Categories
Asia

What is the Chinese argument for Taiwan being a part of China?

Taiwan is not a part of China, and I say this not because I was ‘brainwashed’ by Western education but by the reality of the situation.

-China (PRC) has no governmental authority over Taiwan

-Chinese need a visa to visit Taiwan

-Taiwan has its own currency and flag

-Taiwanese have their own passport

Aren’t these things enough to prove that Taiwan is not a part of China?

Of course, I have to address some of the arguments Chinese people commonly make:

”Taiwan used to be Chinese territory and Japan unlawfully took it away and it rightfully belongs to China”

Yes thats how war works. When you lose a war, you lose territory. Why would Taiwan be any different? Singapore used to be Malaysian territory. Pakistan used to be India territory. Kosovo is a current disputed state that used to be Serbian territory. Hell if you want to go back to Qing Dynasty times, Texas used to be part of Mexico and Canada used to be part of the UK. Fact of the matter is just because something used to be part of your territory doesn’t mean it’s part of the current territory.

-”Taiwan is part of China according to Chinese constitution and ROC map shows mainland China as theirs so Taiwan is part of China”

This has to be most ridiculous argument. Just because a territory is legally written in the constitution as part of your territory does not make it so. Else the USA can just amend their constitution to include China as a US State and boom! China is now a state of the USA right? No, it doesn’t work like that. And mainland China being included in ROC’s map is just proof of my point here as well; how many Chinese would agree that ROC has control over mainland China? You disagree? Well that’s what the map says so it must be true right? North Korea still considers South Korea part of their territory on their constitution. Again, does the world think that SK is part of NK? I don’t think so. 

”Taiwan is not recognized by the UN as a country, UN recognizes China as the real China, so it’s not a country”

First of all, UN only accepted PRC as the rightful Chinese government over ROC when they saw that mainland China’s economy was catching up and surpassing Taiwan’s economy and thus it was diplomatically advantageous to recognize PRC as the “true” government, secondly UN does not determine who is a country and who isn’t. UN was only created in 1945 so does that mean there were no countries prior to 1945? China (PRC) didn’t join the UN until 1971 – previously ROC was representing China – does that mean mainland China (PRC) didn’t exist as a separate country until then? Makes no sense.

”But Hong Kong has own visas, passports, own currency, own flag etc and you agree that it’s part of China.”

Hong Kong is a special case – part of the one country, two systems – and the important difference between Hong Kong and Taiwan lies here: China (PRC) has no governmental authority over Taiwan – it does have governmental authority over Hong Kong. In fact that’s what led to the currently ongoing Hong Kong protests.

I have yet to hear a convincing argument from mainland Chinese that Taiwan is part of China.

Categories
General Politics

2012: Year in Review and thoughts about gun control

Happy New Year everyone. Once again I’m doing a yearly review of the highlights and low points of each year for me, and so this will be for 2012.

First off though, I want to talk about some thoughts on gun control. The recent Newton Shootings have spurred some discussion on gun control. Some gun rights activists have often responded with the following arguments.

If you ban guns, criminals will find a way to get them anyways since criminals don’t care about the law.
My response: Well, yes of course criminals will break the law, but the point is if guns were banned, then it will be a lot harder for them to get guns in the first place. The shooter actually stole the guns from his mom, which wouldn’t have happened if guns were banned. Most shooters don’t become criminals until they start shooting. Until then, they’re just a regular citizen. Plus, people break laws all the time, including traffic laws, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have them there.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. If you start banning guns, why not ban cars and knives too?
My response: Cars are designed for transportation. Knives are designed for cutting food. Baseball bats are designed to play baseball. Guns however, are designed for killing. There’s no comparison here, because its apples and oranges.

Now, I respect people’s gun freedoms, but I really don’t think they need 30 round clips and assault rifles to protect themselves when a mere pistol would do fine. Now, onto the year review:

Highlights:
-Traveled a lot this year.
-First full year of full time employment.
-Steady progress as a front-end developer.
-Met lots of new friends.
-A short relationship, fun while it lasted.
-Improved my Korean.
-Made $8k off of Intrade, and $6k from the stock market.
-Parents helped me buy my own condo in San Francisco.

Low points:
-Friends are mostly international students who go back after a few months.
-Work can be kind of dull at times.

Summary:

2012 was mostly a year of relaxing, in contrast to 2011, which had a lot of set goals. I traveled to many places this year, including Yosemite Valley, Napa Valley, Point Reyes, Tiburon, Marin County, Lake Tahoe, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Carmel, 17 Mile Drive, San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Venice, Las Vegas, and Grand Canyon. And I did all this traveling while only taking one week off, while making use of my extended weekends.

In addition, I am still working on learning Korean and increasing my knowledge as a Front-End Dev, which is always productive for me.

Traveling!
Traveling!

Traveling!
Traveling!

Overall, this year went quite well for me, but lacked the characteristic ambition that I had in 2011. I hope I’m not getting too comfortable – I need that sense of drive for me to succeed and move even farther in life. Like Steve Jobs said, I have to stay hungry, stay foolish.

Categories
Magic

Magic the Gathering: Deck Design: Venser (Flicker) deck

In Magic the Gathering, 187 or Blink creatures are creatures that trigger abilities when they enter the battlefield (comes into play). The recent Magic Expansion Avacyn Restored have alot of cards that work well with cards that enter the battlefield. Hence I began making a deck that I call the Venser or Flicker deck. The reason why to call it Flicker is because the first card that made creatures go off and onto the battlefield without recasting is called Flicker and since then, this effect has been called ‘Flickering’ creatures in and out of the battlefield. Of course, the deck is based around a Planeswalker card called Venser, which you will read more about below.

