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August, 30, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Daniel J. Bauer
I once got involved in a "friendly argument" with a friend of my father about the role of history in our lives. The issue was whether younger people (I was a college student at the time) should have to keep listening to old stories about World War II. I was most reluctant to admit to the value of what had occurred yesterday.
 
Readers' responses to my columns are interesting to me, and are always a push for deeper reflection. I am grateful for the words several critics have recently posted under my name in the commentary section of The China Post. I want to share some of those words here today.
 
The attempted jail break in Kaohsiung Prison that led to the death of six inmates may have occurred nearly a month ago, but the story has not yet ended
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Question: What is the meaning of "credibility"? A dictionary says, "the quality that someone or something has that makes people believe or trust them." Well, I am thinking, that makes sense.
 
Events occasionally occur in life in ways that all but disarm us. Matters seemingly quite small, even trivial, enter our consciousness, and leave only faint impressions. Then, unexpectedly, whole worlds of meaning come spinning our way.
 
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je's booboos this week in remarks about the gift of a pocket watch from the United Kingdom's Minister of State for Transport will hang in the clouds for a spell of time not yet determined.
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Just the other morning I read of someone trying to do two things at the same time, and winding up making a big mess of everything. It was a guy, I remember, and he was driving a car and, now, what was he trying to do while driving that car? I forget. I know it was a man, not a woman.
 
Slow but steady progress has come as I've continued to plow this past week through a mountain of mini-papers (we call them "reflective journals") my American Literature students have turned in. They hope to get them back on the night of our final exam.
 
On Jan. 1, all sorts of stuff collided in an odd exchange involving President Ma Ying-jeou and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je at a flag-raising ceremony to mark the start of 2015. Am I the only one hoping this goof-up was not an omen of things to come? Am I the only one who even remembers the story?
 
I have never written an obituary, and do not plan to try to write one here. In my view, an "obit" is mostly about the past. It speaks of someone's life now having come to an end. An obituary reviews a few milestones of that person's story, and tells us in an apparently objective way why we might want to remember her or him.
 
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