Sunday, September 14, 2008

YB, You've Missed Out The Best

YB, You've Missed Out The Best

14 Sept, 2008

By CHEN HUIJIAO, Sin Chew Daily

The itineraries of the 49 BN backbenchers on a study trip to Taiwan have been closely pursued by the Taiwanese media. From travel agency employees to the MPs, everyone is not looking too well! What exactly have the Taiwanese media said about our MPs' visit?

- TVBS: Look very much like they're here for money. Terrible! How could they give people such a greedy impression? It's all the fault of Taiwan's money diplomacy! Luckily, these MPs stay in five-star hotels, showing that they actually have the money to spend.

- NowNews media director: They said they came here to study agriculture, but are actually here to learn about elections. Or else why have they come here? Taiwan may have been successful in its agricultural reforms, but we must also not forget that the agricultural associations produced by such a process of agricultural reforms, have been a tool for elections.

- Ming Pao Weekly journalist: Basically I feel this has nothing much to do with us: foreign MPs come here to study our agriculture while enjoying some nice food and sightseeing on the sidelines--Indeed, Taiwan is known for its mouthwatering delicacies. How can anyone be immune to the temptation?

- Lianhe Zhaobao correspondent in Taiwan: Agriculture study trip is what they claimed. We don't know how the itineraries have been arranged. If they have come here to study our agriculture, the Taiwanese media should have followed up very closely. But so far we have seen nothing much. Why so secretive? Well, if not secretive, how are they going to get the media to chase them down?

- China Times reporter: The ruling party is scared that Anwar will rebel against them, so they send their MPs away, nothing different from a house arrest--the whole idea is too uncreative. Everyone has guessed that, but they just denied it square.

Other than the above, there are some journalists who are frank enough to say that they "have not noticed this thing. All the news pages have been filled up by typhoon, Chen Shui-bian and Ma Ying-jeou."

Indeed. Taiwan has already issued warnings on the impending Typhoon Sinlaku, and the entire island is expected to experience very heavy downpours. Sinlaku will sweep across Taiwan on the mid-autumn day itself. Our honourable MPs had better watch out.

After commanding the skills of shunning the media, perhaps you should also learn some typhoon survival tips. As we are not sure when you will come back to Malaysia, I can only suggest that you pay serious attention to the Central Weather Bureau 's typhoon alerts. Changes in the sky over Taiwan are definitely a lot more drastic than the not-so-certain 16 September!

In contrast to the media people in Taiwan, Malaysians working on the island are not that harsh on the MPs:

- Engineer at Hsinchu Science Park: It's absolutely normal for MPs to go overseas en masse. But if the itineraries have been planned in such a rush, then something must be wrong--(Well, even outsiders can smell something unbecoming!)

- Office worker in Taipei: There must be some special programmes in this trip which has such an unusual timing--(Asking me? How am I going to get you the answer?)

As for the Malaysian students there, they have hoped to hold a dialogue with the MPs, wanting them to express their views on "degrees from Taiwan." Until now I have yet to know whether they have successfully held the dialogue with the MPs.

I won't be surprised if they haven't. The MPs' visit was packed to the seams. They have to start their programmes five o'clock in the morning until ten at night. They said they had no time for Anwar. How could they have any time for the students?

Having said that, the MPs must expedite their talks on the recognition of Taiwanese degrees, otherwise they will have hard time facing the five students at Pingtung Technological University they visited?

If they are really keen to study Taiwan's agriculture, perhaps they should have also paid a visit to the agro-economy and agro-chemistry faculties in National University of Taiwan. From Ilan county, they should have also made a side trip to neighbouring Hualien, and see for themselves the paddy fields sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the towering mountains of Central Range. It would also be a waste if they've left out the golden mango fields in Yujing township in Tainan county not so far from Kaohsiung.

Also, they should have tried to study the rehabilitation of Kaohsiung's Love River, explore ways to establish the cultural wealth of Taipei, crime-busting tactics of Taichung, learn how to plan the exhibition of national treasures in the Palace Museum, or how to turn our pasar malam into world class tourist attraction like Taiwan's... From the itineraries that have so far been disclosed to the public, my only comment is: not solid enough.

Blame the travel agency for keeping the itineraries out of public's sight. If they are disclosed much earlier, given the suggestions from the public, this trip could have been a lot more fruitful. (Translated by DOMINIC LOH)

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