Friday, January 13, 2017

What is the difference between Taiwan and Republic of China?

Scratching on the surface, it seems that the Republic of China equals Taiwan, and the Republic of China currently represents Taiwan. Many people claim that Republic of China is the official name for Taiwan.

The confusion and mixing up of Taiwan and Republic of China continues until this day. Isn't this puzzling considering that Taiwan is calling itself Republic of China? Why isn't Taiwan calling itself with an official name that refers to itself, but a neighbouring country?

There is a bit of history involved in this. I must bring up the matter of Chinese Civil War, because it created the unique scene today. The Republic of China was founded by the Chinese Nationalist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party was formed some time after. War erupted between the Chinese Nationalists and Chinese Communist over the system of government to be implemented in China. The Nationalists wanted a constitutional republic but the Communists wanted to form a socialist republic. The Nationalists lost to the Communists and retreated to Taiwan, relocating their seat of government and bringing all national symbols (flag, official name, national anthem) with them. They rule over Taiwan and creates the impression that Taiwan and Republic of China are no different.

From our first impression, Taiwan equals to the Republic of China, and the Republic of China equals Taiwan. The flag with a sun on a blue sky, on a background of red represents Taiwan. There seems to be nothing wrong. Everything seem to be in their place, as we see from the outside.

But when I ask,
What is the Republic of China?
What is Taiwan?
Many think that both refer to the same thing.

But don't you think there's something wrong here? Does Republic of China refer to Taiwan, or China? Does Taiwan equate to being China?

At this point, most people can tell that Taiwan is not China. But there will be people defending that Republic of China is Taiwan. And insist that using the name "Republic of China" is nothing wrong, since it represents a country.

But when posed with the question,
Why Republic of China cannot join the United Nations? Why Taiwan cannot join the United Nations? 
Most people do not have a clear idea on the matter to answer this question. To answer this pressing question of international dignity, one needs background in international law, at the very least.

And most importantly,
Where does the Republic of China flag, or the so called Taiwanese flag, come from?
What hinders the return of Taiwan to the international community is the confusion between Taiwan and Republic of China. Learned experts are not confused, but the majority of laypeople are not able to differentiate the two names. Under the One China Principle, there can only be one government that represents China. The right to use the name of China, and the right to represent China is currently held by the People's Republic of China.

In order to find a way out for Taiwan, first the names must be precisely and unambiguously defined.

Taiwan Area as defined in the international peace treaties

Taiwan: An island located off the coast of East Asian continent. For a very precise delimitation, the area of Taiwan should be referred as the area ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki and the same area detached from Japan in Treaty of San Francisco. The area of Taiwan includes (i) The island of Taiwan and other small islands associated with it, and (ii) The archipelago of Penghu, that is all islands lying between the 119th and 120th degrees of longitude east of Greenwich and the 23rd and 24th degrees of north latitude.

China: A unified country occupying a large area on the East Asian continent. It was ruled by dynasty over the course of history, and the territory of each dynasty is different. Her sovereign territory includes the Kinmen and Matsu Islands.

Now let us define "Republic of China" and "People's Republic of China". Are both the same?

Territory of the Republic of China upon its founding. Notice Taiwan is not its territory.
Republic of China: The republic in East Asia that was formed in 1911, after the overthrow of Qing Dynasty, ending thousands of years of imperial rule. This is the official name of the Chinese republic from 1911 to 1949. It's territory includes present-day Mongolia, and did not rule Taiwan for most of its time. It became a government-in-exile after the Chinese Nationalists lost the civil war with the Communists, and relocated to Taiwan.

Internationally recognised sovereign territory of People's Republic of China.

People's Republic of China: A socialist republic founded by the Chinese Communists after they defeated the Nationalists in a civil war. The official name of China after 1949.

Republic of China and People's Republic of China actually refers to the same country, that is China! The actual Republic of China is the republic from 1911 to 1949. These are two different eras of China, much like succession of dynasties. In terms of international law, Republic of China is followed by the People's Republic of China with a State succession event.

