. . . in order to please Communist China. From Taiwan's China Post:
. . . ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Deputy Secretary-General Chang Jung-kung, who handles the party's ties with China, warned [the mayor of the southern Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung] of the risks of screening [a film about Chinese Uigher leader, Rebiya Kadeer].
He said the mayor should give top priority to the public interest of her city, and should “think carefully” if the move affects Kaohsiung's [influx of Chinese tourists].
Mr. Deputy Secretary-General, free speech IS the public interest of Kaohsiung. And Taiwan too, you miserable butt-wipe.
By Ma-llah, the Compassionate! No wonder the KMT begrudged the Dalai Lama's granting succor to typhoon survivors -- why, that Tibetan outlander was stealing the limelight from their Sultan of Sympathy, their beloved Ayatollah Ying-jeou. (Holy Keeper of the Sixteen Percent Approval Rating.)
Step aside, Dalai. Taiwan's Second-Handsomest-Man is out to spread the love. Sixteen Percenters everywhere can rest assured that the mere appearance of the Ma-ssiah's golden visage will turn those typhoon showers into September flowers.
(President Ma Ying-jeou image from the China Post)
(Inquiring minds would like to know, though: Did the departed here lose their lives because of the storm, or because of SUPREME LEADER Ma Ying-jeou's criminally-inept response to it? * )
* A relative of mine called me one week after the typoon hit, and asked me why Taiwanese were still trapped up in the mountains. "Doesn't Taiwan have loads of helicopters to transport troops to the beaches in the event of a Chinese invasion? It's been a week already -- why aren't they USING those?" he asked.
No answer from me. I was outside the country and internet-less. Imagine my surprise though, to read last week that Taiwan's Commander-Of-The-Faithful only dispatched ONE rescue chopper the day after the storm . . . and took FOUR DAYS to authorize the use of the big helicopters.
No, not all of 'em. (Duh!) But the reaction of a number of them to the Dalai Lama's visit last week following Typhoon Morakot left a lot to be desired. From the Aug 30th edition of the Taipei Times:
This is not an appropriate time for the Dalai Lama to come,” said Master Ching Liang (淨良法師), chairman of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China.
Cheng Ming-kun (鄭銘坤), vice chairman of the Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) in Taichung County’s Dajia Township (大甲) . . . said that while many local religious groups have been working diligently to help victims, the move “erases local religious groups’ credit.”
Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山), a Kaohsiung-based Buddhist monastery that helped many storm victims, declined to comment, while the spokesman for the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation (慈濟), another organization that has been helping victims, could not be reached for comments as of press time.
Granted some of these may be Sino-imperialists in the Chinese Communist Party's pocket, but Taiwan's China Post alluded to another dynamic at work -- good old-fashioned religious parochialism:
Buddhists in Taiwan are Mahayanists, not tantric Vajrayana followers. They, along with the Taoist majority, do not think tantric mantras and mudras would bring peace to the dead as well as the living. They are not pleased because they believe their priests can do a much better job than the Dalai, who could have stayed in Dharamsala and said as many masses as he pleased for the people of Taiwan.
Here the Post suggests opposition on the part of the laity where little actually existed, since it turns out that 75% of ordinary Taiwanese supported the Dalai Lama's mission to bring comfort to the survivors of the deceased.
Still, it stands to reason that the local CLERGY would believe that they could "do a much better job" than an outsider. Which reminds me of a story:
About a week after returning to the Old Country, an elderly uncle of mine died. Now, in his will he stipulated that an old fishing buddy of his (who happened to a minister) should be the one to give the service. These last wishes were complicated however, by the appearance of another minister, the man who apparently took excellent care of my uncle at the hospice. (I understand that the last few weeks were agonizing, once the cancer began attacking the nerve endings.) So this minister too, seemed to have good grounds for wanting to say a few words at the funeral.
The two might easily have come to an accomodation had it not been for yet ANOTHER minister. My uncle lived in a small town, where there was only ONE church of his denomination. And the head of this church was bound and determined that neither of these two interlopers would be given the opportunity participate in a ceremony on HIS home turf.
This crazy situation was only resolved when the family grew completely disgusted by the local minister's intransigence, and threatened to hold the service in the community center instead of his church. THAT made the local guy see reason -- real fast.
True story, that. Seems to me that Taiwanese Buddhist clergy (and Christian preacher-men!) bring discredit upon themselves during times of tragedy when the best they can do is act like mutts peeing on fence posts to keep the other dawgs out of their territory. A quick reminder to clerics of any religion: When people die and families are grieving, it's not all about YOU.
A while back, Taiwan's China Post took one of its usual swipes at the Dalai Lama, calling him a "one-time theocrat." True enough, I suppose, but it got me to thinking: Couldn't the "theocrat" appelation be applied with equal accuracy to Taiwan's current Chinese nationalist president, Ma Ying-jeou?
After all, in November of last year, Ma refused to permit the Dalai Lama into the country for the simple reason that the Tibetan religious figure doesn't kneel at the sacred high altar of Sino-imperialism. Then last week, when Ma was forced by political reasons to allow the Dalai Lama to visit on a religious mercy mission, Taiwan's Supreme Leader again assumed the role of religious tyrant by issuing a government gag order on the Buddhist pontiff.
Politics and economics should be separate, Ma tirelessly preaches from his pulpit. But politics and religion? Not a word from hizzoner on that score . . .
Taiwanese Falun Gong followers -- I'd be afraid if I were you right now. There's no telling how many of your rights Taiwan's self-declared high priest of religious orthodoxy is prepared to sacrifice in the name of enjoying "good relations with Beijing".
Seemed like a pretty innocuous mission. The man comes to Taiwan, says a few prayers for the dead, comforts the surviving kin. Who'd object to that?
Beijing, it goes without saying. But to outsiders it would appear remarkable that the governing Chinese Nationalist Party of Taiwan ALSO objected to a visit by his Holiness. Taiwan's China Post had this to say:
But the timing [for the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan] isn't right for Taiwan, this time around. Taiwan is trying what it can to improve relations with China. It is relying ever more heavily on the other side of the Taiwan Strait for getting out of its current economic downturn and the global financial crisis.
Fortunate it is for the China Post that the KMT recently legalized prostitution in Taiwan. Now the paper's editors can rent themselves out to the Communist Party nightly -- without any fear of ever being arrested!
So my question for the Post is this: If 500 dead Taiwanese aren't ENOUGH reason for a religious mercy mission from a world-renowned religious figure, what would be?