1999 / 10月
A string of natural disasters has reminded us just how fragile life is. Our lives can be snuffed out in an instant. We can prepare for natural disasters, but we can't stop them. Man-made disasters, on the other hand, are controllable. Even as thousands struggle to maintain a precarious hold on life, others kill each other mercilessly. Why is it that humans are unable to co-exist peacefully? Why can't we treat each other with respect?
After Taiwan suffered its biggest earthquake in a century, the enemy across the Taiwan Strait immediately dropped its threatening posture and expressed concern for the earthquake survivors. They began speaking of the ties that bind the Chinese people on both sides of the Strait, and even offered to send aid to Taiwan. Although this turn of events has helped to relieve cross-strait tensions, one can't help but suspect that mainland China is just sprucing up its international image as it prepares to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the current regime. Who knows what to expect further down the line?
If the Chinese communists really care about the Taiwanese people, they shouldn't try to crowd them out of the international community, and they surely shouldn't threaten to invade Taiwan. A military invasion is a threat to the lives and property of the people of Taiwan. The Taiwanese don't need a show of concern after a natural disaster; what they need is for the Chinese communists to renounce the use of military force against Taiwan.
Furigana in the Chinese edition
SJ Chen (tr. by David Mayer)
Although I don't subscribe to Sinorama, I'm a big fan of yours and I frequently read the Japanese edition. Your hard-working staff does a wonderful job. There are lots of fascinating articles every month, and the Japanese translations are superb. I always gain a lot from reading your magazine.
I just have one small suggestion for improvement. It is extremely hard to be sure how a lot of Chinese characters are pronounced in Japanese, and it detracts from reading pleasure when you run across characters that you don't know how to pronounce. At the same time, I don't want to interrupt my reading to go flipping through the dictionary. If possible, I think it would be really nice if you could use furigana to indicate the proper reading of just a few of the more difficult Chinese characters. If you could further indicate the pitch of the Japanese pronunciation, that would be even better. I think it would be sufficient to indicate the pronunciation of about five or ten Chinese characters per article. I really hope you could start using furigana in next month's edition, or perhaps the month after.
We have thought in the past about doing exactly what you suggest, but we decided not to because of the limited amount of space available. We're really sorry, but we may not be able to insert furigana for five to ten Chinese characters in each article.