Taking history into account, Taiwan does not equal to Republic of China! Know how to differentiate between these names is the key to understanding issues like Taiwan independence. Finding a way out of Taiwan's international isolation also requires this knowledge.

A consequence of the Chinese Civil War is the mixing up of the identity of Taiwan and a previous Chinese government. Name rectification is way to go for Taiwan!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

I'm back! Oh no, my blog has gathered a thick layer of dust.

Put a picture of a bunny, because it's cute!

So, what I have been doing for the past year? My attention has mainly been put into studying international law and history of Taiwan and China.

I am still in my PhD project, but I have put much of my energy into looking at the Taiwan issue and writing all my findings up as a book. This is a lot of energy, and a lot of effort. What I have learnt may not have immediate benefit for me, but at least it is useful for later.

It took so much work, there must have been an event that gave me a big push to do it. I have not imagined making this far.

I become aware that international law is the key to understanding international documents. While I am not practicing as an international lawyer, international law is useful for historians to understand documents, especially treaties signed between countries.

In the age of Internet, finding information has never been easier. I don't need to go to a library to read ancient texts. They are now uploaded onto the web. Imagine accessing dynastic records of China on my computer screen and cite them. I always have the convenience of entering a keyword to Google and many things, some rarely seen, can be brought to the light. I have read the lesser known stuff, such as prophecies regarding the future of China. One must be astounded by the perfect fulfillment of prophecies.

What have I been turned into? Should I continue to be a scientist, or a historian?

My friend once remarked to me, I should blog about politics, that I have the potential to make it big with such a topic. Maybe, I have found a good topic to blog about. I have always kept an interest in the culture of East Asia. The relationship between China and Taiwan, or better known as Cross Strait Relation, seem an attractive topic, because I can make use of my proficiency in Chinese.

I have this regret. That I should strive for a person I want to be and not to be dictated by someone else.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

There is no question on Penang

In the midst of Lim Guan Eng house-buying controversy, opportunist Ridhuan Tee urged that Penang be restored to Kedah. It appears clear that he has a sinister agenda. A remark that touches on the bottom line of Penangnites is unacceptable.
There is no denial that Penang was once part of the Sultanate of Kedah. Kedah ceded Penang Island to the British East India Company in a treaty signed 1786, in exchange for military assistance from the latter. When Kedah was attacked by Siam, Francis Light failed to provide military assistance that was promised earlier, thus dishonouring the treaty. Kedah tried to retake Penang in 1790 but was defeated.
The British East India Company, as the victor, dictated the terms of the 1791 treaty. In the 1791 treaty, the Sultan of Kedah cede Penang Island to the Company for an honorarium. The British East India Company took Seberang Prai in 1802 for an increased honorarium. An honorarium is a payment which the giver has no legal obligation to do so. There is no question that treaties signed between Kedah and the Company were unequal treaties.
The political reality is, Penang and Seberang Prai went under separate governance since Kedah ceded it to the British East India Company. Penang’s status was changed to Straits Settlements, then came under direct British rule as a Crown Colony in 1867. The handling of Kedah to British in the Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909 did not change the reality of separate governance. Kedah became an Unfederated Malay State and Penang a Crown Colony.
Today, in the Constitution of Malaysia, Article 1 enshrined that Penang and Kedah are two separate states, and territories of the states can only be altered by Parliament with the consent of the respective states. Penang and Kedah are two sovereign equals as part of Malaysia.
The Penangnites have worked hard to develop Penang into a vibrant city-state today. Penang has her own values distinct from her neighbouring state. Terms of the treaties that have been executed are done, so there is no turning back. The call for Penang to return to Kedah is reflective of the pre-Independence mentality. There is no reason for Kedah to reclaim Penang today. 
There is no question on the status of Penang. There is no question of territorial integrity in Peninsular Malaysia. Anyone attempting to undermine the status of Penang goes against the Constitution and can be held guilty of sedition.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016

Today is Valentine's Day, so what to talk about? Hmm....

