... My election strategy is this: When the Kuomintang Party dominated back then, I always voted and I always voted for the Democratic Progressive Party.  The reason was very simple: You cannot have a game played between an adult and a child, and so we must let the child grow up quickly.  I did not imagine that the child would quickly become an adult and knock down the old man, but then they proved to be even more adept in doing bad things.  From there on, I began to vote for the candidates instead of their parties.  If I cannot find anyone acceptable, I refused to cast a ballot.

But it is different this year.  There will be two elections that will affect the future of Taiwan.  So rule 1 of my voting strategy is: I must vote and I must not cast a blank ballot.

The Presidential election in March will determine the ruling party and the future of Taiwan for the next four years.  This is obviously important.  There are no further strategic considerations because all I have to go and vote.  My principle is that I will vote for the person and not for the party.  I will absolutely not vote for some president who talks rubbish frequently, commits misdeeds and sows discord among the people; I will vote for a party with more capable administrative talents and I will vote to teach the bad party a lesson.  At the present stage, the ruling DPP party is that bad party.  Also, the presidential election will determine who gets the majority share of the pie and those who have tasted the sweetness will not easily give up.  So we must be watchful about dirty tricks.

Then there is the Legislative Yuan election and referenda.  For the referenda that are bringing the voters into derision, I will refuse to get the ballot.  At the same time, the referenda about joining/entering the United Nations are also rubbish, so I will ignore them.  To refuse to get the ballot is not to answer to the call and beckon of the Kuomintang.  Instead, this is a statement to the two parties of crooks: "Please do not insult the intelligence of the citizens."

The district Legislative Yuan election will be a battle between the two major parties.  Most people expect the Kuomintang to win more than half of the seats, and therefore maintain a steady majority in the Legislative Yuan.  However, for the people, reducing the number of seats by half means that the power of each legislator can cause double the harm previously.  Therefore, my rule 2 is: The priority task in the district Legislative Yuan voting is to "prevent bad people from getting in."

How do you even stop these people?  The candidates in the district Legislative Yuan election are all the same old faces, so you have to choose the least bad one.  A few days ago, I said so in class and a student shook his head to say: "But there is no such person!"  Sigh!  If there are no good apples, then you employ a process of elimination for those who buy votes, get into fights, corner construction projects, lobby for special interests, self-enrich, engage in business-government collusion, have poor attendance records, grandstand for the media, talk nonsense, spend too much time with the grassroots (when a legislator shows up at all your family funerals and weddings, how much time does he spend on his proper duties?).  You eliminate everything rotten.  If the two candidates are equally rotten in all aspects, then I will invoke rule 3: I will teach the bad party a lesson.  When the two parties are at parity in terms of badness, the vote of the neutral voter is often critical.

Since the district Legislative Yuan election has been hijacked by the two political parties, the nationwide party vote is the one in which we can express our true will.  For this vote, we have eleven political parties to choose from.  Voting strategy rule 4: For the nationwide party vote, stay away from big brothers number one and two.

If you are satisfied with the eight years of DPP rule and their list of candidates, please vote for them!  If you are satisfied with the KMT and what their Legislative Yuan majority has done for the last three years as well as their list of candidates, please vote for them!  You are free to do so.  But if you are not satisfied, why should you cast a vote to encourage them?

Of course, many people would say that a vote for a minor party is a waste and would not change anything because the smaller parties are not expected to pass the 5% threshold needed to gain a Legislative Yuan seat.  In theory, if everybody refused to vote for the big two political parties, then the top two candidates of the independent parties will be elected.  In practice, the "iron" votes of the big two political parties will probably mean that none of the minor parties will have representation.

So what?  At the very least, I will have used my ballot to tell the big two parties: "You stink!  And I'm angry!" ...

How long can a person get along without reading an erotic magazine?  Normally speaking, a Chinese man may never see a naked female body other than that of his wife for his entire life.  Nevertheless, the Chinese people have still managed to make China the most populous nation in the world.  As for foreigners, especially from those countries where erotic magazines and newspapers are published and distributed freely, this question does not appear to be answered.