Theme:
Like my Persist deck, I like to build decks that are fun to play, yet reasonably powerful. I don’t like decks that are too weak, or too strong. Basically I’m going to exploit the triggered ability of creatures that enter the battlefield repeatedly to create card advantage.

Lands: (20/60)
Every one of my 60 card decks have about 20 land. For this deck, I relied on a blue/white mana base since alot of blinking creatures are in blue and white. Hence I have 8 cards that are blue/white dual lands.

//Lands:20
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
6 Island
6 Plains

Creatures: (18/60)
For creatures, I just put creatures that are blue/white, reasonably cheap, and have a good effect when they enter the battlefield. I also tend to favor creatures that slow my opponent’s board development down. Wall of Omens is a good card drawing engine, and is much faster to cast than Mulldrifter, which I was also considering. Blade Splicer is going to be my card of choice for doing damage, and Gilded Drake is incredibly powerful, stealing opponent’s creatures for free! I also needed a way to gain life. Between Kitchen Finks and Aven Riftwatcher, I chose the Finks, just because its better at beatdown. Riftwing Cloudskate is my last major card, since it can bounce anything back to an opponent for 2 mana and 3 turns, or 5 mana. Man-o’-War didn’t have as much versatility. And of course, the best bouncer in the game, Venser, Shaper Savant because its amazing – it can counter spells and bounce anything back, it’s Riftwing Cloudskate on steroids. I also put a single copy of Restoration Angel in to fit the theme of the deck.

//Creatures:18
4 Wall of Omens
Kitchen Finks
3 Gilded Drake
3 Blade Splicer
3 Riftwing Cloudskate
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Restoration Angel

There are other creatures I could’ve considered. Fog Bank and Wall of Denial are amazing cards for defense. Stonecloaker is good against graveyard decks, Glen Elendra Archmage can single handedly wing a game for you if you keep blinking her, and the aforementioned Mulldrifter, Man-o’-War and Aven Riftwatcher are also good choices for the deck. Galepowder Mage is also worth considering, though a bit slow.

Non Creature Spells: (22/60)
The final third of the deck are non creature spells. Here, I mainly focused on cards that slow down an opponent, and focused mostly on defense. The centerpiece of the deck is Venser, the Sojourner. This guy kicks ass. He flickers any permanent you have, and is basically the win condition for the deck. I have 3 copies each of Crystal Shard and Erratic Portal which function for both offense and defense, AND returns my own creatures to my hand so I can re-use their abilities. Parallax Wave has been amazing for this deck because it exiles creatures for free, and can be used the same way as the Shard and the Portal. Umbilicus, Blood Clock and Equilibrium are obscure Magic cards that I put in this deck; nobody expects them and they get really annoyed once I play them. Simultaneously returning my creatures back to re-use their abilities for free while slowing down my opponent? sounds great. I also have copies of Propaganda and Ghostly Prison for slowing an opponents attackers down. I’ve had opponents had to pay 6 mana(!) before just to attack with one creature which I just return to their hand. It’s great. Finally, I have one of the best commons ever made: Rhystic Study. So, every spell an opponent plays costs one more or I get to draw a card? It’s just ridiculously good, especially in multiplayer. So the final decklist:

//Lands:20
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
6 Forest
6 Plains

//Creatures:18
4 Wall of Omens
Kitchen Finks
3 Gilded Drake
3 Blade Splicer
3 Riftwing Cloudskate
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Restoration Angel

//Non-Creatures: 22
3 Crystal Shard
3 Erratic Portal
3 Parallax Wave
Blood Clock or Umbilicus
2 Equilibrium
Propaganda
2 Ghostly Prison
2 Venser, the Sojourner
3 Rhystic Study

And thats it! Another fun, casual, multiplayer deck to play around with. As you can imagine, this deck takes a while to win, and is incredibly annoying to play against. Imagine paying one mana extra for each spell you cast, then paying an additional 4 mana to attack with each creature, then having mana open in case it gets returned to your hand, which probably will happen anyway because of Venser and Cloudskate. I pride myself on having built such an annoying yet effective deck :). Of course, cards like Otherworldly Journey and Momentary Blink are one shot effects to immediately gain the 187 effect. Conjurer’s Closet is basically a colorless Venser, which I should test with. To make this deck even more defensive, you can add in more copies of Norn’s Annex, Dissipation Field, Collective Restraint, Parallax Tide, Crawlspace, Teferi’s Moat, Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, and the rest of the cards. You can also add in Jace, the Mind Sculptor, who is really good in this deck, but also very expensive (being one of the best cards in Magic). Tamiyo, the Moon Sage can also work, though not as good as Jace. You can of course add Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir and more copies of 2 Venser, the Sojourner. Angelic Chorus can be an alternative to gaining life. Sensei’s Divining Top is good in ANY deck, especially control decks. Finally, to make this deck 200% more annoying, please add in Tangle Wire, Sphere of Resistance, Lodestone Golem, Smokestack, Trinisphere, Thorn of Amethyst, Static Orb, Mishra’s Helix, Rishadan Port and your usual BS cards that will make your opponent hate you :).

Edit: I’ve made a Modern legal version below:

//Lands:20
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
6 Forest
6 Plains

//Creatures:22
4 Wall of Omens
4 Fog Bank
Kitchen Finks
4 Blade Splicer
2 Riftwing Cloudskate
1 Venser, Shaper Savant
1 Restoration Angel
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
2 Phyrexian Metamorph

//Non-Creatures: 18
4 Crystal Shard
Blood Clock
4 Ghostly Prison
2 Venser, the Sojourner
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion