Saturday, August 04, 2007

The News

Since I was such an NPR addict back home I figured I would always be checking out the news here... not so. I mostly haven't missed it. I kind of glean world events from their satirical coverage on The Onion, and from the CNN headlines that appear as an advertisement on that site. Anytime I try to actually read the news it's all the same bad news as when I left- the exact same bad news, only maybe a little worse.

Taiwan has 3 English-language newspapers, with enough English journalism talent to support one. I shouldn't be so mean- I think the reporters have to be bilingual. Two- the China Post and the Taiwan Times- are absolute rubbish. Sometimes I read the China Post the way I did the Tribune Review back in Pittsburgh- I don't even know why I do it, just to revel in the awfulness, I guess. The last issue I read had book reviews that were obviously ghost-written by the books' authors.

I pick up the third newspaper, the Taipei Times, on occasion. It has lots of world news from AP and the NY Times and stuff. All three newspapers apparently have unique editorial stances, especially regarding Taiwan politics and Taiwan's relationship with China, but I think they all put a pretty fine point on things, and the general consensus is, Taiwan politics in corrupt, and we've got to be careful with China. There are several main political parties here that fall roughly under the categories of "green" and "blue", and I absolutely don't understand them.

There is a little bit of genuine local news but a lot of the locally-written news involves random reports of something someone from Hong Kong said about their decreasing freedoms, and the global reaction to the presidents of Taiwan's idea to hold a referendum asking the people of Taiwan if they'd like to try to join the UN under the name "Taiwan." That's very controversial. Apparently everyone in the world is against it (including the US) except for Taiwan's diplomatic allies in Central America- from what I gather from the newspaper, Taiwan is in the habit of sponsoring $20 million economic-development projects in Central America and so has full diplomatic recognition in most of those countries. You've never seen a newspaper laud Nicaragua's democracy so much, I'll tell you that. Anyways. Overall I can enjoy the Taipei times.

I wish I could post a link to the editorial cartoons, though- I'm sure editorial cartoons are mostly meaningless if you're not super-familiar with politics, but these are so crazy- like it will show a local politician getting ready to dive into an empty swimming pool that says "County Election Fund" and his swimming trunks will say something like "Limited-Issue Land Reform." You're like, yeah, take that.

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