Sun, Oct 24, 2021
Voters in Taichung yesterday recalled Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), making him the first legislator in the nation’s history to lose a recall election. A total of 77,899 votes were cast to recall Chen, while 73,433 voted against, the Taichung City Election Commission said, adding that 51.72 percent of the city’s second electoral district turned out. The Central Election Commission is to confirm the final figures within the next seven days, it said. Commission data showed that there are 294,976 eligible voters in the second district, comprised of Dadu (大肚), Shalu (沙鹿), Longjing (龍井), Wufong (霧峰) and Wurih (烏日) districts. Chen won the seat in January last year in an election against then-incumbent Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator Yen Kuan-heng (顏寬恒), a member of a powerful political family in Taichung and the son of former Non-Partisan Solidarity Union legislator Yen Ching-piao (顏清標). Under the Civil Servants Election and Recall Act (公職人員選舉罷免法), 25 percent of eligible voters — 73,744 for the second district — must vote in favor of a recall to meet a threshold for an election to be valid. A by-election is to be held within three months to fill the legislative seat, the commission said. After the outcome was announced, Chen thanked supporters gathered at his Taichung campaign headquarters, where he led other Taiwan Statebuilding Party officials and staff in a bow. Chen said that it was not a total defeat, as “I had won last time, and had gained the working experience as a legislator for one year and nine months. Through this recall campaign, our party has also grown up. We are a small party, and it was hard to mobilize initially. Now our party has matured.” Referring to the 73,433 votes against the recall, Chen said that “we did not lose this battle,” as that number was quite close to the threshold. “It
CLARIFYING HISTORY: A memorial to Chen Wen-chen was completed in February, but students and faculty complained that it lacked context about who it was for A plaque at Chen Wen-chen (陳文成) Memorial Square is to include a phrase indicating that Chen was likely murdered, the National Taiwan University (NTU) school affairs council said yesterday. Chen, an assistant professor of mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University, died while visiting Taiwan. His body was found on the morning of July 3, 1981, outside the library on the NTU campus in Taipei. A day earlier, the 31-year-old had been detained and interrogated by the now-defunct Taiwan Garrison Command, a secret police body which sought to question him about his financial contributions to the pro-democracy Formosa Magazine. Some people suspect that Chen was tortured to death by the authorities and his body later dumped on the campus. The agency denied the allegations. The Taiwan Garrison Command said at the time that Chen could have committed suicide or accidentally fallen off a balcony at the university. NTU students and faculty have long been at odds after the square was completed in February without any text to introduce or indicate who the square was commemorating. Student council representatives had previously requested text that read: “To commemorate a brave individual who resolutely defied state violence,” which they said would enhance the square’s function to teach about democracy and human rights. The decision had been unanimously passed and the words added to a wall near the square last month. The school affairs council yesterday said that in addition to the text on the wall, the university would add a plaque bearing an introduction of the square to visitors. Student council president Chang Cheng-yu (張承宇) said that after extensive discussions with university authorities, a description on the introductory plaque that retold the incident would include at the end the words: “According to a 2020 report by the Transitional Justice Committee, there is a high possibility that Chen was murdered.” The plaque adds that the student
A Taiwanese delegation to Slovakia signed seven memorandums of understanding (MOU) with public and private entities, including a space technology pact that would bring to Taiwan a project related to a blockchain application used by the European Space Agency, officials said on Friday. The 66-person delegation led by National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) and Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) yesterday concluded their three-day visit to Slovakia. The two sides on Thursday held a bilateral cooperation conference to exchange views on technology, higher education and innovative research, the Ministry of Science and Technology said in a statement yesterday. The Taiwanese delegation was received by Slovak Academy of Sciences vice president for international relations Zuzana Panczova and other representatives from the Slovak Ministry of Education and Slovak Research and Development Agency, it said. Since the ministry and the academy in 1996 signed a science and technology cooperation agreement, they have funded more than 20 three-year joint research projects, the ministry said. Wu on Friday witnessed the signing of an MOU by the Taiwan Space Industry Development Association, the Slovak space company 3IPK and its partner company Decent, laying the foundation for a trilateral cooperation framework, it said. The association was represented by chairman Wu Jong-shinn (吳宗信), who is also the director-general of the National Space Organization, it said. The two Slovak companies in February had visited the space organization’s headquarters at the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) along with Slovak Economic and Cultural Office Taipei Representative Martin Podstavek. With the office’s support, 3IPK and Decent would provide a proof of concept project in Taiwan based on a blockchain application used by the European Space Agency, the ministry said. Decent is a start-up supplying blockchain software as a service, while 3IPK is a space blockchain company that became a member of the Slovak Security and Defense Industry Association
As supporters of former US president Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on Jan. 6, battling police and forcing lawmakers into hiding, an insurrection of a different kind was taking place inside the world’s largest social media company. Thousands of kilometers away, in California, Facebook engineers were racing to tweak internal controls to slow the spread of misinformation and inciting content. Emergency actions — some of which were rolled back after last year’s election — included banning Trump, freezing comments in groups with a record for hate speech, filtering out the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry and empowering content moderators to act more assertively by labeling the US a “Temporary High Risk Location” for political violence. At the same time, frustration inside Facebook erupted over what some saw as the company’s halting and inconsistent response to rising extremism in the US. “Haven’t we had enough time to figure out how to manage discourse without enabling violence?” one employee wrote on an internal message board at the height of the Jan. 6 turmoil. “We’ve been fueling this fire for a long time and we shouldn’t be surprised it’s now out of control.” It is a question that hangs over the company as the US Congress and regulators investigate its role part in the Jan. 6 riots. New internal documents provided by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen provide a rare glimpse into how the company appears to have simply stumbled into the riot. It quickly became clear that even after years under the microscope for insufficiently policing its platform, the social network had missed how riot participants spent weeks vowing — on Facebook itself — to stop Congress from certifying US President Joe Biden’s election victory. An internal report found that 10 percent of political content viewed by US Facebook users in the days after the election perpetuated the falsehood
