Friday, January 11, 2008

Election Pics Again

The election is tomorrow, so I thought I'd inundate you with more election pictures, so everyone in the world can be overwhelmed with the sound and color of elections here in Taiwan.

One predominant myth that colors academic discourse on Taiwan, which I have frequently argued against, is that local voters prefer candidates who are not corrupt. I think this election will forever do that myth in. The middle class here does not want clean government -- it wants government that will assure the flow of funds from the center out to the electorate -- and clean government won't do that. The preference for corrupt candidates -- of which there are countless examples here in Taiwan -- also bodes ill for democratic development in China. Jim Mann has already argued in his recent book The China Fantasy that the middle class in China will ally itself with the authoritarian state to protect its privileges against urban and rural poor. Here is another incentive for them to keep the authoritarian state in being -- corruption helps sustain the political economy of local contracting and development that keeps local middle classes happy.

Feiren emailed me the following from FTV:

進入投票所依序會領四張票,分別是區域立委選票、不分區政黨選票,及兩張公投選票。公投選票,領了也可以不投,只要退給選務人員就好,但千萬別撕毀,或把選票帶出去,以免觸法。再次提醒您,立委合併公投選舉,投票時間1/12早上八點到下午四點,展現民主精神,別忽視你手中神聖的一票。
Each voter should collect 4 ballots: one for the local district legislative representative, one for legislator-at-large, and two referendum ballots. After picking up the referendum ballots, voters can choose not to cast them, but they must be returned to election officials. The ballots must not be torn-up or taken out of the polling station. Fines will apply to those who disobey. Voting for the legislative election and the two referendums will begin at 8am and close at 4pm in the afternoon. So bring your id, chop, and voting card to be sure that you will be able to exercise your right to vote, and don't forget to return the referendum ballots if you decide not to participate. (Feiren trans.)

Feiren observes that this will mean you will have to get back in line to return the ballot -- perhaps increasing the incentive to vote for the referendums -- if this report is true.

Everyone I've been listening to is saying the same thing -- the DPP will not do well. 40 seats only, by some sources.

The government is investigating a record number of vote buying cases.

The whole DPP brain trust backs this candidate.

Regardless of sex, candidates love to be seen in athletic poses. This year, because of the success of pitcher Wang Chien-ming with the Yankees, everyone is into baseball.

On a sunny Tainan street, a candidate looks down.

Because there is a limit on the amount of money that can be spent on a gift to a voter -- NT$30 -- most candidates hand out pens, notepads, and tissues.

Signs frequently overlook intersections.

One of the most annoying aspects of KMT success in this election is going to be another interminable load of crap from the Talking Heads inside the Beltway about (1) how the US influenced the election and (2) how Taiwan's independence movement is fading.

In many adverts for KMT candidates Ma and Siew, party affiliation is absent. The rhetoric is also Taiwan-centered.

Shelly Rigger has a good explanation of the changes in the legislature and the election in the WSJ this week.



Lee Teng-hui, please fold up the TSU and retire. Please.


Someone has scratched out their faces.

In Hell, the sound trucks run 24-7.

The DPP candidate in the center has the strong support of local KMT officials for getting the job done. Legislators are commonly involved in all sorts of local affairs -- even to the extent of getting calls from constituents if they get involved in a traffic accident.

Note how "China" is written in simplified Chinese.

One of the reasons election ads are so fascinating is that they are often juxtposed with ordinary ads, in quite striking and ironic ways.

Ma and Siew on the side of a bus. The color scheme is quite attractive. Note also the open necked shirts, in contrast to Hsieh and Su, who often appear in ties.

3 comments:

cfimages said...

The third pic from the top is hilarious. I keep expecting their middle fingers to pop up - I'm sure that's what they're thinking and planning to do to Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

just to share a commentary from Australia

http://andrewbartlett.com/blog/?p=1903

花崗齋之愚公 said...

Thanks for these great pictures. It's a real treat.

Living in Beijing, it's kind of a shock and novelty to actually see election posters in Chinese. It's the one usage of the language you just don't see too much of here.