Breast size and truth enter the Kaohsiung mayoral race–Taiwan Report News Brief transcript

Summary: TSMC is dominating the planet and propels the stock market to record high. Breast size and truth enter the Kaohsiung mayoral race, and you can’t make this stuff up. The Kaohsiung mayoral campaign, Jane Lee and me. Chinese gravel ships continue to irritate. A woman receives dirt from China in the mail. And of course, plenty of headlines.


Taiwan health authorities have tested 189 people who may have come into contact with a migrant worker that tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after he returned to Thailand last week, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said Tuesday.
As of Monday, 189 people at the company where the Thai man was employed had been tested, and the results for 28 of them had been obtained — all showing negative

Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that foreign students currently residing in Taiwan do not need to go on “visa runs” to continue their studies or transfer to a new school.

Four million people in Taiwan on Tuesday won NT$500 (US$17.07) vouchers towards sports-related spending, after a live draw from a total of 6.98 million entries, according to the Sports Administration.
The voucher program, which was open to Taiwan citizens and their foreign spouses, received 6.98 million valid entries during the July 20-26 registration period, giving participants a 57 percent chance of winning, the agency said.

Taiwan is planning to expand the recruitment of foreign English teachers from 80 to 300 per year as part of its bid to become a bilingual country.
Now in its sixth year, the bilingual program sees 20 to 22 class sessions a week at Taiwan’s public senior high schools conducted in English.
The program has been touted as helping to sharpen the country’s competitive edge.

The government’s business climate monitor last month remained “yellow-blue” for a fourth month, indicating economic softness, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on major economic barometers, except imports of capital equipment and cash supply, the National Development Council said.
“Although the slowdown persists, some gauges such as the purchasing managers’ index and consumer confidence started to pick up, suggesting stabilization,” the council research director told a media briefing.

A draft proposal US Representative Tom Tiffany that would have put some financial limitations on the US State Department enforcing their “guidelines” on Taiwan has been voted down in committee along partisan lines, with the majority Democrats voting it down.
The minority Republicans voted for it.
The State guidelines are a list of petty, self-inflicted restrictions on how the State Department can interact with Taiwan.
This is very disappointing, as recently Democrats have often been voting for Taiwan.

TSMC is dominating and propels the stock market to record high

Shares in Taiwan closed at a record high Monday on a strong rally by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and other chipmakers.
The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE), the Taiex, ended up 284.26 points, or 2.31 percent, at 12,588.30.
A headline in the Commercial Times over the weekend may have had something to do with it: Intel, AMD place large orders for TSMC high-end technologies.
There are rumours that Intel will start to outsource chip production to TSMC, and will compete with AMD for TSMC capacity.
Intel, which previously had produced all chips in house and used to be the world’s most advanced chip maker, has fallen a full generation behind TSMC.
TSMC on Tuesday briefly became the world’s 10th most valuable company in the world by market cap, but settled back to 12th place on Tuesday.
What’s amazing is that the stock market record high set on Monday finally topped the record set in 1990, when people would sometimes say ROC stood for “Republic of Casino.”
Those days were insane, money was sloshing around everywhere.
Consumer confidence in Taiwan improved for a second straight month in July, helped in part by growing confidence in the stock market, according to a National Central University (NCU) survey released Monday.

Breast size and truth in the Kaohsiung mayoral race

Sometimes, in the course of political campaigns, things happen you just can’t make up.
This happened at KMT Kaohsiung mayoral candidate Jane Lee’s (李眉蓁) rally on Sunday.
In the wake of Lee renouncing her master’s degree after allegations appeared that she’d plagiarized her thesis, she held a rally titled “Thousands hold hands, Kaohsiung’s true new female power.”
It featured prominent KMT women, and was largely aimed at a female audience.
It made political sense as presumably it was part of her campaign to reach out to younger voters who care more about female empowerment.
After a number of leaders spoke on Lee’s behalf, the host called on Lee’s mother-in-law to take the stage.
This is when things start to go off the rails.
The mother-in-law revealed Lee’s sorrow at having a miscarriage and how she cut her hair and donated it to children suffering from cancer, which resulted in many thank you letters and words of praise for her daughter-in-law.
Then, abruptly she grabbed the microphone and swore that everything she said was true.
She then vowed that if she lied her “breasts would shrink.”
She added that “this is something I don’t want.”
The expression on Jane Lee’s face was pained and uncomfortable to say the least.
Almost certainly unwittingly, the mother-in-law had laid an almost perfect trap for Lee.
Besides being clearly bizarre, she used breast size as a barometer for truth and implied small breast size is inferior or a sign of diminished capacity for honesty…at a women’s rally.
Talk about wildly inappropriate.
Of course, under normal circumstances Lee could say something about how using her physical attributes to make a political point was inappropriate and so on to try and salvage the situation.
To stand up for women and the expectations they face in society.
But this was her mother-in-law.
In a traditional Taiwanese family, a daughter-in-law is expected to respect and serve her mother-in-law.
And by serve, I’m not kidding–it was traditionally essentially indentured servitude, though things have improved since.
But here’s the problem for Lee, her base skews older and more traditional.
If she disrespected her mother-in-law by contradicting her, she would be viewed as a bad woman and a bad daughter-in-law with no respect for family, tradition and elders.
The irony here is thick beyond belief.
Lee, at a rally about powerful women, undone by traditional gender roles on multiple levels.
She later tried to make light of it, saying she was just joking, but the damage was done.
DPP candidate Chen Chi-mai’s response was droll.
When asked about breast growing smaller in not telling the truth, he replied: “I graduated from medical school, I don’t recall hearing anything like that.”
Double slam, in one fell swoop he pointed out how ridiculous the claim is without being mean while at the same time reminding people of his degree, which unlike Lee, he hasn’t renounced.

