Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ukraine is able to Identify with Taiwan

Pro-Taiwanese organizations should expand their connections to Ukraine. This nation has a cultural and historical background to readily identify and desire to support a nation like Taiwan oppressed by a geographically and culturally nearby expansionist empire. As you open up a dialogue and seek to convince Ukrainian organizations to acknowledge Taiwan, bring one name into the dialogue: Taras Shevchenko.

Sometimes, just a few men and women can lay the groundwork among a people for a future yearning for freedom and self determination. Ukraine, a Slavic nation, had been under the foreign rule of the Russian empire and afterwards the Soviet empire. Although possessing their own distinct language, it was increasingly being overshadowed by another Slavic language: Russian. In the 1800s, one artist, Taras Shevchenko awakened to the need to preserve his people, language and culture and to stir a longing for freedom among his people. While few around him even cared, he began to produce art works, poems, and other writings in his own Ukrainian language. Today he is heralded as both the father of Ukrainian literature and also one major cause for the perseverance of Ukrainian identity that resulted into them today having their own distinct nation.

In a time where those in search of power and prosperity would not deign to seemingly waste their time with the native Ukainian language and culture, Shevchenko produced a remarkably large output of art and literature whose subject was his native Ukraine.

He had a lot of trouble even convincing many of his fellow countrymen of the worth of being their own masters and throwing off the yoke of the Russian empire. In one poem, "Shevchenko turns his bitterness and satire against the Ukrainians themselves, reminding them that only in ‘one's own house’ is there ‘one's own truth’ and entreating them to realize their national potential, stop serving foreign masters, and become honorable people worthy of their history and heritage, in their own free land."* Hope beyond the present seemingly insurmountable difficulties drove him: "he remained steadfast in his belief that divine justice would triumph one day not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world."* Though he did not live to see the day, and even died in Russia away from his homeland, his labors for Ukraine and its people were indeed a major cause to help bring about that day of freedom for Ukraine.

* quotes from The Encyclopedia of Ukraine website.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Boycotting China -- good for your health, the environment, your freedom, and in the long term even your wallet

Because of China's human rights abuses, despotic rule, support of the spread of weapons of mass destruction and authoritarian regimes, and not least it's continued abuse of and attempted annexation of Taiwan, individuals around the world need to begin in earnest to boycott China's products.

Do not buy the products. As a consequence of people power, as more and more boycott, all the foreign companies, particularly Taiwanese and U.S. companies that China has lured into starting factories in China, will begin to stop overlooking China's crimes and begin to feel regret about their deep economic investment in China and correspondent compromise of principles of truth and freedom that go hand in hand with doing business there.

Citizens of the U.S.A. -- whose current president and congress have caused their country to be more indebted to China than ever -- have an even greater vested interest in buying products made in their own country or other countries instead of China and by so doing cause big businesses like Walmart to pull away from such excessive dependence on China.

For example, if you go to Walmart and wish to buy something simple like tweezers to pull a splinter out of your hand, all but one of the tweezers are made in China. The following is made in Pakistan and works fine, so for the China boycott, buy this particular one instead:

NOT made in China... TWEEZERS

MEAT TENDERIZER: In the kitchen cooking tools section, almost all of the Walmart MAINSTAYS (TM) brand are made in China. But there is one Mainstays Brand meat tenderizer MADE IN TAIWAN:

Most of Walmart's Saute Pans are made in China, but one of them, the 5 Quart Covered Saute Pan under the Paula Dean label is made in Thailand.

So take the time, look around. You should be able to find at least one product in each category made in some place other than China.

The same goes for Home Depot or Lowes products. If you are getting paint brushes, a lot of them are made in China, but some are made in the U.S.A. U.S.A.-made paintbrushes are usually a little more expensive, but they are better quality and will last longer.

That is pretty much true for most products.

And remember, Made in China products carry the added danger of toxic chemicals -- remember the recalls of toys with lead, jewelry with Cadmium. With such a corrupt country, companies can bribe their way into cutting corners that disregard safety and endanger the consumer.

And of course stay completely away from food products -- remember the milk with melamine, the hairy crabs with toxins, etc., etc.

You as an individual consumer can do something, but it takes more effort and you can't be lazy about it. But this boycott is well worth the effort and a little extra expense!

P.S. Please do not be enamored with Chinese medicine. Traditional Chinese medicine with its appetite for sympathetic magic products like bear paw, rhinoceros horn, all parts of the tiger, has probably single-handedly caused the endangerment and even in many parts regional extinction of tigers, rhinoceroses, bears, clouded leopards, and many other animals. Yes, in Taiwan, the Eastern medicine value of a certain fungus has led to the discovery of high-molecular-weight polysaccharides with anti-tumor properties. We are not saying that all Chinese or Eastern medicine is bad, but if you do not know what products you are consuming or where they come from, if you do not know the procurement practices of the local Eastern medicine store, you may just be participating in the slow but steady extermination of endangered species.


One young Taiwanese woman shares: "This song came into my brain lately, it's so beautiful, it talks about a man was far away from home , the sunset reminds him about his hometown, the song was forbidden during White Terror of Taiwan."

1987年7月15日中國國民黨結束了在台灣實行世界上最長的38年戒嚴,今年適滿20週年。  2007年11月11日晚間行政院新聞局繼高雄、台中在台北縣三重市主辦的禁歌演唱會,包括呂副總統、行政院長張俊雄、行政院秘書長陳景峻等都親自到場,共同欣賞這些曾經被禁的台語老歌。

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Learning Political Wisdom from Literature II - J. R. R. Tolkien

To those who would clasp their mouths, stopper their ears and shut their eyes to a rising threat of war from a foreign agressor because they just want to be comfortable in their little small life, here is some Tolkien to read.

The first comes from the story of Aldarion and Erendis published in a collection called Unfinished Tales.

At one point in the story, a king of an island nation currently in relative prosperity considers reports that have reached him of a gradually increasing threat from an expanding and aggressive evil empire on the continent. In the message that calls for his aid, he reads "Behold! The darkness that is to come is filled with hatred for us, but it hates you no less. The Great Sea will not be too wide for its wings, if it is suffered to come to full growth."

He debates with himself -- should he get involved now before it is too late, or just seek the easy road of peace now, overlooking or appeasing the enemy, and leaving the suffering and enslavement to future generations of his people.

Following is his reasoning (emphasis added):

"Yet if the world grows again dark, [God] must know; and [He] has sent me no sign... What then? Our fathers were rewarded for the aid they gave in the defeat of the Great Shadow. Shall their sons stand aloof, if evil finds a new head?

I am in too great doubt to rule. To prepare or to let be? To prepare for war, which is yet only guessed : train craftsmen and tillers in the midst of peace for bloodspilling and battle : put iron in the hands of greedy captains who will love only conquest, and count the slain as their glory? Will they say to [God]: At least your enemies were amonst them... Or to fold hands, while friends die unjustly : let men live in blind peace, until the ravisher is at the gate? What then will they do, match naked hands against iron and die in vain, or flee leaving the cries of women behind. Will they say to [God], At least I spilled no blood?

When either way may lead to evil, of what worth is choice?


These are the issues facing Taiwan. Yes, fighting for their freedom may lead to some hardship and evil. War has terrible effects. But if they do not, hardship and evil will certainly come with annexation by an evil empire which respects neither law nor life nor human right, but only power.