Monday, April 20, 2009

Well Said

Excerpt from James Fallows' blog on The Atlantic Monthly Website:

"Torture from Afar"

For as annoyed as foreigners may get with America and Americans, there
have been two saving graces in the world's opinions of our country. One has been
its permeability. Anywhere you go, someone has an uncle or cousin in America.
The other, less openly stated, has been a belief that at some point there
are rules in America. Long periods may pass when the rules are ignored. Big boys
may bend the rules in their favor. Some offenses are never made right. And so
on. But in the end, the American system is supposed to recognize injustice and
respond -- including with public accountability for even the mightiest figures.
It has this in common with the British and some other systems -- which is what
Gandhi relied on in knowing he could "shame" the Brits. For all the increases in
liberty within China over the last generation, this is a striking difference
with the world's currently-rising power. No one expects China's current
leadership to conduct a "truth commission" about the Cultural Revolution or
Tiananmen. But people finally expect America to apply its own rules, even
against its own people. Fulfilling that expectation is not sufficient for
restoring America's image international standing. But it is
necessary.

Ethnic Theme Park

This marks the second or third time I've seen Taiwan use its ethnic minorities as a tourist attraction.

I stayed for the whole thing.

video

Taken at Alishan (aka Ali Mountain) during Cherry Blossom season. Not pictured: throngs of Taiwanese tourists.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Recession Notes

The building across the street from my apartment used to house the Bank of Kaohsiung. Two or three days ago, a 7-11 opened in its place.