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  William Vocke    Special to The China Post
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.
Let me make it very clear first. I used to be a very heavy smoker. I smoked at least two packs of cigarettes a day, on top of enjoying quite a few pipefuls of tobacco, while I was working as managing editor of The China Post. I also smoked cigars my friends gave me as presents. Well, that's more than half a century ago.
Japan's largest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party, elected former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe its leader last week. On election back to his job as LDP leader again, Abe promised to do his utmost to return his party to power, not only for itself but for the purpose of building a strong and prosperous Japan where the people will feel happy being Japanese.
China has a long tradition of imperial censors (御史), which dates as far back as the Qin Dynasty (255-206 B.C.) They supervised government officials on behalf of the emperor like a national branch of Transparency International which, however, doesn't have teeth. Unlike modern-day Transparency International which nobody fears.
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