The UN fears an even greater human rights catastrophe in Myanmar amid reports of thousands of troops massing in the north of the Southeast Asian country, which has been in chaos since a February coup, it said on Friday. “We should all be prepared, as the people in this part of Myanmar are prepared, for even more mass atrocity crimes. I desperately hope that I am wrong,” UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews said. More than 1,100 civilians have been killed in the country’s crackdown on dissent and more than 8,000 arrested since the coup, a local monitoring group said. Andrews, who was presenting the findings of an annual human rights report on Myanmar to the General Assembly, said that he had received information that tens of thousands of troops and heavy weapons were being moved into restive regions in the north and northwest. The findings also indicated that the junta had engaged in probable crimes against humanity and war crimes, he said. “These tactics are ominously reminiscent of those employed by the military before its genocidal attacks against the Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017,” Andrews said. About 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state in 2017 after security forces launched a clampdown that the UN has said could amount to genocide. Andrews urged countries to deny Myanmar’s military junta the money, weapons and legitimacy it desires, citing a prisoner release earlier in the week as evidence that pressure was working. On Monday, Burmese Army Senior General Min Aung Hlaing announced the release of more than 5,000 people jailed for protesting against the coup. The move came just days after ASEAN delivered a major snub to the military regime, excluding the junta head from an upcoming summit of the 10-country bloc. “ASEAN’s announcement that the junta will not be welcome at its upcoming summit strikes at the
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of “strategic ambiguity” on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack. In August, a Biden administration official said US policy on Taiwan had not changed, after the president appeared to suggest the US would defend the nation if it were attacked. A White House spokesperson said Biden at his town hall was not announcing any change in US policy and “there is no change in our policy,” but declined further comment when asked if Biden had misspoken. “The US defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We will uphold our commitment under the act, we will continue to support Taiwan’s self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo,” the spokesperson said. Biden said people should not worry about Washington’s military resolve, because “China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we’re the most powerful military in the history of the world.” “What you do have to worry about is whether or not they’re going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake,” Biden said. “I don’t want a cold war with China. I just
MUTUAL LOSS: By excluding Taiwan from the UN, ‘Beijing is denying the international community the ability to gain valuable contributions that Taiwan offers,’ an official said Beijing has inaccurately interpreted a UN resolution adopted in 1971 to exclude Taiwan from the international organization and its affiliates, a US Department of State official said on Thursday. “The People’s Republic of China [PRC] has misused Resolution 2758 to prevent Taiwan’s meaningful participation,” said Rick Waters, deputy assistant secretary of state in the department’s Bureau of East Asia and Pacific Affairs, during a virtual talk hosted by the Washington-based German Marshall Fund. Waters said that Taiwan’s exclusion from UN activities “creates an immense cost” to the nation, as well as the bloc’s members, adding that “Beijing is denying the international community the ability to gain valuable contributions that Taiwan offers.” In the resolution adopted on Oct. 25, 1971, the UN General Assembly decided to “expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石) from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it.” In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs thanked the US for firmly supporting Taiwan’s bid to join UN organizations. “The Republic of China is a democratic country with independent sovereignty,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the nation and the PRC are not subordinate to each other. Only an elected government in Taiwan can represent its 23.5 million people on international occasions, including the UN, the ministry said. The resolution only addressed the PRC’s representation in the UN without authorizing it to represent Taiwan, nor did it mention that Taiwan is part of the PRC, it said. The PRC has been intentionally abusing the resolution to pressure the UN into excluding Taiwanese from its system, it added. The ministry denounced Beijing prioritizing its political maneuvers over the interests of global cooperation, while calling on international society to face China’s “overt plot” against Taiwan. The government would continue to bolster its cooperation with the US and other
NO CHANGE: US officials indicated that the ‘one China’ policy remains in place, while the NATO chief avoided discussing Biden’s comment in an effort to ease tensions US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Friday that the Pentagon would continue to support Taiwan’s military, but he declined to say if US troops would defend the island against China, after US President Joe Biden said there was a US “commitment” to do so. “As we’ve done over multiple administrations, we will continue to help Taiwan with the sorts of capabilities that it needs to defend itself,” Austin said at NATO headquarters. “So we’ll stay focused on those things, and I won’t engage in any hypotheticals with respect to Taiwan,” he told reporters. Biden on Thursday sparked a new firestorm in relations between Washington and Beijing by saying the US had an agreement to help defend Taiwan. At a CNN town hall meeting, Biden was asked whether the US would come to Taiwan’s defense if China invaded. “Yes,” he responded. “We have a commitment to that.” The comment sparked a sharp retort from Beijing, warning that Washington “should act and speak cautiously on the Taiwan issue.” Austin said that the US is committed to the official “one China” policy, in which Washington accepts that Beijing governs China. However, that does not prevent the US from providing aid to Taiwan, including potent military hardware. Asked if Biden’s comments raised the specter of NATO being dragged into a US conflict with China, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg sought to avoid exacerbating the conflict. “I would not speculate about a hypothetical situation,” he said. “I think what is important now is to reduce tensions in the area. If I started to speculate, I think I actually will contribute to the opposite,” he said. “So we should solve all disputes and differences and disagreements in the region by political and diplomatic means.” Shortly after Biden spoke, a White House spokesperson said there was no change in policy, and analysts said it appeared that
