28 May 2007

A new ridiculous policy in Taiwan again: Minimum Wages

The council of labour affairs of Taiwan recently announced that the minimum wage of labours should be raised to NTD95 (about USD2.8) per hour in two years time. It will go from NTD66 to NTD87 in the first year, and then to NTD95 in the second year. The head of the council said later that this new policy would result in extra payment for some of the employers, so the government will support these employers to pay the extra NTD10 in the first year. What kind of policy is this?

This new policy supposes to protect all labours, and I agree with its intention to ensure all labours' right. However, what follows is just ridiculous, and I cannot help but think that this is in fact a "Bribe".

Employers are responsible for the wages of their employees. If the law says that each labour should have NTD95 for every hour's work, then they should get that amount of money. Otherwise, don't hire people to work for you.

Who employs the most hourly paid labours? I believe they are the retailers, such as fast-food chain stores and convenient stores. These employers are in fact earning more than enough to cover this extra expense. Some of them are international companies, which means they may have paid more to their employers in other countries. According to the information provided by Wikipedia, UK pays at least £5.35 per hour, and the USA will be paying up t0 $7.25 over the next two years. These employers can only abide by the law, whether they are happy or not. Those governments did not give any further assistance to employers, either. We should make it clear here that the minimum wage is set up to protect the labour's right; it is not a policy to ensure the employers' profit.

Moreover, this extra expense will be paid by all taxpayers living in Taiwan. It truly sounds good when the government said we will be doing it, but don't forget that every penny the government has is from us, taxpayers. This also includes those who are earning hourly wages. So this situation becomes very tricky because even those who earns this extra NTD10 are also contributing to this expense! To the end, labours who should be benefited from this policy are not gaining what they should get but are being deprived of their rights.

As for those employers, they are the only one who benefits from this ridiculous policy. They don't need to pay more to their employees, they can keep their profits, and lastly, they have a good support from the government. Doesn't this sound like an ugly collusion between politics and commerce? Indeed, fraud and bribe are nothing new to this corrupt government of Taiwan. They may use this new policy as a way to get votes for the presidential election next year. Since this government has lost its support from the majority of the proletariat, there is no better way than securing its legitimate political status through collusion with the businessmen. It is true that in election if you have a good money support, you have already won. This is a bold assumption I made, though without any solid evidence, I just smell a rat.

I truly feel sorry for those who are earning this minimum wage. I hope all labour organizations in Taiwan can fight against this stupid new policy and make sure that all employers are paying what they should be paying.

15 May 2007

A Wedding Invitation

Jeremy and Cecilia are getting married. I am so happy for this lovely couple.

I love weddings. How sad that I will not be able to attend their wedding. Though I won't be there, I know this wedding is gonna be beautiful.

Jeremy is a nice and funny person. We get to know each other becuase he moved into our flat in London. He is a talented photographer. It is quite fun to browse through his blog. He also has a website for his photographs. I know Cecilia through another friend and get to know her more later after Jeremy started to date her. She is very beautiful, I would say too beautiful! I still remember Ceci's delicious mole, spicy chocolate sauce with chicken. Loving that dish a lot. I believe Jeremy probably doesn't cook now. Both of them currently live in Mexico City.

Time flies! I can't believe it has been three years.

This lovely couple has my best wishes.

Congradulations on your marriage
Wish you a long and happy life together!

14 May 2007

Such a Unique Political Phenomenon, only in Taiwan

We have a new prime minister "AGAIN". 6 prime ministers for 7 years. Almost one for a year. Actually, it's not 6 but 5 for 7 years because the latest one was also the second one. What a political miracle!

Whoever is highly interested in politics should consider living in Taiwan and joining the Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨). They are the ruling party of Taiwan, and they really offer good chances for their members. Taking this issue as an example. We should not blame them for doing so because that is how they reward their hard working members! Even you are not lucky enough to be appointed as the prime minister, you still have the chance to take other minor positions. As long as you are committed to the president, you have a bright future.

What a shame indeed. I hate to say so, but it is the truth. Taiwan has become "the hell". No one wants to invest in this land due to such a unstable political environment. Those who run the government are still indulging themselves in this stupid political game. They don't care about the poeple here but their own benefits. They don't care about the future development of the country but their personal interests. To them, all governmental positions are good channels to satisfy desires, and they truly do whatever they can to achieve it. How could we expect Taiwan to be rich and strong when the government is so corrupt? How could we trust such government when changing prime ministers is like changing clothes? I am hoping that we won't get any new prime ministers before the presidential election in 2008.

4 May 2007

Getting Schengen Visa is such a pain in the ass

I am going to Greece, and I am going to contribute to the market of the European Union. Good! Then why make the visa application so annoying?

First, we, being Taiwanese, can never get Greek visa becuase there aren't any Greek governmental representatives here in Taiwan. We must get the Schengen Visa from the Spainish Consulate in Taipei. All right, under the current political situation, that may be the best we can get so far. Honestly speaking, I don't really care which Schengen state issues my visa, as long as I can enter Greece without any problems.

However, it is not this easy. Other than the usual information needed, such as passport and air ticket, they ask me to provide an invitation from my contact in Greece. Wait a minute, am I going there for business? I questioned myself when I heard this from my travel agent. Why do I have to provide an invitation when I am only going there for holiday? Moreover, they also ask for a bank statement of which the amount of USD3000 is the minimum requirement. The third ridiculous thing is that I must have a passport photo that is less than six months old, and it should not be the same as the one I have on my ID card or on my other visas. What the F**K! Why are there so many weird rules for a tourist visa?

Indeed, I am quite cross about these regulations, but I have no choice but comply with these ridiculous rules. I have a passport issued by a country that is truly an independent state but not being recognized as a country. Even the people living on this island are truly rich enough to travel around the world, they world still treat them like they are from the third world. Because we are invisible to the international society! And worse than that, they know we have money and do whatever they can to dig out the money from us.

Maybe I should not complain about how the world treats us. Maybe it is our own government's weak foreign policy that results in such an unequal relationship. If we have established a positive relationship with the EU, even this relationship is done under the table, we probably will not receive such a treatment. The government here only cares about accumulating the numbers of countries which intend to have formal diplomatic relationships with us. Almost all our diplomatic relatioinships are with super weak countries, and they contribute nothing to the development of Taiwan in the international society. Why bothers to use money to buy a fake dilpomatic relationship with those when we can use all our resources to build up a good relationship with powerful countries? It is extremely childish to stop any good interaction with those powerful countries just because they refuse to recognize our political status. How sad it is really happening, and the poeple living on this island are suffering from it.

Still, I have to get that visa, and I have to provide the consulate all those stupid documents. The visa will cost me USD80!