The 228 Massacre

Today is February 28th. Much like 9/11, this date is known in Taiwan simply by it’s numbers: “228”, and is recognized each year by the Taiwanese for what happened there 56 years ago. If you think 9/11 was bad, read on.

On February 28th, 1947, there was a protest in Taiwan against the ruling Kuomintang. The Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) were in the process of losing control of the Mainland to the Communist Party. Taiwan, which had previously been a Japanese territory since 1895, was now under the new leadership of the Kuomintang in a deal struck between Chiang Kai Shek and the members of the Allied forces at the end of World War II.

What sparked the protests was the arrest of an old woman in Taipei for selling cigarettes without a license, but the anger ran deep among the Taiwanese and any incident could have triggered the following widespread demonstrations against Kuomintang rule. The mainland government was corrupt, oppressive, and was treating the Taiwanese with unfairness and contempt.

What followed was a brutal, horrific suppression of dissent on the island. When word of these uprisings reached the mainland, Chiang Kai Shek ordered troops to quell the resistance. The Kuomintang then proceeded to massacre thousands of people, moving from city to city and killing civilians indiscriminately. Cultural figures, such as leaders, scholars, doctors, teacher, musicians, and students, were all rounded up and shot so as to attempt to blot out any sense of identity among the Taiwanese. Up to 30,000 Taiwanese were killed during this massacre. Taiwan was ruled with an iron fist by the Kuomintang afterwards. A period of martial law known as the “White Terror” was in place for some 40 years, and dissent against the ruling Kuomintang was met with arrests, imprisonment, and executions.

Today, 228 is a national holiday in Taiwan. Taiwan’s current president, Chen Shui-Bian, a former political dissident himself, is now the first democratically-elected president from an opposition party in the nation’s history. After decades of silence, people are now able to talk about what happened, and are able to learn and understand the truth.

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The Diagnosis

So it looks like we are going to try to save the neck on my double bass, rather than doing a full replacement and grafting the scroll back on. In the process my luthier will give it a new fingerboard, shim the neck to correct the action, patch up the scroll, carve me a new bridge, and fix some of the chipped purfling around the edges. This will be considerably cheaper, and the end result is that I will be able to practice once again and the bass will sound great and be highly playable. I can hardly stand the wait…

War = Peace?

Bush’s latest oxy-moronic tirade: Invading Iraq could help peace in the Middle East. That’s neat: Trickle-down theory Reganomics applied to warmongering. Bush is now trying to convince us that this ludicrous invasion would help to stabilize the region and somehow magically bring peace. Wow… I can’t tell at this point if Bush is evil, crazy, or just plain dumb. Two outta three maybe? A triple play?

Bush says that the United Nations must help him on his personal crusade against Saddam Hussein or “fade into history as an ineffectve, irrelevant, debating society.” I would say that the United Nations is quite effective in doing what it can to prevent a rush to Bush’s call to war. It is quite relevant, despite the fact that Bush would much rather it was not relevant and he could do whatever he wants.

Sigh… this constant barrage of propoganda is just so disenchanting. I wish they would spend half as much time trying to fix the economy and improving our education system as they would on trying to bomb Iraq.

New Shelving

I completed my home improvement project this evening of installing shelving in my office. This included one ceiling-high bookcase just to the left of my desk, and some built-in shelves right above my computer. This frees up so much space, since the two desks in the office were clogged with just about everything that should have been in the shelves; books, CDs, cables, computer devices, and so on. Now most of my peripherals sit on the shelf just above my computer, with the cables dangling down and a spot light conveniently installed underneath to provide just the right lighting. My wireless TurboMouse now actually looks wireless, and not surrounded by hordes of cables. My office looks totally cool now. The bookcase now holds all my geek books, and I installed a cool little spot light at the top to illuminate the whole thing and provide some sunshine in an otherwise dark corner. There seemed to be several orphaned transformers still plugged in to my two power strips, so I purged them and freed up some valuable power space. The Office Phase of my Six Step Master Plan for Home Improvement is now complete. OK, I don’t really have a master plan – more like a foggy idea, but hey; at least the office is done!

In the process, I plugged several holes in the drywall and did some touch-up painting. Thankfully the previous owner left clearly-labeled paint cans in the garage, all with Home Depot color formulas still indicated, so it was easy to match the colors and start painting. I also painted over Max’s “artwork”, where he had taken my set of colored pencils and scribbled all over my walls from the Master Bath all the way to the Living Room. It’s amazing – it looks like a new house. Max hadn’t drawn on the walls in weeks, so I thought it was over with, but apparently when I came home today he had done some fresh artwork on the front door today…

Weblog version 1.4

Version 1.4 of my weblog system is now up and running, and you’re looking at it. This includes the ability to categorize entries and sort results by topic, a new field for whatever is the current track that I am listening to during the post. (Like right now it’s Pat M’weeney playing.) I also streamlined the RSS generation process a bit, and there were lots of changes on the back end overall.

I found many new bugs in Dreamweaver during this process. I have come to the realization that, although Dreamweaver is a huge productivity-enhancing tool, it will always take me only 70% to 80% of the way there. There are always bugs that need to be cleaned up. There are always things I want to do that Dreamweaver doesn’t, or that I can just do faster in a text editor. But still, that initial 70% to 80% is quite a lot, and it beats any other web development tool that I’ve tried.