A young Australian man of Afghan origin gets into an SUV and drives unlicensed into the heart of Melbourne CBD. He runs over and injures a number of people. Police are interviewing the man and have indicated he is known to them. The man has a history of mental health issues, was affected by the drug Ice and told police he could hear voices and was upset about the way Muslims were being treated.
Now if you read the comments at the bottom of news articles as well as the nuttier tabloid columnists, you too could end up with mental health issues. The paranoia and nuttiness are enough to make any sensible person doubt the collective sanity of humankind. But heck, these are the times we live in.
Right now, national security is all the craze, and it’s driving us all crazy. We are all worried about keeping our nation secure. We worry about external and internal enemies. We wish we could live in a cocoon, despite the fact that airline travel is within our reach and we can watch TV or listen to the radio or read newspapers from across the globe.
Seriously, though. Just how much is Australia threatened by anyone? It seems more people were injured by drunken backpackers at St Kilda Beach than by an unlicensed driver on Ice.
And while all this was going on, I was sitting on an island where people cared more about the traffic at Shihlin Night Market than about Flinders Street.
You see, in Taiwan Islamist terror is the last thing on people’s minds. I stayed in a suburb popular with expats and upper-middle-class Taiwanese, where an Israeli takeaway was situated next door to a rug shop owned by a devout Pakistani, both down the road from the Taipei American School and the Japanese School. I met a Muslim member of the local Rotary Club who apparently spoke little Mandarin but was a full citizen of Taiwan. He shared the podium with a gentleman of Hindu heritage and a Filipino Catholic.
Taiwanese are far too pragmatic to get all uptight about tiny minorities. They face a much bigger threat from across the Strait, a threat known as the People’s Republic of China. The PRC sees Taiwan as a renegade province, an island to which Chinese Nationalists, sworn enemies of the Communists, ran and established what may be described in Trumpspeak as a fake nation. The Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek, included a number of Muslim generals such as Ma Bufang who became Taiwan’s first Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Today’s Taiwan has largely abandoned the Nationalist vision of conquering mainland China from Communism. Instead, Taiwan is emphasising a unique and not-so-Chinese identity. Taiwan has numerous indigenous tribes, one of which is directly related to the NZ Maori. The current President is part indigenous.
Yes, there are places in the world where nasty Muslims aren’t seen as a threat.