The Kaohsiung mayoral campaign, Jane Lee and me

That wasn’t the only unusual thing to involve Jane Lee, and this time it involves me.
On social media from time-to-time I poke fun at ill-conceived or bizarre campaign ads and materials.
I’m not particularly partisan about it, I’m usually making fun of the ads, not the candidate.
I stumbled upon an ad for Jane Lee that at first glance looked normal enough, her looking attractive in a tee-shirt and blazer standing in front of a blue background.
However, two things jumped out at me.
In English in all caps and really big letters it said “young”, which was a theme repeated in the Chinese.
The other thing is her shirt, which appeared to read “nothing”.
Yes, the word “nothing” in English.
The first letter wasn’t visible, but that seemed the most likely guess, though “clothing” might have also made sense.
On Facebook I wrote a longer comment, but the Twitter version read:
Clearly any young voter will immediately swoon upon seeing the word “young” and switch to the KMT, but I’m guessing the real clincher for young people that will totally win them over is that their shining avatar appears to be wearing a shirt emblazoned with “nothing”.
I post it up, people put up some funny comments, and I forget about it and go home.
Next day, a sharp-eyed fellow named Philip posts up a Liberty Times article with the headline “It makes you shake your head. Former Taichung American Chamber of Commerce Chairman: Jane Lee is relying on “nothing” to attract young people”
Obviously that is way pithier in Chinese.
The graphic with the post is my Tweet.
Mercifully the article added some of the more analytical comments from my Facebook post, but being pan-green they clearly enjoyed my sarcastic comments.
I thought no big deal…no one will pay too much attention.
It’s a short piece…in a paper with a circulation of 2.8 million.
Then I get several messages from SET TV news, which is also deep green, and they come to interview me at my office for a TV segment.
Other newspaper outlets picked it up, and finally…the deep blue pro-KMT China Times comes out with an article on it.
Jane Lee’s camp had come out with a response.
They said the “nothing” wasn’t meant to convey any meaning and there was no need to make jokes about it.
I actually did tell SET News that I doubted she meant anything by it, and that she probably wasn’t really paying attention to the English.
No politician would intentionally pick a shirt with that message.
They didn’t run that quote, however.
The Lee camp spokesperson also said that “nothing” could also represent “nothing impossible”.

Chinese gravel ships continue to be a problem

A Chinese gravel ship capsized Sunday night off the coast of the Taiwan-held Penghu Islands, leaving at least four of its crew members dead, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Monday.
Taiwan has been battling illegal Chinese gravel miners, which has become a major headache for the coast guard.
Chinese ships impounded for illegal sand dredging could be handed over to the military for target practice, according to the Coast Guard Administration (CGA).
Thousands of such ships have been active around Taiwan, particularly near Penghu in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, after China banned the dredging of sand closer to its coast.
Since October, the Coast Guard has impounded three of the vessels, which will first be put up for auction, CNA reported.
In the event that no buyer shows up, the ships could be transferred to the military for use as targets in live-fire missile drills.

Woman receives dirt from China

The Council of Agriculture (COA) issued a warning after a Taiwanese woman allegedly received a package containing dirt from an unknown sender in China, echoing several similar incidents that have been reported in the United States in recent days.
The COA warned people who receive similar packages not to throw them out, as soil can contain roundworm, fungi and insects which, though invisible to the naked eye, carry significant risks for Taiwanese crops and plants.
The COA’s warning follows those by agricultural authorities in at least 27 U.S. states regarding well over a thousand citizens receiving packages of seeds from unknown senders in China.
Police have speculated that the seeds may be tied to an online scam called “brushing,” in which a vendor sends items to unwitting recipients, then poses as the verified buyer to write positive reviews and boost their product ratings, according to U.S. media reports.
Others have suggested the seeds were of invasive plants.
Perhaps someone in China is thoughtfully sending back some of that illegally mined gravel
I have no idea what is going on here, but it sure is weird.

I’d like to give a shout out and express my thanks to Kevin, who is joining our patrons! Your support is very much appreciated, and goes a long way to keeping this project going.

Image: Screengrab from Liberty Times

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