DIRECT COMMUNICATION: The bipartisan legislation would, if passed, build ties with Taiwan and prioritize a hotline with China to resolve misunderstandings in a crisis Two US senators on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation that they said is aimed at lowering tensions and reducing the risk of conflict in the Taiwan Strait. The Taiwan Actions Supporting Security by Undertaking Regular Engagements (Taiwan ASSURE) Act, proposed by Democratic Senator Edward Markey and Republican Senator Dan Sullivan, supports dialogue to mitigate misunderstandings and promote transparency, a statement issued on Friday by Markey’s office said. “We must find ways to lower tensions and avoid miscalculation in the Taiwan Strait,” said Markey, who chairs the East Asia Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The proposed legislation would authorize about US$2 million annually from next year to 2025 for the US Department of State and Department of Defense to support strategic dialogues to be facilitated by independent nonprofit organizations in which participants meet to discuss cross-strait stability issues. The proposed act says that the US should engage regional counterparts in these dialogues to increase strategic awareness among all parties, as well as facilitate US-China dialogues. “Bilateral confidence-building measures and crisis stability dialogues between the United States and the PRC [People’s Republic of China] are important mechanisms for maintaining deterrence and stability across the Taiwan Strait and should be prioritized,” the statement said. The US and China should prioritize the use of a military crisis hotline so leaders of the two countries can communicate directly in order to quickly resolve misunderstanding that could lead to military escalation, the bill says. The legislation would require the US state and defense secretaries to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a partnership between the US National Guard and Taiwan’s Reserve Command, a move that has been welcomed by the Taiwanese government but criticized by China as “playing with fire” and could have the effect of provoking Beijing into taking further military action. The bill would also require the US state and defense
Days after it was banned in China, a Mandarin ballad satirizing nationalistic Chinese Internet users is trending at No. 1 on YouTube in Taiwan and Hong Kong. Fragile (玻璃心), by Taiwan-based Malaysian rapper Namewee (黃明志) and Australian singer Kimberley Chen (陳芳語), offers a tongue-in-cheek apology to “little pink” Internet users, a disparaging term that describes patriotic “keyboard warriors” from China. After racking up more than 9 million views on YouTube, the song reached No. 3 on the site in Malaysia on Thursday, according to Kworb, a Web site that analyzes music data from around the world. It is also the only Chinese-language song on Kworb’s list of music videos trending worldwide on YouTube. The R&B duet, described by Namewee as a “romantic, sweet love song filled with pink,” takes lighthearted aim at young nationalists in China who use the Internet as a battleground for hashing out perceived nationalistic grievances. The music video for Fragile sees Namewee and Chen, decked out in pink clothes and heart-shaped glasses, pleading with easily offended Chinese social media users: “You’re a bad listener, but you can’t stop talking and retaliating. I wonder how I have offended you. You assume the world is your enemy.” The song goes on to say: “You claim that I belong to you. Don’t deny and come home. Can’t lose anything, let you win everything. It’s unreasonable. You urge me to explain to the world, our inseparable relationship, and take care of your heart of glass.” While not explicit, the lyrics are an apparent reference to China’s relationship with Taiwan, as well as Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Namewee said his inspiration came from his experiences interacting with people online when sharing his music, describing it as fascinating how some would obsess over small details and then amplify them endlessly. A day after the song’s debut,
Claims that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) cofounder Chiang Peng-chien (江鵬堅) was once an informant for the government during the Martial Law era were not enough to incriminate Chiang, Transitional Justice Commission member Frank Wang (王增勇) said on Friday. The accusation was made by former DPP chairman Shih Ming-te (施明德), who on Wednesday said that Chiang was trained by and worked as an undercover agent of the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau, which was one of the “eight agencies of secret police and intelligence gathering” during the Martial Law era. Chiang was the DPP’s first chairperson upon its founding in 1986, and later served as a legislator and member of the Control Yuan. He died in December 2000 from pancreatic cancer. Wang on Friday said that while Shih’s claim served as an oral record, it was not enough to determine whether Chiang should posthumously be considered guilty of any crimes. Wang said that the public should be cautious about engaging in a “witch hunt.” “Under the authoritarian government of the past, people were stripped of their right to a fair trial. In today’s democracy, we cannot allow anyone to be found guilty by the court of public opinion,” Wang said. Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) was among a number of DPP politicians who disputed Shih’s accusation. “Chiang has passed away ... People must not try to humiliate him,” Hsieh said in a statement on Wednesday. "No one should tarnish Chiang based on claims made by some people. The accusations could damage Chiang and his place in history. Taking up such hearsay is not respectful to Chiang and his family." The accusation came after DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) last week said that he would leave the party and not seek re-election, after confirming that he was a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) informant in his student days who
SHIFTING BURDEN: Among the three most common causes of death, only the share of pneumonia deaths declined last year, Ministry of the Interior data showed The life expectancy of people with malignant tumors was 4.02 years shorter than that of the general public last year, Ministry of the Interior data released yesterday showed. Malignant tumors were the leading cause of death in the nation last year, followed by heart diseases, which reduced the average life expectancy by 1.61 years, according to the statistics, which the ministry compiled from Ministry of Health and Welfare data. The average life expectancy was 81.32 years last year, the statistics showed. Malignant tumors have been the leading cause of death for Taiwanese for more than 39 years. Last year, 50,161 people died from the condition, the statistics showed. The share of deaths caused by malignant tumors has been rising for the past four years, the interior ministry said. Last year, 27 percent of deaths were due to the condition, it added. The third-most common cause of death was pneumonia, even though the share of deaths from the condition declined last year for the first time since 2014, the interior ministry said Pneumonia weighed on the average life expectancy by 1.06 years, compared with 1.13 years in 2019. Men were more likely to die from malignant tumors, pneumonia, cerebrovascular disease, accidents, chronic lower respiratory diseases, chronic liver diseases and liver cirrhosis, the statistics showed. Women were more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension-related diseases, nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and other kidney diseases, it showed.
