World University Games, Dreamer, and Two Dollar Persimmons
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 2, 2011
Summary: Taipei City has defeated the the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, and won its bid to host the 2017 Summer World University Games. President Ma stayed up to 2:30 am hoping for good news from Brussels, Clearly our head of state was concerned about this victory, Winning the bid touched the hearts of the people. The 2017 World University Games is allowing us to affirm our achievements. It is enabling us to extricate ourselves from internecine conflict and futile wheel-spinning.
Full Text Below:
Taipei City has defeated the the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, and won its bid to host the 2017 Summer World University Games. By the time the ballots were counted, it was 2:30 am in Taipei. Sports Commission Chairman Dai Hsia-ling telephoned President Ma Ying-jeou from Brussels to tell him the good news. The next morning the public soon felt the significance of this achievement. Excitement quickly spread.
This was Taipei's fifth bid for the World University Games. Before the news broke, people did not hold out much hope. This was clear from news photos from Brussels posted by the Mainland's Xinhua News Agency. But the good news was infectious, It pushed the "two dollar persimmons" controversy to the back pages.
The World University Games is open to university students, college students, grad school students, and alumni who graduated less than two years ago, aged 17 to 28, from 163 countries. In 2017, over 12,000 of them will arrive on Taiwan to compete. Sports Commission Chairman Dai Hsia-ling said the World University Games is known as the "Little Olympics." It is the highest level, largest scale sporting event ever hosted by Taipei, and has far-reaching historical significance.
Dai Hsia-ling spoke of "far-reaching historical significance," What he meant was that One, the level of Taipei's participation in international events just moved up a level. Two, winning the bid just elevated Taipei City to new heights. Three, Taiwan's soft power has just been given a better international stage. Four, the international community will better understand Taiwan, It will better appreciate it and support it. Five, the victory is a win/win milestone that will benefit cross-Strait relations, Without three supporting votes from Beijing, Taipei could well have lost again. Six, winning the bid will enhance the public's sense of identity and pride. This synergy is something the public on Taiwan experienced during the World Games in Kaohsiung, the Deaflympics in Taipei, and the Taipei Flora Expo. Now the 2017 World University Games, to be held six years from now, may be of similar "far-reaching historical significance" to the public.
All in all, the aforemention "historical significance" can be summed up as "Taipei has shown its face, the public is unanimous in its approval." When major international sporting events are held in any country, the effect is the same. The 2008 Beijing Olympics was also a case of "Beijing has shown its face, the public is unanimous in its approval." The Republic of China has been alienated from international events for too long. It has been plagued by serious political divisions within, It is now able to host a major international event. This "showing one's face to the outside world," this "marketing of the nation," this "domestic sense of identity," and this "solidarity" feels even more worth fighting for.
The 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung, the Taipei Deaflympics, and the 2010 Taipei Flora Expo had a "Taipei shows its face, the public is unanimous in its approval" effect. The 2011 "Dreamer" centennial, celebrating the nation's founding, is also a major event. Yet is suffered a setback. The "Dreamer" celebration was an attempt to promote internal dialog over the founding of the nation. But political polarization deepened differences over artistic expression and resource allocation. Examined with a cool eye, the failure of the "Dreamer" celebration was not due to an out of control budget. It was not due to subjective differences over artistic expression. It may or may not have been the result of political ideology in artistic garments. It enabled hostile elements to exacerbate political divisions. Such is the political situation on Taiwan. Replacing Emile Sheng and Lai Sheng-chuan, the organizers of the "Dreamers" celebration, would not have made any difference.
Internal dialogue on Taiwan is difficult. The main reason is a lack of consensus over political identity. Paradoxically, the World Games in Kaohsiung, the Taipei Deaflympics, the Taipei Flora Expo, and the 2017 World University Games enable "showing one's face to the outside world." These non-political sports and arts activities may facilitate "unanimous approval." The 2008 Beijing Olympics healed festering wounds suffered beginning with the Opium War. The Kaohsiung World Games, the World University Games, and a whole slew of major international events are healing similar festering wounds, including the sense of being an international orphan, and internal divisions.
The general election is now in progress. Our ears are filled with claims and counterclaims. Is there a 1992 consensus? Are persimmon really two dollars per catty? Everyone turns a deaf ear to them. Everyone on Taiwan seems to be out for blood, out to destroy society. But this is not the nature of the most people on Taiwan, This is not what they want. The World Games, the Deaflympics, and the Taipei Flora Expo experience shows that the public on Taiwan remains hopeful and supportive about "showing one's face to the outside world" and "unanimous approval." Therefore, we too look forward to and wholeheartedly support the 2017 World University Games.
President Ma stayed up to 2:30 am hoping for good news from Brussels, Clearly our head of state was concerned about this victory, Winning the bid touched the hearts of the people. The 2017 World University Games is allowing us to affirm our achievements. It is enabling us to extricate ourselves from internecine conflict and futile wheel-spinning.
2011.12.02 01:37 am