Thursday, 13 August 2009

World Games Nonsense Part 1


The launch of the 2009 World Games in Kaohsiung last week did not represent the “pushing of Kaohsiung toward the whole world and allows this city to be open to the whole world...” as the urban development section of Kaohsiung City Government’s websites clumsily heralds it. That claim is as valid as 1 + 1 = 11, less the clarity of expression.

What would actually stand some chance of lifting awareness of Taiwan and Kaohsiung City among people in other countries would be participation in a major football tournament such as the World Cup. Association football (‘soccer’ in American parlance) is by far and away the most popular sport across the world, hands down, no contest. Baseball and basketball – the most popular sports in Taiwan – are hardly worthy of the adjective ‘popular’ outside of North America and Japan. Yet even these sports easily trump those played in the Olympic Games in terms of world popularity. So to claim that the sports played in the little known ‘World Games’ (Korfball, anyone?) would ‘open Kaohsiung to the world’ is manifestly ridiculous. Only a complete fool could utter such word-salad whilst keeping a straight face.

It does not follow from this observation however, that the government should therefore either fund through taxation or otherwise ‘encourage’ the development of football in Taiwan (or even baseball or basketball). The other problem with the World Games is the utter arrogance in allowing it to be funded to any degree at all by general taxation.

I, and a great many other reluctant taxpayers in Taiwan, have not one iota of interest in these ‘World Games’ and yet we were forced to pay for them. Why should any one person be forced to pay for the entertainment of another? The claim that it will ‘allow’ Kaohsiung to be ‘open’ to the world (if we excuse for a moment the poverty of expression for a lack of English teachers) simply will not do because it is just so obviously lame.

You people at the Taipei Times and in and around the DPP worry so much about China because you don’t want the ‘freedom and sovereignty’ of Taiwan to be compromised? Well I am taking it upon myself to say that
it is the freedom and sovereignty of the individual that matters – not the freedom and sovereignty of the government to do whatever it likes to the people under it. What the Kaohisung 2009 World Games really represents is nothing but the principle of servitude and the facts of sporting and political obscurity.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Fagan

(Sent: Saturday July 18th 2009. Unpublished by the Taipei Times)