Canada’s Taiwan bill

A bill in Canada is in the works to expand diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which is a good thing for Taiwan, and for freedom and democracy. (There — I think that sentence has the sufficient keywords to get this site banned in China.)

But of course, the limiting factor is the almighty dollar, an altar which everyone seem to be willing to sacrafice Taiwan, democracy, freedom, and their own dignity at: | Private MP bill could harm relations with China

Although it stops short of calling Taiwan a state, the bill calls for improved economic, cultural, scientific and legal ties. It would also open the door to Taiwan officials to once again start visiting Canada.

China’s ambassador in Ottawa, Lu Shumin, says that would be going too far.

“This bill which in essence is to advocate the changing basis of Taiwan and treat it as a separate country,” he told CTV News, noting that would not jibe with Beijing.

And that has members of Canada’s business community concerned their livelihood could be at stake.

Old photo of Kurdish leader and missionaries

KurdsThis is a cool photo I found in a stack of old negatives. I’m estimating this was taken late 1910s or early 1920s. The three gentlemen top center are my great grandfather Dr. Wilder Ellis, the Kurdish chief Simco, and another missionary named Dr. Shedd. My great grandfater and Dr. Shedd were physicians practicing medicine as missionary members of the Presbyterian Church in Or≈myeh in what is present day northern Iran during the early portion of the 1900s.

Update: I hear through my grandfather (who was born in Or≈myeh and lived there until about 15) that Simco was killed shortly after this photo was taken, during the Assyrian Genocide of 1914-1922.

Another update: Simco meanwhile is famed for betraying and murdering Mar Shimun, the Assyrian patriarch of the time. The story gets more and more fascinating. There were all sorts of parties involved in this story – armies from Britain and Russia, Kurdish warlords, Assyrians, Persians, Turks, and these two American Presbyterian missionaries sitting there attempting to practice medicine in the middle of it all during World War I.

Yet another update from my grandfather: Apparently the Kurds held my great grandparents captive from 1918 until the Turkish army came a few years later.

The New Bach

This is a huge find – to discover a yet-unknown composition by J.S. Bach, simply amazing.

Bach composed the work for a soprano, to be accompanied by strings or a harpsichord, to mark the 52nd birthday of the duke of Saxony-Weimar, for whom he worked as a court organist, the foundation said.

A solo soprano was to sing a 12-verse poem beginning with the duke’s motto, Everything with God and Nothing Without Him, written by Johann Anton Mylius, it said.

The work was Bach’s only known strophic aria, in which several stanzas are set to the same music, and the precise date made it valuable to researchers studying the development of the German composer’s style, the foundation said.

And can I just mention how much I love the Translation Widget from the Tiger Dashboard? I was just sitting here on the couch with my laptop reading the news and I wanted to tell her about the story, but my Mandarin language skills have a ways to go for I can engage in any effective dialogue that is more complex than “Please pass the asparagus”. So just quickly hit F12, type in something translator-friendly, and we were finally able to talk abut discovering a Bach manuscript that was saved from a fire at some historic library in Germany.