Monday, September 07, 2015

Hung Brings a Sword

A rain squall over the town of Dongshih.

Do not assume that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

She's back! KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu is back from her time off to reflect. Apparently the only reflecting she did was to look in a mirror... which told her she was the fairest candidate of them all...

My man pointed out on Twitter that Hung's three-day retreat was to a Buddhist temple deep in the throbbing Deep Blue heart of Zhonghe in the City Formerly Known as Taipei County, where from nearly 500 meters up she could look down on Taiwan. To reset the campaign, she simply withdrew even more deeply into her Deep Blue ideological bubble, emerging with renewed delusional ideological ferocity. As a catastrophically witty friend of mine put it on FB: "I see she's had a rewarding weekend with the Analects of Confucius."

Hung quickly hit campaign trail, and the DPP dismissed her remarks. The KMT news organ reported the words of the Great Schoolmarm:
Hung stated that she had thoroughly thought over all important issues in the last three days, and decided to “take the necessary path.” She noted that our country had become “sick,” and “the cause of the illness was not government policies, but politicians like us.”

Hung vowed to consolidate and deepen the “1992 Consensus: one China, different interpretations” while lauding President Ma Ying-jeou’s great contributions to cross-Strait relations. She noted that both sides of the Taiwan Strait should engage in political consultations. She advocated that both sides should sign a peace accord under three principles: respecting the Constitution of the Republic of China, upholding Taiwan’s parity and dignity, and following public opinion.

Hung argued that everyone in Taiwan clearly realized that the unsolved cross-Strait issues had made the Mainland the scapegoat for all the problems Taiwan was currently facing. Furthermore, Taiwan failed to accurately evaluate significant changes on the Mainland, which in turn became a breeding ground for populist politics in Taiwan, Hung said, adding, “If this is the foundation for all of Taiwan's problems, I would first tackle it to create real peace across the Taiwan Strait.

Hung noted that when a group of students launched a protest against the cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement in March 2014, dubbed the “Sunflower Student Movement,” developments in cross-Strait relations began to face a deadlock. She asked whether Taiwan had to continue avoiding political issues or choose the DPP’s tactics to confront the Mainland.
Nothing has changed since her June speech to the KMT Central Standing Committee. The focus is still on China and the DPP is still the Great Satan which is creating chaos and disorder in society. Her 8,000 word manifesto -- the perfect length for our 144 character age -- contains little mention of anything concrete afflicting the people of Taiwan -- income inequality, wages and employment, energy, environmentalism, regional issues, highways, harbors, airports -- simply nothing. Instead, it froths over with existential frustration about the hysterical rumor-mongering press, populism, and the like. When she comes into office, all that will change! Discipline is what this nation needs! You can almost hear her slapping her open palm with a ruler as she gazes, eyes narrowed in suspicion, around the classroom...

Solidarity lived-tweeted it on Twitter, and observed that the final third was about her. A well-structured triparte sample from that section:

During meditation, I repeatedly engaged in self-dialogue. My candidacy, in the public's eyes, may be unexpected, but out of it may come good fortune -- is it inevitable that a positive force appears? [rhetorical question -- mt] I will stick to the original intention of my candidacy, holding up the banner of "sincere, rational, peaceful": "sincerity" to eliminate the false, "rationality" to defeat populism, and "peace" to open the road. In this way, I will be able to face myself, yet also be worthy of everyone's support. Thus, I will treat the meaning of this election as: among the personalities of the national leaders, there is a choice between "sincerity and hypocrisy". This is also a choice between "rationalism and populism" in national decision-making. Finally, this election is a choice between the directions of "peace and escape" in national decision making.
Such paragraphs show how Hung views herself as a leader in the Confucian tradition -- leadership is a moral act, the election is a moral cockpit offering moral choices, and all depends on the righteousness of the leader. Of course, for Hung, it is axiomatic that this righteousness is defined and legitimated by its coherence with KMT ideology...

...Whereas Tsai is a leader in the modern tradition, a policymaker and thinker who talks about things like housing, energy, and income, yet is also capable of calls for progressive, human-centered moral action. Tsai's pragmatism and kindness represent the best of the Taiwanese spirit.

Hopefully Hung will come out with more papers on specific policies. There's not much more to say.  SDP leader Fan Yun put it best (TT), growling:
"Governing the nation is not a composition contest."
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!


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Tsai was busy traveling and giving speeches. But you have to scroll down on most news sources to find news about her actions. Even from the brief summaries you can see that she's really talking about policy, unlike her opponents. But the comments sections are always filled with spams attacking her as empty-talking.

les said...

Thank God she didn't spend 30 days wandering in the desert. She might have realized the errors of her ways and changed something.

STOP Hung said...

