Saturday, March 22, 2008

Get out & see the world (cont'd)

From the AP:

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - Taiwan's opposition candidate cruised to victory in the presidential election Saturday, promising to expand economic ties with China while protecting the island from being swallowed up politically by its giant communist neighbor.

Fireworks lit up the sky over Ma Ying-jeou's headquarters, and cheering supporters put up victory posters before the former Taipei mayor climbed on stage and declared victory.

"People want a clean a government instead of a corrupt one," said Ma, also a former justice minister. "They want a good economy, not a sluggish one. They don't want political feuding. They want peace across the Taiwan Strait. No war."

Across town, a crying crowd gathered at the campaign office for ruling party candidate Frank Hsieh, a former premier.

I've worked with people from all over the Pacific Rim for close to 25 years. F.W. Myers was the first company of its type to operate their own offices in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, starting in the early 1980's. In my business, PacRim trade is a daily reality; we mark Chinese New Year on our calendars. Now that I travel to Asia myself, I have an even stronger interest in the geopolitics of the region.

I had a Taipei taxi driver a few weeks back who was wearing a Yankees cap. Taiwan is crazy about baseball, so that had already scored major (league) points in my book.

The driver said to me, "You lucky!"

I asked, "Why?"

"You have Taiwan taxi man speak English!" He cackled. He was a live wire.

"Cool. You like baseball?"

"I love baseball! Yankees!"

"Me, too", I said. "Yankees!" 

"You know who I hate?", he asked.

Expecting maybe, "Red Sox", I laughed and asked him, "Who do you hate?"


He laughed like hell. "I hate Chinese!" He cackled again, louder and sustained this time. I saw him looking at me in the rear-view, and he seemed satisfied that he had made his point.

Curt Schilling aside, I don't hate anybody, but I love that I'll be in Taipei again soon. I'll be able to ask people that I've met how they feel about the election and what it means to their everyday lives.

Get out and see the world.

(To be continued...)      


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