Sat, Jan 16, 2021
The New York-based Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) on Thursday listed a possible conflict between the US and China over Taiwan as a top-tier concern for the first time in its annual Preventive Priorities Survey. The report assessed the likelihood and effects of 30 potential conflicts that could break out over the next year based on responses from 550 US government officials, foreign policy experts and academics. Those conflicts are classified into one of three tiers, and the possibility of “intensifying political and economic pressure from China against Taiwan, leading to a severe crisis with the United States,” was classified as a “Tier 1” risk for the first time. A US-China conflict over Taiwan was listed as a “Tier 2” risk in 2019 and last year, but was moved up based on its potentially “high impact” on US interests and the moderate likelihood of it occurring, the report said. A high impact on US interests refers to a contingency that directly threatens the US, a defense treaty ally or a vital strategic interest, and is thus likely to trigger a major US military response, based on the council’s definitions. A “moderate” likelihood means that there is some chance of an event happening. By contrast, the possibility of “an armed confrontation in the South China Sea involving China and the United States over freedom of navigation and disputed territorial claims” was downgraded from a Tier 1 to a Tier 2 risk, as it was judged to have a low likelihood of occurring in the coming year. In addition to a crisis over Taiwan, the council also ranked as Tier 1 contingencies the heightening of military tensions with North Korea over its nuclear program, and an armed confrontation between Iran and the US or one of its allies over Iran’s involvement in regional conflicts and support of militant proxy
TALL ORDER: The incoming US administration plans to tackle economic troubles and COVID-19, while the US Senate goes ahead with the impeachment of Trump US President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled plans for fighting COVID-19 and injecting US$1.9 trillion into a battered US economy, but already his ambitious first 100-days agenda is overshadowed by the looming US Senate trial of his soon-to-be predecessor Donald Trump. Biden promised “a new chapter” for the nation on the day after Trump became the first US president to be impeached twice, as the incoming president sought to seize the narrative in a prime-time address and encourage Americans to look forward again. “We will come back,” he said in a speech from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. “We didn’t get into all this overnight. We won’t get out of it overnight, and we can’t do it as a separated and divided nation,” he said. “The only way we can do it is to come together, to come together as fellow Americans.” With his Democrats narrowly controlling both houses of the US Congress, Biden, 78, has a shot at passing what would be the third massive COVID-19 pandemic aid package. However, what he is less keen to talk about is the impending trial of Trump, something that would potentially introduce a nightmarish mix of scheduling complications and political drama into an already tense Senate. In his 25-minute televised speech, Biden made no mention of Trump, impeachment or the deadly violence that nearly overwhelmed Washington last week. Instead he addressed “the twin crises of a pandemic and this sinking economy,” a challenge exceeding even that which faced him as vice president to former US president Barack Obama when they assumed office following the 2008 financial crisis. The pandemic continues to hit new peaks, the COVID-19 vaccination program is stumbling and there are fears that the economic recovery from last year’s cratering could backslide. His proposal, dubbed the “American Rescue Plan,” would include a host of measures aimed at revitalizing the
A powerful earthquake yesterday rocked Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, killing at least 37 people, leveling a hospital and severely damaging other buildings, authorities said, as they warned that there were people still trapped beneath rubble. Hundreds were also injured when the magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck in the early hours, triggering panic among the residents of the island, which was hit by a huge earthquake and tsunami two-and-a-half years ago that killed thousands. So far, 29 bodies have been hauled from beneath crumpled buildings in Mamuju, a city of about 110,000 in West Sulawesi province, while another eight were killed south of the area. “We don’t know how many more are missing,” said Arianto of the rescue agency in Mamuju. “There are still people trapped beneath the rubble.” Rescuers were searching for more than a dozen patients and staff trapped under a leveled Mamuju hospital. “The hospital is flattened — it collapsed,” said Arianto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. Earlier yesterday, rescuers said they were also trying to reach a family of eight who were under their destroyed home. At least one hotel had partially collapsed, while the regional governor’s office was also extensively damaged after the earthquake struck at 2:18am local time. Images from the scene showed residents trying to flee the seaside city in cars and motorbikes, as they drove past corrugated metal roofs and other building debris scattered on the roadside. However, landslides triggered by heavy rains and the earthquake blocked the main access road out of Mamuju. The meteorological agency warned residents that the area could be hit by strong aftershocks and to avoid the beachfront in case of a tsunami. Taiwan is willing to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of the earthquake, the Presidential Office said. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to express her government’s sympathies and concerns to
A strong cold air mass is expected to send temperatures plummeting across the country from today to Monday, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday. The bureau has issued cold warnings — temperatures dropping below 10°C — for most areas of central and southern Taiwan over the three-day period. Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Nantou, Yunlin and Chiayi counties, as well as Tainan and Kaohsiung, are likely to be the worst-affected areas, it said. Northern and eastern Taiwan could experience rain showers over the weekend, while most other areas are likely to see cloudy to clear skies, the bureau said. Starting on Tuesday, the cold air mass could ease, with temperatures rising 1°C to 3°C across the nation, it said. However, another weather front is expected later in the week, bringing more rain to the nation, forecasters said. On Thursday, the Council of Agriculture said that the cold spell caused an estimated NT$118.14 million (US$4.15 million) of agricultural losses nationwide. The most heavily damaged crop was wax apples, which accounted for more than NT$70 million of the losses, the council said, citing data from Dec. 30 last year to Thursday. The council said that 657 hectares of crops were damaged. Milkfish farms sustained losses totaling NT$21.79 million, while livestock losses amounted to about NT$25,000, it added. Pingtung County was the hardest hit, with NT$66 million in agricultural damage, or 56 percent of the national total, the council said. Yunlin County sustained the second-highest losses, totaling NT$16.13 million, followed by Penghu County, with NT$8.64 million, it said.
