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As concerns rise following the reaching of a free trade agreement (FTA) between mainland China and South Korea, with political figures seizing the issue to mount attacks against their rivals, the fact that Taiwan's economic future is plagued by internal factors as well as external challenges is often overlooked.
Representatives from various civil organizations recently called on the Ministry of Education (MOE, 教育部) to drop a new college English test set as the baseline for next year's college admissions, stressing that the Test of English Listening Comprehension (TELC) should be used as a reference criterion for local universities instead of a requirement.
Politicians and business leaders generally prefer to downplay their nations' weaknesses and setbacks in international trade. Taiwanese officials and business people, however, have been filling the airwaves with dire scenarios for Taiwan's economy in the wake of a recently sealed FTA between South Korea and mainland China.
Sudden game-changing events or revelations in the final days before an election take place in almost every major Taiwan election. In the upcoming 9-in-1 elections, such an event comes in the form of the shocking turnaround in an investigation into suspected wiretapping, which one mayoral candidate called Taiwan's equivalent of Watergate.
Wang Yifu (王夷甫), a minister of administration and welfare toward the end of the Western Jin Dynasty (265-317), is known for calling money dirty.
The subject of free trade agreements (FTA) has been in the news lately, as the government warned about the ramifications of a recently inked accord between mainland China and South Korea.
The other day, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu vowed to restructure the city's economy, removing all high-polluting and high-risk industries from the area. The vows were apparently made in the wake of some outrageous and deadly developments in the city: the pollution of a river by wastewater released by a major semiconductor firm last year and the gas explosions this summer that left 31 dead and more than 300 injured.
Propaganda is a political tactic used everywhere in the world, both domestically and at times internationally. The truth is that propaganda, whether used to promote a certain politician or to besmirch the name and reputation of another, is always deployed to the advantage of an individual or an entire group of people.
Taiwan has a nuanced linguistic landscape that sees two major cross-currents: a privileged official lingo and the widely used Hokkien, a southern dialect of Chinese now also called Taiwanese. Academic, government, scientific and public institutions are dominated by Mandarin, but in daily life much of the population uses Hokkien.
As a consequence of their status as public figures, the daily lives, whether public or private, of politicians, businessmen and celebrities are constantly put under a microscope.
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