The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

What do the cargo cultists do when the gods don’t deliver? Most of the cargo cults have disappeared over the years, but my personal favorite, the John Frum cult of Vanuatu, remains alive and well and even has its own political party. Say what you like about the adherents of the Prince Philip cargo cult, but at least Prince Philip isn’t pointing missiles at His worshippers….

Meanwhile, back here in another Pacific island with its own more modern version of a cargo cult, the Taipei Times reports that KMT negotiators have been Kitty Hawked by Beijing:

The NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) windfall expected to be generated by Chinese tourists may now be at risk, as the Chinese government has reportedly insisted that only 1,000 tourists per day be allowed to visit Taiwan in the initial stages, a third of the number agreed upon by the two sides during recent cross-strait talks, a local newspaper reported yesterday.

The news has raised fears within the domestic travel industry that Taiwan’s tourism market revenues this year could fall short of expectations, which could also have an impact on economic growth, the Chinese-language China Times said.

Since both sides of the Taiwan Strait signed an agreement in Beijing earlier this month that permits up to 3,000 Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan per day, the government has not yet received any information from China about adjusting the threshold and believes that there won’t be such adjustments, Straits Exchange Foundation Vice Chairman and Secretary-General Kao Kong-lian (高孔廉) said yesterday.

What? We built the ceremonial airstrips and dressed up as officers, and now our Spam and Jeeps aren’t dropping from the sky? Say it ain’t so, John Frum! The article goes on to recount how petulant KMT negotiators demanded that China — get this — live up to its word.

Taiwan’s representatives demanded that Beijing meet the 3,000 target as it was part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) election platform and had been agreed upon by Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤).

…because it was Ma’s election platform! Alas, market and political realities intrude, as it appears the 3,000 target is subject to “adjustment”….

Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Fu Don-cheng (傅棟成) also said that Beijing had already indicated during the consultations that the threshold of 3,000 would be adjusted as needed and in line with market demands. Whether the number is 1,000 or 3,000, the Chinese government will have their own concerns and make a decision and the public shouldn’t over-interpret it, Fu said.

Other officials added that during the consultations, Beijing had proposed to proceed step by step, starting from 1,000 and gradually increasing to 3,000 because of national security concerns. Beijing was worried that if Taiwan allowed so many tourists to enter Taiwan each day from the start, it would double security problems and increase the burden on both sides.

No doubt China is pondering the consequences of letting loose thousands of middle and upper class Chinese on a nation where Asians refute every day the lie that Asians are not suited for democracy.

Meanwhile, in other election promise news, as Kaohsiung politicians awoke to the reality that they were getting only one charter flight from China on Friday, July 4, the first day of the flights, while the President convened his new task force to ponder the sliding stock market. Yesterday the newspapers revealed that four major government pension funds were sinking money into the market. The task force decided to encourage insurance firms, still awash with capital, to sink money into the stock market and to invest in the 12 projects that Ma is pushing to spur the local political economy….