Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ma is Taiwanese Again II

A couple of months ago I observed how it is election time so Ma and the KMT will suddenly become Taiwanese again (keep that post in mind as you view this vid). This election video is a good example of how that propaganda works in practice. A friend of mine, discussing this KMT election video, pointed out the rip-offs of Island Etude, the film from a few years ago that popularized cycling in Taiwan and presented it as a Taiwan-centered activity, as well as the Seediq Bale poster glimpsed at the beginning. "Film and indigenous heritage are important symbolic battlegrounds in this election," he remarked. They are omnipresent in this video.

Love the opening of the deaf girl "listening" to musicians.

Several other items struck me -- the omnipresence of young people, who identify strongly with Taiwan and not at all with China, glimpses of the de facto national sport of bicycling with its connotations of status, leisure, and Taiwanese identity, and baseball, strongly associated in Taiwan with aborigines. Locations like one of the centers of Taiwan nationalism, Kaohsiung (with the big skyscraper shown a couple of times), and the east coast, strongly identified with Taiwan, and night markets. Backgrounds with Taipei 101 in soft focus. Traditional crafts like indigo dyeing. The cut flower export and fishing businesses, both identified with Taiwan. President Ma with rice farmers, every one in a traditional hat. There's even a group of women having a night out. One of the final scenes is in an old mainlander military village, now decked out in modern graffiti art.

What's not here: the island's tech and other export industries. What an interesting non-presence.

Truly a well done video with powerful use of local imagery to make a strong emotional appeal to local voters. Note that "being Taiwanese" is a requirement to getting elected; no one could get elected today by putting down Taiwan culture as the KMT used to do, routinely. Democracy has fostered a totally Taiwan identity that the KMT must appeal to in order to gain votes.
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums! Delenda est, baby.


Anonymous said...

A true leader will have visions that most people can't see. Like the creations of Apple products. I had dreamed about more capability in my phone when I had the P910i from Sony Ericsson. Too bad they had a different vision for their products such that the capability was inconsistent throughout it's product lines. We know that apple is not the perfect product for everyone, but it certainly hits a sweat spot.

The same is with creating vision for a Country. Certainly it's necessary to create a feeling for the future, and yes, it needs to go hand in hand with actual accomplishments. In any event, I see more and improvements continuing that is seldom advertised, and it seems that we need to look at these positive aspects as time goes my, then we will appreciate what the Government and the Leaders are trying to accomplish. I know my wife and I would not like to move to anywhere else in the world as of now, even though we like to see the wonders in different countries, and appreciate the various cultures.


John S said...

Wow, that's a very impressive video!

Did they miss anybody? Old folks, check. Cute kids, check. Workers in hardhats, check. Executives in spandex on expensive bicycles, check. Androgynous 20-something male models with fabulous hairdos, check. Nurses, surfers, farmers and aborigines, check!!!

So... where's the DPP video??

Doesn't Tsai care about cute babies and farmers in the rice paddies??

Anonymous said...

It's a moving video, and very effectively Taiwanese -- until Ma appears in the rice paddy holding hands with farmers. I actually had a visceral reaction of nausea. He seems so out-of-place in that setting, bouncing awkwardly, and holding hands with people he wouldn't otherwise even touch outside of an election year.

As you indicated, the ironic thing is that the very Taiwanese cultural images that he is hoping to ride upon in this video are the ones that would potentially hurt by the direction he wants to take this country if re-elected.