Planned Workouts and scheduled races

Every Wednesday: Bigfoot Cycle Workout (Dali) 5:15 am
Every Saturday: Bigfoot Swim Workout (Dali) 6:00 am

8/28 Vision Bigfoot Duathlon (Qingshui) 8:00 am
9/4 Taiwan P.E. University Cup 5000m 4:00 pm
10/1 Beauty of Taidong Triathlon (Olympic Distance) 8:00 am
10/30 Gaomei Wetland Marathon (Qingshui) - (Marathon distance) 6:00 am
11/5 NeverStop West Coast Bike Race (200km) 5:00 am *
11/13 Taoyuan National Marathon (Marathon distance) - TBA 11/20 Mizono Marathon Relay
12/18 Fubon Taipei Marathon (Marathon distance) 7:00 am (Boston Marathon qualifying attempt)

* reconsidering the NeverStop race due to the date change to November, which would result in four race weekends (perhaps five if the Supau Cup is on 11/27) in a row.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Taiwan the next Venezuela?

Political advertisment for a local DPP candidate in Taichung in 2008.

Recent events in Taiwan are quite disturbing, but is merely part of an even more disturbing trend. We have all seen how the judiciary has gone after DPP office holders while basically leaving the KMT alone, even though we all know the KMT has by far the longer history of corruption. In the past three years, five of their elected legislators had their elections annulled due to vote buying and another lost her seat due to the fact that the had been less than honest about her citizenship status. The vote-buying allegations had all been brought by the losers in those elections, NOT government prosecutors. Prosecutors, instead, went after DPP local elected officials and then gave former president Chen Shui-bian a trial that did not even come close to meeting international standards for fairness. Now, they are going after Lee Tung-hui, the Father of Taiwan's Democracy in a thinly-veiled attack on DPP presidential nominee, Tsai Ing-Wen.

These past three years has seen Taiwan's press freedom and civil liberties rankings decline. While Taiwan is still considered free in both categories, it is indicative of a backward trend and an erosion of the hard-won freedoms the Taiwanese have earned under the administrations of Lee Tung-Hui and Chen Shui-Bian. Now, one must wonder if Taiwan is heading down the road of Venezuela.

Venezuela once had a functioning democracy. When Hugo Chavez came into power, it was amid celebrations that he would be able to change the system to make it work for all Venezuelans. Well, he has changed the system all right, but it only works for him and his cronies.

Chavez has used the apparatus of the state to crush his political opponents. He has used the communications commission to shut down opposition broadcasters and has made it onerous for opposition candidates to run against him. They don't have the same access to media and other forms of advertising as he has and when any start showing traction, the judiciary goes after them.

The timing of the latest indictment in Taiwan coincides with a poll recently released that showed Tsai taking a small lead in election polls. Now is the time to make sure Taiwan doesn't become the next Venezuela. Only the people of Taiwan can ensure that this is not Taiwan's fate. 2012 may be the last chance for Taiwan's fledgling democracy. Only the people of Taiwan can end once and for all the meddling in the judiciary by the government (both executive and legislative) and ensure that Taiwan is a place in which all parties, ideas, and movements have the freedom to operate and express themselves. The election of 2012 is far and away the most important in the history of this fledgling democracy. It may, in fact, make or break it.

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