London calling...

A Taiwanese woman's journal of her pursuit of an MBA, a meaningful life, love and her observations of the world along the way! Blogger based in Taipei.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Intriguing traces of similarity...

Last night when I was sitting in the MRT train on the way home and flipping through the Taipei Times, my jaw almost dropped when my eyes landed on the day's editorial. How so?? Well, please follow the steps and read on.

Step one: If you haven't read my posting on Monday March 27 yet, please do. You can scroll down to the article below this one and scroll up when you finish. Or if you are feeling lazy as it's Friday (I'll cut you some slacks), you can click here.

Step two: Read this editorial published on the page 2 of Taipei Times on Thursday March 30. Please pay special attention to the highlighted sentences.

Now, tell me. Do you sense many similarities between the lines? If it still looks vague to you, allow me to do some comparisons.

Jen said, "...Regrettably, I think some of the news crew may well enjoy a promising career in producing the Taiwan version of American idols, if they decide not to follow the political beat." --> implying that the political news in Taiwan were presented like entertainment news.

Taipei Times said, "... magnification of Ma, ... into a myth, and the migration of the country's political scene into the realm of the entertainment sector."
Jen said, "...While behaving unsophisticated is one thing, acting completely stupid is really way over the limit a TV audience can bear."

Taipei Times said, "... Behaving unprofessionally is one thing, but acting like groupies oversteps the limit."
Jen said, "...This phenomenon peaked when I saw (on ETTV or CTITV) a group of Taiwan reporters surrounding Ma Ying-Jeou and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in their meeting. Not only did the news clips look more like a fan club event than a talk between mayors...."

Taipei Times said, "... Groups of reporters warmed around Ma to get his signature, looking more like members of a fan club than professional journalists on assignment."
Jen said, "..., a reporter even concluded the news by asking Newsome the following question: "Do you think Ma Ying-Jeou is handsome? Geez, do you think that's what the audience in Taiwan want to know? If ETTV or CTITV would send someone all the way to the US just to ask such a stupid question..."

Taipei Times said, "...One reporter thought that the question Taiwanese TV viewers really wanted Newsome to answer was: 'Do you think Ma Ying-jeou is handsome?' Did the TV stations really send reporters all the way to the US just to ask such a stupid question?"

Pffff, that's really a lot of words to type... :s Since you've reached this far, I reckon that you have also sensed many of the similarities between my posting on 03/27 and Taipei Times' editorial on 03/30. That's why I was so surprised and kept wondering what could be the reasons behind that. Well, after much analysis and reasoning by deduction when I rested my beautiful head (;oP) on the pillow last night, I thought of three possibilities:

Possibility one: Jen is actually the author of this editorial and she works for Taipei Times. She’s just playing mysterious. And to save time, she expanded her positing on the blog into an editorial as she had to go to a dinner date on Wednesday March 29.

Possibility two: The wise think alike. The author of this editorial and Jen happened to see the same news clip on the same TV channel and felt the urge to express their opinion. They are not only alike in logic but also in their rhetoric and sequence of paragraph structuring.

Possibility three: The author of this editorial saw Jen’s posting on this blog, liked her opinions and decided to “integrate” her ideas into this editorial. But he/she forgot to ask Jen in advance whether she agrees.

Now, which one of the above is true?


Blogger Kanwa-Kyudai said...


I strongly support Possibility One. I have just understood why you changed a job recently. I did not know you are working for the Taipei Times now! I swear that I will read its online news every day. Fortunatelly I have no trouble accessing to the site from China.

All joking apart, I guess that your blog became very influential after you posted the article "How a Taiwanese person feels about China?" , which was an excellent entry. I hope that you will be able to keep this blog as long as possible even though you are very busy.

9:50 PM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Vincent said...

Copying others' articles without permission is a serious issue. You should contact Taipei Times to discuss the similarity. Although Taipei Times is a good newspaper publisher, it cannot simply copy others' words or idea. That's too much!

Anyhow, I'm glad to see your excellent posts becoming so influencial!

9:56 AM, April 01, 2006  
Blogger Michael Turton said...

Damn! What a shame! It's good to know that you are quality at work....if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what is theft?

Besides, you missed possibility four: Jen and the editor are channeling the same extradimensional alien power. :)


3:15 PM, April 02, 2006  
Anonymous James said...

For those of you who would like to join me in asking the Taipei Times editor about the plagiarism, here you go:


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name, address and phone number, though details can be withheld upon request. Please keep letters under 500 words and add "letter to the editor" in the subject line of all e-mails.

8:13 PM, April 02, 2006  
Anonymous Peter said...

Definitely worth submitting a nomination to Press Plagiarist of the Year Award.

8:51 AM, April 03, 2006  
Anonymous Peter said...

Screwed up the link, sorry.

Press Plagiarist of the Year Award:

8:54 AM, April 03, 2006  
Blogger Jen said...

Guys, the Chief Copy Editor from Taipei Times actually wrote me and called me on the phone about my "blog allegation"! Well, the term he used sounded so serious... Anyway, he's using a gmail account so I hope he's the genuine copy editor from the newspaper, as I've encountered some incidents lately that kinda shaked my trust in people. It was a lesson learned at the expense of NTD 6,000 and a shitty weekend.

4:36 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Nijmo said...

Hi Jen,

I feel sorry for you. It is awful if your trust is betrayed. But, cheer up, some of us in the world are still okay. Don't get to bitter.

Never mind the newspaper guy. The louder the voice and the bigger the words, the more they are bluffing.

Btw, you inspired me to start a blog of my own. It is in Dutch, so not of much interest to you, unfortunately

3:43 AM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Jen said...

Hello Kanwa-San,

I truly appreciate your vote of confidence but if I do work in Taipei Times, The copy editor can just come to my corner office (oh, okay cubicle ;op)to talk to me instead of calling my mobile. But anyways, he said that the newspaper will look into this matter and update me "soon".

Take care,

11:17 AM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger Jen said...

Hoi Nijmo,

Gefeliciteerd! Although my Dutch is still pretty much in the entry level, learning your language well is one of my life ambitions. I know what you might say, as many people told me it's not very useful. But I just felt if I started something, I want to see it through. By the way, you live in the city where I lived for 13 months. Interesting! ;-)

Cheers - Jen

11:25 AM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Martin said...

Dear Jen,

My apologies for not submitting this much earlier, but it was decided that we would wait for the editor-in-chief to return from overseas to discuss the matter before replying to you formally.

After interviewing the author of the editorial at length and examining the two texts, it is the position of the Taipei Times management that the similarities between the texts are an unhappy coincidence and that plagiarism was not committed.

As I said in our phone conversation earlier tonight, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to contact myself or the editor-in-chief personally (feel free to use the telephone numbers in the newspaper to verify my identity). We value your feedback.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Williams
Chief Copy Editor
Taipei Times

3:10 AM, May 03, 2006  
Blogger Jen said...

Hi Martin,

Thanks for looking into this matter.

Cheers - Jen

8:36 PM, May 03, 2006  

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