Saturday, April 16, 2005

Apple Daily - Top Stories

My blogging topics have been a bit heavy lately, it seems to me. Must be the Communist Party of China that brings out that side of me. There's no better antidote for that than a perusal of the Apple Daily, Taiwan's tabloid (and most widely read) newspaper. Our top story informs us that "experts" (hailing from Switzerland, no less) say that regularly receiving a spanking is good for your body and your mind. Some aborigines are shown doing their special spanking dance, and we are informed that the experts say that people who receive a regular spanking have a memory improvement of 30%. It's good for your love life, as well, apparently. Swiss experts. Must be true.

President Chen Shui Bian's son is getting engaged - and to quite a hotty, from the looks of things. The first son is matriculating in a master's program at Berkeley, laboring in the long shadow cast by his more illustrious Bay area compatriot, Bruce, of Naruwan Formosa. The fiancee is apparently a quite talented musician, and teaches piano in Taipei.

Okay, enough of the high road. Let's get down to the stuff that really brings in the readers. This article deals with a man in Kaohsiung who raped his sister, and then, when the sister fled the house, proceeded to rape his mother. There is no photo, but there is a drawing accompanying the article, demonstrating what a rape is, for those who are unclear.

(Warning: very graphic photo. This is the immediate aftermath of a man's fatal encounter with a gravel truck in Taipei County. The Apple Daily motto is: "Leave nothing to the imagination." Gravel trucks are a plague and a menace in Taiwan. The danger that they pose simply cannot be exaggerated. Some municipalities (like Taichung, where I live) have strict rules limiting the roads the trucks can travel, but a place like Hualien is an absolute free-fire zone. My friend Rob Johanson (東華之光 - "the glory of Dong Hua") recently had an accident with a truck in which his windshield was smashed and he was wedged into his seat for thirty minutes. The truck was entirely unlicensed and illegal. When he got out, the truck driver excused himself on a lame pretext, then failed to appear at the police station as scheduled. As it happens, Rob is a member of the Hualien Rotary. In addition, the professor with an office two doors down from his moonlights as the Assistant County Magistrate of Hualien. After a few phone calls, the gravel company owner materialized with amazing alacrity. Rob got an eighty thousand dollar payment for a car that was worth about fifty. Lesson: DON'T MESS WITH THE ROTARY!

Our last item brings us up to date on the latest developments of that story about the frog that turned up in a can of Pringles potato chips. Tragically, the online version of the story does not include the picture of the frog and can that appeared in the print version. The Pringles Company has responded by pointing out that the can was manufactured in America in January, when frogs would be in hibernation. Moreover, the frog in question (a protected species in Taiwan) does not occur in America. But they would say that, wouldn't they?