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Solving problems

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Solving problems

Postby meyers66 » 01 Nov 2015, 11:41

Hello,
I'll get right to it: How to Taiwanese solve problems? (This is not a bogus question. I'm sincerely asking this question.)
Background so you have context: I've lived here more than 20 years. Yes I have a Taiwanese wife. No my Chinese isn't good and I take responsibility for this.
The way I see it this is how problems are solved in Taiwan: with money, with resignation, with building something.
The problem is after the media photo shoot most recreation areas go to shit because they aren't cared for.
Why I ask: littering in Hshinchu County is off the charts. Construction debris is dumped in the hills. Levee and wetlands are not respected at all. Ramps lead over the levee walls so 4x4 can drive through the rivers. Another e.g. in 100 meters someone dumped 5 huge sheets of glass on the levee wall where people recreate.
My answer: Use public shame. I heard a BBC piece from India where people reliving themselves in the fields were photographed.Their photos were posted publicly so they were humiliated in the village. Would the same thing work here but online?
Why I don't do it: A friend told me locals don't like it when foreigners point out shameful problems like littering.
IN MY OPINION all the focus on guanxi doesn't allow people to talk about problems. IN MY OPINION this is the PROBLEM.
All 6 of my email complaints to Taiwan EPA have gone no where.
Signed: bruised forehead.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby Ricarte » 02 Nov 2015, 13:40

Dear OP,

It may be my interpretation problem, but you've mentioned so many different points that I don't know wa=hat are you really asking...
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Re: Solving problems

Postby hansioux » 02 Nov 2015, 15:18

I think the OP is asking how to get the public together to tackle serious issues, such as illegal dumping of construction waste in remote areas. Raising social awareness is hard, but not impossible. Looking at the Dapu incident, and several other social issues that went from obscure to dominating the headlines, it is totally possible to get the public to notice problems that needs to be addressed. I think it takes is consistent effort in improving the situation, documenting the situation, and sharing information online.

I am not certain how the topic fits in Culture & History. Might move it to Living in Taiwan or the Open Forum depending on how the topic evolve.
Don't confuse me with your reasonableness.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby meyers66 » 02 Nov 2015, 17:42

Hello,
How do I move a thread?
Thanks for the feedback. Good to know so I can simplify things.
1. Yes hansioux is correct, the main point is how to address serious issues.
I don't see much intelligent discussion at the private universities where I taught for 10 plus years. We were told not to discuss Taiwan politics or we would lose our jobs. I was OK with that. But I noticed none of the teachers would talk about any current affairs. That is odd to me.
2. "No littering" is just common sense to me. That litter is everywhere is just pathetic. Still the littering problem doesn't strike me as a major issue per - say, but it does lead into a major issue. I sense, and I may be wrong, that locals in the rural counties are angry so they dump debris where ever they want. I assume they feel they have no political representation.
3. For the past month at least the Indonesian, Malaysia, and Singapore, and Philippines have had major haze problems from people burning debris.
Last week in Taiwan, there was a dust storm with pm2 readings spiking to 100+ in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties. Yet no mention on this in Taipei Times nor in my Taiwanese wife Yahoo news. It was obviously bad. So why are farmers in the fields burning debris and adding to it? 2 friends contacted me with health problems that were air pollution / dust related.
My wife tells me don't say anything, the farmers will think you are angry at them. (I was. But I try to approach strangers with a smile.) Still the problem persists everywhere and based on the Chinese Farmer almanac.
Why on earth do farmers burn debris when air pollution levels are over 100? So this is an example of a serious problem to me because it influences the publics health.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby meyers66 » 02 Nov 2015, 18:06

(Continuing my message on discussing of major issues above:)
4. The biggest, major issue, in the upcoming presidential election on 1/16/16, should be the "18% problem". This is the priority. Unless this "18% problem" gets addressed asap, enforcement of laws, and littering won't matter.
I sense I've tripped an invisible grenade line. So I'll wait for other comments.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby hansioux » 02 Nov 2015, 18:26

meyers66 wrote:"No littering" is just common sense to me. That litter is everywhere is just pathetic. Still the littering problem doesn't strike me as a major issue per - say, but it does lead into a major issue. I sense, and I may be wrong, that locals in the rural counties are angry so they dump debris where ever they want. I assume they feel they have no political representation.


