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.
Friday night a week ago, minutes before 11 o'clock, I got word from The China Post that the column I had submitted 24 hours earlier had run amuck. I had fallen for what appeared to be a legitimate news report, and wrapped my commentary around it. My editor said media sources now saw that the original report was "a joke," an elaborate prank.
Terrorism on a grand scale in France, cries for fear instead of trust in immigration policies in the United States, and breakthroughs in ties with Beijing have dominated our recent headlines. Local events that have also drawn attention include announcements of candidates for the vice-presidency of the R.O.C., new plans for Taipei Songshan Airport, and the fortunes of our Chinese Taipei baseball team.
Social media by definition are rooted in high technology. They offer icons, logos, and pretty paraphernalia to visually enliven our computer screens and share with friends.
Two years ago, a woman student in her junior year in my department disappeared.
Personal experience has taught me that phrasing words on sensitive topics in a 2nd language is a form of hell. You can get burned easily.