China has sent more than 20,000 people living in the epicenter of the country’s latest COVID-19 outbreak to state-run quarantine facilities, as Beijing yesterday reported the worst nationwide figures since March last year. The country had largely brought the virus under control after strict measures including mass testing and travel restrictions, but case numbers have been climbing, especially in the north, prompting a fresh wave of lockdowns and a race to build a massive new quarantine center. The government yesterday reported 144 infections — the highest single-day tally since March last year — mostly in Hebei Province, where more than 22 million people are in lockdown. More than 20,000 residents from villages near Shijiazhuang — about 294km southwest of Beijing — had been sent to quarantine facilities starting from Wednesday, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said. They are being housed in hotels, with family members separated. “It’s natural that they feel anxious and panic,” Liu Jinpei, a psychologist involved, told CCTV, adding that authorities had set up a mental health hotline. Officials are also rushing to build a massive “centralized medical observation center” in the area, with more than 3,000 makeshift beds. The surge in cases appears to be fueled by asymptomatic cases, mostly in rural areas on the outskirts of cities. The state-run Global Times warned the high number of cases in the regions “sounds an alarm regarding loopholes in epidemic control” as many residents are elderly. Hundreds of millions of migrant workers are expected to return to their home villages for the Lunar New Year holiday next month, and China is rushing to vaccinate 50 million people in key groups before the festival. Meanwhile, Germany yesterday passed 2 million COVID-19 cases as a WHO emergency committee readied to issue advice on stemming the spread of new, more contagious strains of the disease. The surge in Europe’s biggest economy
PILLARS OF DEMOCRACY: US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft posted online after the virtual meeting that Taiwan should be able to share its successes in global venues President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft yesterday held a virtual meeting, during which Tsai described Taiwan as a “force for good” that deserves a place on the world stage, while Craft reaffirmed Washington’s support for Taiwan’s international participation. The virtual talk was held at about 11am, after Craft’s trip to Taiwan was abruptly canceled. She had been scheduled to meet with Tsai in person at the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday morning as part of a three-day visit to Taiwan. On Tuesday, the US Department of State canceled all of its planned trips, citing a need to focus on the transition to US president-elect Joe Biden’s team. The virtual meeting was first reported by Chinese-language online news outlet Up Media and followed by three consecutive posts on Twitter from Craft. “A great privilege to speak today w/President Tsai @iingwen. We discussed the many ways Taiwan is a model for the world, as demonstrated by its success in fighting COVID-19 and all that Taiwan has to offer in the fields of health, technology & cutting-edge science,” Craft wrote. “Unfortunately, Taiwan is unable to share those successes in @UN venues, including the World Health Assembly, as a result of PRC [People’s Republic of China] obstruction. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that more information, more transparency, is part of the answer,” she said in another post on Twitter. “I made clear to President Tsai that the US stands with Taiwan and always will, as friends and partners, standing shoulder to shoulder as pillars of democracy,” she added. In a video released by the Presidential Office, Tsai thanked Craft for “always speaking up for Taiwan at the most important time.” “The people of Taiwan have been inspired by your action. They actually like you a lot,” Tsai told the ambassador, citing many
BIPARTISAN REPROACH: At the final count in the US House of Representatives, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s No. 3, US Representative Liz Cheney US President Donald Trump became the first president in the country’s history to be impeached twice when the US House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to charge him with inciting last week’s mob attack on the US Congress. “Today, in a bipartisan way, the House demonstrated that no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States,” US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the vote. The US Senate would not hold a trial before Wednesday next week, when US president-elect Joe Biden is to be inaugurated, meaning that Trump is to escape the ignominy of being forced to leave office early. However, he is set to face a Senate trial later and if convicted he might be barred in a follow-up vote from seeking the US presidency again in 2024. “Donald Trump has deservedly become the first president in American history to bear the stain of impeachment twice over,” said US Senator Chuck Schumer, who in a week’s time is to become Senate leader. “The Senate is required to act and will proceed with his trial.” In the House, the only question was how many Republicans would join the lockstep Democratic majority in the 232-197 vote. At the final count, 10 Republicans broke ranks, including the party’s No. 3 in the House, US Representative Liz Cheney. “I am in total peace today that my vote was the right thing and I actually think history will judge it that way,” said Adam Kinzinger, a vocal Trump critic and one of the Republicans who crossed the aisle. In the White House, Trump issued a videotaped address in which he made no mention of impeachment or his attempts to persuade half of the country into believing that Biden’s victory was fraudulent. Instead, the comments focused on an appeal for Americans to be “united,” avoid violence
COMMUNICATION: Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan said parks should be proposed based on national spatial planning, and water and power demand considered While the Executive Yuan is considering setting up science parks in Pingtung and Chiayi counties, there is some criticism about whether science parks are needed in every city and county. Minister of Science and Technology Wu Tsung-tsong (吳政忠) on Wednesday told a news conference that the government is planning a new type of science park on less than 100 hectares to promote innovative, energy-saving businesses and improve community relations. Wu’s remarks came after Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) visited Pingtung on Sunday to inspect the planned site for a new high-speed railway station and announced a plan to establish a new science park. Su on Dec. 19 last year inspected industries in Chiayi, where he promised to evaluate the possibility of setting up a science park. He reaffirmed the promise after dining with Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers on Wednesday night — the eve of the second anniversary of his premiership. However, some Internet users have questioned whether the plans would only benefit business speculators and why some science parks in agricultural regions, such as in Changhua County, lay idle. Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan deputy executive director Tsai Chung-yueh (蔡中岳) said that the government should develop detailed plans for parks before announcing them. First, it should determine which plots of idle land are not part of proposals and find out what resources are needed by Taiwanese businesses returning home, he said. Instead of developing separate plans, the science ministry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs — which oversees industrial parks — should communicate, he added. The government should make plans from the perspective of national spatial planning and tell the public what might be sacrificed by erecting new science parks, he said. If science parks are to house businesses related to semiconductors and electronics, the government should assess how much water and electricity would be needed, and push the companies
DETERIORATING HEALTH: Sufin Siluko’s lawyers told the court that his heart condition, diabetes, joint pain and high blood pressure worsened in confinement Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) was yesterday released on NT$10 million (US$351,124) bail after his defense lawyers successfully petitioned the Taipei District Court that he should be freed due to deteriorating health. In September last year, Sufin, KMT Legislator Chen Chao-ming (陳超明), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) were indicted for allegedly taking bribes in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) two-decade-long battle with the Far Eastern Group over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store chain. Of the major figures charged in the case, only Su and his top aide, Hsu Hsueh-yang (余學洋), remain in detention, as the other lawmakers have been released on bail. At yesterday’s hearing, Sufin’s lawyers requested for his release on NT$2 million bail, saying that the defendant only had NT$2.96 million in cash, plus difficult-to-sell properties. They pledged that their client would not flee Taiwan. The defense added that Sufin has a heart condition, diabetes, joint pain in his legs and high blood pressure that are aggrevated by his detention. The court found Sufin to be a flight risk, given the charges against him, but said that there was no reason to hold him, as the investigation had completed taking people’s testimonies. The court set his bail at NT$10 million and restricted his movement to his residence. The four lawmakers have been charged with bribery and breaches of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例). Their aides and office staff have also been indicted for allegedly receiving bribes.