POST HOC EXPANSION: People who were ordered to quarantine at home after May 11 can apply for the NT$1,000 per day on the ministry’s Web site People who had COVID-19 and were ordered to stay at home amid a shortage in hospital beds earlier this year would be eligible for compensation of NT$1,000 per day, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said on Friday, as it had expanded the program formerly targeting only those who were ordered to quarantine in centralized facilities. The program was launched to support contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases and some incoming travelers during their 14-day quarantines, Social Assistance and Social Work Department head Su Chao-ju (蘇昭如) said. After a local COVID-19 outbreak was detected in the middle of May, some people with no or mild symptoms had been ordered to stay at home amid a shortage in beds in hospital isolation wards, Su said. Such cases would also be eligible for compensation, as they could not go to work while isolating at home, she said. The expansion would include two more groups: people who were ordered to stay at home after testing positive in a rapid antigen test, but were confirmed negative in a polymerase chain reaction test, and people undergoing seven-day home isolation after being released from an isolation ward, she said. Those who received isolation orders under those conditions after May 11 can seek compensation through the ministry’s Web Site, she said. Meanwhile, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported seven imported COVID-19 cases, but no domestic cases or deaths. The cases were three Taiwanese who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from the US, Cyprus or Cambodia, and four foreigners — from Malaysia, Indonesia and Mongolia — the center said. Six cases were asymptomatic, while the seventh — a Taiwanese man in his 20s who returned from Cyprus on Wednesday — was placed in hospital quarantine after upon arrival declaring that he had tested positive earlier this month, the CECC said. He reported symptoms, including
A record number of people took the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Hoklo-language exam this year, the ministry said in a news release yesterday. A total of 18,622 people, aged six to 86, tested their proficiency in the language, which is also known as Taiwanese, the ministry said, adding that among the test takers were also Americans, Japanese, Malaysians and South Koreans. This represented a 34 percent increase from last year, it added. Feng Chung-hsing (封中興), an administrator at Tainan’s Haidian Junior High School, said that offering Hoklo courses to seventh and eighth graders has led to significant improvements in graduates’ writing skills. The mother of the youngest examinee, surnamed Tsai, said that Mandarin and Hoklo are used in her family, but her daughter mostly uses Mandarin. Fearing that her daughter might lose touch with her native language, the mother said that she and her husband started telling their child stories in Hoklo and enrolled her in lessons as soon as she was old enough for kindergarten. Public schools provided guidance and materials to help her daughter prepare for the test, the mother said. Lee Ya-lin (李雅玲), 82, is a retired translator who had worked for the Taipei District Court. She said she enrolled in a course as soon as she found out that a local community college offered Hoklo classes. She has been speaking the language all her life, but hopes to achieve a higher level of proficiency, she said. “People are never too old to learn, and I love to learn new things,” she said, adding that although she believes her spoken fluency is high, she had to take the entry-level exam as a first-time test taker. Kim Han-bin, a South Korean national who studies at National Taiwan University, said he used immersion-based methods to learn the language on his own. Kim said he was confident in his proficiency and chose
AT SEVEN SCHOOLS: The program seeks to help retain local talent, as professionals often take up jobs in northern Taiwan, an expert said Seven Kaohsiung high schools are offering courses in semiconductor and digital technologies with the aim to improve local industry and tentative plans to expand the program citywide if the pilot proves successful. The program — offered in collaboration with National Sun Yat-sen University and the National University of Kaohsiung — aims to improve students’ understanding of critical technologies and help local firms recruit talent, the organizers said at the official launch of the program on Tuesday at Tsoying Senior High School. The first semester has already begun at the seven schools in the city’s Zuoying (左營) and Nanzih (楠梓) districts, said Legislator Liu Shyh-fang (劉世芳), who proposed the program. This first group of 200 students is to attend a mixture of remote and in-person classes, along with visits to local businesses, Liu told the gathering via videoconference from the legislature in Taipei. The students are to learn from university professors about semiconductor manufacturing, app creation, vacuum technology and more, the Kaohsiung Education Bureau said. A flexible curriculum is to be adopted for the first year, after which more industry-specific coursework is to be developed, bureau Deputy Director Chen Pei-ju (陳佩汝) said. Through the program, even students at regular schools have the opportunity to take vocational courses, Chen said. If a student shows particular interest in a subject, they would have the chance to enter university through special enrollment, she said. Tsoying Senior High principal Chang Chien Ling-chuan (張簡玲娟) shared her enthusiasm for the program, which she hopes would help students discover their individual aptitudes. Later on, the program could also help the students find work in Kaohsiung, which she called the greatest wish of all parents. Taiwan Export Processing Zone Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association chairman Chou Kuang-chun (周光春) said that local technology parks house 70 companies employing 60,000 people. Many of them produce technologies critical to everyday gadgets such as
Scientists have discovered a new plant indigenous to Taiwan after correcting a previous identification error, the Shei-pa National Park Headquarters said on Friday. The scientists have named the thistle Cirsium taiwanense Y. H. Tseng & Chih Y. Chang, after members of the National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) research team that discovered the flower in collaboration with the national park. The newly classified plant has spider web-like hairs on the back of its leaves and was previously misidentified as a thistle discovered by Japanese botanist Shiro Kitamura, the headquarters said. During its monthly field trips to the park, the research team discovered subtle differences between the local thistle and that described by Kitamura, it said. Consulting Kitamura’s field notes, the team learned that the thistle he discovered has red flowers instead of the local thistle’s yellow ones, but the discrepancy went unnoticed during the original identification because dried botanical samples that had lost their color were used, the headquarters said. Further study revealed that the local thistle has more bracts and flowers than Kitamura’s, and that it has 32 chromosomes compared with Kitamura’s 34, based on which the plant was classified as a formerly unknown species, it said. NCHU professors Chang Chih-yi (張之毅) and Tseng Yen-hsueh (曾彥學) published a study on their findings earlier this year and were credited as the discoverers of the new species, the headquarters said. The local thistle can be found at altitudes of 2,200m to 3,100m along the park’s Syuedong Line (雪東線) path, especially near its entrance at the Crying Slope (哭坡), it said.
