This is one of those super-sensitive topics in Taiwan, and whenever I asked my friends over there if they wanted Taiwan to standardize using dalu pinyin they nearly shouted at me, “No!” Thus one shop window is selling xiabu xiabu, another shabu shabu, another syabu syabu, etc., all on the same road.
If it’s true, it could be an important turning point as Taiwan faces reality and returns to the motherland.
Update: Just to be safe, knowing how hysterical some readers get: that last line is semi-tongue-in-cheek. Semi. I do think Taiwan has already faced the reality that it is tied to China in many ways, and that most of its people favor some form of reconciliation, if only to help shore up their woeful economy. Being something of a pragmatist, I would have to say that a joining of the two is a matter of when and not if, even if such a joining is not justified by history (and what a bitter debate that topic can ignite).
English description of the new legislation, from a message board and unverified at the moment:
Hanyu Pinyin will be adopted as the main transliteration in Taiwan, instead of the Tongyong Pinyin, which had been used island-wide for the last six years. The Cabinet approved a proposal by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Tuesday. Hanyu Pinyin is to help Taiwan’s internationalization and international competitiveness, said the MOE.
Now, onto simplifying the characters….
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.