Do not litter is taught in schools here in Taiwan, much like do not run red lights, or do not accept vote buying. These things are common knowledge in Taiwan, as in people would never get them wrong in a test, but they are not common sense.

I wonder if the problem with littering comes from the lack of ownership. Like people feel like the land has nothing to do with their identity, so they don't really care what happens to it.

meyers66 wrote:3. For the past month at least the Indonesian, Malaysia, and Singapore, and Philippines have had major haze problems from people burning debris.
Last week in Taiwan, there was a dust storm with pm2 readings spiking to 100+ in Taoyuan and Hsinchu counties. Yet no mention on this in Taipei Times nor in my Taiwanese wife Yahoo news. It was obviously bad. So why are farmers in the fields burning debris and adding to it? 2 friends contacted me with health problems that were air pollution / dust related.
My wife tells me don't say anything, the farmers will think you are angry at them. (I was. But I try to approach strangers with a smile.) Still the problem persists everywhere and based on the Chinese Farmer almanac.
Why on earth do farmers burn debris when air pollution levels are over 100? So this is an example of a serious problem to me because it influences the publics health.


Slash and burn farming is an Austronesian tradition. It's not a really effective one though, studies have shown that making compost out of unwanted vegetation actually is at least 3 times more effective at fertilizing the land...
Don't confuse me with your reasonableness.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby meyers66 » 02 Nov 2015, 18:39

I agree with you hansioux about making compost. Your point needs to go across Taiwanese TV big time.
___
I need to learn more about composting in Taiwan. Most of the composting I've read about was done in the US, or in Mollison and Lawton's talks. All of them seem like different climates from Taiwan's sub-tropical climate. I'll be farming next year. If you have info that is useful to this climate please share.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby Nuit » 02 Nov 2015, 19:11

Littering is at all levels: teens through 1-man blue trucks all the way up to construction companies. It's sad how many beautiful places in Taiwan are spoiled because people leave their BBQ litter lying around, and others dump bags of trash on top of other bags of trash. Once one bag of trash goes down, it's a green light to others to throw stuff on top of it.

The only solution I've found so far is to go where most Taiwanese don't go.

I've had people look at me weirdly because I'm clearing up trash (possibly *their* trash) from river beaches and bagging it out with me.
It's raining again here.

A wicked wind whips up the hill, a handful of hopeful words.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby Feiren » 02 Nov 2015, 19:27

The littering and dumping problem is far better than it was in the 1980s when people in rural areas had no trash pickup. It's also better in urban areas now that trash is not left in huge stinking mounds on the street. The incinerators that burn it up are a problem, but that's another story.

There are many Taiwanese groups who do excellent work in this area. The Society of Wilderness and Citizen of the Earth, Taiwan are two organizations that work on related issues. You can volunteer or donate money or both.

Urge your Taiwanese friends to vote for New Power Party candidate Chiu Hsien-chih (邱顯智) in Hsinchu City's legislative race.

Change is all around but it takes work and resources to accomplish it.
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Re: Solving problems

Postby meyers66 » 02 Nov 2015, 19:56

Hi, Thanks for the links to these websites. I can't read the webpages but I'm glad they are organized. How do these organizations discuss the lack of environmental law enforcement in Taiwan? Since police are civil servants aren't they responsible for enforcing these laws? Why don't they?
Yesterday I drove through the mountains and saw tons of construction debris dumped over the side of the roads. It wouldn't be safe for people to go down there. What do these groups suggest in this scenario? I have gps photos that I can't upload.
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