Ko Wen-je


#161

Such phenomenon is also widespread in Hsinchu, where most residents aren’t native to Hsinchu. There are so many reasons to not move hukou to a new place of residence, yet kids needs to have a parent with hukou in Hsinchu in order to go to school, so many families would have one parent move their hukou to Hsinchu, and the other, usually the father, would keep his original household registration. This results in at least one parent giving up voting when election time comes around.

The purpose of hukou is to keep a correct records of where people live. However tying up so many government programs to hukou means hukou now is just a mere inconvenience. As a recent, a large percentage of the population don’t live at their household registration address, so what’s the real use of hukou?

A practical system would be to associate your place of residence with your ID card, and have an easy way to update that info (online, APP). Instead, hukou system has it the other way around. You have to get your ID card from offices at your hukou. They are now setting up a system where you can get your national ID card from offices outside of your hukou. Still, it’s just a lot of bureaucratic nonsense for a failed system.


#162

[quote=“cfimages”]Even taking herself off her family’s one and onto our own was a simple procedure.

I wonder how many just don’t bother trying because they think it’ll be too hard. When we asked landlords about it, there was never any hesitation giving the required documents. In the 6 or so years we’ve been married, the hukou has been changed 4-5 times.[/quote]

We’ve changed our hukous a few times too. It’s always been dead easy. Waiting time at the household registration office: about 10 minutes. No cost other than getting a new photo for your ID card. And yes, husband and wife can register their hukous at different addresses.

Maybe the hukou system has a few flaws, but it’s no “bureaucratic nightmare” as a number of whining Forumosans seem to think.


#163

Taiwan has an estimated 1million landlords who do not declare rent as income.


#164

One more reason Ko may prove a revolutionary mayor in Taipei. He is actually insisting that laws be followed, and also that fines have teeth, and the city have the power to enforce its own decisions.

We all know this is one of the major problems in Taiwan: weak enforcement, laws and fines that are perfunctory, and an environment in which companies and individuals look for creative ways to circumvent regulations rather than comply.

Some of these thigns are brain dead ridiculous. I used to live across from a hectare of fields on the edge of Taipei and my neighbors constantly burned organic material. In fall there would be large bonfires all day long. I called the EPA multiple times, and to their credit they always investigated. But the also could not do much as unless the caught the farmers actually lighting the fire they couldn’t fine them. Simply having a fire on one’s property isn’t enough. The farmers knew this and would always say that they didn’t know it was there, or there were rushing to put it out.

Absurd but that it Taiwan. Even the most basic safety and health regulations can’t be enforced. They merely exist.

[quote]At a meeting on public safety issues, Ko reacted strongly to a report by the joint inspection task force that found 12 unlicensed bars in Zhongshan District (中山) are still open. Ko said he was angry and demanded to know who he could “yell at” over the issue.

Office of Commerce Deputy Director Chiang Mei-ling (江美玲) said that there are loopholes in licensing regulations that make it difficult to shut down illegal businesses.

“The regulations are not strict, creating a situation whereby illegal operations can continually change their legal ownership,” she said.

Municipal regulations require the operators of businesses within the so called “eight major industries” where there are concerns about gambling or prostitution — such as KTVs, bars and dance halls — to undergo additional reviews and receive special licensing to operate.

Chiang said some businesses attempt to get around regulations by registering as restaurants, which are not subject to the same review and licensing requirements, adding that 56 such cases had recently been discovered.

While the city can impose fines of up to NT$100,000 on businesses found to be breaking the rules, it lacks the power to force them to close by cutting off their electricity and water, she said.

Establishments can avoid being shut down by continually changing their ownership, effectively “resetting the clock” for fines, she said.

The city has little discretion to approve documents changing the legal identity of an establishment, she said, adding: “As long as [a business owner’s] documents are in order, we are obligated to allow them to register.”

She said the office is drafting a new set of regulations for approval by the city council and central government that would allow utilities to be cut off and fines imposed on a specific address irrespective of its registered ownership.[/quote]


#165

Taiwan has an estimated 1million landlords who do not declare rent as income.[/quote]

But is that because they won’t allow hukou registered at the address, or is it because the tenants think they won’t so don’t ask?


#166

Taiwan has an estimated 1million landlords who do not declare rent as income.[/quote]

But is that because they won’t allow hukou registered at the address, or is it because the tenants think they won’t so don’t ask?[/quote]

You’re smart enough to understand the landlords don’t want it. There are an estimated 1 million families/landlords making their living off rent and they are paying next to nothing in taxes because it is undeclared. Some of these families even get subsidized healthcare because on paper they earn so little. Given what you know of Taiwanese and the human race what are the odds that the majority of such people actually want to shit on the golden egg they have?


