Taiwan, Politics, Tongyong Pinyin
See: John DeFrancis Idiot on Chinese Language.
In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions on character simplification took place within the Kuomintang government, and a large number of Chinese intellectuals and writers have long maintained that character simplification would help boost literacy in China.
Percival P Cassidy wrote:
Interesting. One of my KMT-supporting teachers in Taiwan insisted that the introduction of simplified characters was a Communist plot to render the people incapable of understanding their history and culture.
The issue is very political, but the degree of your friend's opinion is quite off.
The politics of Taiwan is quite funny in the past 2 decades. When the nationalist party government the Kuomintang (KMT) was dictating Taiwan from about 1950 to 1980s. China is equated with communism and evil, by KMT and USA. But since subset of native Taiwanese Party came to power in 1990s, now Evil equates both China and KMT, and the rational is kinda very complicated. This subset of native Taiwan people, hates KMT for obvious reasons of oppressive rule. But why do they hate China? That's must be because KMT made Taiwan so prosperous and independent and not hating China would mean accepting China's goal of taking Taiwan back.
Foolish thing Taiwan in recent years did was to re-invent pinyin. Basically, they need alphabetized Chinese for street signs etc for foreigners, and pinyin is already there as a international standard for several decades, but some Taiwanese can't use it because that's invented by communists. So after much ado, they invented their own, called Tongyong Pinyin , by changing a few symbols of pinyin. Because not all people in Taiwan agree to this new wheel, so the law ends up that some district's street signs goes by Pinyin while others goes by Tongyong Pinyin, depending on which political party has what power in which district. Quite funny. Wikipedia quotes:
On 10 July 2002 the ROC's Ministry of Education held a meeting for 27 members. Only 13 attended. Two left early, plus the chairman could not vote, so the bill for using Tongyong Pinyin was passed by ten votes. In August 2002 the government adopted Tongyong Pinyin through an administrative order which local governments have the authority to override within their jurisdiction. In October 2007, with the DPP administration still in power, it was announced that the ROC would standardize the English transliterations of its Chinese Mandarin place names by the end of that year, after years of confusion stemming from multiple spellings, using the locally developed Tongyong Pinyin.
The good thing is, finally this mess is done for, and Taiwan officially adopted pinyin in 2008.
During 2008, the Kuomintang won both the legislative and presidential elections. In September 2008, it was announced that Tongyong Pinyin would be replaced by Hanyu Pinyin as the ROC government standard at the end of the year. Since January 1, 2009, Hanyu Pinyin is the only official romanization system in the Republic of China.
Thanks to the stealing Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian. (money laundering, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement… to the tune of 10 to 22 mega USD, and deposit it in Swedish bank. lol) While he's in jail in 2009, he filed lawsuit in US at president Obama and Robert Gates (Secretary of Defense) for failing to rule Taiwan well by the deem of Treaty of San Francisco. (See: 陳水扁.)
LOL. He thinks Uncle Sam should come over and save him.