Saturday, November 08, 2014

Riding through the 2014 election sign madness

Well! After weeks of not riding and nursing painful hip flexor back to a modicum of health, I decided to test it by riding the easy 120 km flat route to the Chiayi HSR with Merican Teacher. This route goes through Changhua City, Xihu, Pitou, Xiluo, Huwei, Tuku, and Xingang, a tour of flyover country. Along the way I snapped about a thousand photos of the latest election posters. Now that numbers have been assigned to the candidates, signs have exploded across the landscape. Click on READ MORE to see more (image intensive)...

All along the route candidates were holding meetings and rallies.

Merican Teacher remarked: "Poor guy looks like he's saying 'my wife is making me do this.'"

DPP Chair and likely presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen was on a few signs, but not many. My unscientific survey... It's a local election so that is hardly surprising. President Ma Ying-jeou, Chairman of the KMT, was a no-show.

An election HQ.

Another election HQ, I think.

Lots and lots of female candidates.

In a typical last month of the campaign move, many people trundled out images of family members, just as in Taipei Sean Lien has finally deployed his wife.

It is difficult to convey in 2-D pix the effect of streets lined with thousands of campaign flags.

Outside a store campaign workers attempt to hand out literature to a shopper.

Like I just said....

Bridges too.

In the Japanese era this was a rice and sugar growing region, and small railways served the sugar refineries. Many are still around one way or another...

Candidates beg for your vote.

With the election on the line, the signs have become large and dramatic.

This candidate calls for "construction" of Xihu town. One of the words in his name is the same as one of the characters in the phrase "construction". It must be destiny.

The first line in the center there says "night market life". Many candidates localize and Taiwanize themselves with such phrases.

Women cover their imagery with pink. In Taiwan women can be cute and still wield power, whereas in many western countries power is gendered "male".

Below a bike bridge on a bike path in Changhua, the flags line the road.

Several DPP politicians had signs in this style. Expression in English is a signal of education, modernity, and internationalization.

I have no idea how her campaign authorized these hideous signs of her. Perhaps she ran out of money after this printing.

Of all the signs we saw today, Mr Badminton was our favorite. From a distance I thought he was pointing with pointer, a very challenging and powerful position. Then when I got up close... Remarking on the unusual choice of badminton, which, though popular here, I have never seen used by a politician -- they usually pick baseball or biking -- Merican Teacher wondered whether he was associated with badminton in some way. A famous player, perhaps?

A riot of color on every corner.

A candidate's picture above her local HQ. The pink/white sign below gives a list of all the things she will (not) do. Not picking between green or blue. Not just working on the surface. Service with a sincere heart. Service is a key selling point and candidates work hard to convey how they will serve the public.

Another HQ.

Running for township chief in Pitou.

Mr Badminton is running for the Changhua County Council.

I put this important cultural artifact here because... because... what was I saying?

Her sign says "A first rate county chief, first rate people."

It was harvest time...

I took Merican Teacher on the 145 to the Big Red Bridge into Xiluo. At the north end of the bridge we rested and took some pics. A group of foreigners from the French cycling firm Mavic lead by a Taiwanese, all on hot bikes, rode up. They were strapping lads obviously capable of massive hill climbs, but the local guy had taken them on the dull route through the plains. What a waste.

Another one of the DPP signs in this style.

Sound trucks everywhere, playing Taiwanese songs and announcing their candidate's greatness in Taiwanese.

Another HQ.

In Xiluo we checked out the old street and rode into the Japanese era market...

...where a candidate was speaking in a public space.

A candidate overlooks the Xiluo old street.

A striking sign.

A candidate salutes the town.

A candidate raises a fist, a common and stereotyped pose.

In the wake of the rice harvest comes the egrets and other birds.

Agriculture is common on signs in the area, though usually as a backdrop.

Another corner with a cluster of signs.

He promises to represent farmers.

This woman's sign reminded me of a very similar pose on Tsai Ing-wen signs from two years ago. I wonder if that was on purpose...

Merican Teacher rolls into town, and is greeted by a sign, of course.

Caring, sincere service again. Policies seldom appear on the signs, it is all about service.

Husband and wife team in Yunlin.

Everywhere people setting out tables and burning ghost money.

The famous old Japanese era police station in Huwei, which now hosts an Eslite book store.

They are a team...

"Service is priority", he says.

A man with a plan.

Wielding a tablet computer, he prepares for the voters' future.

Just classic.

A baby is always a great prop if you're a politician.

A man with a plan for all walks of life.

In case you didn't see my first sign....

An HQ.

These signs faced a police station outside Tuku.

I found this poster pleasing to the eye...

Heading into Chiayi County....

Rare on local signage, this sign says he's a politics PHD from Zhongzheng U.

One of the candidates for Chiayi County chief.

Few of the candidates were doing anything active, but this fellow was all about the baseball.

Here he is again in Xingang.

There is a significant temple here and signs on the roads leading to them were particularly dense.

The food court of the temple.

The first floor was crowded with vendors.

On weekends it is always busy, but today it was a madhouse. Here Merican Teacher buys us corn for the ride to the HSR.

Signs on the road to the temple...

A procession to the temple.

This is a really striking sign that actually calls for a new era for agriculture and compares the new agriculture with traditional agriculture. For example traditional agriculture is high pollution, but the new agriculture is high value. Running for Chiayi County Chief, she says she will create 35000 jobs and $120 billion in annual production value.

This candidate emphasizes her "Taiwan values" and "Chiayi perspective."

Hard hats, ready to build things.

I didn't take his taxi outside the train station near my house, but I wanted to.
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Anonymous said...

This was awesome. Impressed by how many PFP signs there are; they must sense the opportunity the KMT's foibles has presented them.

Andrew said...

Great collection Michael. Saw a female KMT candidate on a huge poster in KHH today with New Taipei mayor Eric Chu. Very odd for this far south. Guess he's the new stand in for 9% Ma - the future.

Eric Hadley-Ives said...

Sometimes I've seen candidates posing with Tainan Mayor William Lai, popular rising star in the DPP, but didn't notice any among the collection you've posted. Thanks for sharing your photographs and insights, as always.

kabeiser said...

Brilliant idea for a blog post in Taiwan.

Streve said...

In Taichung it seems to me you need to have 3 wheeled scooter, dress like tramp and have a gormless factor of at least 8.2 to driver around all day annoying the &&&& out of everyone with your stupid loudspeaker squalling playground chants.