Follow the Money - Taiwan Edition
September 18th, 2013
NOTE: Individual reference links to the CTS website extensively quoted in this article are not included because CTS Taiwan is a translated site.
“The film shows is great but look at this film, they have to remember to the toilet.” Words to live by. In fairness, this quote is from the website of CTS Taiwan, one of CSA’s Partner entities in Asia, and some coherence might’ve been lost in translation.
The CSA organization has been aggressively expanding for years. They now have thirty-five offices around the world, for instance. Recall that CSA is a domestic electrical regulatory entity with a mandate smaller than the Canadian Aviation Museum, there is no rational requirement for offices, or partner entities, in Taiwan or elsewhere in Asia.
So what is CSA doing in Taiwan? Well, they’re showing movies. And organizing recreational activities for companies that send them money. Care for some examples? Alright, on April 27th, CSA hosted the “Beitou Hot Spring Outing Fun.” Then they held a ticket give-away for “Taiwan Beautiful Night.” On December 11, 2012 they conducted an “Emerald Tour” of a picturesque reservoir and on August 23rd of that year they facilitated several “Water Festival” events. On June 2nd, CSA hosted the “Wintimes Intellectual Journey” and on May 22nd the CSA gave its Taiwan members free passes to “three days and two nights” of the “Big Lushan Spiritual Feast.” Sounds lovely. And every year the CSA hosts a “film night.” More on that later.
The CSA’s money comes to them by charter of the Canadian Government. The CSA charter is the only reason Canadians are required to pay CSA anything. And CSA gets a lot of our money, and they’re not shy about splashing money around when expediency demands it. Of course, when CSA spends like this they get noted for it, and going through money like water becomes the expected norm.
“I wish to get tickets for the Palace.” Thus spake the Hui Code Company of Taiwan to CSA’s Asian affiliate. In August of 2012, another local wrote them to request that “CSA do more outdoor activities” because they really “appreciation activities organized.” This local closes with “till we meet again [at] indoor recreational activities.” Now, you may think that this local doesn’t really understand what CSA is all about and that surely the CSA organization would set him right. Well, sorry to let you down like this: “Thank you for your participation and suggestions for activities,” the CSA responded, “Customer recreation activities we will organize a variety of ways, such as the 2010 Central dinners / 2011 Manufacturer Visitors / 2012 film appreciation in the future we will try to arrange visits to recreational activities at least once a year, you can support, yo!” Yo, indeed. A good social club is hard to find.
Another good social club activity is a movie night. As mentioned above, the CSA hosts these annually. Last year the CSA movie night featured The Dark Knight Rises, and CSA kindly offered a huge ticket give-away. RestoreCSA is tempted to quote the number participants but we strive to ensure accuracy of our reporting and due to an unclear translation of our source document we will decline to quote the figure. Still, the movie was a social success. “Although I have not seen the first episode and the second episode, looking directly Episode Dark Knight Rises, the whole movie is so brilliant and very fine friends …thank CSA is also very organized this event.” Another local writes to “thank CSA for organizing this event!” And yet another writes of “Grand events accompanied by good movie, thank you”.
We should also clearly state that we’re not faulting the Taiwanese community for watching a free movie at CSA’s expense. RestoreCSA is fond of movies and would be pleased to watch a free one. But a Canadian regulatory entity has no business using Canadian taxpayer dollars to send the people of Taipei to watch Batman remakes. While we’re mightily miffed about this latest example of CSA going so seriously astray, we should also recall that online translations to English rarely result in smooth, professional sounding statements. So lets judge on content rather than prose.
It looks like CSA’s 2011 movie choice wasn’t as smashing a social success than their Dark Knight showing. Taiwanese comments to CSA appear to be less flattering. “Civilization and barbarism connotation. Why? Who defines? Each national culture is sacred, not to be infringement and slander”. And another; “After the movie, the hearts subway smells, a lot of moving is difficult to make a word. Once people think there is no education, no civilized wilderness areas, even called barbarians. […] Humiliation, and the grass when tribal fighting men to resist the collective stick, even without leaving offspring…” Unfortunately, the translation of prose is often an impediment to judging content. It’s hard to gauge the success of CSA’s social adventures from comments like “I can not hear the mighty roar of triumph hunting sound I can not see bumper harvest festival …that Mao is not visible when the giant trees that gradually reduce Chilaishan that majestic full of desolation when to start hunting prey that graceful girl woven flannel why that body is no longer beautiful…” Lets just assume that the film was interesting and comment worthy. And if you’re curious, the CSA was screening the 2011 film, Seediq Bale.
