Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ma Goes Long, DPP Legislator Brought Up Short

The China Post, the local pro-KMT English paper, offers up some breathless prose on KMT Presidential hopeful Ma Ying-jeou's "long stay" outside the north:

While Ma Ying-jeou is due to return to Taipei City on Oct. 26, after finishing his second "long stay," Chinese language media speculated yesterday that the opposition Kuomintang presidential candidate might not return home and instead continue to stay overnight at various people's places.

Since July, Ma has toured Taiwan intensively and tried to learn directly from the people of Taiwan. Throughout his travels, he has met with representatives from many local industries, including tea agriculture, pig farming, fruit agriculture, flower agriculture, fishing, and radio broadcasting. Each time, he stayed overnight with locals and engaged in long talks. At one point, he stayed at a university dormitory to share his thoughts with the students.

On the whole, Ma slept over at more than 50 different locations. Comparatively, he only spent one-third of his time at home. As soon as Ma comes back to the capital city he will, however, continue to stay over at various locations in the Taipei City and County, sources close to the presidential candidate said yesterday. Wan Hua district in Taipei City, could be his first stop over, since it was where Ma spent his childhood, they added.

The effusive tone of this non-news notwithstanding, it's underlying political assumptions should not be missed: Ma venturing outside of the north is essentially a foray into no-man's land. Nobody would write this way about Frank Hsieh, who has held public office in both Taipei and Kaohsiung, and who is hardly as separate from the people as Ma is. Indeed, the paper can write that he "stayed" down south, though in fact a third of the time he was sleeping at home.

Ma's attitude toward Taiwan outside the north was neatly summed up in an experience in Pingtung during his first "long stay" chronicled by A-gu:

Ma went out into the field, sweat a little bit, got yelled at for planting poorly, came out to recite a Tang dyanasty poem about how hard being a farmer is (had he memorized that a long time ago or just for this occasion?) and announced his plan to help the farmers, a "third stage of land reform" (a phrase chosen thanks to the success of earlier land reforms) that includes massive spending.

When reaching for a way to describe the island's farmers, our Son of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou brings forth....a poem from China. Surely of the many possible gestures he could have made.....


The Post also reports on the indictment of a DPP lawmaker for corruption:

Democratic Progressive Party Lawmaker Lawrence Gao, a close confidant of President Chen Shui-bian, was indicted for corruption at Nantou yesterday.

Nantou district prosecutors charged the DPP legislator with accepting a NT$500,000 bribe to arrange the sale of a government-owned land lot in Taichung.

They demanded a nine-year sentence of Gao, who is also the chairman of the ruling party's disciplinary committee.

In addition, the prosecution wanted Gao to be stripped of his civil rights for seven years and fined NT$2 million.

If convicted, Gao will be ousted from the Legislative Yuan. However, he might be forced to resign now, according to the DPP bylaw.

DPP pubic office holders must quit, if indicted for corruption. Moreover, the party has to expel them.

With party membership lost, Gao can't stay on as a lawmaker at-large. He has been named an at-large candidate. Voters will go to the polls on next January 12 to elect a new Legislative Yuan.
Gao was last seen in the news in an alleged orgy at a club connected to the case against the First Lady. He is a former member of the Central Standing Committee (see here, for example), and was first on the list for an at-large seat after the DPP finalized its slate of candidates for the elections for next year.


Anonymous said...

After speaking with some locals who make their living in agriculture, it seems to me that Ma's dog and pony show is very appreciated. Nobody expects a city kid to know how to correctly plant crops, and Ma wasn't trying to put forth the message that he has spent years in the fields. Almost all the folks I know think of Ma as a refreshing prospect of change.

you love fatina said...

It also seems to me that the only thing A-bain knows is corruption and plant crops correctly. How about to exchange their position with each other? At least it will be unnecessary for Ma if he is Mr.president and Bain can help farmers to plant crops. Everybody is happy.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Allen. Right on.