My brother, who lives back in California, sent me this email this morning. I thought my reply might be of interest or amusement.
My brother writes:
Hey Baby Bro,
The news over here is making it sound like your Pres Chen is doing an awful lot of saber rattling … and it sounds like the mainlanders are matching the rhetoric
Do you feel safe ?
And my response is:
No worries on all this. It is pre-election hype that seems to have gotten picked up by the American press services.
Here is the deal. We got presidential elections in March. It has become apparent that our current president-whom I refer to as Grease Ball in honor of the tons of Brycream he uses to hold his hair together-has not done a damn thing for this country; well, except to incite racial and political divisions, renege on every promise he ever made and prove that what I said years ago (the DPP is the KMT without the money or brains) is true.
Taiwans voters are not the smartest kids in class but even they realize that Chen has done nothing and Chen starts to slip in the wildly inaccurate and biased polls that are conducted here on Fantasy Island.
Chens solution is to distract the local electorate with some smoke and mirrors about Peoples Democracy and Referendums. The whole thing is a crack up because:
a.the right to referendums has been in the ROC Constitution since about 1920
b.anyone with any brains or experience in Taiwan knows that offering any referendum decisions to the Taiwanese public is an utter waste of time for a whole variety of reasons not the least of which is the fact that most Taiwanese simply sell their votes to whoever asks them first (as long as the asking is backed up with a red envelope- standard price for a vote is somewhere between 500 to 1000 NT, i.e. about $20 to $40 real dollars)
So Grease Ball starts yammering on about that. They pass a referendum law which if you look at it closely basically says Empty Show Referendums Are Legal as Long as They are Limited to Meaningless Issues. (I summarize the law to save you the trouble, since you are my brother I will waive my normal fee).
Then the Cross Straits Blues Song begins. It is a duet with a chorus. Here is the lyrics:
Taiwan Side (sung in a harsh blues whine):
Oh, oh, we just want to bee freeee, and irresponsible and Bully Boy China jaaaaams us. booooooooohooooooooobooooooohooooooo
PRC Side (in harsh rap music tones)
Hey you fools, get outta line, we fu*k you up, up, up, yo, yo.
Then the chorus (played by the international press on slow news days) chimes in with:
Oh its bad, oh its tense
What to do?
Lets sit on the fence.
Okay so my lyric writing needs work.
Bottom line is, to steal from Shakespeare, it is much ado about nothing as both side of the strait know the tune by heart. And like 99% of what Chinese and Taiwanese do, it is nothing but hype.
You asked if I felt safe, sure I am not worried about a Winter rain of PRC missiles. Remember if they ever really decide to get tough with Taiwan what they will do is simply conduct a naval blockade, cut the phone and internet lines, which almost all now run through china anyway; and after a day or two of that Taiwan will return to the Motherland.
If you want to say a prayer for me, pray for me each time I gotta ride in a Taiwanese cab. As the Ministry of Transportation proudly boast, Taiwan has an outstandingly high traffic fatality rate, among the highest in Asia!