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The Shrine of the Martyrs

Before leaving Taipei we were taken to the Shrine of the Martyrs to watch the changing of the guard (Alice is marrying one of the Guard…). 

Like the Greeks and other guards we have seen, they had apparently taken lessons from John Cleese’s institute of silly walks. They carried ancient weapons for which ammunition is unlikely to be available, and would thus preclude the effective guarding of anything.  But as the martyrs probably don’t require much guarding everything was as it should be.

 

 

As always on these occasions, the drill was immaculate and I was again reminded that the purpose of military drill is not to amuse an audience or fill in time but to instil an instinctive obedience to orders.

The martyrs include people how have given their time and energy to civil life,  like our recipients of the Order of Australia,  and I was reminded that Taiwan has never actually fought a war against anyone. 

 

 

A consequence is that these young men are completely untried in battle, unlike our troops who are ready to fight in anyone’s war.  Even during Vietnam Taiwan offered non-combat support to the US effort.  But they are ‘armed to the teeth’ with very advanced weapons.  

Unfortunately this together with their long stated aim of retaking the mainland, and their efforts to develop a nuclear weapon, simply caused China to militarise to a greater extent and earlier than they might have.

After the guard changing it was back on the bus for a hundred mile journey to the centre. 

 

 

 

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