The Old City in Thailand’s Chiang Mai is a warren of alleys with ancient Buddhist temples sitting cheek by jowl with guesthouses and luxury hotels, bars and restaurants, and other businesses catering to the millions of tourists who typically flock there. Now, scores of these businesses are shut, and bars mostly silent amid a ban on alcohol sales to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian nation that has been largely closed to foreign tourists since March last year. Starting on Nov. 1, Thailand is to waive quarantine for fully vaccinated visitors from 10 “low-risk” countries and gradually more, in a bid to revive its battered economy — but with a focus on premium tourists who authorities say would be more beneficial. “Instead of relying on 40 million tourists to generate 2 trillion baht [US$60 million] in revenue, we will turn to focus on quality tourists who can spend more,” Thai Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow said. “This will be good for the country’s environment and natural resources,” he told a news conference, adding that the nation hoped to draw about 1 million of these visitors before April, without specifying how, or who is a quality tourist. After a record 40 million foreign visitors in 2019 whose spending made up 11.4 percent of its GDP, Thailand lost about US$50 billion in tourism revenue last year — an 82 percent plunge — and expects only about 100,000 tourists this year. However, as the country prepares to open in time for the tourist high season from November to March, budget hotels and other businesses reliant on backpackers and those traveling cheap fear being left out with the new focus on premium tourists. “Chiang Mai has always got all types of tourists, so to focus on just high-spending tourists is not right — what about us, the businesses
The first step toward understanding “the great supply chain disruption of 2021” is to recognize that the phrase itself is not quite accurate. Supply chains are not disrupted so much as overloaded, and the effects are more national than global. This understanding has implications not only for US consumers, but also for the US Federal Reserve. It means that inflation is transitory and is unlikely to spread to the rest of the developed world. So the Fed and other banks should not raise interest rates in the near future — and consumers need not worry that products such as Chinese-made toys will always be so expensive. To be sure, there have been some specific COVID-19-related supply chain disruptions that have led to narrow inflation. However, for the most part, inflation is being driven by rising energy and transportation costs. Container shipping rates, for instance, were more than five times higher last month than they were in September last year. Making matters worse, overall congestion rates, especially at US ports, were as high as 80 percent, meaning there were four times as many ships waiting for a berth as were docked at any one time. That congestion is primarily a product of dramatically higher volume. US retail sales soared in March and today stand roughly 20 percent higher than they were in December 2019. By contrast, retail sales in Europe are up just 4 percent. Likewise, in Antwerp and Rotterdam congestion rates were just more than 20 percent this month. That difference is reflected in the inflation rate. In the eurozone, prices were up only 3 percent year-on-year last month, compared with 5.4 percent in the US. Moreover, core inflation — which does not count food and energy prices — was up only 1.6 percent in the eurozone, compared with 4 percent in the US. What
Conflicts over water are as old as history itself, but the massive Google data centers on the edge of an Oregon town on the Columbia River represent an emerging 21st century concern. Now a critical part of modern computing, data centers help people stream movies on Netflix, conduct transactions on PayPal, post updates on Facebook, store trillions of photographs and more. However, a single facility can also churn through millions of liters of water per day to keep hot-running equipment cool. Google wants to build at least two more data centers in The Dalles, Oregon, worrying some residents who fear there eventually would not be enough water for everyone — including for area farms and fruit orchards, which are by far the biggest users. Across the US, there has been some mild pushback as tech companies build and expand data centers — conflicts likely to grow as water becomes a more precious resource amid the threat of climate change and as the demand for cloud computing grows. Some tech giants have been using cutting-edge research and development to find less impactful cooling methods, but there are those who say the companies can still do more to be environmentally sustainable. The concerns are understandable in The Dalles, the seat of Wasco County, which is suffering extreme and exceptional drought, according to the US Drought Monitor. The region last summer endured its hottest days on record, reaching 48°C in The Dalles. The Dalles is adjacent to the mighty Columbia River, but the new data centers would not be able to use that water, and instead would have to take water from rivers and groundwater that has gone through the city’s water treatment plant. However, the snowpack in the nearby Cascade Range that feeds the aquifers varies wildly year-to-year and glaciers are melting. Most aquifers in north-central Oregon are
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) must be careful that its drive to implement transitional justice is not used as a political weapon in power struggles, otherwise history might repeat itself. With DPP Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) on Sunday saying that he had been an informant for intelligence agencies during the Martial Law era, discussion has shifted away from holding the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime accountable to what can be described as a “cleansing” movement within the DPP. An exclusive report by the Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister newspaper) on Saturday last week said that Huang a few months earlier had been expelled by the New Tide faction of the DPP after his activities as a student were discovered. DPP members immediately pointed to the then-KMT government’s actions during the White Terror era, saying that many people were coerced or enticed by the regime to spy on dissidents. However, speculation arose that the disclosure of Huang’s snitching might have been a plot among fellow DPP members who did not want him to contest next year’s Taichung mayoral election. Questions remain over the timing of the revelations about Huang. The Transitional Justice Commission has said that the Ministry of Justice’s Investigation Bureau in the 1980s had a network of more than 30,000 informants. “There must be more” might be the phrase that best describes the mood in the DPP. Over the past week, party members have started to look at one another with suspicion. Former DPP chairman Shih Ming-te (施明德) has jumped into the debate, saying that Chiang Peng-chien (江鵬堅), the party’s first chairman, who passed away in 2000, and lawyers who helped defendants after the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident were also informants. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and Representative to Japan Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) were among the lawyers, although they were not directly accused. The furor over Huang’s past
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Huang Kuo-shu (黃國書) admitted he had been an informant for the former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) authoritarian regime when he was a student and has announced that he is to resign from the DPP. This decision should be affirmed, but hopefully he can also tell the whole truth to show his determination to distance himself from his past. He could use the opportunity to promote the implementation of transitional justice. Taiwan’s democratization was a quiet revolution rather than a stormy event. This reduced the bloodshed, but it also slowed the process of transitional justice. The old state apparatus has not been shattered and the changing ideals have failed to have an impact on many people who lack understanding of transitional justice. Huang should provide further explanation so a change in ideals is not a sudden event. I have changed from being a supporter of a “greater China” ideal to supporting Taiwanese independence, but it took 20 years. My support went via the position that there are “two Chinas,” so there has been a constant back-and-forth of ideas. For these reasons, I always wonder if Chinese who suddenly and fervently begin to support Taiwanese independence really do support it, or if they are simply opportunists trying to score political points. Distancing oneself from an informant background might not be that complicated, but there is definitely a struggle. If Huang would speak out, perhaps he could teach us something. An informant is not a spy, but a quasi-spy, as they only conduct surveillance and provide information, while a spy has other, destructive tasks, including inciting counterinsurgencies. That there are victims, but no perpetrators, in Taiwan’s version of transitional justice has always been the crux of the problem, and it concerns the purpose of transitional justice. Some people think that the purpose of transitional justice is