#167

But as I mentioned earlier, the few times we’ve asked it’s never been a problem. Maybe we are just lucky and got the only honest landlords in the country.


#168

being dependent on landlords for voting rights…says it all.


#169

Our landlord declares his income on the one I am living in, we even had to go to the notary to get the rental agreement sorted.

He had no issue with or interest when it came to me telling the Immigration Bureau people that I moved in here, aftr all, everything is above the table.

I would think more expensive properties are like tht, who knows?


#170

It’s hard for me to figure out how a huge property tax increase for home owners whose property is over 20 ping would have any benefit whatsoever, except maybe for the tax collectors. For the public at large, it would be disastrous. If you had a 25-ping property, the new higher tax might be ruinous and even force you to sell. If it was a very punitive tax, there would be few buyers, causing prices for these larger apartments to fall. Is that supposed to be good news? Now the purchase price is lower, but nobody wants those apartments because the taxes are ruinous. Might I ask how does that benefit homeowners, or potential future homeowners? Cheaper apartments, but ruinous taxes - sounds like a winning strategy…not.

Once that “big-home tax” is implemented, home buyers would presumably be looking for apartments 20 ping or less in size. So the price of those units could be expected to rise. May I ask how this benefits the public? If the price of those small units gets too high due to the increased demand, will Ko propose raising their property taxes too? In which case, some of those owners will not be able to pay and are forced to sell or default on their mortgages and lose their homes.

My own proposal (which isn’t really my own, it’s been said before by others) is to slap a hefty tax on short-term capital gains from real estate sales. The KMT did in fact impose a sort-of capital gains tax a few years ago - it was actually a 10% sales tax on all real estate sales occuring within two years of purchase of the property. That did dampen the speculative fever a little, but not enough. What’s probably needed is a very hefty tax (like 90%) on sales that occur within the first year of purchase), with a gradually declining rate of taxation the longer you hold the property (like 20% less every year, eventually falling to zero). I am talking about a huge tax on the short-term gain, not a tax on the final sale price (which might not result in a gain). The idea is to prevent people from flipping properties which they never live in, which is what has been happening. You really don’t want to kill off home building (which employs a lot of people) nor do you want to discourage people from buying homes just to rent them out (or turn them into home stays) - these are legit businesses, with benefits for both landlords and tenants. What you want to stop is people from buying an apartment for $10 millon today and putting it up for sale the next day for $12 million. Even worse is when people do this with farm land - they build nothing, contribute nothing to the economy, and indeed they might even take a productive farm and turn it into a weed lot.

Getting back to Mayor Ko (remember him?), he is showing a real tendency to fire off his mouth without thinking. This is starting to worry me. I still wish him well, but if he’s to actually accomplish something (rather than just grandstanding for his adoring fans), he needs to calm down and consult with others before he blurts out a new policy that occurred to him 30 seconds ago.


#171

That is basically how it works in the US. If you sell a house that has been your primary residence for 2 years (out of the previous 5) then it’s a tax free transaction (up to a point - like a 250K gain). If you sell a house that hasn’t been your primary residence then the gain is taxed as ordinary income at whatever your tax bracket is.

I also don’t really understand the logic of the particular proposed tax strategy based on size. Something needs to be done with undeclared rent income though. Maybe there needs to be a tax on so-called unoccupied property (or the mysterious family member occupied property) that is similar to the amount collected if there was declared rental income. But they need to not slap a tax on owner occupied properties because that could be devastating to families that can barely make ends meet.


#172

There need to be taxes in line with the rest of the world in order to both curb speculation and generate desparately needed revenue. Yes it would be hard on some families but maybe that is the pressure needed to force companies to raise wages.

Taiwan is in a mess and making bandaid fixes will do nothing.


#173

[quote=“Dog’s_Breakfast”]It’s hard for me to figure out how a huge property tax increase for home owners whose property is over 20 ping would have any benefit whatsoever, except maybe for the tax collectors. For the public at large, it would be disastrous. If you had a 25-ping property, the new higher tax might be ruinous and even force you to sell. If it was a very punitive tax, there would be few buyers, causing prices for these larger apartments to fall. Is that supposed to be good news? Now the purchase price is lower, but nobody wants those apartments because the taxes are ruinous. Might I ask how does that benefit homeowners, or potential future homeowners? Cheaper apartments, but ruinous taxes - sounds like a winning strategy…not.

