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December, 4, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Daniel J. Bauer
A few minutes ago a friend corrected me on my pronunciation of "Scalia," the surname of the U.S. Supreme Court judge who passed away February 13. I had been putting the emphasis on the first vowel and syllable, and he reminded me that Italians do not do that. "Come down hard on the 'li'," I am now reminding myself.
 
An Australia-China-based story about a gift of luxury watches running amok resurfaced this week, and got me to thinking about the meaning of trust. And about losing trust.
 
As I write these words, a student at National Taiwan University (NTU) lies comatose in a hospital, the result of a role play of a ghost hanging that went awry several days ago. The accident happened as part of a multi-level skills-training effort, call it a workshop or college-sponsored vacation camp, or whatever.
 
At first, nothing seemed so special about the flag controversy into which Taiwanese pop star Chou Tzu-yu stumbled recently while on South Korean television. The young miss had committed the grave error, in the eyes of Beijing that is, of promoting Taiwan independence by holding a flag of the Republic of China Taiwan in her hand.
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A visiting professor from the Taichung area asked three days ago what I'd write about for today.
 
I am still grateful today for a lesson that a reader taught me several years ago. The words "postponement" and "embarrassment" come to mind whenever I think of that lesson.
 
Shape the term "comfort women" on your lips, and pronounce its separate sounds aloud in your mind. This is easy to do. Indeed, talking about "comfort women" on a shallow level is not difficult. The more however we contemplate upon a few realities here, the more complicated the topic seems. An apparently simple expression becomes a nasty combination of complex notions, not to mention emotions, each more troubling than the other.
 
People all over Taiwan heaved a collective sigh of relief with the news this past week that a disturbed man in Taitung had released a college student without apparent harm after holding him captive at gunpoint for nearly 24 hours.
 
I expect one day in the future to be awakened in the middle of the night by the insistent ringing of my telephone. It'll be, say, about 3 o'clock in the morning. It will be very dark outside.
 
Regular readers know that I rarely write about religion. This is of course by design. For a column to survive the proverbial test of time, it's got to offer variety to readers. I've never taught a course entitled "Column writing 101," but if I ever do, I'd likely make a lot of noise about variety as one of the keys to success.
 
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