China on Sept. 20 slapped Taiwan with a politically motivated NT$4 billion (US$143.36 million) annual fine with its ban on imports of sugar apples and wax apples from the nation, following Beijing’s pineapple ban in March, which combined will cost Taiwan that much every year in lost exports. What is more upsetting is that China is targeting Taiwan’s most vulnerable regions. Taitung County, a beautiful but poor stretch of land on the east coast, grows nearly all of the nation’s sugar apples. Every year, Taitung exports about 95 percent of Taiwan’s sugar apples. Nearly all of these go to China. Hopefully, the ban ends before Lunar New Year next year, when most sugar apple exporting occurs. If the ban stays in place, Taitung would lose a vital source of income in a county that is already struggling to find jobs for young people. China’s import ban on agricultural products, especially ones that spoil quickly, is intentionally painful. If China were to ban semiconductor imports, Taiwan would just shrug, because the rest of the world is hungry for chips. On the other hand, Taiwan must address the lost income from China’s fruit ban. When sugar apples rot under the sun, farmers do not eat. This vulnerability gives China leverage and makes military aircraft in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone seem even louder. Creating an international appetite for sugar apples can dampen the effects of Chinese economic coercion. On Monday, Taitung took a small but significant step toward extracting itself from China’s sphere of influence. Members of the Taitung County Government and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association Kaohsiung Office discussed the future of sugar apple exports. It is going to be a challenge weaning exporters off selling to the low-hanging fruit that is China. It is the ideal market in many ways, with many affluent people who like sugar apples. Moreover,
BLANKED: The Red Sox were kept scoreless, their best shot at reaching home shut down in the seventh, despite having runners at first and third base with only one out Two of the youngest Houston Astros stars on Friday helped one of the MLB’s oldest managers get another shot at a most elusive title, with rookie Luis Garcia showing the poise of an October ace and MVP Yordan Alvarez doing more damage at the plate as the Astros earned yet another trip to the World Series by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Garcia and Alvarez, both 24 and ascending, and 72-year-old manager Dusty Baker are to open the World Series on Wednesday morning Taiwan time, either at Dodger Stadium or at home against Atlanta, with the Braves leading Los Angeles 3-2 in the National League Championship Series going into Game 6 this morning Taiwan time. “There’s four more wins on the board out there,” Baker said. “There’s four more wins you’ve got to get.” The Astros advanced to the World Series for the third time in five seasons. They won the championship in 2017, a crown tainted by the team’s sign-stealing scandal, before losing to the Washington Nationals in seven games in 2019. Garcia pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning, leaving to a huge ovation with two outs after a triple by Kike Hernandez. It was an impressive bounce-back performance for Garcia, who started Game 2 and gave up a grand slam in the first inning before leaving with no outs in the second because of discomfort in his right knee. “I know I’m a rookie, but I know what I can do and that’s what I did tonight,” Garcia said. Alvarez continued his scorching streak, a year after watching at home after surgery to both knees as the Astros came one game shy of reaching the World Series. The slugging designated hitter went four for four, including a triple and two doubles. Alvarez hit an
A historic night for Chris Paul on Friday was marred by two incidents, one an altercation between Los Angeles Lakers teammates Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard, during the visiting Phoenix Suns’ 115-105 triumph. Paul led Phoenix with 23 points and a game-high 14 assists. When he made a free throw in the second quarter, he scored his 20,000th point, the 47th player to do so, and he became the first in NBA history with 20,000 points and 10,000 assists. Late in the first half, Davis and Howard had a shoving match on the Lakers’ bench during a timeout. In the third quarter, Rajon Rondo had a run-in with a fan when the Lakers guard was pointing at the man following a soft drink having been thrown or spilled on the sidelines. The man slapped Rondo’s hand away, then was quickly escorted away by security guards. Phoenix’s Devin Booker backed Paul with 22 points, while Mikal Bridges added 21 and Jae Crowder 13. Deandre Ayton pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to complement eight points. LeBron James finished with 25 points and Davis 22 to go with a team-high 14 rebounds for the Lakers, who trailed by as many as 32 points. WIZARDS 135, PACERS 134 (OT) Spencer Dinwiddie scored eight of his team-high 34 points in the final 2 minutes, 17 seconds of regulation to force overtime as hosts Washington went on an 11-2 run in the extra frame to power past Indiana. Washington gave up the first six points in overtime, but whittled away at the deficit to set up what ultimately gave the Wizards the lead for good. Davis Bertans hit a three-pointer off one of Dinwiddie’s nine assists with 35.2 seconds remaining, breaking a 131-131 tie. Bertans was one of three Wizards to score in double-figures coming off the bench with 17 points. Raul Neto scored 18
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter on Friday posted a new video denouncing China’s human rights record regarding Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. The video came two days after Kanter, who has a history of speaking out against Recep Tayyip Erdogan, president of his native Turkey, condemned the Chinese Communist Party’s treatment of Tibet in a similar video, prompting a backlash in China. “Heartless Dictator of China, XI JINPING and the Communist Party of China. I am calling you out in front of the whole world. Close down the SLAVE labor camps and free the UYGHUR people!” Kanter wrote on Twitter. “Stop the GENOCIDE, now!” Chinese authorities have been accused of facilitating forced labor by detaining about 1 million Uighurs and other primarily Muslim minorities in camps since 2016. China denies wrongdoing, saying it has set up vocational training centers to “combat extremism.” “It’s so disappointing that the governments and leaders of Muslim majority countries are staying silent while my Muslim brothers and sisters are getting killed, raped and tortured,” Kanter said in a video accompanying the tweet, posted hours before the Celtics’ home opener against the Toronto Raptors, which they lost 83-115. Kanter, 29, was pilloried on Chinese social media and his name appeared to be blocked on the Sina Weibo messaging platform. Celtics highlights were absent from China’s Tencent Holdings sports platform on Thursday. The US on Friday voiced concern at China’s actions against the NBA following Kanter’s criticism of China’s treatment of Tibet. A US Department of State spokesperson said in an e-mail, referring to the People’s Republic of China: “The United States is deeply concerned by the PRC’s actions against the National Basketball Association for statements one player made regarding Tibet.” The Celtics and the NBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Taiwan’s World No. 4 badminton ace and tournament fourth seed Chou Tien-chen on Friday fell to an upset defeat at the hands of unseeded Lee Cheuk Yiu of Hong Kong in the quarter-finals of the Denmark Open at the Odense Sports Park. The older and more experienced Chou was edged out in the final moments of the thrilling 1 hour, 18 minute duel by Lee in rubber sets 16-21, 21-19, 19-21 on court 1. The match started with Lee dictating the pace by grabbing a 5-0 lead, with Chou slow to find his range. Chou seemed to warm up during the second game and took the lead for the first time before finding game point 20-17. However, it was the superb variation and angle of attacks that led to Lee winning the final game, booking his first ever semi-final at a Super 1000 event, the top tier of the BWF World Tour. In the mixed doubles, Lee Jhe-huei and Hsu Ya-ching were ousted by Thailand’s Dechapol Puavaranukroh and Sapsiree Taerattanachai in the quarter-finals. The Taiwanese lost the first game 21-9 and were trailing 11-3 when they were forced to retire. ETtoday reported that Lee sustained a finger injury during the match.