Once that “big-home tax” is implemented, home buyers would presumably be looking for apartments 20 ping or less in size. So the price of those units could be expected to rise. May I ask how this benefits the public? If the price of those small units gets too high due to the increased demand, will Ko propose raising their property taxes too? In which case, some of those owners will not be able to pay and are forced to sell or default on their mortgages and lose their homes.

My own proposal (which isn’t really my own, it’s been said before by others) is to slap a hefty tax on short-term capital gains from real estate sales. The KMT did in fact impose a sort-of capital gains tax a few years ago - it was actually a 10% sales tax on all real estate sales occuring within two years of purchase of the property. That did dampen the speculative fever a little, but not enough. What’s probably needed is a very hefty tax (like 90%) on sales that occur within the first year of purchase), with a gradually declining rate of taxation the longer you hold the property (like 20% less every year, eventually falling to zero). I am talking about a huge tax on the short-term gain, not a tax on the final sale price (which might not result in a gain). The idea is not to prevent people from flipping properties which they never live in, which is what has been happening. You really don’t want to kill off home building (which employs a lot of people) nor do you want to discourage people from buying homes just to rent them out (or turn them into home stays) - these are legit businesses, with benefits for both landlords and tenants. What you want to stop is people from buying an apartment for $10 millon today and putting it up for sale the next day for $12 million. Even worse is when people do this with farm land - they build nothing, contribute nothing to the economy, and indeed they might even take a productive farm and turn it into a weed lot.

Getting back to Mayor Ko (remember him?), he is showing a real tendency to fire off his mouth without thinking. This is starting to worry me. I still wish him well, but if he’s to actually accomplish something (rather than just grandstanding for his adoring fans), he needs to calm down and consult with others before he blurts out a new policy that occurred to him 30 seconds ago.[/quote]

Property taxes where people pay more than 10k a year for million dollar apartments would be a good start., and the government does need the revenue, otherwise they will tax salaried employees more or cut welfare payments.


#174

Two heated Ko related issues -among others that have filled local rags lately- stand out. The first one is the most interesting: since those Tzu Chi land grab comments by Ko, a backlash against Tzu Chi has surfaced with so much pented up anger you’d think it was some kind of Scientology branch. In every single channel, magazine, FB group, net discussion, every aspect of the organization, dirty laundry and not so -yes, even a 300k glass ornament- have been dragged into public display. It all started with Ko.

Ko, being a master of timing, put foot to mouth on Women’s Day saying what everyone does not want mentioned: yes, those are imported brides. Yes, a nice chunk were sold as cattle -there are ads and receipts for virginity issued-, yes, they are imported brides and get treated as fourth class citizens. No, he shouldn’t be surprised Taiwanese guys are left single in spite of importing so many brides, simply because most of the guys are, in the words of one of my Taiwanese professors, “like Taiwanese industry, not internationally competitive”. Raise kids in uncritical thinking, as test zombies and spoiled mamas boys and they will not attract a fly. If you organize a society that gyrates so that a few get the pie and the rest get the crumbs and loses all hope, why do you act surprised when people won’t even reproduce? This is an island, they have nowhere to go.


#175

Great post icon.

I am not surprised at the Tzu Chi reaction. I have followed the organization for years as I think Chang Yen is remarkable but yes the amount of discontent with the group is large. A lot of Taiwanese resent the elitism of the org. My former mother-in-law was one of these. A wonderful decent kind and generous woman who didn’t like the fact Tzu Chi openly treats women like her as minor members and largely because of the money she could donate.

People also don’t like their cozy relationship with the kmt.


#176

it is worth noting that the reaction didn’t come directly from Tzu Chi, but from the HCU’s Bhikkhuni Zhao-hui (昭慧法師).

Zhao-hui was known for her social activism within the Taiwanese Buddhism community. She was in support for equal marriage rights, protection of the environment, and women’s rights. She was well known for asking for equal rights for Bhikkhuni (female Buddhist monks) and asked for the abolishment of enforcing the eight garudhammas.

Zhao-hui felt like Tzu-chi was unfairly portrayed by Ko and the media, and knew that Tzu-chi would not defend itself through the news media, so she stepped forward.

In hind-sight, she made a wrong move and her choice of words made things worse for Tzu-chi.

