Saturday, December 31, 2011

Legislative Election musings

The form it is alleged that the National Security Bureau used to record information about DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen and her activities and supporters. My own view and that of many others is that despite the sickness of using the NSB as a political tool, Tsai needs to get off the mudslinging and back on message about income, economic growth, and social justice that has served her well so far.

The kinds of choices that face local voters, as well as the corruption of politics in Taiwan, are neatly encapsulated in the choices my wife faces in the election for legislative candidates in our area. There are a half dozen candidates. Two of them are brothers from the Tung family that owns the huge hospital out near Taichung Harbor (one of the best in the country). The whole family is pro-KMT and one of the Tungs is running as a KMT candidate. Another Tung is running as the DPP candidate but appears to have recently swapped parties, though he claims he alone among his clutch of pro-KMT brothers has always been pro-Green. Another candidate, who was quite good and whom my wife likes, is now running as an independent but in recent years has been associated with the TSU although before he was DPP.

If you support the DPP, who do you vote for? Voting for the Tung feels like a vote for the KMT even if he wears DPP clothing. Voting for the good pan-Green/TSU candidate feels like the right move but may hurt the DPP because it needs people in the legislature. In may all be moot because the major KMT candidate,  a woman, is extremely successful and has powerful patronage connections to many local infrastructure projects and all the schools in the area.

One thing one hears steadily is how deep contempt of Ma is among KMT supporters. One lifelong pan-Blue supporter I know well told me he detests Ma but is voting for him out of fear that the mainlanders will be kicked out of Taiwan if the DPP wins out. Tsai needs to find a way to reach out and reassure those people....
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...

Things started to improve for the KMT as soon as they stopped TRYING to win.

Anonymous said...

"One lifelong pan-Blue supporter I know well told me he detests Ma but is voting for him out of fear that the mainlanders will be kicked out of Taiwan if the DPP wins out."

I think that is so selfish. In other words, to heck with whatever happens to Taiwan so long as the Mainlanders can cling to their privileged positions. They've already had privileged positions for the past 60 years. Mainlanders should realize Taiwan is the only home they have left. After dominating the government and education system for over 60 years, Taiwan society today has already transformed into something that is more palatable to Mainlander tastes even though they used to be the minority. Basically 80% had to change to cater to 20%. A prime example is language. Rather than have the 20% Mainlanders learn Taiwanese, the education system forced the 80% Taiwanese to learn Mandarin.

Mainlanders should realize that society is unlikely to radically change with the election of the DPP. For better or for worse, Mainlanders have now become a part of Taiwanese history and society and there will always be a place for them in Taiwan. Taiwan is not going to just "kick them out." Sure some things will change, but that is normal for society. Nothing is static or permanent and for Mainlanders to try and cling to their privileged positions only perpetuates class warfare and prevents Taiwan society from progressing and healing.

The sooner Mainlanders admit that they're Taiwanese, the better. Continuing to insist that they're Chinese keeps perpetuating a fantasy. Already in the rest of the English speaking world, if you say that you're culture is Chinese, the vast majority will think you're from China and not Taiwan. It takes too much time to explain the whole KMT mantra "the ROC represents the true essence of traditional Chinese culture while in China, the cultural revolution destroyed...." Nobody else really cares. Indeed, the very "high-class traditional Chinese culture" the KMT brought from China (whatever that really is) has now become an integral part of Taiwan society and culture. Just call it Taiwanese culture and get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Because the 20% had all the guns.

Anonymous said...

This will interest you Michael.

John Scott said...

"One lifelong pan-Blue supporter I know well told me he detests Ma but is voting for him out of fear that the mainlanders will be kicked out of Taiwan if the DPP wins out."

I wonder how typical that kind of attitude is, and if that is the fear that lies at the base of the knee-jerk opinions of typical KMT supporters who identify as "mainlander".

They love to sound all patriotic and resolute about ROC sovereignty (or their definition of it), and love to be the first in line to protest about Japanese getting too near some tiny islands where nobody lives. This is how they established their legitimacy to remain in control.

When absolutely necessary (election time) they will go through the motions of promoting and appreciating local Taiwan cultural elements.

But all of that resolute ROC patriotism is conditional-- on their getting to control everything.

If they feel there's a risk the may suffer the humiliation of losing control to Taiwanese.... then they are quite ready to drop all of their noble ideals and jump on the PRC bandwagon... and then continue to do their best to sabotage the strengthening of real sovereignty and real and transparent democracy in Taiwan.

vin said...

This is off-topic, but I can't recall seeing a president anywhere visibly age physically as Ma has in 3.5 years. In photos he looks alternately anorexic, like an old woman, and like a Beijing/some- other-Han opera character who can look the part without makeup -- though he's no doubt always wearing makeup.

A bit more on topic: perception is always subjective, so is it just me or do others find it laughable and wierd that not a few among a group of people who appropriated privilege and have hung onto archaic notions and a sentimentality for arbitrary, eccentric-to-bizarre old customs could still be imagining themselves, well into the twenty-first century, to somehow be "high class"? (The things the human mind is capable of...!)

Anonymous said...


Ma was never that good looking to begin with. During the first campaign he had an army of image specialists on hand to craft his "youthful" image.

Now, as president, he does not have the time for the botox injections, make-up, and other enhancements.

There was also a culpable media, which has always avoided airing his bald spot. This campaign he seems to be wearing a hairpiece.

Both Ma and Soong look like they were plucked out of a 1970's meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee. All that hair oil.

Michael Turton said...

As Johnny Neihu once remarked, the CCP is north korea made good. The same appears to apply here....

Kevin said...

"...look like they were plucked out of a 1970's meeting of the KMT Central Standing Committee."

Or Madame Tussauds.

Anonymous said...

You would think that most of the KMT supporters are mainlanders with privileged positions. This is not always true. Take my own brother as an example, he is not doing well making a living but is a die hard KMT supporter. I belive he has that High Class delusion that KMT have been brain washing Taiwanese people. They feel that only people with high education support KMT. In order not to be categorized as 'grass root' people, they want to show people that they are independent thinkers and they 'decide' to support KMT out of their own analysis. Unfortunately, these people are not easy to be reasoned. I think a lot of these people have only high school education and don't want to regarded as 'uneducated' people. It is heartbreaking for me that even my own brother has this mentality.