Control Yuan members yesterday voted to impeach former Presidential Office spokesman Ting Yun-kung (丁允恭) over allegations that he had extra-marital affairs when he was director of the Kaohsiung Information Bureau. The Control Yuan’s review committee voted to impeach Ting 11-0. In its report, the Control Yuan said that his actions contravened Articles 1 and 5 of the Civil Servant Work Act (公務員服務法), and Article 2 of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Act (性騷擾防治法). In September last year, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) approved Ting’s resignation after the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine reported that he had relationships with four women at the same time while serving as the bureau’s director in 2014, even though he was engaged to be married at the time. It also quoted one of Ting’s former girlfriends as saying that they had sex several times in his Kaohsiung office during work hours and that she had terminated three pregnancies at Ting’s insistence so as not to affect his career. Control Yuan members Wang Mei-yu (王美玉) and Chi Hui-jung (紀惠容) wrote in their investigative report that Ting brought dishonor on the civil service and tarnished the image of government officials. Ting headed the bureau under then-Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu (陳菊), before serving as Presidential Office spokesman from May 2019 until his resignation. Yesterday, Ting said in a statement that the impeachment was an unfair decision. “It was wrong to have sex at the city government office,” Ting said. “[But impeachment] is an unjust decision, as the Control Yuan members had already set their sights on persecuting me.” The Control Yuan was wrong to say that sexual harassment was involved, Ting said. “It was a normal relationship between a man and a woman. I never used my position to intimidate her and no sexual harassment took place,” he added. “During our relationship, she mostly took the initiative in contacting me,” he said.
US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft yesterday released a prepared speech to Model UN students in Taiwan after her physical visit was canceled, encouraging them to stay firm because “one day you, too, will be standing here.” If the US Department of State had not canceled all overseas trips this week, Craft would have delivered — in person — her speech to students in Taipei on Thursday afternoon, following a morning meeting with President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), as part of a planned three-day visit to Taiwan. After a virtual meeting with Tsai on Thursday, the US Mission to the UN yesterday released a video of her prepared speech to the students. Speaking from the UN General Assembly Hall, Craft said: “It is here, and in other UN venues, where the United States makes clear its support for a role for Taiwan on the global stage.” “The United States believes that Taiwan is a force for good in the world, and that is very true,” Craft said. “It is also true that young women and men, like you, deserve to pursue careers and opportunities, and on the international stage, including in organizations such as the World Health Organization, where your expertise has been proven undeniable.” “We need organizations like the Model UN to help illuminate the path forward for the actual UN. And so, your efforts here are perhaps more significant than you may realize,” she added. “You are in the final days of one great change — it is not finished. But for now, school yourselves in reserve, say only what you mean and avoid any signs of temper, but hold strong with your own spirit of what truly counts. Do not mistake the present moment for a determination for your future,” she said. “Stay firm, say the words of democracy even in the wake
The Ministry of National Defense has signed a NT$339.24 million (US$11.91 million) contract with the US to maintain the army’s Bell AH-1W SuperCobra attack helicopters, public information on the government’s procurement platform showed. The contract was signed by a military delegation and the American Institute in Taiwan to secure spare parts and technical support for the army’s AH-1Ws until Sept. 30, 2027, an official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The military is replacing the AH-1W with the AH-1Z Viper, but is concerned over potential safety issues such structural aging, even though the legacy fleet’s operational readiness is satisfactory, the official said. Some parts are no longer manufactured since the US Marine Corp decommissioned its last AH-1W in October last year, the official said. Taiwan bought a three-and-a-half year supply of parts for NT$1.46 billion in 2019, which would last until the middle of next year, the official said. Taiwan bought 42 AH-1Ws in 1992 and another batch of 21 in 1997, although two aircraft were lost due to accidents. The AH-1Ws are deployed by two attack helicopter squadrons of the 602nd Air Cavalry Brigade.
NO CASH: The new regulations have been postponed because most Indonesian local governments have yet to allocate a budget for the training and placement fees The Indonesian government is to require employers of Indonesian migrant workers and Indonesian local governments to pay part of their placement fees starting on July 15, rather than yesterday as previously announced. The new policy, aimed at easing the financial burden on Indonesian migrant workers, would remove the requirement for 11 types of worker, including domestic helpers and construction workers, to pay a placement fee and have the overseas employer and local government pay it instead. The new regulations have been postponed because most Indonesian local governments have yet to allocate a budget for the training and placement fees they would be responsible for, Indonesian National Board for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Overseas Workers head Benny Rhamdani said. Of the 34 provinces in Indonesia, only the local government in East Java has a budget to cover the costs associated with training, certificates and fees, Rhamdani said at a news conference yesterday. Efforts continue to enlist the cooperation of local governments, he said, and meetings with the authorities in Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong are also being scheduled to discuss the new regulations. Rhamdani pledged to resign if the policy could not be implemented because of funding issues, as he does not want Indonesian migrant workers to continue to be burdened by placement fees. The policy, first announced in July last year, requires the employer of an Indonesian migrant worker to cover the costs of a passport, a return flight, a work visa, a medical checkup, and transportation and accommodation in the destination nation. At present, some employers cover the air fare and fees related to verifying the contract signed between them and the migrant worker, the Ministry of Labor said. The new regulations are to be applied to 14 nations that import workers from Indonesia. The ministry yesterday said that the nation’s representative office in Indonesia
Taiwan yesterday recorded one new imported case of COVID-19 involving an Indonesian who arrived in the nation last month to work on a fishing boat, the Central Epidemic Command Center said. The Indonesian male, in his 20s, arrived in Taiwan on Dec. 31 with a negative test report, center spokesman Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) said at a news conference in Taipei. He did not display any symptoms of the disease, Chuang said. The man was tested again on Wednesday prior to his release from a 14-day mandatory quarantine and the result came back positive yesterday, he said. Due to the high CT value of the test, which indicated the presence of only a small amount of viral genetic material and that the infection had likely run its course, the man was most likely infected a while ago in Indonesia, he added. No contact tracing was required, as the man had not come in contact with anyone during his time in Taiwan, Chuang said. Meanwhile, a new disease prevention regulation took effect yesterday whereby a home can only be used for quarantine if the person stays at the property on their own. Previously people arriving in Taiwan could quarantine at a residence along with other people. The tighter measure was introduced in response to the emergence of new more contagious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19, the center said, adding those found to have a breached the regulation would be fined NT$100,000 to NT$1 million (US$3,511 and US$35,112). The center has also updated its disease prevention guidelines to provide more clarity on the rules ahead of the Lunar New Year, as Taiwanese living overseas in areas where COVID-19 is more prevalent prepare to return home for the holiday. The latest update specifically addresses questions people might have about “self-health management,” a period of seven days during which arrivals to Taiwan must
