Saturday, June 11, 2005

More on the Funeral Rice Scandal

Blogs around Taiwan and elswhere have been lit up by the comical scandal of Wang Yu-cheng and the Funeral Parlor Rice Video Scandal. EWSN has the play-by-play, including pictures of Wang crying in public, which is the Taiwanese equivalent of an American politician showing up during a sex scandal with his wife and kids in tow.

New information out today makes the whole story even worse. According to the Chinese papers, Wang showed the video to the Taipei City government prior to airing it. At first dismayed, as the funeral parlors in question were city-owned, City Hall checked the records and found that the thing had to be a fake. Instead of squashing the show, however, they let Wang air the staged video, thus letting the poor restaurants whom Wang had alleged were receiving rice from funeral parlors suffer the subsequent decline in business. Hope City Hall, run by the spineless Ma Ying-jyeou, gets thumped for this one.

Upshot is, although Wang has been busted about as badly as anyone can be, he still won't resign his legislative position, claiming his constituents voted for him and so he would be doing them a disservice by quitttng. Apparently when he was both a legislator and a TV show host, he wasn't doing them a disservice by doing two jobs at once....

EWSN, which seems to delight in Taiwanese failure, had this to say:

More snarky material here on democracy as practiced in Taiwan. This one is truly pathetic. Try convincing mainland China that democracy is the best way to go!
This present case is an example of the worst of the worst. In the end, there will be those who say that the system worked because the truth came out. But the system certainly did not work for those restaurants whose business suffered due to the unsubstantiated blanket charge. While some of the media did raise doubts about the story, most of them gladly took the story and ran with it to the full tilt. The main culprit here was also simultaneously a Taipei city councilor and a television program host, which was the combination of the worst with the worst.

Why a city councilman staging a fake video is an example of "the worst of the worst" is beyond me. This kind of hyperbolic rhetoric is pointless. The worst of the worst is building a senseless fourth nuclear plant, or the boondoggle that is the High Speed Railway, or the KMT's claim that A-bian staged his own shooting and then attempting to provoke China and smear Taiwan by staging fake protests in Taipei. That's genuinely wrong, worst of worst stuff. This is a mere pimple by comparison.

UPDATED TO ADD: EWSN also had this on its list of articles:

(June 10, 2005) A Scandal in Hong Kong District councilors are accused of creating fictional grassroots organizations in order to steal government funds.

(Administrative note) Wham! Yesterday, the server got slammed out of nowhere with 7,713 page views of The Big Brawl in Taipei (April 27, 2005). Where did that come from? Which A-list blogger linked to it? Or maybe the people in China want to learn how to practice democracy ...

Note the cheap crack in the last sentence -- there's a definite tone of jealousy in EWSN's commentary. It's interesting to juxtapose the scandal in Hong Kong, far more serious than Wang yu-cheng's little escapade, that EWSN lets slide without comment, with EWSN's hyperbolic comments on Wang. If Wang is the worst of the worst, than democracy in Taiwan is doing pretty well.


STOP_George said...

EWSN makes an invalid argument.

This is NOT a reflection on democracy -- it is a reflection of how the "old-school" corrupt unaccountable UNDEMOCRATIC politics (which abuses democracy) still exists in Taiwan.

The PFP and KMT are institutional symbols of this undemocratic reality.

The quicker they become obsolete and new parties take their place, the better for Taiwan.

Chaon said...

Why is the HSR a boondoggle?

Red A said...

first off, it doesn't stop at the airport.