So how does a local in Taiwan get free things from CSA? Well, all they have to do is say nice things about CSA in public. In the 2012 outing, the CSA netted about 17 website pages of compliments from folks wanting tickets to things. A selection of the purchased compliments; “Good Lord! Have free movies to watch!! CSA, Praise it!”, “CSA - NO.1 Praise Praise Praise!!!!!”, “CSA like spicy! Lets get movie ticket!”, “CSA like praise, please send me the Dark Knight movie tickets,” “I love CSA as always,” and “Thanksgiving! Praise! Praise! …Very Good!” But purchased praise is rarely thoughtful. The Taichung Course Management Group didn’t quite get the right idea, they wrote: “I love CAS.”
Other firms put more effort into their flummery. The Hui Code Company we mentioned above wrote that the “CSA is the most trusted name authentication mechanism.” Another firm wrote that “closer interaction between the CSA, and let us know more about CSA.” And still another; “CSA Summer movie season!! Movie really good read!! You can hold a lot, Because CSA ‘Bear-Like’.”
RestoreCSA has heard from tradespeople who complain that they are forced to buy CSA products, attend CSA seminars, and speak kindly of CSA in public at every opportunity or they risk loosing their apprenticeships or their promotion prospects. These people know to tow the line “because CSA bear-like.”
Recreational and social outings are clearly well beyond the mandate of CSA, but through these events the CSA is able to elucidate on CSA values and culture. And it works. After one CSA event, a local commented that CSA members are “lounge lovers.” RestoreCSA concurs. Another writes that “thanks to the activities of CSA […] made me realize, to accomplish great things, we must sloppy.” This person must be a CSA staffer.
There are a couple of other noteworthy things from the CTS website. For instance, we’re told that CSA values “honesty, integrity, act as one …respect for justice, to show good faith.” RestoreCSA has too much experience with CSA to take that description seriously. But we also learn that “CSA since its inception, has developed standards issued more than nineteen hundred, more than a third of which has passed legislation in North America.” Now that’s interesting, and it will feature in quite a few filings in future.
We also learn from their website that CSA treats Taiwanese customers very differently from Canadian customers. Whereas it takes up to three years for CSA to provide a one-word “yes” or “no” answer a customer’s question, for Taiwanese customers the CSA responds in detail, lucidly, with whole sentences and even paragraphs, and usually within 48hrs. And these aren’t dick-and-jane variety quick questions. Taiwanese customers are asking about “triple atomization cooling fan” specifications, “cotton box dimension” requirements and “how much voltage to start a submersible pump” in certain conditions. Its interesting to note that none of the Taiwanese questions could be answered with a one-word “yes” or “no.”
Curiously, we are also advised that “CSA headquarters” is in Ohio. We know from prior correspondence that the Canadian Government is unaware that their electrical regulator is headquartered in a foreign country. RestoreCSA will kindly advise them.
Like CSA’s Canadian operations, their Taiwan offices also wax on about counterfeiting. They state that “logo affixed counterfeit products do not only cause consumer exposure to hazards (using non-validating qualified products), can also cause retailers to face sales of related products liability […] makes the entire validation system will therefore no longer be trusted.” We agree. “A while ago, in the North American market, found counterfeit labelling products…” Yes, but one of the most prolific North American generators of counterfeit “labelling products” was CSA itself. RestoreCSA has contacted CSA’s Taiwan partner for clarification on their stand against CSA-style counterfeiting activity.
The CSA’s questionable activities in Taiwan aren’t an anomaly, they’re part of a well established and easily discernible pattern. RestoreCSA is committed to recovering the CSA organization as a regulatory entity in service to the Canadian public and reintroducing accountability to the CSA Group and its personnel. Thank you for your continued support.