More than 80 percent of schools breach Ministry of Education regulations and do not allow students to wear winter clothing, a group of youth organizations said on Thursday, calling on the ministry to enforce its rules. A survey of 1,438 students at 853 schools found that 84.3 percent of schools are ignoring ministry regulations that allow students to wear winter clothing inside or outside their uniform during cold weather, the Taiwan Youth Association for Democracy said. The regulations also state that the definition of “cold weather” should be determined by the student rather than the school, the association said. However, students reported being punished or issued a warning if they wore a hat, gloves, jacket or scarf without obtaining permission in advance, it said. About 54 percent of schools still maintain an outright ban on students wearing warm clothing on top of their uniform, while others stipulate a certain temperature under which students can wear winter clothing, it added. Some schools restrict certain types of clothing without advance permission, such as scarves, hats or sweatshirts, and even particular colors, the association said. Punishments ranged from a warning to doing push-ups, cleaning or running errands, the survey showed. Association deputy director Ho Wei-tzu (何蔚慈) said that the survey responses show that the practice has continued for a long time and students feel powerless to stop it. Student associations that have attempted to impose the ministry’s regulations through proper channels have been pressured or threatened by administrators, Ho said. It is ironic that so many schools require their students to follow their rules, but are not themselves following the ministry’s rules, he said. The ministry’s K-12 Education Administration should investigate whether schools are following the regulations and not leave it up to students to fight for their rights, he added. The K-12 Education Administration yesterday said that it had reissued documents to
Tourism officials and companies are anticipating booming domestic business over the Lunar New Year holiday due to travel restrictions implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s Lunar New Year holiday begins on Feb. 11. Tourism agencies have reported an 80 percent room reservation rate between Feb. 10 and Feb. 16 in tourism hotspots, while reservation rates at five-star hotels in Hualien and Taitung area have exceeded 90 percent. Changhua County is the most popular location for Lunar New Year visits, with the Hualien and Taitung area second, Tainan in third, Yilan and Nantou counties in fourth and fifth, and Kaohsiung in sixth place, the officials said. Changhua County claimed the top spot, as central Taiwan is host to many temples where the main deity corresponds to a profession, Lion Travel Co said. The deity at Wenchang Temple (文昌宮) is the divine protector of academics and education; the deity at Zihnan Temple (紫南宮) in Nantou County and the deity at Yunlin County’s Wude Temple (武德宮) oversee financial fortune; while the deity at Changhua County’s Lugang Tianhou Temple (鹿港天后宮) oversees prosperity of businesses, the company said. The Hualien and Taitung area claimed second place due to its plethora of hot springs and beautiful landscapes, the travel company added. Lion Travel is selling dynamic package deals that allow people to customize their travel plans, as this is more popular with the smaller tour groups required due to the pandemic. Cola Tour Co said that it is targeting family groups with packages that allow a child aged under 12 to travel for free if they are accompanied by both parents. It is also selling three-day, two-night packages for five people, with the fifth person traveling for free. The company said that it is providing packages and services for visits to Taipei, Tainan and Hualien, as well as the nation’s outlying islands.
HARD PRESSED: The company said it is unable to meet some customers’ demand as rising 5G smartphone penetration and an auto sector recovery drive up chip demand Vanguard International Semiconductor Co (世界先進) yesterday said it is seeking new merger-and-acquisition (M&A) opportunities and other ways to expand capacity, as increasing 5G smartphone penetration and a pick-up in the automotive sector are fueling demand for its chips. The company is also counting on a rebound in the global economy, which is forecast to grow 5 percent this year after contracting by an estimated 4 percent last year, amid optimism that the COVID-19 pandemic would be tamed as vaccinations spread, it said. Vanguard, which makes power management chips and driver ICs for flat panels, is feeling the robust demand. The chipmaker said its factories are already running at full capacity and are unable to fill some customers’ demand. It has recently implemented a new pricing scheme, charging higher prices if customers want to secure additional capacity that still needs to be built. “Demand for 8-inch wafers is pretty strong, mainly driven by the work-from-home, remote learning and stay-at-home entertainment trends, amid the pandemic,” company chairman Fang Leuh (方略) told reporters during the year-end media gathering in Taipei. Demand for driver ICs for flat panels used in TVs, notebooks and other devices are all on the rise, causing widespread supply constraints, Fang said. Overall, the demand for power management chips outpaces supply by more than 10 percent, estimates by some industry researchers showed. “Vanguard will continue to invest in new capacity expansion to support customers’ demand and growth,” Fang said. “Seeking a merger-and-acquisition deal is a direction the management is looking at.” Aside from M&As, Vanguard plans to add a capacity of 10,000 8-inch wafers at its Singapore fab this year and is also considering boosting the capacity of a local fab. A run-up in the penetration rate of 5G smartphones this year is giving a further boost to semiconductor demand, Fang said. Globally, 5G smartphones are forecast to account
The nation’s 5G smartphone penetration rate is forecast to climb to 80 percent by the end of the year, as more affordable handsets become commercially available, Samsung Electronics Taiwan Co (台灣三星電子) said yesterday. “The price of entry-level 5G handsets will probably drop to NT$7,000 to NT$8,000 by the end of the year,” Samsung Taiwan vice president Jacob Chen (陳啟蒙) told reporters during the launch of the company’s new flagship S21 5G smartphone series in Taipei. That represents a significant price drop from NT$12,000 at present, he said. Samsung is lowering handset prices as 5G component supply chains mature, Chen said, adding that folding phones are also likely to see a price drop. Prices for the S21 series are NT$4,000 to NT$7,000 lower compared with the previous generation. Samsung expects sales of the new 5G phones to increase 20 percent compared with the S20 series, Chen said. “The sales of flagship handsets were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020,” he said. However, market penetration for 5G accounts would lag significantly behind handset penetration, he said. “Telecoms have been proactive in encouraging users to upgrade to 5G, but so far we haven’t seen a ‘killer app,’” he said. Following the debut of 5G services last year, about 35 percent of Taiwanese mobile users are forecast to upgrade to 5G services by the end of this year, Chen said. Noting that handsets priced at more than NT$20,000 account for 40 percent of the Taiwanese market, but make up 70 percent of the market value, Chen said the focus for Samsung is on the flagship model market. “We aim to be No. 1 in the Taiwan high-end Android market,” he said. The S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra are to go on sale on Jan. 29 in Taiwan.