I'm still single as of now. Don't blame me for not having a partner now, but rejoice because I have a place available in my heart.

Whenever Chinese New Year comes, relatives will bombard me with questions of getting a girlfriend. I'm so annoyed with the question so much so that this question has become a taboo topic for the festive seasons.

There is no use in trying to force two incompatible people together because in the end it will just..... NOT WORK. I've even tried it myself and got hurt, because something that doesn't work will not work in the end.

I went up to the net to read stories of how incompatible people got married due to pressure from parents, only to fall apart later. I've read of how friends and relatives introducing prospective mates only to find that relationship didn't develop further. One can meet so many prospective mates and not meeting someone that suits one's heart.

A relationship must have a good foundation to start. There must be a basis for relationship for it to work.

It's said that the best person to marry are those you know since young. You grew up with them and got familiar with their strengths and flaws.

When I was younger I was so eager to get a girlfriend. Just yesterday I checked my Facebook for a down memory lane. I checked out the girls I've grown interested during high school. This feeling came to me. Now, I actually complain that they no longer look young as before. A relative of mine told me the same.

Every man will have it: prefer younger women. I was young when I first heard it, and it has kicked in when I started looking at my favourite idol group A Pink. I was 24 at that time.

Guess what? I'm looking at TWICE, an idol group debuted not long ago. All members are younger than me, the eldest is 6 years and the youngest member is 10 years my junior. They have the youth I'm looking for! To date, I haven't meet any girl like that in my personal circle. Yeah, I have gone through dry spells.

I can't believe that I'm looking at girls 10 years younger than me in K-pop videos.

There are such people in my university but to find love is not easy.

Postgraduate dating pool is just too small and the people too old and not having anyone I desire. Oh, I'm complaining non-stop.

There's this dream from every fan: To marry their favourite celebrity. There are a few success stories that should serve as inspirations for me. I really admire the persistence of Lee Min Ho in courting miss A's Bae Suzy. He repeatedly made requests to Suzy's side, but got turned down a few times. He had strong interest in Suzy and finally he got it!

It's obsessive of a fan to make such a wish, but it's possible right? :)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MINX's Yoohyeon is your crazy 4D girl

I am now so in love with TWICE just like my partner at MINX Philippines fanbase. TWICE made us crazy.

TWICE members are known for their dorkiness and craziness. Nayeon is dubbed the successor of A Pink's Bomi for craziness. I knew that so much about Bomi's gorilla move already.

Months ago I discovered this group called MINX. They're a bunch of crazy girls too. I see that a lot through their web series, MINX Play. They're a genuine bunch of people made so relatable to us. I can see that the concept between TWICE and MINX is incredibly similar. MINX states that theirs is a mischievous tomboy concept.

It took me a bit of exploration and luck to discover MINX, and I struck gold. Now my job is to convince you I've found a piece of gold. I opened MINX Malaysia on Facebook for that.

Many idols can sing. That's my first pass. Next comes concept. I'm into looking at cute girls.

There I have it! MINX is a cute group. To top it off, they're based on the mischievous girl concept. I don't need to see anymore innocent groups for the time being. We have A Pink, Lovelyz and G-friend for that.

These days, MINX wanted to show us their hardworking side so they uploaded Minx Practice instead of Minx Play. They wanted us to see THEY CAN.

Yoohyeon showcased her vocal prowess in her cover of Urban Zakapa's "Drinking Coffee". No doubt she's the lead singer of MINX. Fans praised her for being such a angel in real life. And indeed she can be dim witted at times.

Whenever I give my photocard people were puzzled why MINX was never heard before. I should just answer, this is my proud discovery and you should check it out. Haha.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

TWICE 트와이스, reverse driving and how K-pop chart works


TWICE's debut song "Like Ooh Ahh" climbed back up on the charts [1,2] and got to do another round of promotions on music shows. How excited I am when I heard that!