SHARP ESCALATION: The UN suspended flights to the center of its humanitarian operations in Tigray after the airstrikes and amid intimidation against workers, it said Ethiopian military airstrikes on Friday forced a UN humanitarian flight to abandon its landing in the capital of the country’s Tigray region, and a government spokesman said authorities were aware of the inbound flight. It appeared to be a sharp escalation in intimidation tactics authorities have used against aid workers amid the intensifying, year-long Tigray war. Further UN flights have been suspended to Mekele, the base of humanitarian operations in Tigray, the World Food Program said. The flight with 11 passengers had been cleared by federal authorities, but “received instructions to abort landing by the Mekele airport control tower,” it said, adding that it safely returned to Addis Ababa. UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said that “the UN had not received any prior warning of the attacks on Mekele and had received the necessary clearances for the flight.” He said he had “grave concern” for civilians facing airstrikes in Mekele and insufficient humanitarian assistance into Tigray, and alarm at the worsening toll of fighting on civilians in the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions. “We’ve had flights turned around because of weather,” Gemma Connell, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for southern and eastern Africa, told reporters. “But this is the first time we’ve had a flight turn around, at least to my knowledge, in Ethiopia because of airstrikes on the ground.” The friction between the government and humanitarian groups is occurring amid the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade, with nearly 500,000 people in Tigray said to be facing famine-like conditions. The government since June has imposed what the UN calls a “de facto humanitarian blockade” on the region of about 6 million people, and reports indicate that people have begun to starve to death. Ethiopian government spokesman Legesse Tulu said that authorities were aware the
An assistant director unwittingly handed Alec Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe to use in the moments before the actor fatally shot a cinematographer, court records released on Friday show. “Cold gun,” the assistant director announced, according to a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court. Instead, the gun was loaded with live rounds, and when Baldwin pulled the trigger on Thursday on the set of a Western, he killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was wounded, the records said. The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office obtained the warrant so investigators could document the scene at the ranch outside Santa Fe where the shooting took place. They sought to examine Baldwin’s blood-stained costume for the film Rust, as well as the weapon that was fired, other prop guns and ammunition, and any footage that might exist. The gun was one of three that the film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez, had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records. Assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application. It was unclear how many rounds were fired. Gutierrez removed a shell casing from the gun after the shooting, and she turned the weapon over to police when they arrived, the court records say. The film’s script supervisor, Mamie Mitchell, said she was standing next to Hutchins when she was shot. “I ran out and called 911 and said: ‘Bring everybody, send everybody,’” Mitchell said. “This woman is gone at the beginning of her career. She was an extraordinary, rare, very rare woman.” Baldwin described the killing as a “tragic accident.” “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness
‘COLD COMFORT’: Justice Sonia Sotomayor made her views clear that she would immediately block the law, saying that Texas women ‘are entitled to relief now’ The US Supreme Court on Friday allowed a Texas law that bans most abortions to remain in place, but has agreed to hear arguments in the case early next month. The justices said they would decide whether the US Department of Justice and abortion providers can sue in federal court over a law that Justice Sonia Sotomayor said was “enacted in open disregard of the constitutional rights of women seeking abortion care in Texas.” Answering that question would help determine whether the law should be blocked while legal challenges continue. The court is moving at an unusually fast pace that suggests it plans to make a decision quickly. Arguments are set for Monday next week. The court’s action leaves in place for the time being a law that clinics say has led to an 80 percent reduction in abortions in the nation’s second-largest state. The justices said in their order that they were deferring action on a request from the justice department to put the law on hold. Sotomayor wrote that she would have blocked the law now. “The promise of future adjudication offers cold comfort, however, for Texas women seeking abortion care, who are entitled to relief now,” Sotomayor wrote. Sotomayor was the only justice to make her views clear, but it seems there were not five votes on the nine-member court to immediately block the law. It takes just four justices to decide to hear a case. The court first declined to block the law last month, in response to an emergency filing by the abortion providers. The vote was 5-4, with the three appointees of former US president Donald Trump joining two other conservatives in the majority. Chief Justice John Roberts joined Sotomayor and the other two liberal justices in voting to keep the law on hold while the legal fight goes on in
Oct.25 to Oct.31 The lower-lying parts of Taipei and New Taipei were submerged in two-meter-deep water for 30 hours in the aftermath of the devastating Typhoon Gloria of September 1963. More than 21,000 hectares of land in the capital region were flooded, with 200 lives lost and massive property and livestock losses. Even ducks were helpless against the torrential waters, with nearly 20,000 perishing just in the Beitou (北投) and Shilin areas (士林). Prior to this calamity, the government had taken a passive approach to flood prevention in the city, building dykes, levees and other structures when needed. But the post-war population surge had greatly altered the Keelung River’s environment as people settled along its banks and built all sorts of illegal houses and factories. Impervious to water, these structures made the river even more prone to flooding as they eliminated a buffer zone that excess water could flow into. There was originally a quite comprehensive flood mitigation construction plan for the hardest-hit Shezidao (社子島) area, but the authorities ultimately chose to straighten the river by cutting off a bend that turned Shezidao from a sandbank to the peninsula it is today. This decision caused a stir at that time, and it proved ineffective. In just a few years, sediment was already building up in the new watercourse. A second straightening project was launched in 1991 and completed in 1993, with a water-releasing ceremony held on Oct 30. This endeavor was also met with criticism, but then-mayor Huang Ta-chou (黃大洲) writes in his book Transformation: An Account of the Straightening of the Keelung River (改造: 基隆河截彎取直紀實) that it was also an urban renewal project as the new land in Dazhi and Neihu was immediately used for commercial and residential development. Huang was particularly proud that space was set aside for riverside parks. The