Investors are advised to remain cautious and avoid stocks with high price-to-earnings (PE) ratios, weak cash flows and low earnings growth, as equity markets are overheating, Standard Chartered Bank Taiwan Ltd (渣打台灣銀行) said on Tuesday. “We do not think that major stock markets are in a bubble now, although some securities’ PE ratios have been pushed too high as their share prices advanced,” head of investment strategy Allen Liu (劉家豪) told the Taipei Times at a meeting in Taipei. Liu was referring to the ratio of a company’s stock price to its earnings per share. Companies with high PE ratios are often regarded as overvalued. “However, given ample funds due to governments’ relaxed monetary policies and quantitative-easing programs, companies with high PE ratios are not necessarily bad targets,” Liu said. Companies with high PE ratios could still be worth a look if their earnings are expected to grow this year, as higher earnings per share would drive down their PE ratios to a more reasonable level, he said. Besides, firms that would benefit from future economic trends, such as digitalization or self-driving vehicles, could be good targets as their growth momentum could last longer, he said. That is why some local tech stocks, whose profits have not risen significantly, have kept on advancing, as investors are banking on them benefiting from these trends, Liu said. “It is safer and more important to buy the right stocks at a higher cost than buying cheap, but wrong stocks,” he added. Investors should also check companies’ cash flow, he said. A company that forecasts rising profits, but has cash flow problems might not be trustworthy, he said. HSBC Global Asset Management Taiwan Ltd (匯豐中華證券投信) chief investment officer Julian Lin (林經堯) on Wednesday also said that stock markets are not in a bubble yet, as governments’ quantitative easing programs are forecast to continue. Given
The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday announced the public locations that a doctor and his girlfriend who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 had visited after being infected.Contact-tracing efforts have helped Taiwan stay a step ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, but is all the information that gets released to the public about infected people necessary? A New Zealand pilot who was diagnosed with the virus made international headlines after he in December last year visited public places following his mandatory three-day quarantine, spreading the infection to others. Although the CECC did not publish his name, announcing his nationality and employer was enough for people to track down his identity and plaster the Internet with his picture. The CECC might have wanted to inform members of the public about a heightened risk of infection in some public places at certain times. However, some people directed their anger at all New Zealanders, or even all foreign residents in Taiwan. The information released by the CECC also led to a Taiwanese woman being attacked on social media after she was mistakenly identified as the woman who the pilot allegedly had an extramarital relationship with. In the same month, a Filipino migrant worker also made international headlines when he was fined NT$100,000 for briefly stepping into the hallway of his quarantine hotel. His actions might have put workers at the hotel at risk, but he did not pose much risk to the public beyond that limited group. The report merely served to demonize an already marginalized group of people. Comments on Chinese-language news about COVID-19 cases among migrant workers have often been xenophobic, with people lambasting the government for allowing them into the country and accusing them of sapping medical resources. It is questionable why the nationality of a person infected with COVID-19 has to be revealed,
The year 2020 will go down in history. Certainly, if for nothing else, it will be remembered as the year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing impact it has had on the world. All nations have had to deal with it; none escaped. As a virus, COVID-19 has known no bounds. It has no agenda or ideology; it champions no cause. There is no way to bully it, gaslight it or bargain with it. Impervious to any hype, posturing, propaganda or commands, it ignores such and simply attacks. All nations, big or small, are on a level playing field when facing it. They either handle it or grapple with the consequences. However, for Taiwan, China and the US, three nations that have had a complex triangular relationship since the end of World War II, there is more. For them, it will also be remembered as the year of new exposure and unmasking; it has proven to be a turning point in their relationships. As the source of the virus, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the most unmasked. At first, its leaders, in true authoritarian fashion, tried to hide its existence. Just as with SARS, they hoped to contain the damage before it would spread far and wide, and the virus would realize its danger. That failed. As COVID-19 spread, the next step was to try to shift the blame to its neighboring nations and hide the body count while punishing whistle-blowers. The true number of deaths in China is still unknown and will probably never be known. The PRC has published figures, but they are unreliable; the credibility of the PRC is gone. How could the most populous country in the world, where the virus originates and which has allowed it to spread, rank 82nd among all nations
Responding to recent tragedies on university campuses, the National Taiwan University (NTU) Student Association proposed an “accommodated study” system — a mechanism allowing students to apply for specially adapted course requirements and student guidance from specialists — and a university affairs meeting on Saturday last week passed a resolution adopting it. When students experience mental illness or have serious emotional trouble that affects their studies to the point of keeping them from completing their course requirements, the system would allow them, through an interview and evaluation by specialists, to be granted adapted requirements. These could include extended deadlines for handing in coursework or the permission to take a break halfway through an exam, thus giving students with mental illness equal study opportunities. The changes would greatly benefit the students. However, a society that has a poor understanding of mental illness, even stigmatizes it, complicates running such a system effectively without complementary measures. In clinical situations, we often encounter students with depression whose emotional troubles prevent them from studying as well as their classmates. Consequently, their professors and classmates look down on them, or regard them as peculiar. We also encounter students with suicidal ideation who are told to be more strong-willed, but this can hurt students even more by making them feel that they are not strong-willed enough. In view of this, the NTU Student Association, as well as proposing this “accommodated study” system to the university, could also link up with psychiatric services and specialist organizations such as the Mental Health Association in Taiwan to launch two campus awareness campaigns. The first campaign would help the campus learn about depression, and its purpose would be to destigmatize it. The campaign would tell everyone that people who are depressed have an illness in the brain that makes it difficult for them to regulate their emotions,
