Friday, October 26, 2007

Election Selection 2008

No posters allowed! Fortunately, for people who like their world cluttered with looming posters of political candidates that's not true of the Taiwan outside the metro. Here is a small selection of posters from the upcoming elections. More to come (a selection from the previous election cycle is online here)

Ma Ying-jeou and a local candidate look down on a Taichung street.

A protest scrawled on a wall in Dali.

A DPP candidate looks on as people drive into the wholesale market in Taichung.

A candidate watches a street in Changhua.

A DPP candidate stresses his environmental service to the community in Tanzi.

This legislator made a memorable image.

Hsieh, Su, and a local candidate face the Taichung Train Station.

Highway projects form the centerpiece of this KMT candidate's presentation.


Love the female KMT candidate on the right.

KMT and DPP candidates duke it out above a 7-11.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Michael, for the wonderful photo collection of campaign billboards.

I can't help thinking that the fist gesture, so common in KMT politcal advertising is really grossly suggestive of what they want to do to Taiwan.

The DPP images, on the other hand, are rather bland. They remind me of the UK's Social Democrats (SDP) in the 80s, when natty Roy Jenkins and David Owen tried to impress voters with their "tough and tender" message.

cfimages said...

That first Taichung one with Ma and the woman and their fists is hilarious.

I wonder why none of the candidates are making the "V" sign with the fingers. The Hello Kitty xiaojie's would be sure to vote for whichever candidate did that, regardless of what party they were from or policies they had.

Anonymous said...

I find, with exception of Kao, all of the people on the ads smiling, no, grinning weirdly in a disturbing way.

Tommy said...

The thing that has always amazed me when looking at Taiwan campaign posters is the number of candidates of all political persuasions who are located behind the party secretary or who are pictured with the party secretary.

I know that this is a cultural difference, and that this is kind of like an endorsement or an unspoken testamonial, so I can't really criticize the candidates. However, when I have no opinions of any particular candidate, and I see that that candidate has a poster where they are either alone or shown doing something admirable or characteristic (without using the party secretary as a prop), I always have a bit more respect for them. My mind thinks: Ok! Here is someone who is willing to run on their merits alone!

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter much, since on hot-button issues, the parties almost always order their legislators how to vote, resulting in a level of party-line voting that I see as one of Taiwan's biggest democratic handicaps (even the reddest and bluest of US politicians would blush). But still...

I had the same reaction as all of you at the "F-you" fists. Whose wonderful idea was that? I know their meaning is "GoooOOOOO TEAM!" but who could not notice that the gesture is a vulgar one to many? Of course, this is also from the same political camp that came up with the Ma-de (fuck) poster and explained it away as "creative".

NT$10 says she is elected.

Anonymous said...

Thomas, your gut reaction to the images on the billboards is apt. It's interesting to study the intended effect these images may have from a semiotic perspective.

In addition to the appearance of party bosses and their relative positions in the images, what could the other symbolic messages signify?

For example, why do DPP members wear busines suits and ties while KMT dress in shirtsleeves or polos and polyester vests? What do the colors of their clothing signify? And, yes, why are they all grinning?

Some may recall the Bush/Kerry campaign in the last US election, too, with some very interesting images. Some of them included Kerry rockin' with a guitar and the picture of his youthful self and John Lennon. And of course there were the images of Bush-as-cowboy, and Bush as Commander in Chief, the latter having Bush stand in the center of military display redolent of old Soviet or Nazi propaganda images.

Just as with any advertising, these images are carefully designed to convey powerful but subliminal messages.

Michael Turton said...

For example, why do DPP members wear busines suits and ties while KMT dress in shirtsleeves or polos and polyester vests? What do the colors of their clothing signify? And, yes, why are they all grinning?

That's an interesting observation, because i have pics from the last election, and in them, the KMT guys are in the suits and advertizing PHDs, whereas the DPP guys are all in the open collar shirts. For some reason it is different this time around. Also, the candidates do not seem to stress their degrees like they did last time.

Andy Crosthwaite said...

The posters I can live with, what I hate though are the trucks with loudspeakers that cruise the streets closer to the elections.
The trucks, and the processions of supporters and cheerleaders that they lead are just a nuisance. They block traffic and create congestion, and the noise they make is just absurd.
I don't understand how people put up with it, if candidates in England used tactics like this people wouldn't vote for them on principle. I've had it explained to me that people here just understand that this is something that candidates have to do. It's an interesting way of looking at things as it really removes all pretence of politicians being public servants.

Anonymous said...

To Andrew Crosthwaite
We're live in a different world but that doesn't mean things happened in England are better or right than in Taiwan, you said:if candidates in England used tactics like this people wouldn't vote for them on principle. So lets England's things stay in England,because English don't come to Taiwan to vote.
I don't mean I like or happy to put up with these things happened in Taiwan,but I won't say Hi,English doing this or American ( I live in the State myself)doing that so Taiwanese should do the same.

- Jet Who -