Rational = agreeing with me.

Consensus = agreeing to disagree.

Based on the KMT's own definitions, a "Rational Consensus" will make one crazy. They're simply looking out for Taiwan's mental health, you know.

I guess it sometimes takes a complete nut-job to wake the citizens up. Thank goodness for Hung. She's like the Anti-Anti-Christ.


Anonymous said...

Strange how she thinks populism is bad. Why doesn't she look up the meaning?

Populism is a political doctrine that appeals to the interests and conceptions (such as hopes and fears) of the general population, especially when contrasting any new collective consciousness push against the prevailing status quo interests of any predominant political sector.

Populism is commonly defined as: "the political doctrine that supports the rights and powers of the common people in their struggle with the privileged elite."

see wiki

Tommy said...

I am interested in Hung's continuous return to the theme of malaise, in this case, the difficulty the nation is having with coming to terms with populism. Specifically, she admits that politicians are part of the problem, yet never really distances herself from that political culture rhetorically (ie, it takes someone from outside of Washington to clean up Washington's mess). Rather, her statements always seem to assume that the listener will readily believe she is credible (perhaps because she believes that she is and that the truly enlightened will see that).

Actually, it surprises me that Ma or campaign manager Chu have not foisted a ghost-writing policy/speechwriting team on her. If they actually have done this, then it surprises me that they themselves are so inept. If I were a KMT member, I would be angry only that the party can't even seem afford to pay the money that is needed to keep up appearances.

irwinc said...

It's also interesting (ironic?) that Hung thinks she speaks for rational forces against populism. Her campaign has been rather radical and reactionary, which is you know... the opposite of rational.

TaiwanJunkie said...

I have been baffled by the extreme negativity of the word "populism" as it is used by the KMT recently.

Then I realized they are really playing up the similarity in Chinese between 民粹 and 納粹, and essentially anything remotely democratic but against the KMT core interest are labeled populist.

les said...

Populism in practice however usually works out to be to promise things like (say) lowering taxes and improving benefits and then doing the opposite once elected. If that's what she means then she should probably be aiming her sword at Ma Ying-jiu, not Tsai Ing-wen! Well, it could also be that she's now realized she's in a race for runner-up, not for President. Therefore, her attacks are now aimed more at James Soong.

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

Who wants to bet Hung looked in a mirror...

...and saw no reflection?

an angry taiwanese said...

i worry what Ma will do to her and blame it on Tsai. then Ma declairs a state emergency, stops the election, and holds on to presidency indefinitely.

Alcibiades said...

I would say populism often has a negative connotation in English, as well. I think it is generally felt to be equivalent to “flattering the people's prejudices”, particular with respect to some allegedly privileged Other. I don’t think it has to be anti-elitist as such, except in so far as it is believed that some group is being favored (immigrants, refugees, minorities).

The odd thing about using it as a campaign insult is that it also implicitly accuses the people of sharing your opponent’s prejudices. Usually, I think, it's just better to accuse one's opponent of demagoguery, thereby placing the agency with the candidate, not the people.

Anonymous said...

Usually, I think, it's just better to accuse one's opponent of demagoguery, thereby placing the agency with the candidate, not the people.
They do. They accuse everything as Tsai's manipulation, and *everything* is quite an understatement. They say that Tsai's forces have permeated campus and spread all those liberal ideas.

Populism is just a translation, to understand the term (strike) we have to examine (/strike) examining the actual usage of the term by Hung would not help at all, though.
Hung used the following cases as examples of populism'.
Bullying of Lamisgirls over their support of Hung. (So patently untrue I don't even know where to begin to refute this. Just watch that video.)
Throwing military law into disarray over the single incident of Hung Chung-Chiu. (Military chickenshit or Dedovshchina is a common experience for most people who served in compulsory service; the changes to military law were made through legislation process.)
Criticism of Dapu Incident and lack of criticism of Tainan Railway Relocation project. (The two cases were entirely different in terms of process and method.)
Lack of central funding to Kaohsiung harbor and its decline. (huh?)

Other examples that are accused as populism' by blue media:
Green energy and sustainable development.
Agricultural protectionism.
Irrational fear of nuclear waste.
Sunflower movement.
Anti black box course outline movement.

I took the term (populism') to refer to issues supported by majority against rational expert opinion; the kind of rational expert who says that it's safe to walk inside nuclear waste storage facility since the radiation outside is merely 100 times over safety level. But some of the examples don't fit that description.

The issue goes back to rationality, Mike has always been sarcastic of KMT usage of rationality. I guess they are trying to present rationalization as rationality in the exercise of power and botch every step. I don't know. It's hard to argue about rationality rationally. We will probably go into infinite regress trying to define stuff.