DOUBLES VICTORY: The men’s doubles pairing of Taiwanese Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin downed Malaysians Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi, and face South Koreans today Men’s badminton world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen yesterday marched into the semi-finals of the Thailand Open, defeating younger opponent Lee Zii-jia 21-17, 21-15 after a rally, while Tai Tzu-ying had no trouble getting past her Canadian opponent in the women’s singles. The top male Taiwanese credited calm and focus in securing his win after briefly falling behind against his 22-year-old Malaysian opponent. “I think I had more patience against him and I won most of the long rallies,” the 31-year-old Chou said of Lee. “He wanted to attack [too much] and maybe he lost some focus,” Chou said. In today’s semi-finals, second-seeded Chou faces Angus Ng, ranked eighth in the world, after the Hong Kong player handily defeated teammate Lee Cheuk-yiu 21-17, 21-12. In the women’s singles, Tai faces Mia Blichfeldt — who beat Busanan Ongbamrungphan 21-13, 21-18 — in today’s semi-finals after the world No. 1 ousted Michelle Li in just 28 minutes, winning 21-11, 21-13. Tai used streaks of seven and eight points in the first and second games respectively to dominate world No. 10 Li, who could only defend one game point on Court 1 at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. In the men’s doubles, Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat the Malaysian duo of Ong Yew Sin and Teo Ee Yi 23-21, 21-15. The match lasted 42 minutes, with The Taiwanese pair surviving one game point in the first game before converting on their second. The second game was more one-sided as Lee and Wang set up a semi-final against Choi Sol-gyu and Seo Seung-jae of South Korea, who advanced with a 21-16, 21-19 win over the Indonesian pairing of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Setiawan. The Thailand Open is the first of three consecutive tournaments held in Bangkok culminating in the World Tour Finals from Jan. 27. The athletes — who were flown in a week before
Thangarasu Natarajan arrived in Australia in November last year as a net bowler for the India squad, never expecting to get a shot at a Test debut Down Under. However, he celebrated his elevation from backup bowler to cricket’s most elite level by taking a pair of key wickets to peg back Australia to 274-5 on the opening day of the series-deciding fourth test at the Gabba on Friday. The 29-year-old left-armer played his first one-day international and his first Twenty20 international last month, and completed the full set of formats when he was given a Test debut. It was a kind of a last-man-standing chance after a string of injuries to bowlers culminated in pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah being ruled out of the Brisbane match. With one ODI and three T20s of international experience, Natarajan was straight into action, sharing the new ball with Mohammed Siraj, who was leading a bowling attack who had only a combined four previous Test caps, after Australia won the toss and decided to bat. India had Australia in early trouble at 17-2 before Marnus Labuschagne rallied the innings, posting his fifth Test century and sharing partnerships of 70 with Steve Smith (36) and 113 with Matthew Wade (45) to get the hosts to 200-3 and on the verge of accelerating the scoring. That is when Natarajan struck twice, quickly, to slow the momentum. Wade and Labuschange both misjudged his length and top-edged attempted pull shots. Wade was caught at mid-on in Natarajan’s 13th over and Labuschagne, after surviving dropped catches on 37 and 48, was finally out for 108 after facing 204 deliveries when he skied one to wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant in the rookie bowler’s 14th over. Natarajan finished the day with figures of 2-63 from 20 overs. Australia all-rounder Cameron Green was unbeaten on 28 and captain Tim Paine was 38
French veteran Stephane Peterhansel in Saudi Arabia yesterday celebrated a record-extending 14th Dakar Rally victory, his eighth in the car category, but the event’s conclusion was clouded by news of the death of French amateur rider Pierre Cherpin, who had been in an induced coma since he crashed on the seventh stage. Peterhansel, a 55-year-old X-Raid Mini JCW driver nicknamed “Mr Dakar” for his unprecedented success, first won the endurance event on a motorcycle in 1991 and switched to cars after five more wins on two wheels. Argentine Kevin Benavides, riding a Honda, became the first South American to win the motorcycle category after the 12th and final stage that ended in Jeddah. The annual rally started in 1978 as a race from Paris to the Senegalese capital, Dakar, but moved from Africa for safety reasons in 2009. It is now held entirely in Saudi Arabia after a stint in South America. Peterhansel, who had led since the second stage, but won only one of the 12, finished 14 minutes, 51 seconds ahead of Qatar’s Nasser al-Attiyah, a three-time Dakar winner, in a Toyota. Spaniard Carlos Sainz, the defending champion and Peterhansel’s teammate, won the final stage and finished third overall. In the motorcycle class, last year’s champion, Ricky Brabec of the US, won the final stage to finish runner-up to teammate Benavides and complete Honda’s first one-two Dakar finish since 1987. Britain’s Sam Sunderland, the 2017 winner, finished third overall for KTM. “On stage five I was worried, because I crashed so fast and hit my head and my ankle and felt a lot of pain. On that day I said maybe the Dakar is finished for m, but I continued pushing,” Benavides said. “I still have some pain, but at the moment I am more happy than in pain.” Manuel Andujar made it an Argentine double with victory
