Features — 04 August 2018
They already have their poster girl

Dolores’s enemies, they aren’t few – all politicians are hated by at least half of Belize – yes, her enemies labeled her “scornful” because, they say, she doesn’t cozy up to people too much when on the campaign trail, as all politicians in Belize are taught/advised to do. People (from the UDP camp) claim she was “caught” with a bottle of hand sanitizer, after she “slipped” one time and “slapped palms” with voters she desperately needed to win over to her cause.

Life is really harder for a female on the campaign trail. Males aren’t averse to shaking the hands of males, because it palpably cuts down on the natural antagonism. And what a great excuse to squeeze the females in a campaign trail abrazo! There is no reason for females to shake hands. They are not into fisticuffs. And if they give us a hug, we get ideas. All things ARE possible under God’s wonderful sun.

I don’t know how other female candidates express the warmth, the kinship with the voters. But no touching, I have heard, is the way Dolores rolls.

The story about is that females bring new things to the table. This “scornful” thing is territory, a picado maybe only a female can open. A man can’t be “scornful” with the rank and file, but they, females, can get away with the cold shoulder. The proof of that is in the counting room. Dolores has won, more than once. I hear her hat is in the ring again. I bet her opponents will criticize her style. Some people are slow learners.

It could be the time. In this day and age we understand what helps diseases to rage. You heard the report, the one about the H1N1 virus showing up in Belize. Well, a lot of people who were taking digs at Dolores will now be touting her as the poster girl.

For females, it’s more than being tutored to keep a safe distance from males. Females are the ones who visit the hospitals the most, and take care of babies and old folks, so they more readily appreciate the need for good hygiene. Rubbing up on everyone you meet, and politicians meet a heck of a lot of people, exposes your defense. The next person you meet might be carrying a latent pink eye, agh, or the bad H1N1.

The head epidemiologist says there is no cause to panic. He also says we should stiffen our guard. We should step up not only for the H1N1. We should guard against all the bad bugs. Belize could save a lot of down time from the flu, if we just follow Dolores’s lead. Hmm, maybe she only works for women when she gets a seat. But when she’s on the campaign trail, she is MoH’s poster girl, for all of us.

Dolores, if we believe her opponents, is not too liberal with the palm slapping. To steal from Tina Turner, a fist bump will do nicely, thank you. Most everyone gives in to a little larceny, sometimes. Heck, Manuel Esquivel did the crime too. Really, what does love have to do with it?

No panic, but we have to step up. I am depending on the MoH to stay a step ahead of the flu, all of the bugs. I’ll be watching them closely to see the creative offerings to keep us on our toes. One piece is already in place. They already have their poster girl.

China could ease up on Taiwan

I saw this story on Yahoo, where on Tuesday this week, China “called on the United States to block the transit of Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, who will stop over in the country en route to Paraguay and Belize.” The Belize Press Office said on Monday that Dr. Tsai Ing-wen will be visiting Belize August 16-18, on invitation from the Government of Belize. We welcome Dr. Tsai Ing-wen and hope that she has an enjoyable and productive stay in our country.

Taiwan, as most of us are aware, is claimed by China. Taiwan (Formosa) had been under Japanese rule, but Japan had been defeated in WWII. Chinese General, Chiang Kai-shek, and his defeated army (they were defeated by the communists on mainland China), fled there and took over the country in 1949. The Wikipedia says that Chiang Kai-shek “was recognized by much of the world as the head of the legitimate government of China until the late 1960s and early 1970s.”

I’ve wondered why China is so insistent on absorbing Taiwan. I’ve had a soft spot for Chiang Kai-shek. If I were a total cheat I’d put the blame on the Reader at Holy Redeemer. I can’t recall what class I was in when I read a short story about the Chinese general, but I know that ever since I read the story, there’s been this soft spot. Hmm, the things you read when you are a child are only by way of introduction. It is your duty to seek out all the available facts when you get older.

I thought Chiang Kai-shek was a full blown capitalist and, with the Reader having softened me up, I saw his capitalism as a benign brand. The Wikipedia says that Chiang (31st October 1887 – 5th April 1975), fought both communists and capitalists. The Wikipedia says that during his reign in China (1926-48), he rejected “both capitalism and Western democracy,” and was “in favor of an authoritarian government.”

He “antagonized the capitalists of Shanghai, often attacking them and confiscating their capital and assets for the use of the government…even while he denounced and fought against communists…he crushed pro-communist worker and peasant organizations and rich Shanghai capitalists at the same time.”

After Chiang and his Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) were defeated, he went into exile on Taiwan. The people on the island do not have fond memories of Chiang and his army.

http://www.taiwandc.org/228-intr.htm says that February 28 “is etched into the hearts and minds of the Taiwanese people like the word ‘Holocaust’ in the history of the Jewish people. On that day, 50 years ago in 1947, an incident took place in Taipei, which led to the massive slaughter of thousands of Taiwanese at the hands of Chiang Kai-shek’s Chinese troops.

“The event was the beginning of 40 years of repressive martial law on the island, during which Chiang’s Kuomintang mainlanders ruled the Taiwanese with iron fist. This ended only in 1987, when martial law was lifted, and Taiwan started to move towards democratization.”

The page continues: “As soon as the troops arrived, they started rounding up and executing people, in particular scholars, lawyers, doctors, students and local leaders of the protest movement. In total between 18,000 and 28,000 people were murdered. Thousands of others were arrested and imprisoned in the ‘White Terror’ campaign which took place in the following decade. Many of these remained imprisoned until the early 1980s.

“Until a few years ago, the events of 1947 were a taboo subject on the island. The Kuomintang authorities did not want to be reminded of their dark past, and the people did not dare to speak out for fear of retribution by the KMT’s secret police.”

Chiang Kai-shek’s party, the Kuomintang (KMT), does not have the same grip it had on the island when it invaded in the 1940’s. Chris Horton, writing in the New York Times (online edition) on March 29, 2017, says, “The days of power and wealth are gone for the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, as it struggles to stay relevant in Taiwan politics… After a disastrous performance in last year’s general election, the Kuomintang, also known as the K.M.T., lost control of the presidency for the second time since Taiwan’s presidential elections began in 1996. For the first time, it is a minority party in the island’s legislature.”

These few paragraphs are just touching the surface of the politics of this island, which was once controlled by the Dutch, and then the Spanish, and then the Chinese, and then the Japanese, and then Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang. There are elements on the island that want closer relations with China, but there are no indications of any real forces on the island that want it absorbed.

Personally, my hope is that China eases the pressure on Taiwan. Little Belize has been blessed from the largesse of both countries. In the 1980’s (I think I have the decade right), communist China gifted us the Bel-China Bridge. Taiwan, definitely capitalist, has made major investments in Belize over the years, easily over a hundred millions dollars. Some say they are buying our love. I’d hate to think that all we have to give them in return, is our vote when it is called upon. Of course, that vote is no small thing.

One Taiwanese (anonymous) said that China won’t let go because it fears that would make other provinces of China get ideas. This idea of secession is not such a strange thing. Recently we heard rumblings from California, about that state breaking away from their union with the USA. That definitely is not so farfetched. California’s economy is reportedly $2.7trillion, the fifth largest in the world.

If China eased the pressure on Taiwan, they, Taiwan, wouldn’t need us so much. Still, we should be happy for the easing of tensions between the two countries because both of them are our friends.

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Deshawn Swasey

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