Police to female driver:
"Excuse me ma'am? You didn't think we give pretty women tickets?
Well, you are right, we don't. Now, sign here."
rambling physically and mentally in Wulai, a Tayal aborigine village in the mountains an hour's drive south of Taipei; various and sundry comments, criticisms, analyses, and snide remarks. firstname.lastname@example.org
We spent the weekend in
But a strange thing about
In most places in
I do not understand the geological forces involved, but from the photo, you can see that even though the terrain is not steep, the whole section of the surface of the earth just moved over, trees and all. The whole event took only about five seconds.
This being Taiwan, right wing DPP partisans immediately blamed the disaster on President Ma and the KMT, saying that heaven and earth cannot tolerate the governing party.
However, earlier this month in Tehran, the Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi said, "Many women who do not dress modestly...lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."
Americans are scientifically minded. One Jennifer McCreight decided to make a scientific experiment: on Monday, April 26, women would dress as immodestly as they desired, to see if they really did increase the number of earthquakes. The event, which she named Boobquake, did not generate seismic activity, although apparently hospitals were packed with young men suffering from strained eyes.
After decades of trampling all over the wilderness of
April is their mating season, so maybe he was taking her out to see the sights.
A lady of the Tsou tribe sorting ginger in a hamlet, discussing last year's landslides. She said, "It's all these corporations planting betel palms, planting tea, they've ruined our ancestors' land. The big trees had deep roots that held the soil, but the corporations wanted to plant betel palms, so they cut down all the big trees. Without the big trees' roots holding the soil, when typhoon Morakot came, all the land slid away."
"Can something else be planted?"
"Yes, we plant bamboo, and there are bamboo shoots. Last year bamboo shoots sold NT$21 the jin, and I hear this year it's NT$45 the jin. But all our land with bamboo slid away in landslides, and there's not much left, so even if the price is good, I can't make any money on that." (1 jin is about 600 grams; NT$21 is about 75 cents US)
"You should be able to plant citrus trees here."
"They don't want to plant anything but betel palms. They get bigger profits that way."
"Maybe you could plant apple trees here. If they can grow apples in Lishan, you can do it here."
"There are some apple trees, some people planted them for their own use. They taste good, but there are only a few trees."
"That should be a solution. They can't just keep growing betel palms. There are a lot of things they could plant. You need big trees, with roots to hold the land in place."
"Yes, we have to think of something. Otherwise, next time a typhoon comes, it'll be landslides all over again. But the corporations are big, what can we do? But we have to get along somehow. After all, we have to keep living. What else can you do?"
In the mountains, I came across a Tsou tribesman sitting by the road carving a pestle. I said, “The pestles the Tayal in
He smiled and said, “This is a mini-pestle.”
Wikileaks has posted a video :: click here:: of American soldiers in Iraq killing a Reuters photographer and others, including some who came to rescue him when he was wounded. Two children were wounded in the shooting. This took place in 2007.
My point is not to blame the soldiers. They may be trigger happy, but from the helicopter they may not have been able to distinguish between the photographer's cameras and a weapon, and most people would rather shoot first and ask questions later. They are, after all, at war. Any blame is to be laid at the feet of Bush, Chaney, and the millions of American people who lack the imagination and initiative to reduce their dependency on oil.
I do not understand the situation on the streets in Iraq, so I do not understand why the victims walked carefreely down the street with a US military helicopter circling around them.
When the wounded children are being sent to a hospital, (short version time: 15:32), one soldier says, "Well, it's their fault for bringing their kids into a battle," and another immediately concurs, "That's right." Let me emphasize that the killed journalists were not combatants, and were not going into battle; their doomed rescuers were not entering into a battle, they were trying to rescue their friends. But immediately the soldiers absolve themselves of fault. I can understand how a soldier who is trained to fight enemies bravely would not want to bear the guilt of shooting children.
How expert we are at inuring ourselves to tragedy, and relieving ourselves of responsibility for our actions. William Ryan called this blaming the victim. It's worth reflecting on.
However, I will say no more, because I have just noticed that Noam Chomsky is pontificating about the war on YouTube. When Chomsky walks the streets of Iraq without an armed escort, I may pay some attention to what he says. Until then, I would rather not look like I'm standing on the same side as he is.