SOCCER Arsenal’s streak checked Arsenal’s recent resurgence in the Premier League was checked by Crystal Palace as they were held to a dull 0-0 draw on Thursday. Mikel Arteta’s side were bidding for a fourth successive league win, but could find no way through an obdurate Palace, who were the better side in the first half in which defender James Tomkins hit the bar and Christian Benteke went close BASKETBALL No Harden, no problem The Houston Rockets put this week’s franchise-altering trade in the rear-view mirror on Thursday as they began their post-James Harden era with a gutsy comeback NBA win over the San Antonio Spurs. Journeyman Christian Wood scored a team-high 27 points and had 15 rebounds for the Rockets in a 109-105 win over the Spurs a day after Houston sent shockwaves through the NBA when they traded three-time league scoring champion Harden to the Brooklyn Nets as part of a mammoth multi-team deal. Sterling Brown delivered 23 points and Jae’Sean Tate had 13 points and 10 assists for short-handed Houston, who were coming off back-to-back blowout losses at home to the Los Angeles Lakers. Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers won 111-87 over the Portland Trail Blazers, the Toronto Raptors held off the Charlotte Hornets 111-108, The Denver Nuggets beat the Golden State Warriors 114-104 and the Philadelphia 76ers rolled over the depleted Miami Heat 125-108. ICE HOCKEY Oilers’ McDavid dominates Connor McDavid scored three goals and added an assist in a dominating performance to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two goals and an assist, Leon Draisaitl collected four assists and Mikko Koskinen made 38 saves for the Oilers. Elsewhere, the Capitals beat the Sabres 6-4, the Bruins downed the Devils 3-2, the Islanders blanked the Rangers 4-0, the Hurricanes kept a clean
SHOW OF STRENGTH? Pyongyang’s display of new weaponry is aimed at sending a message to the US ahead of its presidential inauguration, analysts said Nuclear-armed North Korea unveiled a new submarine-launched ballistic missile at a military parade in Pyongyang, state media reported yesterday, in a show of strength days before the inauguration of US president-elect Joe Biden. The parade came after the five-yearly congress of the ruling Workers’ Party, at which the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, decried the US as North Korea’s “foremost principal enemy.” “The world’s most powerful weapon, submarine-launch ballistic missile, entered the square one after another, powerfully demonstrating the might of the revolutionary armed forces,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. Pictures showed at least 12 of the missiles with black-and-white cones being driven past flag-waving crowds. Ankit Panda, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment on International Peace, said that it was a previously unseen weapon. “New year, new Pukguksong,” he wrote on Twitter, using the name for the North’s submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Kim oversaw the display, which included rockets with a “powerful striking capability for thoroughly annihilating enemies in a pre-emptive way outside the territory,” KCNA said, implying a range extending beyond the Korean Peninsula. Images showed the parade ending with what appeared to be a new solid-fuel short-range ballistic missile — which are more mobile and more quickly deployed than liquid-fueled versions. “They’d like us to notice that they’re getting more proficient with larger solid rocket boosters,” Panda tweeted. Analysts say that the North is using the congress to send Washington’s incoming administration a message of strength in an attempt to extract concessions. Kim and US President Donald Trump had a tumultuous relationship, engaging in mutual insults and threats of war before an extraordinary diplomatic bromance featuring headline-grabbing summits and declarations of love by the outgoing US president. However, little substantive progress was made, with the process deadlocked after a February 2019 summit in Hanoi broke down over sanctions relief and what Pyongyang would be willing to
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that at least 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang. Faith leaders, activist groups and others have said that crimes against humanity, including genocide, are taking place there. Beijing denies the accusations and the Chinese embassy in Washington said that the commission was “obsessed with making up all sorts of lies to vilify China.” “The so-called ‘genocide’ is a rumor deliberately started by some anti-China forces and a farce to discredit China,” an embassy spokesperson said. The report called for a formal US “determination on whether atrocities are being committed” in Xinjiang, something required within 90 days of US legislation passed on Dec. 27 last year. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in his final days in office before US president-elect Joe Biden succeeds US President Donald Trump on Wednesday next week, has already been weighing a determination. However, given the current turmoil in Washington, officials have played down the possibility of an announcement before that. US Representative Jim McGovern, a Democrat who cochairs the commission, called China’s actions to crush human rights “shocking and unprecedented” and urged Congress and the incoming Biden administration to hold Beijing accountable. “The United States must continue to stand with the people of China in their struggle,
A huge fire on Thursday tore through a Rohingya refugee camp, destroying more than 550 shanty homes. While 3,500 people were left homeless, no casualties were reported, aid agencies said. The blaze started when most people in the sprawling Nayapara camp were asleep. Tens of thousands of members of the Muslim minority who in 2017 fled a military crackdown in neighboring Myanmar live in the overcrowded camp. International aid agencies said in a joint statement that it took firefighters two hours to bring the “devastating” fire under control. “Very fortunately, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported, and the few people with minor injuries have been released after initial treatment,” the Inter-Sector Coordination Group said. The agencies estimated that some 3,500 people had been left homeless after more than 550 of the tin and bamboo shelters were destroyed along with a community center and several shops. The fire started at about 2:00am and was suspected to have been caused by a cooking cylinder, Bangladeshi Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner Rezwan Hayat said. About 10 people had been injured, he said. Residents quoted by aid workers said that huge flames quickly engulfed the shanties. “We have immediately supplied hot food and bamboo and tarpaulins to the affected people to reconstruct their homes,” Hayat said. Nayapara is one of a string of camps in the Cox’s Bazar district of southeastern Bangladesh where more than 900,000 Rohingya live. About 700,000 fled across the border in 2017 after the Myanmar crackdown that the UN has said could be genocide. Save the Children country director in Bangladesh Onno van Manen said that the fire was “another devastating blow for the Rohingya people who have endured unspeakable hardship for years.” The fire was “another ghastly reminder” that children in the camps “face a bleak future with little freedom of movement, inadequate access to education, poverty, serious
