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The relationship between construction and corruption

The government announces the building of new housing projects, skyscrapers or parks for all to enjoy, and a contract is sealed after some big company lands the deal. Regardless of its function, each project is supposedly designed to benefit the public as a whole. Money passes through many hands to secure the bid, with a bit leeched here and there and whatever is left going toward building materials.

After a certain real estate tycoon was detained for bribing a leading government official in exchange for a housing project contract, many gloated because Chao Tien-hsiung's name was already dirt with eco-preservation groups because of his drive that reaped money but destroyed trees; others were secretly glad because Chao was living proof that money sure ain't everything.

Yet this is the filthy standard protocol that occurs during almost every other project's bidding process, and even with the Agency Against Corruption's (AAC, 廉政署) satisfactory efforts in this particular case, corruption lives on and even spreads.

Amid the uproar that followed the bribery case, the government was still bent on keeping everyday issues running as usual, with many leading political officials seen gearing up for the upcoming seven-in-one elections in November.

A common method of getting back into the scandalized citizens' good books is to improve the conditions of public facilities and infrastructure. What better than obvious results? Many in Taipei are supposedly familiar and perhaps fed-up with the constant road works that open pit after pit along the city's main streets. Take Renai Road, which runs from the Taipei City Government to near the gates of the Presidential Office and is the city's primary marathon route: a series of intersections on Renai Road are subject to being pulled up year after year, in spite of there being no obvious damage to the road or accident-prone spots.

It is quite remarkable how the government almost always targets the same spots for re-paving and only strives to fix some sidewalk tiles while others remain as ragged and bumpy as ever. The efforts and gestures are undoubtedly grand, but it proves to be more of a hindrance to nearby residents as the drilling and hollering of workmen are heard in the dead of night.

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