November 30th 2004

Seems that Chinese people must do without Fast Food in the future …

China blasts firms for listing Taiwan as ‚country‘

2004-11-27 / Taiwan News, Staff Reporter / By Tsai Ting-I

Taiwan is a democratic country and has no intention of intervening in the issue of whether or not international companies observe this categorization, the nation’s top cross-strait policymaking body said in reaction to Beijing’s protest to some international companies over the issue.

As part of its efforts to press its „one-China“ policy, Beijing has shifted its attention to international companies after it was discovered that some enterprises have categorized Taiwan as a „country“ on their global Web sites.

Companies challenged by China media include McDonald’s, Siemens, Mercedes, Audi and General Motors Corporation.

Most of the five companies‘ Taiwan branches chose to remain silent yesterday, noting they would follow the decisions made by their headquarters, while GM’s public relations department noted that the company had removed the word „country“ from its Web site in relation to Taiwan and had substituted „location.“

Chiu Tai-san (邱太三), Vice Chairman and spokesman of the Mainland Affairs Council, said that the government departments in Taiwan totally respect the choice of private organizations on the issue. „Some Taiwanese businessmen have even listed Taiwan under China on their business cards,“ Chui said. „But, this issue has nothing to do with government authorities.“

Among the five named companies, McDonald’s could be the one under the most pressure for not only failing to include China on its Web site’s list of countries, but also for listing Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries.

A campaign to boycott McDonald’s has reportedly been initiated on Internet chat rooms in China.

Taiwan’s McDonald’s branch declined to comment on the issue yesterday, saying that it usually does not address issues in other markets.

As of press time last night, the Web sites of Audi, McDonald’s, and Mercedes had made no changes with regard to their listing of Taiwan, while Siemens reportedly added the word „China“ after „Taiwan.“

In order to sidestep the sensitive political situation between Taiwan and China, some international companies, such as Motorola and Ericsson, have avoided referring to Taiwan as a country on their official Web sites.

Some other companies, however, have gotten caught in the crossfire.

In August last year, Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) blasted the Seattle-based Boeing Co. for canceling a scheduled visit to its facilities, under pressure from Beijing.

„Shame on Boeing!“ the vice president declared at the time.

So what are Chinese officials doing the whole day? Surfing the internet to find out which company lists Taiwan as a country? And if they give a damn about McDonald’s (…which btw listed China as a country since the company has a website, so some Chinese officials may also not be able to read a simple list; Siemens also didn’t change anything), what about Burger King, KFC and all the others? Sorry China, I tried not to become ironic about your Taiwan politics so far, right now I do … 

PS: I really consider to rename my website to „The-COUNTRY-next-to-CHINA-which-is-called-TAIWAN“

November 20th 2004

Okay, so the big exam week is over for now. Last Sunday Miss Taiwanoca and I went to the library and it really was full of students preparing for their exams…quite funny, cause on the weekends the campus is usually like dead, most people like to be somewhere else than in Hsinchuang.

The exam wasn’t that difficult for me, since I was also able to discuss some problems with my classmates and my teacher didn’t care about it. So it’s quite normal that I got 95% and something like 9x is also the average, however, just imagine that I wasn’t able to speak any Chinese three months ago and now wrote an exam in it ! 🙂 Just three more days and the term will be over, then I will have one week of holiday, a work holiday very probably cause it’s important for me to spend my free time more in earning money than in spending it.

Last week I also listened to a very interesting conversation of some of my classmates. After three months of being in Taiwan now some of them feel very bored, some don’t like the living environment, some don’t like the food….some even don’t like the weather! Okay, I also don’t think that they should make Taiwan being their number one country at all, but if some of them really think that bad about Taiwan then I ask myself why they are even here. Somehow it makes me really angry, cause most of them are here on scholarships, so they even get money for staying here. And it’s really enough to cover all the costs and furthermore save a lot. So why they have a scholarship and I don’t?

As I wrote three months ago, I was very impressed that even people from Solomon Islands or St. Kitts and Nevis or Panama come to Taiwan to study Chinese, not only one or two, but a dozen or even more. The simple thing is that all of these countries run diplomatic ties with Taiwan, so they are offered many financial attractions to maintain the „friendship“. One of it is called scholarship. It doesn’t surprise me much, it just seems to be the way international politics may work…or at least the Taiwanese government does.

It’s just the thing: If some scholarship people don’t like to be in Taiwan they should get their asses back home and give the money to me. I wanna stay in Taiwan, but I have to pay for it and I still don’t know if I will able to pay everything in the near future. It’s a topic I could discuss about for hours and hours, but I will end it now for here. My words can’t change it, just my motivation to work could maybe help to go over it, so let me start to work now.

November 13th 2004

Today is my 80th day in Taiwan. Somehow it sounds like a quite long time, but I still think the weeks here are passing faster than in Germany, maybe because I live 7 hours ahead my home time? 😉 However, probably it’s because there are still much more things to explore for me than in Germany.

I was teaching German six hours this week, next week maybe eight or ten, in December maybe twelve. Together with my schedule of Chinese classes (at least 10 hours/week) and the unavoidable homework and preparation for exams and dictations (also about 10 hours/week) it leads me to at least 30 hours of business each week. The good thing is that it can hardly become boring for me, cause I never do only one thing a day and if I really don’t have anything to do, I sit here and continue to write my blog 😉

It seems that the typhoon season is over, this week’s weather has been very fine, almost 30 degrees and mostly sunny sky….just a few quite strong earthquakes shaking the island, with the strongest one on Monday evening reaching 6.6. However….at home the first snow fell and temperatures don’t go over ten degrees at day, but easily below zero at night! So I prefer sometimes not being able to sleep at night cause it’s too hot these days in November! 😉

I think Joan wanna set a record in writing to my guestbook, do you Joan? 🙂 Since I’m in Taiwan there were 15 messages posted, six from Joan and the last three in a row. Okay, you definitely have my deepest respect in being so enthusiastic about my site and the story and from now on you officially hold the writing-to-my-guestbook-record 🙂 Did we ever chat? If not, we have to as soon as possible!

When looking through the guestbook I just realize to how many people I didn’t talk to for a long while and when I look at my MSN / ICQ / YAHOO / AOL messengers (yes…I have them all) I even more realize how many people I don’t even know!! I think of launching a newsletter to maintain the peoples connection to the site, of course it will be blocked by a lot of so called spamkillers, I just will give it a try and see and much response I will get.

Have to study now. Next week there will be the big exam! Although I’m not that much afraid about it, because I study Chinese without any duties, I still keep my attitude to do any exam with a maximum effort. If not, I wouldn’t deserve to be here.