Monday, December 21, 2015

Could the Deep Blues stay home?

Food in Taiwan is manufactured under the most stringent sanitary conditions.

Solidarity translated this piece from Wealth Magazine on the KMT's problem with its Deep Blue supporters. The heart of it notes its trouble with the Huang Fu-hsiung (the old soldiers)...
The cold reception of the Huang Fu-hsing was no surprise. A knowledgeable source says that it all started when the Ma administration sharply cut year-end pension bonuses for military and civil servants and reformed away the 18%-interest system. After the Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) case it abolished military courts. Then came social movements like the Sunflower Movement and the protests against the fourth nuclear power plant and high school curriculum revisions. The KMT appeared to them to be led by the nose by the green camp, and to be firing on its own troops again and again. It was seen as unable to protect its family’s rights and interests. This made deep blues cold and dissatisfied.


In a surprise twist, Chu then chose former labor minister Jennifer Wang as his running mate, and the green camp revealed she had speculated in military housing units. The military and civil servant networks again caught fire. The hot anger of the deep blues has turned regions where the KMT typically has a strong advantage because of the military communities—like Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, and Taoyuan—into danger zones, influencing the legislative races.
The piece notes that replacing Hung Hsiu-chu, the outspoken, ultraconservative presidential candidate, with Eric Chu was deeply unpopular with the military veterans. The Deep Blues are also angered that Wang Jin-pyng heads the list of legislators to get at-large seats.

One of the deals the KMT made in running Taiwan as a colonial fief was with the veterans, the "mainlanders" who came over with the KMT in '49. They would remain loyal to the party, send their sons and daughters to serve in the bureaucracy, military, police, and NGOs, and in turn, the KMT elites would supply them with ample pensions, cheap food, and other items extracted from the productive Taiwanese business and agricultural sector. This cocoon of "ethnic" privilege, which the Old Soldiers justify to themselves with an elaborate narrative of how they are victims (perfectly true, just incomplete), has been perturbed in recent years.

All of this has been upset by several developments. The Ma Administration not only messed with their pensions, it also reformed the government, eliminated some agencies and folding the people into other agencies. The result has been widespread anger in the bureaucracy at the Ma Administration -- and the bureaucracy is 1/3 mainlander, whereas the nation itself is less than 10% mainlander. The cuts in military pensions triggered massive protests against the President's plan from the retired veterans. The pension cuts and tax reforms also affected another longtime disproportionately mainlander group: teachers. Then to add insult to injury, as the piece above notes, Vice Presidential Candidate Jennifer Wang was speculating in military housing, essentially preying on her own supporters.

Another factor in Deep Blue unrest is their own mortality. Their children are emigrating or joining the Taiwanese majority and identifying as Taiwanese. They do not identify as mainlander. The next generation of self-identified Chinese in Taiwan is going to be miniscule.

Could they stay home? In 2004 ~600,000 blue votes disappeared (numbers are here). Several factors, including multiple parties, disillusionment with the system, disgust with the KMT's inability to win, splits in the Blue camp, and so on, are appearing in different forms in this election...
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Grant said...

"Explain again why a political party needs a hotel in Pulau. "

Those ex-KMT legislators will need a place to work after the election ends.

les said...

The Palasia is almost next-door to the ROC embassy in Koror and was for many years by far the nicest hotel in the islands (though that says more about the competition than it does about the Palasia). I wonder how many official trips to our important diplomatic ally were more about booze and karaoke than diplomacy.

TaiwanJunkie said...

I hate to say this about my own kin, but the sense of entitlement runs deep within the Deep Blue Camp. This is not necessarily personal faults, but more human nature.

Dad is 90, retired KMT lifetime member, emigrated over 30 years ago and STILL goes back every 2-3 years to collect what is "justly" his money, aka the 18% benefit. He states angrily that he traded it with his blood and tears, and will launch into stories about breaking a rib while onboard a naval ship and so on and so forth. My Holko mother says in regard to the money, 不拿白不拿. They are regularly fed propaganda via e-mails about how the DPP are all offsprings of Japanese that hid away and stayed behind after the Glorious Retrocession and so on.

I noticed this same trait with veterans in the US as well. Veterans will fight to get the max benefit even though it is very clear it is not service related, and the anger that they are not given their rightful compensation has no end. (For example, Diabetes is potentially related to Agent Orange exposure, but a veteran who drinks daily, is morbidly obese, and follow a horrible diet will fight tooth and nail to get his Diabetes diagnosis fully registered as a service related condition.)

We essentially set up these outrageous sense of entitlement so that the public will keep paying for a broken rib from 50 years ago and so on.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you consider the ROC to be the government of all China. Then Taiwanese make up 2/3 of the bureaucracy! That's impressive for the smallest Chinese province.

I'm being sarcastic, which is not easy to discern in an online environment.