 (76%); No: 2,080 (24%)

CTiTV (pro-China/Chinese KMT) asks: Who’s winning the debate? Ma: 31,573 (79%); Tsai: 8,490 (21%)

SET (supposedly green): Do you support ECFA? NO: 92,465; Yes: 14,356. SET has the highest number of participants of the three I listed.

ETTV + CTiTV’s survey participants (48,905) = less than half of SET’s (106,821). What does that tell you? .@fvarga

SET has started a new poll after the end of the debate: "Who do you think did a better job?" So far it’s Tsai: 15,983; Ma: 981.


It seems that people are awakening?

Let’s see.




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Taiwan: About Education and Other Topics

Since few weeks, people are talking about attracting more foreign students in Taiwan and developing more classes taught in English.

Frankly speaking, there are not so many full programs taught in English in Taiwan, so attracting students from Europe and Americas is a real challenge (I am not referring to students learning Mandarin).

Beside, it seems according some comments I read that many students complain about the quality of the existing teaching. Hard to verify.

Anyway, when he was talking about foreign students, Ma (president of Taiwan) mentioned more than once “Chinese students”.

So we don’t need to be surprised by the announcement from the government to recognize the diplomas offered by 41 Chinese Universities. I remember that not a so long time ago (weeks or months), it was out of question to do so… A detail… Let’s forget about it.

As some already said and/or wrote, “it’s easier to continue teaching in Chinese than forcing professors to teach in English”.

I may add that attracting foreign professors is not an easy task either.

When the announcement was made, the DPP (opposition political party) said that it disagreed and the decision from the government could jeopardize the rights of Taiwanese students.

From that point, I have some reflections and questions:

1 – Maybe I don’t understand the consequences about recognizing 41 Chinese Universities (? 🙂 ) but I don’t see how and why the rights of Taiwanese students may be jeopardized. The DPP should be more specific and stop to just criticize if it doesn’t want to lose its credibility.

2 – But yes, if many very good students are coming to Taiwan (not just 10 or 20), for sure a lot of Taiwanese students will be in trouble: they will have to face competition and will need to work more or change their “occupations”.

3 – Yes, a lot of Universities or colleges in China are far to be at the international level (but it’s the same for Taiwan, no?) and I don’t know the details about those 41 Universities. Still, it’s not a reason to systematically downgrade Chinese Universities. Some are really very good: Beida (Beijing University), Tsinghua University, Fudan University or Shanghai Jiao Tong University, just to name some. The famous Finance professor and Chinese specialist Michael Pettis will of course agree (he is teaching in Beida).

4 – There are of course good Universities in Taiwan and good professors too. But as anyone knows, there are too many Universities and colleges: more than 180 for a country large as (roughly) Belgium. Can you believe it?

I believe Taiwan should think about Schumpeter and and his “Creative Destruction”!

5 – Now, let’s talk about quality (of students and professors): if the Ministry of Education does not change its policy soon, the best students and professors will go abroad. See for example the policies of South Korea, Hong Kong or Singapore Universities.

If Taiwan doesn’t adapt to the new challenges, it will lose for ever its competitive advantage (if any).

6 – Again, about quality: which kind of students Taiwan wants to attract from China? The very good students (and there are a lot, given the highly competitive environment) are going to USA or Europe. If they don’t have enough money or if they want to stay in Asia, they receive a lot of financial incentives from some of the best Universities – see for example what are offering Universities in HKG. And the reputation of Taiwanese Universities (most of) is far behind.

So question: why the good students from China will come to Taiwan?

One more question: if Taiwan does not attract the good Chinese students, who will come? The bad students? The troublesome students?

If yes, what will be the consequences here about the quality?

7 – According the government, undergraduate Chinese students can only go to private Universities and graduated will join the public Universities.


8 – Still according the government, when Chinese students will join the public Universities here, they will have to pay the same tuition fees than in private Universities (higher compare to the public).


That is how the government wants to attract students?

Let’s change the topic.

The president Ma is also the chairman of his political party (KMT). I do not believe that is good for the democracy. I thought the same when his predecessor became the chairman of the now opposition party (DPP).

In Europe it also happened in the past and I of course disagreed.

The president is supposed to be the president of all the population.

When he makes decisions or whatever, where is the precise line between the president and chairman jobs?

See the picture:


Ma (right) is chanting election slogans with the party’s candidate for Hsinchu County commissioner, Chiu Ching-chung.

