Posts Tagged ‘Politics

21
Mar
08

Homesick

So, I should be posting up a bajillion thingies that I’ve been meaning to, but for various slacker-y (and not-so-slacker-y) reasons haven’t.

Things sit or roll or glower at me for a while in my head while I whistle and go through the motions of avoiding them or gritting my teeth and facing down the heaviest and most immediately menacing ones.

However, today, for some reason, I decided to take a peek at my blog and felt truly ashamed at how I left it.

After all, wittering on about something I admit I don’t really know much about which is ancient (in terms of blogosphere time) news anyway has got to be a rather bad first impression. And contrary to my assumption that my readership would be left to just my mother, well, apparently this blog-o-mine has been popping up unhelpfully in various searches.

So, it happens it’s a month since the aforementioned wittering, and I feel I should contribute something pretty, or shiny, or worthy of the screen space.

I’m kind of stuck though, because honestly, I’ve been obsessing about American elections lately and realizing afresh how homesick they make me. No, I’m not homesick for the nasty ads that pop up on every commercial break with the “I’m blah blah, and I approved this message” or the calls and so forth, but I miss walking into the school down the street into the little curtained booth and pulling the lever. An absentee ballot (which I’m still waiting for) just isn’t quite the same. I guess I miss that sense of community where we all shoot our mouths off about how to make our country a better place and who can really achieve that. In Korea, when the current presidential foliage stayed planted in office for a second term, I felt terribly alone without being able to really share the depression properly with the kind, but uninvolved Koreans around me.

Here in Taiwan, I have been able to chat with a few Taiwanese people about the elections and so far, they’re mostly quite impressed with Obama. However, they’re excited about their own upcoming presidential election, which has been sending more trucks around the neighborhood singing the praises of the two major candidates.

I’m in limbo about whether to go or stay. In some ways I feel that there is still so much for me to learn by being here. However, I do want to be back in the booth in November, and so far my expensive lottery tickets for the next couple of years haven’t been paying off just yet– I’m still in suspense….

Whenever I do go back, I know I will miss Taiwan though.

Okay, I’m saving this and finishing at least 3 of the secret project. Then I’ll post, hopefully later today with pretty shiny things.

Editor’s note:  This was written March 11th, and obviously I was not virtuous with the secret project or good with pretty shiny things…  Oh well, here goes…

11
Feb
08

My take on the Chen Shui Bien scandal long after it’s old news…

Ookay, so I was really going to be good and start cleaning right away, but then I figured I should reply to the lovely people who have so graciously commented on my blog… Lo and behold, replying to this little question of misanthrope‘s in response to my post on democracy in Taiwan: “What is your take on the scandal that brought down the previous government?” has led me to a whole, what would be called a “blessay” by that lovely Renaissance man, wosshisname… Stephen Fry. Of course, by me, it’s probably more of a digression (bligression?) than anything else, and I make no claims to have a clue as to what I’m talking about, most of which is drawn from hearsay. That said… Here’s the original “comment”:

Hmmm… Well, as I mentioned in the previous post, my father told me sternly before I came here not to get involved in politics… Then proceeded to avidly question me whenever we chatted about politics, to which my usual answer was to cheekily remind him of his command and say I had no idea.

I actually haven’t followed things too much here, honestly, Michael Turton’s blog would probably be best to look at for this sort of thing…

Disclaimer aside, as far as I HAVE followed things… Continue reading ‘My take on the Chen Shui Bien scandal long after it’s old news…’

22
Jan
08

Democracy…

Back in the US, the presidential primaries are upon us. I’m looking forward to being back home for the 2008 election, since casting my ballot from Korea in the crowded US consulate was fun, but left me with no one to sympathize with my despair post-election day. I missed being a New Yorker and hearing a collective sigh or shout for joy the way I would when it was baseball season and my neighbor across the courtyard was having a party.

Any other American expats looking to vote in the primaries should check out The Overseas Vote Foundation, which allows you to register and print out and mail your registration for the absentee ballot back to your local election bureau. This article by the Associated Press offers a few more resources for overseas voters.

Here in Taiwan, the election trucks have taken a break and I can get through class without generating general hilarity by innocently inquiring if the martial music wheeling by outside with an energetic voice calling out “by toh, by toh….” was an advertisement for Lin’s Tofu. Apparently, a local politician’s name is not really “tofu” though it sounded that way to me.

Right before the election which saw the blue party (the KMT) which is very popular around here (I am, after all in Taipei), sweep the legislature, there were trucks going around every fifteen minutes it seemed. When I was in the Bronx, the noise pollution during class involved the ice cream truck (ten minutes before school let out, it was parked on the curb and ready), and the local boom-boxed car that would make the street vibrate with salsa or hip hop (try teaching with a straight face while your kids are shimmy-shaking to the beat outside…)

My students here are certainly more politically involved than the ones I taught in the Bronx, having opinions about the green party (Chen Shuei Bian’s embattled Democratic Progressive Party) and the blue party (the Kuomintang or Nationalist Party brought to the island with Chiang Kai Shek). Many of them joined their parents in the rallies that filled Taipei streets with a sea of red shirts and thumbs down, asking for Chen Shui Bian’s resignation after the scandal last year. One of my colleagues told me she overheard her first-grade students arguing over who got to play Ma Ying Jeou (the KMT presidential candidate and former mayor of Taipei), and Frank Hsieh (the DPP presidential candidate) on the playground. Continue reading ‘Democracy…’




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