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After London-based The Economist called President Ma Ying-jeou a bumbler last month, he bristled and tried to explain away his failure to get Taiwan's house in order, but on Human Rights Day, celebrated on last Monday, he didn't bumble.
An ideal Confucian society is one where everybody does what he is expected to do and harmony prevails. China is still a Confucian society, though unlike the one the Great Sage hopes it to be. Mao Zedong tried to de-Confucianize China by unleashing his Red Guards during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Their slogans were: “We don't love our fathers and mothers!” and “Rebellion is justified!” But China has survived Mao's de-Confucianization, because, like it or not, the Chinese, including Mao himself, are Confucians.
While I was studying toward a Master's degree in English and English literature at National Taiwan Normal University, Professor C. J. Chen asked me to write a composition on the theme, “How I plan to make use of English.”
An old saying in Taiwan runs in a couplet: “An official who does not cheat/Has just rice with salt mixed to eat.” That means all government officials with clean hands have to have meals without any side dishes at all. And, by inference, it's only natural that officials are corrupt. Taiwan's old folk wisdom is universally affirmed for after all, greed is one of the seven deadly sins.
Let's first understand what a national doctrine is and why it is so important for a nation to have one. It isn't just a national affair or national affairs. National doctrine (國是) is a set of guidelines of policies and principles a nation chooses to follow. A national doctrine is the vision, mission and ideology of a nation, which must be reflected in its foreign as well as internal policies.
There's an Eleventh Commandment in U.S. politics. It's a phrase popularized by the late President Ronald Reagan. In his 1990 autobiography, An American Life, Reagan attributed it to Gaylord Parkinson, Republican Party chairman in California.
There are two holidays that we no longer celebrate. One is Taiwan's Retrocession Day on Oct. 25 and the other Chiang Kai-shek's birthday on Oct. 31.
Quite a lot of people won't be happy, come the coming Chinese New Year or the next. They are some 440,000 retirees. Why? It's because Premier Sean Chen declared on last Tuesday that their yearend bonus wouldn't be paid.
One thing must be made clear. Despite the recent saber rattling, there won't be a Sino-Japanese war over the disputed islands called the Diaoyutais in China and Taiwan, and called Senkakus in Japan. The fact is that neither China nor Japan wants war and all that Uncle Sam has to do is to persuade Prime Minister Yoshiko Noda to admit that the sovereignty dispute exists among Japan, China and Taiwan.
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Almost all men and women of letters in Taiwan are glad Mo Yan, one of China's leading writers of the past half century, won this year's Nobel Prize for Literature last Thursday. Chinese the world over are happy one of them has finally won the prize, though he isn't the first Chinese-born writer Nobel laureate in belles lettres.
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