I don’t know. Maybe I am thinking too much. But I believe that president and party chairman positions should be hold by different people.

Another topic: how decisions are made.

Recently, some decisions just came out of nowhere, as the rabbit from the magician top hat.

See the decision about the Chinese Universities. I am not against it but I thought that some transparency may be useful.

See about the beef story: everything but transparent. One day, the government just open the doors for the US beef without any debate. I don’t say that the US beef is bad. I just say that the way the decision was made could be different.

See about the financial MOU with China: the one in charge (in Taiwan) said before the lawmakers that the MOU will not be signed if the official titles are not mentioned. Few hours later, we learnt that the MOU was signed… Without the official titles…

Many questions and very few answers…


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I Am Grading

Sorry for this week. No time to blog.

It’s the midterm exam week and I am grading now. So blogging will make me feel guilty 😉


Today, 2 exams… About 100 students to grade.

Tomorrow, 2 more exams but only about 50 students.

And then, need to upload the grades.

And then… need to upload the proposed answers.

Econometrics is OK, just the time to handle the data. Easy stuff, an introduction to the understanding of Econometrics.

Economics, Global Investment, International Finance are taking more time.

Many news made me want to react… but no time…

Anyway, long life to Taiwan 🙂


Cheers 😆


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France Trip, Part 4: Bordeaux Ocean

We spent one day at the ocean, for picnic, swimming and relaxing.

From Bordeaux city, it’s about a small hour driving.

We went around “la dune du Pila”, the highest dune in Europe.

First, after preparing everything for your meal, it was time for a cold beer (beside me, Marc and Martine):


And here, my Queen with them:


Some pictures made by my Queen:




On the above picture, you can see the “pine apple” which is totally open when the weather is dry and close when it’s rainy time.

It could be used to forecast the weather…

My queen enjoying the ocean:


Some practice… But not enough wind that day to really enjoy it… Still, you can see the height of the dune…


My Queen and me:


At the top of the dune, facing the forest side:


My Queen, enjoying the view:


That was the last part of our trip in France.

I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

I will prepare now the “surprise” I promised you before.

It will take some time (1 or 2 days?)

Wish you a great week-end 🙂


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France Trip, Part 3: Bordeaux

The last few days in France were pure vacations.

We went to Bordeaux where I spent on long time, a while ago.

We stayed in Marc and Martine place.

Marc is like a brother for me. We know each others since more than 25 years!

I am the godfather of their son: Mathieu (I only call him Mat).

Here is the living room. My Queen shot the picture right away when we arrived:


And from the garden:


Here is some samples of our diner in their place, prepared by both of them:

First, before we prepared the “aperitif” (drink):


Some tomatoes stuff:


Did you notice the bread? Mmmmm… Delicious!

Here is the magret (duck breast), cooked on BBQ with wine wood… Only in Bordeaux we can do that…


We took the tramcar to go to the downtown. Very convenient transportation, finished just a while ago (almost all around the city and totally silent):


After one day shopping, we invited Marc and Martine to my favorite restaurant in Bordeaux (a very old and historical place): Le Noailles.

Being an old customer, we got the best table when I booked it earlier in the day.

We arrived first:


Waiting our friends, we order a drink (can you guess mine?)

8 Mine was the “pastis”… 🙂


That was my avocado-shrimps appetizer:


Earlier in the day, we went visiting some parts of Bordeaux.

In the past, Bordeaux had walls and doors to protect itself. Here is one, the “Porte de Cailhau” (the door of Cailhau):


Another one: Porte Dijeaux:


A closer look of the top (renovated in the 18th century):


And then we went to a famous area: the river bank. It’s unique in Europe, all the bank buildings are from the 18th century!:





The famous “colonnes des girondins” on the biggest square in Europe: la place des Quinconces:


With my friend-brother Marc:18

It was quite cloudy, so the river was not blue as usual:



Have a look on the lamp shape:



Marc and Martine:

23 We shot each others 🙂


And now, a very famous (and new) area: the water mirror. It’s a square with water popping out time to time, with the environment reflecting on it:



It was so hot that all the kids were enjoying the water. No way to take a good picture of the mirror.

I downloaded the below picture from Internet to let you know what this water mirror is(Picture made by a professional? I found it HERE):


Beautiful, isn’t it?

Bordeaux is really a beautiful place, thanks to the job of the actual mayor.

I hope you enjoyed it.

The next and final part will be our stay at the Atlantic ocean.



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