Apr 27, 2009

WHO: World Hypocrite Organization

In about 20 days, Taiwan's fate in the World Health Assembly (WHA) will be revealed. Rumors have been flying around that this is the year that Taiwan, one of the most medically advanced countries in the world, will be accepted as an observer at the World Health Organization's (WHO) annual two-week pow wow in Geneva. In exhange for this microbe morsel of international participation, Taiwan is ready to handover its sovereignty over to China.

If you ask me, this is the most ridiculous, illogical and backward arrangement. Its like a high school boy begging a quack doctor, "please help me get rid of this one pimple , in return I'd be happy to give up my heart, liver, and pancreas."

Sure, historically China has been the number one roadblock in Taiwan's bid for the WHO, I agree. But for me, I place 99% of the blame on the WHO member-states. The abscense of moral courage and the lack of medical ethics of the member-states is the very reason why China has been allowed to bully Taiwan for decades. The WHO member-states have singlehandedly destroyed the democratic set-up of the organization by bowing to ONE member.

As the foremost international health watchdog, the WHO aims to protect the health of all, regardless of region, color, ethnicity, age or gender. This goal sounds perfectly humanitarian and even worthy of praise.

However, while it is true that the WHO has done a great amount of good and deserves to be applauded for its efforts to eradicate diseases, it is also true that the WHO is systematically putting people in harm's way by excluding Taiwan for 50 years.

What has Taiwan done to deserve being shut out by the WHO? Has the nation violated any international health code or committed a despicable crime to deserve such disregard?

In the eyes of the WHO, Taiwan's crime is that it has become one of the world's most successful emerging democracies, one that promotes the freedom of the press, speech, media and religion.

The irony is astounding -- the nation's hard-won democracy is the very reason why it is not accepted into a democratically organized group.

Democracy is the only obstacle preventing Taiwan from winning the support of other democratic nations in its bid to join the WHO.

Sadly, the day that Taiwan waves a white flag and surrenders to China will be the day it receives the protection it deserves from the WHO, the UN and many other international organizations that meekly submit to Beijing's "one China" fantasy.

The paradox of the situation directly mocks the principles of democracy. Why should democratic Taiwanese be forced into accepting a communist system just to gain protection from contagion? Does the "H" in WHO stand for "health" or "hypocrite?"

By using the "one China" policy as a justification to refuse Taiwan's application to become part of the WHO, the majority of the WHO member states are in fact demanding that Taiwanese give up their freedom in exchange for health security.

The last time I checked, health security was one of the most basic human rights, not an elite privilege reserved for the members of an esoteric fraternity.

Part of the Hippocratic oath for doctors is to "never to do deliberate harm to anyone for anyone else's interest." A violation of this vow can, and often does, result in the suspension of a medical practitioner's license to practice.

If this oath applied to the WHO -- and it should -- then WHO Director-General Margaret Chan (陳馮富珍) should be immediately banned from all hospitals and clinics and health ministers from more than 165 countries should also be chastised for serving China's political interests by ignoring Taiwan's rights to health.

The WHO should revise its constitution and state that the organization protects the health rights of all people, except if they are a freedom loving individual who happens to hold a passport with the word "Taiwan" on its green cover.

That way, the WHO would at least be telling the truth, however ugly and discriminatory it may be.

Apr 22, 2009

May all dogs truly go to heaven

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."- Mahatma Gandhi

If what Gandhi said was true, then Taiwan is a moral decayed backward country. Today, the news reported that a man discovered 20 plus dogs dumped on the side of the road in Chiayi County. All of them had their voice cords cut out. The dogs appeared to be the products of mass inbreeding at a puppy mill. The saddest thing was they were actually discovered on Sunday, but the person did nothing about it so three of the pack apparently starved to death. Finally, the person’s friend decided to contact the media and at the moment, 14 of them have found homes.

On the same day, a street food vendor in Hsinchu was caught slamming two kittens to death. The man said the mommy cat had brought the kittens to a place nearby the shop. He got upset when the kittens defecated next to his shop so he picked them up and pounded them into the ground. His excuse—it was bad for business to have kittens litter around his business.

Last week, a German man’s finger was caught in an animals when he trying to rescue two of his dogs that were got caught in the traps in the mountains near his home. He later found a total of nine traps in the area.