Assorted political bigwigs turned out for the VIP opening of Art Taipei on Thursday. With projected foot traffic of 100,000-plus and a 30 percent increase in exhibitor participation, the event — which runs until Monday at the Taipei World Trade Center — was another opportunity to showcase Taiwan’s COVID-19 success. But a consciously apolitical tone underscored one of the more prominent exhibitions at this 28th instalment of the annual art fair, as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) sought, in the words of its Taiwan foundation director Ludivine Houdet, to “tell stories of human beings” that are based on “independence, impartiality and neutrality.” Marking the humanitarian organization’s 50th anniversary, En Route, which is hosted in collaboration with Magnum Photos, comprises 43 images from five global crisis points that are the focus of MSF’s medical assistance efforts. The works of five photographers are featured, with a further two to be added to the organization’s Web site at a later date. The intended audience is very much the Taiwanese public, Houdet stresses, with minimal official involvement. “We’re always trying to engage with government and understand where we can work [together],” says Houdet. “But we don’t follow their direction or have a specific relationship with Taiwan’s government or MOHW [Ministry of Health and Welfare], regarding where or how to deliver humanitarian aid.” Instead, Houdet emphasizes, the goal is “working with the civil population, getting support and raising awareness.” Because of the emphasis on eschewing official development assistance channels, Houdet admits that a “big machinery of communication” is required to reach out to the public. With seven million donors worldwide, MSF has proved adept at spreading the word. Following seven years as MSF’s director of fundraising in South Africa, Houdet was tapped to head the fledgling Taiwan office last year. “I was so much in
That morning, there was no getting away from food. I was in Kaohsiung’s Yancheng District (鹽埕), trying out some of the neighborhood’s older and more distinctive eateries. Knowing I had to pace myself — to seek respite from repasts, if you will — I went into a temple I’d not noticed on previous trips to this part of the city. Shaduo Temple (沙多宮) is dedicated to five Wangye (王爺) spirits, or Lords of a Thousand Years (五府千歲). If the baskets of fruit, trays of candy, and packets of cookies on the main offertory table are anything to go by, the deities honored here have a good appetite and a sweet tooth. The alleyways behind the shrine, which is at 49 Fuye Road (富野路), looked invitingly labyrinthine. Within minutes, I’d stumbled across the picturesque ruins of a cottage constructed using coral stone, unhewn rocks, bricks, and tiles. A man locking up part of the wreck told me the building is at least 90 years old. I could glimpse the roof of, but not get a proper look at, a two-floor mansion that I later discovered was built for Lin Chia (林迦, 1888-1972), an entrepreneur and philanthropist once hailed as “the richest man in Yancheng.” The scale of this abode, which combines Western and Chinese architectural elements, and its garden are obvious if you look at satellite images of the neighborhood. CONGEE AND CLINIC My gourmand tour had begun an hour earlier, at Old Tsai’s Milkfish Congee (老蔡虱目魚粥) at 201 Lainan Street (瀨南街). From the street, the only thing likely to catch a person’s eye is what’s stated on a glass door: “Established 1953. Open 6am to 2pm.” In Taiwan, certain restaurants are like bottles of whiskey. They bear age statements, and the implication is the same: The longer the history, the better the product. Rather than order the
Green Island, which used to be called “Huoshao Island” (Fiery Island) because of its tropical climate, usually conjures up images of “prisons” in the imaginations of most people. However, the island’s historic “Laogu stone” buildings which stand out majestically in its old settlements, have borne witness to the island’s history, too. The Taitung County Government is promoting a plan to breathe new life into Green Island’s old architecture, which it hopes will reawaken their importance in the minds of the island’s residents. Taitung County Cultural Affairs Department last week held an information meeting to explain its “Encore for Old Houses — Old Architecture Preservation Plan,” hosted by architect Chan Yi-Chun. Chan travelled to the island to explain to residents how they could restore their old buildings to their former glory and used a discussion and experience-sharing format to recount the importance of preserving and repurposing old architecture. At the information meeting, officials from the department stated that Green Island’s architecture is unique within the county since its traditional houses were mostly constructed from coral reef, commonly known as “Laogu stone” in Chinese. Coral reef was used because Green Island lacked other construction materials. The island’s residents dug up coral reef from the sea floor and used the stone-like material to build walls for houses. Additionally, to protect against powerful seasonal north-easterly winds, Green Island’s traditional houses were built to a low height with thick walls, small windows and a perpendicular layout. In a traditional Green Island home, the kitchen and animal enclosure is placed either side of the main building’s front courtyard. During the Japanese occupation period, Green Island’s primary export was bonito flakes to Japan, and for this reason, nearly all old houses contain a fish smoking room. The largest concentration of traditional coral reef houses is located at the island’s Youzi Hu
A: You could try eating often but smaller portions, so that you won’t be digesting too much food at any one time, which will be easier on your stomach and your blood sugar won’t jump. You can still eat what you want. B: To be completely honest, I’ve tried that, too, with the result that I never stopped eating, haha. But I have found that if my jaw is always moving and my teeth are always biting into things, I don’t feel so sleepy when I’m studying. A: Then you should eat a low calorie food like konnyaku or chew gum. B: Or we could just close our books and stop studying. Fancy a game of badminton? A: 你可以試試看少量多餐，這樣要消化的食物不會一下子太多，腸胃的負擔比較輕，血糖也不會一下子衝太高，你想吃的還是可以吃。 B: 不瞞你說，這個我也試過，結果變成我一直不停在吃東西，哈哈！不過我發現如果我嘴巴一直在動、牙齒一直在咬東西，唸書的時候就比較不會昏昏欲睡。 A: 那你就吃像蒟蒻之類低熱量的東西，不然就是嚼口香糖。 B: 或者乾脆就把書闔起來，不要唸了。我們去打羽毛球吧？ (Translated by Paul Cooper, Taipei Times / 台北時報林俐凱) Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
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