Friday, October 08, 2010

Ad Ed Value

Photographed this interesting political ad in eastern Fengyuan town today. The ad is for Wang Chao-kun ("王朝坤"), the KMT candidate for the new Taichung City Council for Fengyuan and Houli. Those towns are north of Taichung city. The poster caught my eye because the candidate's shirt reads "MAZU", the popular local Goddess, and if you look carefully in the upper left corner of the poster, you can see a Mazu logo there.

A quick search took me to this page where he is listed (as Wang Tsao-kun) as one of the Directors of the Dajia Matsu Temple, the most important on the island. That temple is run by the notorious Yen Ching-piao, who has been in and out of jail and who is widely reputed to be a powerful gangster. He is President of the temple association. Wang Chao-kun is apparently one of Yen's men. He is currently speaker of the Houli Township Council. If you run searches on that list of names you'll soon run across other local politicians.

Just another example of how religion and politics intertwine in Taiwan through the temple associations, which provide a nexus for local businessmen, politicians, and local "colorful characters", and also, of the influence of that particular temple association in the local politics of the northern Taichung area. Temple associations are good launching pads for local political careers, and the subdued use of the Goddess Mazu on the sign tells locals what kind of politician they are getting.....
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the CCP will do with the temple associations when they take over Taiwan? Their power base could be a threat to the authoritarian dictatorship coming our way.

Jason said...

It's also interesting that this sign is designed to be read in Taiwanese (Forgive my half-remembered romanization, A-Gu, I've been away for far too long):

"Pa-biah: Kua-e-kau, kio-e-kau, zou-e-kau"

("Working hard: He sees, he says, he does"...A very Caesarian theme indeed)

Yet another sign of the cultural-linguistic disconnect between the local and national levels of the KMT.

Michael Turton said...

Yes, thanks for commenting on that. There's just so much at work in this sign here....

Okami said...

This happens a lot in Changhua too. The big Mazu temple has been having a lot of banquets, parades and feasts. You'll also see politicians with very fancy Mazu ornaments hanging from the rearview mirror.

jerome in vals said...

Tianjin, the future seat of a Red Mazu Holy See?!!
A Northern Chinese plot to take over the Mazu faith

王毅:和平媽祖 兩岸共同財富

2010-09-25 旺報 【特派員何明國/北京報導】
Wang Yi: Mazu of Peace, both banks common heritage

China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi indicated yesterday that Mazu is part of Chinese culture. "Mazu manifests succor, compassion, and peace, all traditional Chinese values common to compatriots across the Taiwan Strait."  

Yesterday evening, in the Great Hall of the People, Wang Yi interviewed a delegation led by Mazu Brotherhood President Zheng Ming-kun. Wang Yi’s welcome in Hoklo garnered hearty applauses.

Mazu is integral to the Chinese culture, Wang Yi said. "Our ancestors on the mainland, who are also yours, worshipped Mazu, sailed across the seas, developed Taiwan and propagated the faith in Taiwan. It now boasts the largest following, becoming the most influential, the most widespread faith."  

Mazu Brotherhood President Zheng Mingkun and his party will head for Tianjin to attend the "Fifth Chinese Tianjin Mazu Culture Touring festival" slated to start on September 26. He said that the Tianjin "Mazu Culture Economics and Trade Park" will erect a 50 meter-high Mazu statue to be completed next year and hoped that Wang Yi will attend its unveiling.  

The bi-annual "Chinese Tianjin Mazu Culture Touring Festival" saw this year its fifth session, Tianjin is now the northern strategic center of the Mazu cultural area.

An irate and somewhat erratic commenter:
God is not Jewish, Likewise, Mazu is not Chinese. Mazu is Taiwanese. Did not the Chinks do away with “monsters and goblins”? To now come grab Mazu, is not that united front tactics?! Chink pigs, what a nerve!

For more insight into how the worship of Mazu (媽祖, literally, The Holy Matriarch, Guanyin's popular manifestation) has been first spreading along the South China Sea coastal region, go to:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Rev. Jesse Jackson!