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October, 28, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Daniel J. Bauer
Perhaps more than the average Joe (which is my middle name), I take a great interest in words. This may be partly due to a problem I've since largely overcome. As a child I stuttered rather badly at times when I spoke. To this day, I do not imitate stutterers to get a cheap laugh when story-telling. I am incredibly sympathetic to people who fight to get their words out because of this affliction. Anyone who laughs at a stutterer is a bully.
Surveys and their results are not divinities, and so we'd be foolish to worship them. Still, a recent survey about abuse in relationships in Taiwan is worth notice.
Our newspapers continue to publish one report or opinion piece after the other about the frightening condition of present day higher education here in Taiwan. An obvious mood of pessimism hangs in the air like a sand storm we cannot shake.
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.
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