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Taiwanese Cash In On China-Japan Island Dispute



TAIPEI - The Taiwanese are famous for being hard-working and creative when it comes to business. And thus the ongoing dispute between China and Japan has turned into an opportunity for the busy brains of Taiwan businessmen.

While the boycott of Japanese goods is growing, an emphasis on “MIT-Made in Taiwan” has suddenly become a strong selling point at the Nanjing Taiwan Trade Fair which opened last week.

Some Taiwanese manufacturers told the China Times that they specifically used to flaunt the fact that their goods had obtained Japanese patents, a certain guarantee of quality. The word Japan is now taboo. When a Chinese visitor saw cookware displayed with a label written in Japanese, he asked the manufacturer: “Is this Japanese or Taiwanese?! I’m not buying anything Japanese!”

Taiwan is in a particularly embarrassing situation as regards to the standoff over the Diaoyu Islands (called Senkaku Islands in Japan). The Nationalist Party, which makes up the current administration, and the Democratic Progressive Party, which proclaims an independent Taiwan, both claim that the Diaoyu Islands are part of Taiwan. Fishing boats set out this week for a symbolic assault on the islands.

As the anti-Japanese sentiment surges on, Chinese tour groups have one-by-one cancelled their trips to Japan, notably ahead of the Golden Week surroundingChina's National Day. And just in time, huge banners have been hung over the busy Wangfujing district in Beijing proclaiming “Travel to Taiwan, it’s now!” According to the United Daily, the Taiwan Tourism Association is behind this particular advertising campaign.

Many travel agencies in Shanghai have had to deal with last-minute cancellations from clients who were booked for Japan. One agency manager confirmed to the Xinhua News agency that this represents 40% of their sales. Airlines have had to rearrange or even cancel entire flights to Japan.

Nevertheless, as a country unrecognized by the mainstream of the international community, Taiwan’s claim over these islands is an unheard voice. “It’s like dogs barking at the train,” as some Taiwanese would put it. Still, business is business.

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What To Do With The Complainers In Your Life — Advice From A South American Shrink

Argentines love to complain. But when you listen to others who complain, there are options: must we be a sponge to this daily toxicity or should we, politely, block out this act of emotional vandalism?

Photo of two men talking while sitting at a table at a bar un Buenos Aires, with a poster of Maradona on the wall behind them.

Talking in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Martín Reynoso*

BUENOS AIRESArgentina: the land of complainers. Whether sitting in a taxi, entering a shop or attending a family dinner, you won't escape the litany of whingeing over what's wrong with the country, what's not working and above all, what we need!

We're in an uneasy period of political change and economic adjustments, and our anxious hopes for new and better leaders are a perfect context for this venting, purging exercise.

Certain people have a strangely stable, continuous pattern of complaining: like a lifestyle choice. Others do it in particular situations or contexts. But what if we are at the receiving end? I am surprised at how complaints, even as they begin to be uttered and before they are fully formulated, can disarm and turn us into weak-willed accomplices. Do we have an intrinsic need to empathize, or do we agree because we too are dissatisfied with life?

Certainly, agreeing with a moaner may strengthen our social or human bonds, especially if we happen to share ideas or political views. We feel part of something bigger. Often it must seem easier to confront reality, which can be daunting, with this type of "class action" than face it alone.

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