Public Diplomacy has to be at the core of Taiwan’s Strategy


In the past year, even as relations with China have improved, Taiwan’s government has been stepping up efforts to raise the island’s profile.
It is part of a strategy promoted by President Ma Ying-jeou, who says Taipei must increase its so-called “soft power” if it is to stand on the international stage.
The strategy is wide-ranging. It includes developing globally famous brands, boosting Taiwan’s presence not only in the high-tech sector but also in arts, food and fashion, and marketing great things about Taiwan.
As a result, the government has poured millions of dollars into supporting performance troupes, filmmakers and even pop singers.
Some of them have enjoyed regional or international acclaim, including a government-funded film that won an award at the Berlin International Film Festival this year. There are plans to spend $200m (£128m) to help the movie industry.

– BBC reports on Taiwan’s focus on developing its soft power.

Inter-governmental diplomacy can only do so much.
Military build up, will only lead to costly and ultimately unsustainable arm race.
Public diplomacy aiming at western, regional and also the Chinese across the strait is what will bring peace and stability for Taiwan.

Why is Taiwan so in love with Japan?


This is going to be a short and “speculative” post, meaning i am not going to do the research to back up my claims. its all going to be base on my impressions and general understanding. Why? Because its 9am and i havent slept.

So, what is Taiwan so in love with Japan? was one of many topics discussed last night. I personally  have heard this question asked quite a few times, and its almost without exceptions from a Japanese.

my speculative answers to the question below:

1. Its because Japan were better colonial rulers than the subsequent Chinese KMT*.
This claim is of course base on my impression. It is also possible that such impressive was fueled by propaganda from the anti-KMT movement.

2. Its because Taiwanese nationalist like to empathize their Japanese and dutch colonial history to build a Taiwanese national identity that is distinguished from the mainland Chinese. Every wonder why the name “Formosa” is used as much as it is? Because its a name given to Taiwan from their dutch colonial masters. The cable news channel launched  by senior member of the pro-independent nationalist DPP is of course named Formosa TV.

3. As the first Asian country to industrialize, Japan is able to start their culture development first. That means Japan compare to other Asian countries have a more developed fashion industries, pop culture industries, and have a domestic market that is in general more culturally sophisticated. When post-industrial Taiwan can afford to pay attention to culture and other sophistication they look to the United States and Europe then Japan as the only non-western alternative culture center.

*I distinguish the post-colonial KMT as Chinese and foreign because it was not democratically elected by people of Taiwan. Obviously time have changed, KMT in its current state is unquestionably Taiwanese, not Chinese.

Blog retitled: I am a cosmopolite


Before i start on the new title, let me explain what i envision in the old title “neouto rewrites”
After several title changes i previously end up with “neouto rewrites” because it humbles the blog from the very outset.
Writing an opinion blog can a little pretentious, as if people should consider my opinions to be more than a grain of salt.
“neouto rewrites” announces to the readers that although i am presenting my thoughts to the world thought this blog, i cannot claim complete originality
It does not mean that i am plagiarizing, everything i wrote on the blog i wrote my self, unless otherwise noted.
What the title reflect is the view that now a days very extremely rarely does anyone have completely origin ideas.
Because it is likely that all knowledge that can completely infer from ones own observation alone has already been inferred and formed the bases of thousands of books. In our time, new idea are ideas that are basically remix, reinterpretation or revision of existing idea(s) with or without a dash of original observation.
Hence the title “neouto rewrites”

Now, since i have change the looks of the blog (using an existing theme) i though a new title is in order.
Perhaps the best way to the genesis of the title is to tell you a little about myself.

Having lived in Taiwan till the age of 12, and receive all education in Australia, except for primary school and a year of exchange in Japan, i like most kids with this kind of experience had a crisis of identity. “Crisis” may seen too dramatic, but most kid in their adolescence finds anything a little distressing a crisis.
I suspect other people with identity crisis resolve it in one of the following ways:
(A) pick one of the conflicting identity and sometime go extreme to overcompensate, (eg: western born muslim terrorist, anti-gay closet homosexual paster/republican or just become excessively nationalistic)
(B) compartmentalize, which is to say, act one way among one identity group and act another way among other groups. You will have to split your social networks into groups too. Theoretically possible, but i think its very difficult.
(C) demeaning all conflicting identities then associate your self with a new identity group that can encompass all your identities. This strategy was used brilliantly by Barack Obama when he said “There’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.” in his 2004 convention speech.

Going back to my crisis, which i eventually resolved with (C). I demeaning identities that are based on nation-state, I become neither Chinese, Taiwanese or Australian. A believe later reinforced by my studies in international relations where I learn how the nation-state is an identity artificially constructed and a system becoming obsolete. In its stead I chose the creed of cosmopolitanism. I have since met many cosmopolites even if we didn’t all here through the same path. We are a growing identity grouping, nourished by the reality of intensifying globalization. Eventually, we shall inherent earth. This blog is so titled, so readers will know where i the perspective/bias/agenda of my posts. I am a cosmopolite. Will you join me on this winning team?

