Friday, July 09, 2010

Yilan Children's Festival, KMT largesse, Local Government

Taiwan News thwacks the Ma Administration for breaking promises:
However, after restoring KMT governance to Yilan after 24 years of Democratic Progressive Party administration, then KMT Yilan County Commissioner Lu Kuo-hua claimed that the annual festival, which had regularly turned in sizable profits, was "financially infeasible" and cancelled the Yilan Children's Festival in 2007 despite intense protests from Yilan community groups, the local tourist industry and thousands of citizens.

After DPP candidate and Lotung City mayor Lin Tsung-hsien made its revival the core symbol of his campaign slogan "Restore Yilan's Pride" last fall, Lu publicly recanted and proposed to merge the international children's festival with his own "Blue Water" Exhibition " and received Ma's public promise of "full support" of the central government.

However, the president and KMT chairman's vow failed to rescue the hapless Lu from being thrashed by Lin by a margin of 133,394 to 112,469 in the Dec. 5 poll and the president and KMT chairman, KMT Premier Wu Den-yi and KMT Yilan County assembly members have evidently "forgotten" Ma's promise.

Instead, the Executive Yuan agreed to provide only NT$2 million of NT$55 million requested by the Yilan County government to restore the cancelled festival, while the KMT majority in the Yilan County Assembly sliced NT$80 million from the county government's proposed NT$180 million budget on May 19.


The failure of the Ma government to fulfill such a public commitment will unavoidably fuel doubts about the credibility of its other commitments to Taiwan citizens as well as spark suspicion that the KMT government's actions in regard to the Yilan International Children's Festival reflect a a narrow-minded partisanship, if not a juvenile vengefulness.
This Taiwan Journal piece from '05 offers a compelling description of the popular festival:

The 2005 Yilan International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival is being held July 2-Aug. 14 at the Cinshuei Park in Yilan County's Wujie Township. Now in its ninth year since its inception in 1996--discounting 2003 when it was cancelled due to the SARS outbreak--it has become northern Taiwan's most popular summer holiday destination designed to delight children and the young at heart.

Every day, special trains shuttle thousands of families and school-organized student groups back and forth between Taipei and Cinshuei Park. Even in its first year, the festival drew about 100,000 visitors, and in 2001, an overflow of 800,000 people descended upon the park. This year, with many more destinations to choose from in Taiwan, attendance is expected to range between 200,000 and 300,000.

In 2002 the Yilan Children's festival attracted 970,000 visitors. This 2007 China Post article discusses its cancellation.

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Unknown said...

How generous of the KMT to promise to give back some of the money it has stolen.

And how unlike the KMT to renege on a promise just because it didn't get what it wanted.

But - as far more astute analysts and far more erudite pundits have observed - the Taiwanese must be their own worst enemies if they keep voting these guys in.

So either a) the voting system in Taiwan is rigged to make sure that the KMT and its allies always stay in control...

or b)The Taiwanese voters are the battered wives of Asian politics and keep letting the abuser back into the house every time, just because he's promised to change and things will be different this time.

les said...

c) All of the above