Two weeks ago, an Animals Taiwan volunteer found over 25 small sized dogs and puppies all cooped up in a man’s backyard in Taipei. All the voice cords of the dogs were slashed.

As cruel as these stories may sound, they pale in comparison to the child abuse deaths cases reported in Taiwan recently.

In Changhua, an alcoholic and abusive man threw his 1o-months old daughter into a pot of boiling water during a heated argument with his girlfriend, the girl’s mother. The mom said she didn’t notice her daughter was being literally cooked alive until she stirred the noodles in the pot. The girl died of multiple organ failure four day later. My question is, why didn’t the mother leave this man who was chronically abusive? I believe she also needs to shoulder the blame of her daughter’s tragic ending.

On the same day, a two-year old girl was beaten to death by her father who struck the toddler repeatedly with a broomstick. He said he had to punish his disobedient daughter who disregarded his word when she played with water the day before. I hold a master’s in education and never have I heard a case where a two-year old obeyed his or her parents 100 percent of the time.

It is an absolute irony that government is encouraging more people to have kids when they fail completely in providing adequate protection for the little ones. So here is my advice to you President Ma, stop spending money on your jogging shorts and hair grease and start pouring money into child welfare. Instead of investing more in China, start caring for the children of this country. After all, they are the future of Taiwan. One more note to Mr. Ma, adopting ONE stray dog is good, but crying out loud, you are the PRESIDENT, can’t you come up with a policy to put an end to these puppy mills?

Apr 3, 2009

Taiwan's 3 D's: Despair, Disappointment, Disillusion

It takes a lot for me to shed tears. But today I wept for a stranger whom I met for less than 30 seconds.

The man I cried over was no heart throb or brilliant artist. Rather, he was a slightly humpbacked man in a holey white shirt and dirt-stained flip-flops. Standing in front of the National Taiwan University Hospital, his sun slashed face had deep despair oozing from the crevices of his wrinkles. His brownish callous hands, shaking, were holding an oversized manila envelope.

At first, I walked past him without a second thought. But each step I walked away from him, my heart wanted to take two steps back toward to him.

“Hey, is everything ok?” I asked in Taiwanese, thinking the man would just ignore me and find me a nuance.

But to my surprise, he answered.

“Wife dying and I have no money,” he said with a quiver while looking up to the sky as if he believed saying it out loud would somehow persuade Hades to spare his wife.

It was me that was lost for words. Come on, what do you say to a mere stranger whose wife was dying and had no money to pay for the medical bill? Unless I had a million dollar to give to him or the touch of Nurse Nightingale to heal his beloved, it seemed like nothing I said would have been appropriate.

Looking at the man, I couldn’t help but to wonder why, in a country like developed country Taiwan, do we still people who see death as their only option when faced with a complicated disease? Why would anybody be concerned about not having enough money for medical care?

As I was walking towards the foreign ministry, my eyes fell upon a shiny well-polished black Mercedes Benz with a foreign country flag sticking out by its right headlight glistening under the sun. Inside the multi-milion NT-dollar machine, sat a Taiwanese chauffer.

Then another thought popped in my head…what if instead of giving foreign diplomats outrageous expensive cars (yes, plural) and lavish mansions, why not give them functional normal-priced cars and inject that money into the cash-strapped National Health Insurance Bureau or the struggling charities? Why keep showering the corrupted governments with gold bars when we have people who beg to go behind bars because that’s their only guarantee for a decent meal? The disparity is heartbreaking, and frankly disgusting.

Next to the foreign ministry is the Presidential Office in which sits a man whom I helped to get elected. Yes, I voted for Ma Ying-jeou…but now I see how delusional and demented I was to think he would be the man to bring tranquility and peace to Taiwan. Little did I know he defines the word “peace” as sans justice, equality, dignity, and freedom. At the moment in Taiwan, the delight of a few is established upon the despair and disappointment of millions…Ma, do you hear the indignation of the people, or are the lies of Beijing so deafening that you have lost the ability to listen?

Mar 30, 2009

My very own slice of heaven on earth

Thanks to my wonderful parents, I have my own little Garden of Eden. Its me, nature, and my dogs...c'esst la vie, baby!