Cosmopolite is also a butterfly found in many place in the world.

Wikileaks used as a propaganda tool against Ma Ying-Jeou


Update 2011/01/07: a commentator point out to me that the subject article is in fact satire.

Why are there so much bull shit out there….

I was sent an online news article that reports (my translation): according to US diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks, Ma Ying-Jeou and Hu Jintao often secretly discuss Taiwan Strait relations over Skype.
Sounds very phony so i search through the released cables using Cablesearch.org using key words like “Skpye”, “VOIP“, versions of “Ma Ying-Jeou” and “Hu Jintao” and found nothing. Althought a negative cant be proven, i think it is safe to say that this report is a lying propaganda trying to paint Ma as a mainland loving traiter.

Full copy of the article below.

維基洩密公開台海機密 ! 兩岸領導常用 Skype 溝通

十一月三十日 記者魏軍梓 台北報導

昨天專門公布美國機密檔案的維基洩密,正式開始公布他們所取得的美國外交機密文件。這次的公布量包括 25 萬份美國大使館與國務院的通聯記錄,被美國政府認為是一項重大的「情報災害」。維基洩密將分三個月的時間把這些資料一一放在網路上,供網民瀏覽。驚人的是,今天公布的檔案當中,有一則關於台海兩岸領導階層的溝通互動模式,裡面描述馬政府與中國政府竟然常常用 Skype 視訊商意兩岸未來走向。

這一份新公開的文件是由美國在台協會 (AIT) 寫給華府的例行通訊,裡面提出美國對台海問題的擔憂,並擔心與中國走太近的台灣會使美國失去一個重要的陣地。因為馬英九政府傾向開放兩岸商業利益的緣故,台灣與中國的聯絡已經越來越熱絡。在這篇例行文件中,最引人注目的,是一則美國線民在台灣總統府得到的消息。消息來源指出,馬英九政府為了避免過多的社會與國際關注,常常在總統辦公室內,用自己的電腦跟中國領導人胡錦濤聊 Skype 。

線民情報更說,兩人為了避免被其他政府內部的官員與政敵發現,所以只有在辦公室內沒有人時,才會開 Skype 聊天,除了秘書以及少數官員之外,很少有人知道這個溝通管道。不過因為兩人都不是很會用電腦,設定 Skype 的時候都會請祕書幫忙。根據估計,馬與胡大約一個禮拜會聊到一次,而每一次的內容都是關於兩岸未來的走向,但是有時也會涉及一些無關緊要的寒暄問候,像是如何減少爬樓梯時的膝蓋疼痛。線民在通信中表示,由於馬與胡 Skype 的資訊相當保密,所以更多的細節幾乎不可能取得,但是可以知道的是,兩岸領導階級的溝通已經比想像中的密切了。

美國在臺協會在與華府的文件當中引述上項資訊,並分析認為,中國與台灣似乎是在仿效冷戰時,美國與蘇聯的熱線電話,以能夠將強溝通,來達成雙方最大利益。但是因為科技的進步,雙方不再需要將事情曝光,只需要一台電腦就可以用視訊與對方商量政策。這項事件實在令人擔憂。

目前,兩岸領導人都尚無正面對這項消息發表任何解釋或意見。

Being proud of a Tradition


Just starting using Facebook. After hooking with a few friends, i was not surprised to see a friend of mine belonging to the “Face It – Taiwan IS NOT Part of China” group, as a political student, naturally i took a look. and,

look what i found, a thread with the title “可悲,可悲。。。

The tread starts with this paragraph

作为在一个外国成长的中国人,看到这里的一些thread, 我真的觉得十分的悲哀。这么多人不想做中国人,不想做华夏子孙,不想继承我们华夏5000年优美的文化和传统。

read the rest

translation: Being a Chinese who grow up overseas, seeing all these threads here, really saddens me that there are so many people who do not want to be Chinese, do not want to inhere our 500o years of beautiful culture and tradition.

In my response to it i wrote

I understand what you are trying to say, and

I agree with you in that, Chinese speaking of people of PRC, ROC and else where in the world does in fact have a shared heritage, we use the same language, eat similar food and are fascinated by the romance of the three kingdom (三國演義).

should we be proud of this tradition?
sure, why not.

But i am more proud of being part of the global revolution that begun with enlightenment which eventually lead to the development of modernity, democracy, free market, globalization and liberal ideals.

These ideals are what shape my life and our society the most, and i am very thankful for it.

so, as a native son of Taiwan, i guess what i am saying is, i do recognize our share heritage with the mainland, but i think i would much rather for Taiwan to be rule by Taiwanese people. and i hope you guys over there can self rule one day instead of taking orders from the grand old communist party.

there is no need for unification, Taiwan do fine by its own as long as the communist party don’t meddle with our internal affairs and foreign policy.

i guess, its fair to say, hey, we are all Chinese, but lets have at least two state, one of it be Taiwan.

or, we are all human beings, but hey, lets have 200 states or more, and governments by and for the people.