Do Modern history of local papers

I noted that the Taipei Times devoted a whole section to their glorious history. It took me down memory lane, how touching. Actually in all seriousness someone should write a brief but accurate history of the Times. The Taipei Times is an outstanding case study of how Taiwanese manage to fuck up everything they touch. Or let me put that more gently, this is after all the Culture Club section, it would be an outstanding case study of how certain cultural, sociological, psychological and historical factors coalesce to cause many/most Taiwanese organizations to function in a dysfunctional manner. There, that is a more scholarly way of saying it.

Seriously, it would be an interesting book. The Times in many ways is a microcosm of Taiwan. The study would look at such things as cronyism, nepotism, Taiwanese racism, the problem of unreported and unresolved alcoholism, the Taiwanese psychological propensity to shift blame and crave face, as well as the basic peasant-like denseness that is so common in Taiwanese decision making.

It would also present an outstanding case study of historical hypocrisy. I have heard that the owner of the Times made his fortune back when he was a mid-level government official (a KMT government official!) by using his position to re-zone land while playing the real estate market. Then after one makes ones fortune as a KMT official then turn around and become Big Pro-Taiwan newspaper owner and bemoan the KMT legacy of theft. If the story is true it makes a typical story of Taiwanese “gratitude” and Taiwanese hypocrisy.

To get this Monumental Historical Cultural Study started I will do a rough outline. Many folks who frequent this chat forum will be able to fill in all the gruesome details.

Big Buzz in the foreigner world; Liberty times is going to start a new paper. Island wide talent search begins. A friend of mine, who will remain nameless as he has gone on to bigger and better things and does not want his sordid past dug up, asks me:

Swami Brian do you think I should go with the Times? What they are saying is the paper is going to be “world class” and we are being assured that the Taiwanese are going to stay out of the running of it and let serious professional foreigners do it, plus the salary is good.

I, Swami Brian, Predictor of the Future used the Socratic method of asking him questions rather than giving him the answer directly. We will call my friend “P.K.” for identification. I reply in a gentle and loving manner as a good teacher and friend should:

“P.K. are you fucking stupid? How long you been on this god damn island? Have you ever, ever, ever seen the nit wit locals form businesses and keep their little greasy Taiwanese paws off of it? Have you, have you?”

“Let me ask you another one, PK, have you ever seen anything ‘world class’ come off this island? The question is rhetorical , the answer is obvious.”

Swami Brians predictions are shown true.

Take care,
Grandmaster Brian
Forseeer of the Future

I was asked to go over there when they drew a lot of staff from the other two papers. I didn’t go because I knew that cookie would surely crumble, which it did. What I can’t believe is how many very talented and intelligent people wasted their time with that.

Are those international awards the paper lists itself as having won, legitimate?

Yeah! What happened? Was it after Antonio C. left or what? I used to buy the paper looking for Brian’s legal articles and Bo Teddards editorials. Though there aren’t any great papers in Taiwan. C. Post eeeeeeew and Taiwan News is ok but no great shakes.

What I loved about all the self-congratulation the Times has been doing is the fact they made such a big deal out of having such a “great layout”. If that’s the best your newspaper can say for itself, you’re probably in the poo.

While I’m thinking about it, can anyone explain why, if one is to believe the English-language papers, the only things that’ve happened south of Taipei since February (when I arrived - no idea about before that) have been the President getting shot and the Kaohsiung MRT collapse? I mean come on, this is a country of 23 million (or am I wrong on that figure?), surely SOMETHING must be happening. Even little ol’ 4-million-person New Zealand manages to produce more national news than this place, going by the English papers.

The Apple Daily is the only paper worth reading. Only very basic Chinese is required. Just enough to put the pictures in context.