After three weeks of promotion, it seemed that Like Ooh Ahh would fall off the charts. But for some reason, the song climbed back up to 9th place 75 days after releaase. It occupied 10th place twice, on November 10 and then December 26. On January 9 the song is now 1st place contender for SBS Inkigayo.

This is a phenomenon called reverse driving. It happened to EXID one year ago and now it's happening to TWICE. Artists can be called back mandatorily by music programs for climbing back up the charts.

Thanks to ONCEs, TWICE had reverse driving through conventional means. That's also because of a 'vacuum' left on music charts. EXID's case was a more extreme case: months after they finished promoting their track, they shot back all due to a viral fancam.

Now we should treat TWICE 트와이스 for a first place on music shows shall we?


How the music chart shows of South Korea work is shrouded in mystery to most fans.

The K-pop and music industry is a saturated and competitive field. Artists consists of more than just idols. There are many types of singers competing for the limited space available on music program.

How limited are spaces available on music programs? There are six major music chart programs - SBS-MTV The Show, KBS Music Bank, MBC Show Champion, MBC Music Core, Mnet M! Countdown, SBS Inkigayo. Each show airs for around 1 and a half hour weekly and has space for 20 songs. Each artist promotes for 1 month except for special stages.

The space available for music programs is scarce and choosing which artist to promote is a fundamental problem that must be answered by TV stations.

In the age of Web 2.0, the decision to promote artists is partially democratized. The distribution company (like 1theK, CJE&M, KT Music) uploads the MV on Youtube and music streaming sites. The song is immediately logged onto the music charts, though the information is not shown to the public. When a song reaches a certain popularity, consideration can be made for artists to promote on music chart shows.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

TWICE member comparison chart and the family book confusion

How long has TWICE debuted? Not very long is my short answer. Describing their popularity shot up like a rocket blasting into space is not an exaggeration.

I've had so much of their debut song Like Ooh-Ahh - (Ooh-Ahh 하게) in their MV, dance practice and regular music shows - countless videos alraedy. The amazing fact is I never grow tired of it.

They become popular enough to be featured on Weekly Idol. Based on information from the show, someone (Instagram: @jihyo.twice) compiled a chart comparing members of TWICE.

The chart is a good summary of the show, and a very valuable piece of infographic indeed!

The obvious question is of course, the age of the members. The maker stated that "Jihyo (early 97-liner) is friends with 96-liners but Mina born in the next month considers Jihyo as a more senior person". So, why are Mina and Jihyo who are born in the same year are treated differently? And it appear puzzling that Jihyo treats those born in the previous year as people of her age. It appears that this "family book confusion" has no explanation, and Jihyo is playfully named the culprit.

Let me tell you this. There is an explanation for seniority in K-pop groups and it has to be done from an East Asian perspective. Are you ready?

Seniority in South Korea is calculated based not on the Western calendar but the lunisolar calendar. The lunisolar calendar was invented to mark seasons, each lasting two weeks, to facilitate agricultural activities. That's because China and East Asia in general were agrarian societies in the past. Interestingly, the date of each season is fixed in the Western calendar. The new year in the lunisolar calendar falls on 4th of February [in the Western calendar] each year.

What about the date of Lunar New Year? For the purpose of determining a person's age, the date of Lunar New Year isn't used. The same point has been iterated by Chinese Feng Shui masters for determining Chinese zodiacs.

Now look at the chart again. Jihyo was born on 1st of February 1997 and that puts her in the same rank of seniority to those born in 1996.

Next question: How do I come up with this explanation? First off, I am a Chinese and observe the lunisolar calendar. One fact is, East Asian cultures are very similar to each other because they stem from common roots. There are many things of East Asia that do not make sense from the Western perspective, but make a lot of sense to me. While the job of K-pop news sites is to present news stories, but readers are free to judge the stories from their own cultural perspective, which may not be entirely correct. To judge a story accurately, reading commentaries and opinion pieces may help, and the actual key is to have good understanding of East Asian cultures.

Lastly, I must commend the Koreans for preserving the Confucianist values better than the Chinese.