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Showing posts from December, 2018

Old Decayed Japanese Houses In Taipei

A few years ago I wrote about old houses from the Japanese colonial era (1895-1945) in Taipei. As a map from 1935 shows, Japanese Taipei was quite small compared to the present-day metropolis. 
When British author Owen Rutter visited the island in the early 1920s, Taipei had only about 170,000 inhabitants. In 1945, the population had grown to slightly more than 270,000.  
By 2016, however, Taipei City had a population of 2.7 million, while the greater metropolitan area had around 7 million people. Obviously, during the Japanese colonial era districts that are now highly urbanized were little more than countryside. 
#Vintage#map (1935) of #Taipei in #Taiwan when is was still under Japanese rule. Source: https://t.co/KLcdSe17tcpic.twitter.com/uN6sXPMujs — Simon Kuestenmacher (@simongerman600) October 12, 2017

It is very difficult to reconstruct the urban structure of the residential suburbs in colonial Taipei. Not much remains from that era. As I have documented before, many old buildings we…

Award-Winning Taiwanese Baker Claims That Taiwan Is Part Of China In Attempt To Appease Beijing

At around 1 p.m. on December 11 the award-winning Taiwanese baker Wu Pao-ch'un (吳寶春) held a press conference in front of his store in Kao-hsiung, in southern Taiwan. Next to him stood Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), mayor-elect of the city. Surrounded by journalists, the two men explained why Wu's statements about Taiwan being part of China are no big deal.
Han Kuo-yu praised "Master Wu", calling him an artist and a "glory of Taiwan". He then argued that it is wrong to politicize business.
"Master Wu is like an artist," Han said. "Because he just bakes bread. He doesn't understand politics ... Simple business people don't deal with politics, they develop their business. I hope that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait [Taiwan and mainland China] will wish him well. He has faced pressure, but I hope that the Taiwanese people will back him, fully support him. It's not easy to win an international award. Whether he opens a store in China…

Chinese Policeman Accused Of Brutality For Choking Woman With Knees

A policeman in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen has been accused of misconduct after a video of him choking a woman with his knees surfaced online. 
According to media reports, on December 9 a 23-year-old Chinese woman surnamed Cheng published a post on Weibo documenting how a policeman had abused her.  
Cheng explained that on December 8 she had an altercation with a security guard inside a building and had called the police. When the police arrived she asked to see the CCTV footage of the incident, but the policeman refused and threatened her with a stun gun. When she refused to leave the room, he allegedly threw her to the ground.
"[The policeman] pulled my hair, forcefully threw me on the bench, and trapped my head and throat with his knees," she wrote in the post. "I immediately felt like I was choking."  
A video uploaded on Weibo and later on Youtube shows the policeman pinning Cheng down with his knees. Another woman tries to help Cheng escape from the pol…

Why Vegetarian Food In Taiwan And Hong Kong Is Great - And Why The West Should Learn From It

While I was living in Taiwan and Hong Kong, vegetarian food became a fundamental part of my diet. When I returned to Europe after six amazing years in East Asia, I suddenly realized how difficult it was for me to readjust to a diet where most of the protein intake comes from meat and dairy products.

In most of Europe it is hard to find suitable and affordable vegetarian alternatives to meat and fish. Of course, one can eat eggs and pulses. However, eggs  contain a lot of cholesterol. Generally speaking, eating one egg a day is considered safe for most people. One large egg has only about 6-7 grams of protein. But the body needs about 1 gram of protein per 1 kg of body weight (0.75 grams for people who have a sedentary lifestyle). I personally found that eating more than one egg per day negatively affected me. Pulses are healthy and cheap, but, honestly, I find them quite boring on a daily basis. 

One of the greatest things about Asian vegetarianism is tofu. Tofu is an amazing source of …

Japanese AV Idol Sora Aoi Sparks Uproar In China for Wearing Communist Young Pioneers' Red Scarf

Japanese AV idol Sora Aoi sparked an uproar in China for wearing in public a red scarf of the Young Pioneers (中国少年先锋队), a Chinese Communist Party's youth organization.
Last August Aoi was invited to a charity event organized by a Chinese company in Dehong Prefecture, in western Yunnan Province. She appeared on stage wearing the characteristic red scarf of the Young Pioneers.
The Young Pioneers slammed the use of their symbol as offensive and as a vilification of the heroes of the Communist revolution. "The company has ignored Chinese laws," a statement released by the Young Pioneers said. "[It] has ignored the spiritual content of the red scarf, the professional reputation of millions of Young Pioneers' teachers, and has sullied the image of the Young Pioneers."

Bai Zhentang, the owner of the company, issued an apology: "I solemnly apologize to the entire nation. We will examine and reflect on our behaviour, and we guarantee that a similar incident will n…

How The Right Is Manipulating The Free Speech Debate To Gain Exposure

Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of a democratic society. The Founding Fathers of the United States felt that their experiment in self-government would not succeed if the citizens were not free to express themselves, to exchange ideas, and to criticize the politicians they elected. They therefore enshrined the principle of free speech in the First Amendment, which states that:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
In recent years, however, the right has been using the free speech argument for a different purpose: to gain exposure and conquer public space at the expense of their political opponents.
The mastery of the rhetorical tactic of moral equivalence has allowed the right to enlist in their phony free speech crusade even people …

The Infant Industry Argument And Its Relevance For Industrial Policy In The European Union

A white paper released by the British government in 2017 described the United Kingdom as an "open, liberal market economy", whose foundation lies in "the power of the competitive market - competition, open financial markets, and the profit motive". Despite recognizing the government's "strategic power and leadership role" in developing and disseminating technologies and industries, the white paper rejected protectionism and equated industrial policy mostly with Research and Development (R&D), education and infrastructure.
Nowadays there is a widespread belief that countries develop because of "free market". Therefore, economically poorer regions, such as Greece, southern Italy or Portugal, are responsible for their own poverty, either because of their cultural shortcomings, or because of corruption, or because of too much government intervention - laissez-faire advocates argue. As a result, there is nothing governments can do to help thei…