A new section of Taipei City bike path will open soon along the southern bank of Jingmei River (景美溪). Discovery of this missing link by members of Skeleton Crew, a Taipei-based group of cyclists that grew out of off-season training by dragon boat racers, reignited debate about how many kilometers of bike path there now are in Taipei. Their guesstimates ranged from 60 to almost 400 kilometers, though calculations used different criteria and definitions. Some said “Taipei means Taipei City,” others that this would be silly since it was too easy to cross unknowingly into New Taipei City, Keelung City or even Taoyuan County. Yet others raised the problem of non-contiguous sections, such as short lengths along the north coast or that along Daiyujue River (逮魚崛溪) in New Taipei City’s Pinglin District (坪林), which, passing blossoming banks and echoing with birdsong, is often touted as the area’s nicest ride. This led to debate about the relative aesthetic merits of various rides, and best places to stop for snacks, meals and beverages. Map apps were downloaded, estimates revised but, ultimately, it was decided there was only one way to measure the entire network: the Skeleton Crew would cycle a route along all the rivers in and around the Taipei area that was contiguous and never doubled back on itself. Normally the Skeleton Crew wouldn’t consider riding riverside bike paths on weekends when they teem with other cyclists, many on rentals and YouBikes, often in large groups chatting or veering randomly and stopping suddenly, never imagining there might be 100 kilograms of lycra-and-steel hurtling behind them at 30kph. And so it should be, because the riverside bike paths are a wonderful way for non-cyclists to get a safe taste of this healthy, economic, convenient, non-climate-change-gas-emitting means of transportation. After all, one of the key
Decapitated and eviscerated, the two frogs lay on their backs in a clear broth. Noticing that other diners didn’t hesitate to pile toothpick-thin bones and bits of mottled skin on their tables, I set to work with chopsticks and spoon. I was winding up a day trip to Beigang (北港), the religious capital of Yunlin County, when I strolled east onto Minjhu Road (民主路) from Wenhua Road (文化路) and came across this eatery. I’d gone to the intersection to see an obelisk that honors the man regarded as Beigang’s founding father. The Yan Si-ci Pioneering of Taiwan Monument (顏思齊開拓台灣紀念碑) celebrates the arrival in 1621 — or possibly 1622 or 1624 — of Yan Si-ci (顏思齊), a Chinese trader who’d been living in Japan. Some say he left Japan because he took part in an unsuccessful uprising against the shogunate. Others think that changes to the business environment forced him to seek pastures new. Whatever Yan’s motives, the 13-ship convoy he led dropped anchor here. His followers unloaded their supplies, and did their best to establish themselves in a place that the local Aboriginal people called Ponkan. The new arrivals recorded this toponym as Bengang (笨港, literally “stupid harbor”). It wasn’t until well into the 19th century that this odd place name was replaced by the insult-free Beigang (“north harbor”). CHAOTIAN TEMPLE I’d begun the day at the house of worship that gives Beigang its cultural and spiritual significance. Chaotian Temple (朝天宮), founded in 1694, is a key center of the Matsu cult. The pious come from all over southern and central Taiwan to pray to the sea goddess. However, because of a falling out between the leaders of Chaotian Temple and those in charge at Dajia Jenn Lann Temple (大甲鎮瀾宮), the famous annual multi-day pilgrimage that honors Matsu each spring no longer passes through
Music of all genres can provide hope and inspiration, cheer us up when we are down or encapsulate our despair when we are feeling low and just want to wallow for a while. Songs are the hallmarks by which we measure life’s passages. Tunes from Broadway musicals serve this role well, which is why five artists with backgrounds in musical theater and opera, who found themselves safely ensconced in Taiwan during the COVID-19 pandemic, decided to do something to cheer people up. The result is Bright Lights for Dark Nights (曙光再現 音樂劇之旅), billed as “an international musical extravaganza,” which opened at a performance space in Taipei’s Nangang Bottle Cap Factory last night for a four-show run, featuring songs from musicals of the past 50 years. The two-act production starts with songs from darker musicals to symbolize the angst that so many people felt last year, with songs from well-known productions such as The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Hamilton to those from shows that might not be as well known to local audiences, such as Spring Awakening, Hadestown and Bonnie and Clyde. Act 2 focuses on the light at the end of the tunnel and the bright lights of Broadway with songs such as Don’t Rain on my Parade, Bring Him Home, Move On and Songs for a New World. Australian Paul Whiteley, an actor/singer/musician turned event promoter, is one of the producers of the program as well as a performer. His resume includes Australian productions as well as international tours of shows such as The Phantom of the Opera. Bonnie Lin (林姿吟) is a bel canto soprano with a background in opera and musicals as a performer and choreographer, as well as a television show host. Mandarin Wu (吳曉清) is a professional singer and dancer and has taught musical theater, dance and choreography
The toys we had when we were young (5/5) 我們小時候玩的玩具（五） A: And then later, when we were teenagers, we put away the toys and played with games consoles instead. B: Ah yes, simplistic game scenarios and block graphics, with low quality audio and visual effects. A: That’s right. And they came on tapes that wore out after a couple of months because we played the games every night after school. B: They’re not a fraction of the quality or sophistication of the current generation of computer games, but I used to love playing those. A: It was just the generation we were in, I guess. B: That’s right. And if you had been born into this generation, you would be staring intently at your mobile phone. Like those two over there. A: 然後我們變成青少年以後，就把玩具丟掉，開始玩遊戲機了。 B: 喔，對呀，那種遊戲場景非常簡單，圖形解析度超低，聲音和視覺效果的品質都很差。 A: 沒錯，而且這些遊戲是用錄音帶輸入，卡帶兩個月就壞了，因為我們放學回家每天晚上都在玩。 B: 它們無論是品質或是精緻度，都遠遠比不上現在的遊戲，可是我那時候好愛玩那些遊戲喔。 A: 我猜這只是因為我們是處在那個世代吧。 B: 沒錯。如果你是生在這個世代，你現在就會聚精會神地看著手機，就像那邊那兩位一樣。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
A: Some toys were cool, some were badly conceived and some were toxic. B: Toxic? What do you mean? A: I had a collection of cartoon figurines. They were part of a promotion from a gas station. It turns out there was lead in the paint used on them. They had to be withdrawn. Lead paint is toxic. B: I remember those. They later reintroduced them with non-toxic paint, didn’t they? And the ones with the safe paint had a little blue spot on the base of the foot to distinguish them from the poisonous ones. A: That’s right. So I built up a second collection. I came home from school one day to find my younger brother had used them to enact a battle scene, and had stained them with red paint to represent blood. That was another set ruined. B: Well, your brother was using his imagination. I thought you just said that was a good thing. A: 有些玩具很酷，有些設計得不好，也有些有毒。 B: 有毒？這是什麼意思？ A: 我收集了一些小的卡通人物模型，這是一家加油站的促銷活動送的。結果後來發現這些模型用的塗料含有鉛，他們只好把這些模型召回。含有鉛的油漆是有毒的。 B: 我記得這件事。後來他們又開始送使用無鉛塗料的玩具，對吧？這些使用安全塗料的玩具底座就有一個藍色的點，用來跟那些有毒的玩具做區別。 A: 沒錯。所以我就收集了第二套。有一天我放學回家，發現我弟用這些模型來扮演戰爭的場面，在上面灑了紅色油漆來代表血。所以我第二套收集也毀了。 B: 嗯，你弟弟是在運用他的想像力啊。你剛剛不是說運用想像力是件好事嗎？ （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文: Chinese 中文:
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