But we now have the answer to this sociological question: It is around 20 days.  According to Xinhua, "One world, one dream.  That is the slogan for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  During the period when the Olympic dream is being realized, the Chinese government will remove restrictions and allow foreign correspondents to gather information freely.  Previously banned magazines (such as Playboy) and newspapers (such as The Sun (UK)) will be permitted to go on sale.  But once the Olympics are over, these magazines will be banned again."  This implies that the foreigners do not have the endurance to last the 20 days or so for the Olympics without reading Playboy or similar publications.

Back in the days when we lacked material goods, we used to have the practice of putting all sorts of merchandise on store counters for the special foreign guests to see in order to create an atmosphere of prosperity.  Things are different now and there is plenty of merchandise in the supermarkets.  Instead, we are also putting 'spiritual food' for sale.  So who says that the times are not moving ahead?

... There is something upsetting about this.  Only under the gaze of the whole world did the relevant department lift the ban for about 20 days.  As soon as the gaze is turned away, we are treated once again as "children" who are capable only of doing things like trading with foreign nations, writing computer programs or sending rockets to the moon ...

The other upsetting aspect is that the legendary "Chinese and dogs not allowed" sign is being displayed in a different manner.  Back then, it was discrimination to say that the park is not built for the Chinese and therefore they were not allowed to enter.  Playboy is not meant for Chinese readers and they are being allowed to read it courtesy of the presence of foreign guests ...

Apart from anger, there is also hilarity.  This decision not only insults the Chinese people, but it also insults the foreigners.  As everybody knows, the countries where these publications are created have fairly conservative mainstream values and not many people walk around town with a copy of Playboy in hand.  It is not certain that the foreigners would appreciate these publications in Beijing because the implication is that they are sex fiends.  This is like inviting a friend to stay at your house and then placing some condoms and erotic DVD's by the bedside.  Your guest is not likely to be pleased.

[in translation]

The mainland organizations based in Hong Kong have always refused to include Apple Daily in their multiple fax list.  For each news event, they could impose obstructions by saying: "But you did not register!" in order to discourage us.  The same thing occurred on January 3.

The Hong Kong People's Congress Election Committee held its first meeting.  As expected, Apple Daily did not receive a registration form.  So this reporter had to try to "crash the gate" once again.  Based upon past experience, the unregistered Apple Daily reporter shall arrive at the venue, be given a hard time but eventually allowed to enter -- unless the subject is something that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is really sensitive about.

This occasion was no exception.  Naturally, there were some verbal repartee.  At 8:30am, I went up to the registration desk with my photographer.  The putonghua-speaking worker asked which newspaper I worked for.  "Apple Daily."  Without even checking the list, that woman said: "You did not register."

"It is not that we did not register.  Rather, it is you never sent over a fax for us to register."  It was early in the morning and I was particularly annoyed because I had to crawl out of my warm bed to face the cold wintry air.  That woman summoned a senior male official and they conversed for a while.  "If I did not get your fax, then how was I supposed to register?"

"Alright, I'll let you register.  But I don't know if we have any more spare press passes."  Now isn't this deliberate obstruction!?  I got angrier.  "Isn't that so?  Such a large organization and you don't have press passes?"  Good and bad guys have one thing in common -- they don't want to deal with bitchy women!  After tussling for several minutes, we received the press passes with no names just like all the other reporters.  So what is the point of the show that went on before?

If this were in mainland China, then Apple Daily had no choice but be banned.  But we are in Hong Kong here and now.  This is a cosmopolitan city under "one country, two systems."  If our newspaper were restricted while gathering information in our own city, then this could be an international news item.  If Apple Daily were refused to enter, then press freedom has been curtailed and it would be unavoidable for Apple Daily to make this a major issue.  So why bother with the routine?

... This pointless press card wasted several minutes of my life ...

