Packing bag…

…for my annual inspection tour of Taiwan. The first time I visited the place, schoolkids wore weird ‘dictatorship’ uniforms, changing money at a bank took 30 minutes’ form-filling, I bought an official map of the country that included not only the Mainland but Mongolia, and the freakiest avant-garde counter-culture was neon-lit KTV joints. Now it’s been through democratization, mint-coffee bubble-tea, aboriginal chic, out: betel-nut girls, in: gay marriage, and identity-affirmation viewed elsewhere as de-Sinification – and it is a trendy destination (and not-unthinkable bolt-hole) for Hongkongers.

Which leads us neatly to the Chinese leadership’s approach to rebellious cities. In other Chinese ‘soft power’ news: the Mainlandization of Forbes, and Beijing’s surreptitious establishment of a satellite ground station in Greenland.

And (on a totally different note) an eye-opening documentary on the ‘luckiest’ man in World War II – if you thought you had it tough in your early 20s…

I declare the weekend open, for me at least, until Thursday or so (just in time for the four-day Yuletide hibernation).


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6 Responses to Packing bag…

  1. Surely you have more imagination than that.

    Taiwan – like Singapore, Dubai, Auckland and so many other places.

    Once is more than enough.

    With me its Brazil or Australia again…can’t decide.

  2. Knownot says:

    The Bridge

    There is a bridge in China, shaped as if by a kindly hand
    To wander on and ponder on, and there I like to stand.
    The fabled Delta of the Pearl it boldly sweeps across,
    Monument of Man’s endeavour and financial loss.

    In the city I have no comrade, not even the lone man’s friend —
    The one who labours long, and mends the things I cannot mend.
    In my empty flat, alas, no maid or cook or cleaner,
    No necessary, lowly-paid, but loyal Filipina.

    In the streets and shops and malls and other busy places
    Crowds of traders come and go, trundling their suitcases;
    Or sometimes leave a little kiddie sitting all alone
    Looking after Mummy’s suitcase, playing with his phone.

    Patriotic politicians and the SAR’s
    Leading bureaucrats attend official seminars
    And learn ‘interpretations’ that were never heard before,
    But everything is duly done according to the Law.

    But I am found here on the bridge, where noise and movement cease;
    Far away, the hurly-burly. I ponder here in peace.
    Though ghosts of dead construction workers sometimes rustle by,
    Living men care not to haunt this place; only I.

    with acknowledgement to ‘Wessex Heights’ by Thomas Hardy

  3. Nutter says:

    Thanks for the link to the luckiest man.

    Part of me is ashamed that I don’t like the Japs and never will because of what they did to my grandparents’ generation. I have no Japanese friends and never will.

    But then, unlike the Germans, they’ve never owned up to what they did. At the end of the day, I’m quite comfortable with the ill-will that I harbour for them.

  4. Stanley Lieber says:

    Abandonment of the daily blog for four days without prior notice to the loyal readers is outrageous. Please cancel my subscription forthwith and refund the balance of the annual fee to the DAB.

  5. dimuendo says:


    To each their own, but your attitude for what the japanese did to your grandparents generation leads nowhere good. You should not judge the children by the faults of their parents.

    My maternal grandfather joined the Gordon Highlanders, albeit on the outbreak of WW1, Urquart being WW2.

    My father spent WW2 being chased out of Burma and then going back into Burma. He thought Slim and the Gurkhas were marvelous, while the Japanese were ruthless but formidable fighters.

    Post war in the 1960’s he obtained work with a company that pre war had traded with Japan. For the rest of his working life he traded with people in the “Far East” including HK and Japan (although not the mainland, which was then “closed”)

    My mother was initially against having any Japanese to our home but eventually relented. Like my father she found them, ultimately, to be individuals, when allowed the opportunity to be so.

    Through my father I know a few Japanese people, including one sadly now very old man who is perhaps the most humane person I know.

    Further, while in no way seeking to diminish what was done (or indeed is being done in current “conflicts”) you have to bear in mid that the Japanese have never been soft on each other; if you wish, it is partially cultural.

  6. DT-IPO says:

    Good stuff….my Dad came ashore at Normandy….He’s at Arlington now….he never talked about it……nobody did…..I can’t imagine….

    So you don’t like my India vacation pictures?….bummer….

    Happy Holidays…


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