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Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's a pretty good translation of a quote by Ban Chao (班超), a great general, explorer and diplomat of the East Han Dynasty (32-102 A.D.), who gained control of the Tarim Basin region of Central Asia for China. The quote translated verbatim is: No venture into the tiger's den, no capture of a tiger cub (不入虎穴、不得虎子).
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) rules six of the 22 cities and counties of Taiwan.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is Japan's number one globe-trotting head of government. Since he took the helm of the government at the end of 2012, he has made diplomatic sallies to close to 30 countries around the world for bilateral and multilateral summit meetings.
The Chinese count the year by combining one of the ten Heavenly Stems (天干) and one of the twelve Earthly Branches (地支). The Chinese Lunar Year which started on Jan. 30 is the Year of Jia (甲) and Wu (午), the former being the first of the Heavenly Stems which identifies with Wood (木) and the latter being the seventh of the Earthy Branches which identifies with the Horse (馬).
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a lot of things to worry about. His Abenomics is losing steam. Now that Uncle Sam has turned cool in support he is campaigning against China for world support in Japan's dispute with China over the tiny Senkaku archipelago, which Beijing and Taipei claim as the Diaoyutais. Washington now tends to think Abe is a troublemaker. On top of all that, he has a new worry; Junichiro Koizumi, one of Japan's longest lasting prime ministers, and his mentor.
Shih Ming-teh, a former chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, is a revolutionary at heart. He led the World Human Rights Day demonstration in Kaohsiung in 1979 to demand an end to President Chiang Ching-kuo's autocratic rule of Taiwan. Of course, he was arrested, tried and sentenced to life in prison for treason. He was pardoned by President Lee Teng-hui, who later had the criminal code amended to exculpate anyone who just talks about a revolution but does not try to start one.
An escalating ambassadorial war of words between Japan and China has descended into a kind of "pot calling the kettle black" situation. In an opinion piece published in the Daily Telegraph last Monday, Tokyo's envoy to the United Kingdom Keiichi Hayashi compared China to Voldemort, the fictional evil wizard from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
Ker Chien-ming, Democratic Progressive Party legislative caucus whip, proposed to freeze the Taiwan independence clause in the party's charter on Dec. 26. The proposal was made at the last of a series of meetings the party held in an attempt to achieve consensus on its China policy. The charter was written in 1986 while Taiwan was still under martial law and the clause proclaims that the ultimate purpose of the party is to create a republic of Taiwan.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo last Thursday, outraging China and South Korea as well as disappointing the United States. He paid the controversial visit exactly a year after he took office. During his first term as prime minister in 2006-07, he did not pay homage in person to Japan's war dead, including war criminals such as Hideki Tojo and Kenji Dohibara.
Last week I graded close to 100 test papers submitted by candidates for English-Chinese translation licenses at the Taiwan University English Training and Testing Center. I was shocked to find nine out of every ten examinees did not know the difference between "few" and "a few." They wrote "few" Internet addicts have mental disorders, though the Chinese text they translated pointed out clearly that "a few" do.
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