Mar 29, 2009

Two Thumbs Way Down for CNA--Censored News Agency

One of my favorite journalists, Helen Thomas, said the following statement about the state of modern journalism in her book Watchdogs of Democracy:

"Something vital has been lost--or have American journalists forgotten that their role is to follow the TRUTH, without fear or favor, wherever it leads them? The truth, raher an agenda, should be the goal of a free press"

Thomas, a seasoned and highly acclaimed reporter who covered nine US presidents, continued to say that "journalists , as purveyors of information, are the watchdogs of democracy."

If I had absolute power for even just one minute, I would wield the power to drill that concept into the heads and the reporters of CNA before it crusies further down the path of becoming the symbol of ass-sucking-news-manipulating-truth-hiding-facts-distorting-China-pandering-government-fearing news agency.

Since the KMT entered office in May 08, CNA has quickly dwindled down to being an utter embarassment from a revered news outlet. First of all, the slot of the deputy president was given to President Ma Ying-ma's old campaign spokesman Luo Chih-chiang. Luo has never been a reporter, editors, or even a coffee boy at a news agency for a day in his life. Yet he occupies the second-most important position in CNA. Hmm....

Secondly, CNA was the ONLY Taiwanese media specifically named in the 2008 US Human Rights Country report on Taiwan, which means even the US State Department is spotting something fishy. The International Federation of Journalists publicly condemned CNA for tampering with reports regarding the melamine scandal. As a response, CNA issued an statement that it upholds the most unbias stance towards news.

If, and HUGE IF, what CNA said was true about its unbias stance, then why was there NO English reports on former President Chen Shui-bian's latest international press conference? Why was DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen's criticisms on ECFA axed from the newslist? Why was there virtually no reports on the views of the protestors during the demonstration against Chinese envoy Chen Yun-lin last November?

Xinhua News Agency recently reported that a group of directors of major state-owned media from the Chinese mainland ended a nine-day tour to Taiwan on Friday to visit CNA and TVBS. (http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-03/29/content_11094078.htm)

Wen Hengquan, the editor-in-chief of People's Daily was quoted saying he is looking forward to further cross-strait cooperation on news reporting. Wait a minute, did I hear you right?? Why would the most media suppressive country want to joint hands with Taiwan, a country lauded for its press freedom, unless...just unless China sees these Taiwan-based outlets of sharing the same journalistic ideals as them--squash the truth and taint the facts?

The saddest thing, however, is the lack of integrity of the many CNA reporters who self-censor their stories. Of course I understand that's the easiest route to take when one has been completely demoralized, but some of the CNA reporters just simply don't care about seeking after the truth.

One thing I often hear from CNA reporters when they decide pass up a juicy story that could potentially marr the administration was "my agency wouldn't want this, so no point of writing it." Whenever I hear that, I always want to shake them by the shoulders and scream "AND WHO CARES!!! You answer to your readers, not to your boss!" Or better yet, we as reporters answer to our conscience, especially when it comes to monitoring the government. After all, isn't that what being the "fourth estate" is all about?

Journalists are given the solemn mandate of keeping the society informed. Adam Smith said a free market is impossible without an informed society. Helen Thomas said without an informed people, there can be no democracy. At this rate, CNA will be the very butcher to quickly knife away Taiwan's hardwon democracy, one self-censorship at a time.

Mar 19, 2009

Sound the alarm, gaffetitis is on the loose!

Taiwan is the biggest Americanophile, hands down. We gobble up just about anything Uncle Sam slops down on our dinner trays...from brain-numbing Hollywood films to pencil-tight Guess jeans to lard-dripping hamburgers and even down to hottest contagious ailment that has been going around in Washington for years--gaffetitis.

Blame it on D. Quayle, he let out a sneeze in the 90's when he said, "I love California, I practically grew up in Pheonix!" As a good'ol proud American lad, the former veep owned up to his blunder by saying, "I stand by all the missstatements that I have made." Clap-claps for Dan! Now I just wish trigger-happy Dubya can soon muster up enough courage to admit to all of his "mis-underestimations" he has made during his eight-year clown fest.

Gaffetitis, like all infecious diseases, knows no border. Despite the ardent efforts by our Centers for Disease Control to safeguard the island from the noxious saliva droplets of DQ, the virulent malady successfully slithered into Taiwanese government and cankered the president and his cabinet.