On December 12, a Taiwan delegation with the Franz Collection company went to The Vatican to present a set of blue porcelain to the Pope.  Phootographs on this occasion was taken by the staff of the Taiwan embassy, and then distributed by Franz Collection to the media.  On the right is the photograph that appeared on Liberty Times on December 17.  On the left is the photograph as issued by the Taiwan embassy to Central News Agency for release.  A reader complained to United Press Daily that the original photograph (on the left) contained a woman who had been cropped out of the photograph in Liberty Times.

Who was that woman?  She is Wang Shaw-lan, the pubisher of United Daily News.

So what happened here?  Is this another replay of the 2005 case in which Liberty Times altered an Agence France Presse photograph to make a man reading United Daily Press read Liberty Times instead?

Liberty Times deputy editor-in-chief Teng Wei-wei told the UDN reporter doing this story that the truth was that when their reporter Chang Ning-hsing received the photograph, she thought that the focus should be on the Pope and Franz Collection.  So she asked Franz Collection for a photograph without Wang Shaw-lan.  This was the photograph that was published in Liberty Times.  When told that Franz Collection claimed that all their photographs had Wang Shaw-lan in them, Teng Wei-wei said that Franz Collection was lying and their reporter has copies of all the email and fax exchanges to prove that the photograph had been provided by Franz Collection (see Liberty Times).

This UDN reporter contacted the Liberty Times female reporter Chang Ning-hsing who had written the story that accompanied the cropped photograph.  At first, Chang claimed that the photograph had been supplied by Franz Collection.  The UDN confirmed with her three times that this was the case, and then indicated that Franz Collection would be contacted for confirmation.  At that point, Chang changed her story. 

Chang Ning-hsing admitted she had cropped Wang out of the photograph.  Her reason was that (1) the photograph was too long and did not look right for a story that appeared down a vertical column.  Besides, Wang should not the focus of the story.  Furthermore Wang is the publisher of another newspaper.  When Chang received the photographs, she made an inquiry to Franz Collection whether there was another one without Wang in it.  She claimed that Franz Collection said Wang appeared in all the photographs, but gave permission to her to modify.  Franz Collection said that they merely provided the photographs and denied ever giving permission.  Franz Collection was "surprised" when they saw the published photograph in the newspaper.
Another UDN story was titled: "What is the difference between this and the Communists?"  with this reprise.

(China Times)  A Franz Collection spokeswoman said: "We responded to the request from Liberty Times and made certain modifications.  But the rest of the media received the photograph provided by the Ambassador.  We manufacturing companies cannot control what the media do."  Yes, but does it matter who did the cropping?  The fact was that Liberty Times took the initiative to alter a photograph and that is not what photojournalism is usually about.

The Broadcasting Authority yesterday issued advice to two radio stations in relation to two complaints filed by members of the public against two programmes.  The first involved RTHK radio programme Investment Era broadcast on September 22, during which a host of the financial programme featuring information on investments used an offensive expression when talking to a caller and a guest host about the economic development around Tianjin and the Bohai Rim.

"The expression uttered in the programme was a foul expression which was regarded as offensive and unacceptable for broadcast on a sound broadcasting service by an average person," the authority said.  RTHK was therefore advised to observe the Radio Code of Practice on Programme Standards, which prohibits the use of offensive expressions, the authority said.

What was said?  According to The Sun, the foul expression was "你話×知佢…… ("you fucking tell him ...").  Of course, The Sun used "x" instead of the obscene word which would have been referred to the Television and Entertainment Authority/Obscene Articles Tribunal.
There are actually three candidates for what "x' is.  Presently, the Hong Kong government classified five Cantonese words as obscene: diu2, hai1, lan2, gau1 and cat6.  The first is a verb, the second is a noun/adjective and the other three can be used adverbs.  In the aforementioned phrase, "x" is either lan2, gau1 or cat6, with the most likely being lan2.  In English, the translation is always "fucking" because the English language does not have so many different obscene terms.
廣東話粗口 (內容會引起情緒不安, 不喜者勿入)