I’m curious to if the land was in fact a part of the nature preservation, why did the government allow it to be land filled and sold in the first place. Looking through some online sources, the root cause was that in 1974, Cixin Farmland Irrigation Association questionably sold off that piece of land for people to build high raise housing. When that was blocked, the land became an illegal landfill. When Tzu-chi bought the land under the pretence that was a piece of usable land (they were told by city government employees), the organization became a victim of the Irrigation Association’s money making scheme.

That said, two wrongs don’t make a right, and that land should not be developed. That’s why the insistence of Tzu-chi to develop the land and the choice of Zhao-hui’s harsh words are a bit odd. For someone who so defended the protection of the environment in the past, Zhao-hui’s latest defiance is a bit of a disappointment.

However, such a straight forward matter has became an outlet for religious slandering. The internet is truly a double edged sword.


#177

Tzu Chi (Ciji you pinyinizers!) deserves all the animus it is getting. Like most large institutions, it bullies people who stand in its way (for example, by being reluctant to sell their property). It is well known that Master Cheng-yen (Zhengyan) is quietly worshipped as a bodhisattva–some sort of embodiment of Guanyin, apparently–and the organization’s goals are defined according to her pet projects. I’ve even heard (third-hand) of problems with people skimming money donated to them–and if I am hearing about this, chances are they are in serious need of an audit. Their charitable activities are largely motivated by public relations (both external and internal, i.e. directed at their own members), as illustrated by their tendency to go chasing after whatever disaster is in the news. About the only good think I have to say about it is that of the island’s big Buddhist institutions, Tzu Chi is the only one that isn’t explicitly pro-unificationist.

I’m no fan of Ko, though. Thanks to his retroactive enforcement of building codes, our neighborhood has been plagued with real estate agents who (I surmise) go around and report people for infractions, in order to pressure them to agree to support some sort of housing project for which the entire community’s approval is needed.


#178

While that’s not inline with what people are expecting from an ideal Mahayana Buddhism organization these days, most religious organizations are not that dissimilar in practise. In Tibetan Buddhism for example, Dalai and Karmapa are also seen as super beings, with Dalai also being the embodiment of Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin). Unless such beliefs are used to coerce followers into doing nefarious activities, that alone shouldn’t be the basis to diminish an organization.

To my knowledge, Cheng-yen never said she is the embodiment of Guanyin, all she said was that Guanyin inspired her to take up her causes. As for small statues made in her image, I hope she didn’t commission or approve them, but even if she did, it’s not really out of line in terms of how Buddhism is practised. The giant Zhanghua Bagua shan statue’s face was based on someone’s actual face as well. The Longmen statue in China was said to be based on Empress Wu.

Dharma Drum is not explicitly pro-unification either.

You are right about Tzu-chi’s finances. Tzu-chi really should make their finances transparent. If they keep saying they are compliant with the ROC law, then they pretty much deserve to lose people’s faith. They are a charity organization based on donations, and as such each donation should be open and transparent. When people donate, they should be able to specify which purpose their donation should go to. If people want their money used locally in Taiwan only, they should have that choice, and be able to track how their donation is spent online. That’s real transparency.

[quote=“Zla’od”]
I’m no fan of Ko, though. Thanks to his retroactive enforcement of building codes, our neighborhood has been plagued with real estate agents who (I surmise) go around and report people for infractions, in order to pressure them to agree to support some sort of housing project for which the entire community’s approval is needed.[/quote]

People are so used to disregarding building codes, there’s going to be a long and difficult road ahead for everyone. However, I don’t really see how that’s Ko’s fault. If they are black mailing, as gang-backed Du-geng often comes down to, hopefully the police and the media can do something about it.


#179

This building/mafia association is really grinding my gears. Wait until the MRT buildings become rentals as Ko suggested, a lot of garbage will come out. Just like Meihesu in Xindian.

The building at Tapinglin has been ready and empty for over a year. I ask whether it is for sale, and neighbors tell me it is all sold out. Now, wouldn’t there be people moving in if so? But the building remains covered in plastic tarmacs. Is it not ready yet? Yes, it is ready, they say. So, it is ready, it is all sold out… Was it sold to a single big owner who is not renting it out until the Circle line opens? Or is it not ready and someone has already paid for apartments that they are not profiting from? Or was it all sold to people so rich that they do not care if they rent it out or not? Remember this kind of buildings have the particular characteristic that there are no land rights, basically because it stands on top of the MRT.

Now Ko wants to go after EasyCard too. Oh boy.


#180

Also, why is the second floor of qizhang MRT station empty, scandal or biz failure?