President Ma Ying-jeou once told the Aborigenes that "we (he probably meant the high-class mainlanders) view you as humans." Geesh thanks, for a moment there I thought A-mei was just a jolly monkey with a microphone fetish!

Premier Liu Chao-hsiuan would have been more convincing if he wore his Shaolin garb when he publicly said Taiwan would go to war with Japan after a Japanese patrol vessel sunk a Taiwanese fishing boat. By any chance did anyone tell Liu that the Taiwanese fishermen were in the disputed water illegally and declaring war against with one of Taiwan's best friends in the legislature is sorta, kinda, oh shall we say, a big deal??

But who can fault him for his belligerence when our former National Security Council chief Tsai Chao-ming openly said SARS was China's biological weapon. Tsai resigned earlier this month citing "personal reasons" and was decorated by Ma with a medal of valor for his outstanding services to Taiwan's security.

Even a has-been rapper MC Hammer has left an indeliable impression on the cabinet. Despite his extensive medical training, former health minister Lin Fang-yu still fell prey to the g-sickies when he said the only way for Taiwan to combat against enterovirus was to pray because well, you know, "we've got to pray just to make it today."

Thanks to the Personnl Adminsitration Minister Chen Ching-hsiu, I finally realize that I too am an exhibitionist. After all, he said asking officials to disclose their financial status is like stripping them down to their birthday suits. If that were the case, then even a super insecure individual such as I have given a few strip tease in my ife when I had tell the credit card companies of my embarassing annual earnings.

Americans who spend very little time in Taiwan are susceptible to the pathogen as evident in AIT Chairman Raymond Burghardt who recently said "what are you suggesting we do, bomb them?" when a reporter asked him if the US viewed the Chinese missiles facing Taiwan as a threat to Taiwan and if so what action would Washington take to deter the threat.

The one with the deadliest ah-choos is none other than our defense minister Chen Chao-ming who said to help out those who have been hit hard by this economy contraction, the army is considering to bring "kitchen waste" to the low-income families nearby the base. Sorry piggies, I guess you guys will have to eat the expensive hormone-laced feed instead my slimy banana peels and moldy expired cheese.

So here is a direct appeal to Bayer's, Merck, Pfeizer, and all those big time drug makers out there. Drop your hunt for a female viagara, stop your research for cure for cancer, and definitely forget about coming up effetive AIDS treatment. The big money lies with a wonder drug that would prevent officials from lying, manipulating, deceiving, or simply saying excruciatingly stupid embarassing things.

You know actually on second thought...nah, let those fools be fools. After all, good comedy is hard to come by and if these officials can't protect my freedom or fatten my wallet like their job descriptions require, then why not just let them skip around like buffoons and make me laugh. At least they would be good for sum'm!

Mar 16, 2009

Taiwan and Tibet: a shared destiny

The US House of Representatives recently passed a resolution urging Beijing to lauch talks with the representatives of the Dalai Lama to find a viable solution to the Tibet quagmire. The European Parliament also followed suit by passing a similar resolution calling all sides to exert a greater effort to settle the dispute. Though both documents included no threats of actions if Beijing fails to comply, it was the thought that counts. The reality is, the US and the EU's dependency on China is a much weightier matter than when the Free Tibet movement initially started years ago. From a pragmatic stance, I can understand why the western world taking more an more hands-off approach at the moment. Still, I applaud for their efforts. After all, AT LEAST they made some sort of statement.

What really befuddles me is how come the Taiwanese legislators sat idly on their bums on such an important issue? It does not take a genius or a great political mind to see Taiwan and Tibet are in the similar position. On March 14, thousands of people marched the streets of Taipei for freedom in Tibet. One of my favorite placards was "Now Tibet, then Taiwan." Surely one can argue that Tibet and Taiwan are very different in many ways such in geography and economy and degrees of freedom. But the fact is, both T's are highly coveted by Chinese Communist Party and both causes are losing supports. Perhaps this is EXACTLY what Beijing intended, to leave an issue in a stalemate until it becomes moldy, unattractives and at the end, forgotten. If Taiwan doesn't stand up for Tibet now, who is going to stand up for Taiwan later?