Tuesday, September 23, 2008
It's odd that there's only one China, because there are at least two Taiwans - This island is in dire need of an aqua press...
Well met, dear reader (..and I'll apologize now for all the asides; I was in a parenthetical frame of mind.)
I work down south a couple times a week and take the train when I do. I am in the habit of rising at five, making coffee, having a shower and a shave, quick cup of coffee, filling up a thermos for the journey and picking up dan bing and a copy of the Taipei Times. This seems to compensate for the early hour that I have to rise and by the time I get to my destination I am ready to get cracking. (I work in a powdered egg factory, so actually 'cracking' here is just a figure of speech.)
On the way home I grab the China Post to read. (It's difficult to do this the other way around because The Taipei Times doesn't seem as easy to find in small town Taiwan - this could just be my limited experience.)
So I read the green English paper in the morning and the blue English paper in the afternoon. It's sometimes hard to believe that they are published in the same country. (I did double-check, and no, the Post is published in Taipei and not in Wuhan, it just seems that way sometimes.) As with the island's TV news stations, it's pretty obvious that there are two diametrically opposed viewpoints jockeying for prime propaganda position.
Two days ago, (President or Mister?) Ma, Premier Liu and a bunch of cabinet ministers went out to Lushan to see what super-typhoons do to hotels built without building permits or foundations, and to look concerned.
The story in the China Post was titled Ma, Liu visit Lushan to 'inspect' Sinlaku damage.
An article in the Taipei Times, which appeared to be about the same tour, was titled KMT official takes Ma Lui to task.
In the first story, the premier was able to warn the people about the impending arrival of Typhoon Hagupit, and in the second, the pair are basically called 'ridiculous' by a local KMT representative. (Alright the first was at Wushe and the second was in Jenai, but I bet they happened within an hour of each other and that each of the journalists were at both of the photo-ops.) It just seems more like cherry picking than journalism, but read them for yourself.
I just wish there were a group of responsible, unbiased journalists with a little cash and the desire to launch an aqua press where blue and green could be read side by side. I wouldn't disagree with a law stating that all media outlets were required to provide, if not 50-50 coverage, at least a 70-30 split. I know these things are impossible and that all corporate media operates this way, and not just in Taiwan, but is it wrong to dream a little?
It doesn't really matter. I've decided to start reading comics on the train. At least they're a lot more straightforward. (Oh, and I don't like to be culturally insensitive but Hagupit is really scraping the bottom of the barrel for typhoon names. It means 'lashing' in Filipino (Tagalog) and I'm sorry but it's the worst typhoon name I've ever heard. It sounds like some kind of Scottish BBQ.)