Tuesday, December 23, 2014

On Break

So, I've had to return to the US early, literally getting a phone call and hopping on a flight a few hours later. Not to get into too many details, but my mom's condition worsened much faster than expected - it seemed like she was getting on okay - nauseous and with pain in her legs, but better than you might expect given her prognosis - and she passed away on the 12th, soon after I arrived.

So, this is a very hard holiday season for me (I'm spending it with my family - Brendan has just flown in) and blogging is just not on the radar.

Look for me after the holiday season when I'll probably throw a few updates on here - I have a few backlogged posts on hikes and our stay at the Evergreen Resort for a wedding we attended and I'll put them up in January.

It might not be a very happy holiday for me, but happy holidays to you!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dear China: Taiwan's just not that into you.


Yes, it was a rejection of Beijing, shown in the only way voters were able at this point. Because people are finally waking up to see how hard the Chinese government blows.

Dear China: Taiwan doesn't want to join you. They just don't. Some people do, but they're in the minority. Most...don't. Ever. Not. Ever. Evvveerrrr. They aren't going to give up on independence. THEY'RE JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU. They want to trade with you as long as you respect them, but they will never agree to be a part of your country.

If they ever did - and they didn't, really, not most of them, not in their hearts - when they saw how you shat on Hong Kong, they backed that right up. 

Also, your governance is bad and you should feel bad.

You suck, Chinese government.

At the same time, what's up with the media always inserting China where it doesn't belong in stories about Taiwan? In the case of the most recent election, voter rejection of China is worthy of a side note in a story, but I'm not down with every story that should ostensibly be about Taiwan...being made about China. And it's the news media's fault: they're just not interested in stories about Taiwan that are actually about Taiwan. They are also bad and they should feel bad.

Here are a few reasons why they suck, culled from my Facebook feed because I see no reason to re-write what I've already written:

1.) My main complaint is that too many articles and posts make China the *center* of the story. It's perfectly possible to report the REAL story (i.e. what's happening in Taiwan, not China's reaction to it), with the China thing as asideshow or sidebar to that. You could even mention it in the title ("Taiwan Kicks Out Ruling Party in Regional Elections, China Not Happy") without making it the whole story ("China Reacts As Pro-China Party Decimated In Elections") (and I'm using decimate in the modern sense so shhh). That way media outlets get the clicks, but articles don't denigrate Taiwan, forcing it to be a sideshow to its own damn story.

2.) Other smaller countries don't get this treatment. I don't see why Taiwan always has to pass through the China needle when countries of similar size/population (S. Korea, Australia) or smaller population (New Zealand) don't. China has put Taiwan in a unique situation but that doesn't mean it alone should get singled out for the "you can't even have your own stories about yourself" treatment. 

3.) You know that what the media reports does shape worldviews. If the media always/only reports on Taiwan in relation to China, the world will believe that China's claim on Taiwan might actually be legitimate. It's misleading in a quiet, unprovable, but still critical way. If you report on Taiwan as Taiwan, then people get the (more accurate) impression that China's claim on it is not accurate and it is a sovereign state. This is why I complained so hard about the "China and Taiwan split in 1949" nonsense, because it leads casual readers to believe that Taiwan and China were united at all times prior to 1949 and that's just not true. Well, reporting on Taiwan with China as the central story makes China's reactions seem more important than they are. The whole point of this election's results is that the Taiwanese are showing they don't give a damn what China thinks, so it's kind of a slap in the face to then only report on what China thinks. 

4.) Since when is "good reporting" the same as "getting more clicks"? I want good reporting. I don't give a shit about how many clicks a story gets. I'm not a reporter, I know, but I'm not going to give up my desire for good reporting because "clicks". Fuck that noise. If an outlet doesn't give me good reporting, I won't read it and I won't respect it. Isn't aim #1 to provide good journalism? And if it's not, what's the point?