Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Countdown to the Election

One of the curses of living in a large city in an electorally contestable state in 2004 was that every other stinking day half the city was shut down to facilitate a Bush or Kerry motorcade. This doesn't happen in Taiwan. But...

As we draw closer to the election in Taiwan, anyone who wants to support their party straps a loudspeaker to their scooter and drives slowly around, broadcasting 3 sentences in Mandarin or Taiwanese, followed by a 10-second song snippet, one of which is stuck forever in my head with incomphrehensible English lyrics that I've invented ("I go one by one, you go two by two," which is neither what they're saying nor a translation of the Chinese, but my brain has invented them). Occasionally I absent-mindedly whistle it, but I've really tried to avoid doing that since it got my 7-year old students chanting political slogans and pumping their fists.

Just had to post this article I read in an old issue of the Taipei Times they had at a noodle shop:

To spare you too much, basically this guy from the KMT (one of the parties) burst into the rival party's campaign headquarters to conduct a search into finances- apparently they hadn't been paying rent- and the rival party says, hey, you can't do that!

"I feel terribly sorry that a simple on-site inspection turned into such a mess and damaged the KMT's reputation. I announce that I will hereby leave the party and take full responsibility," Fai told a press conference yesterday at the legislature.

Fai blamed himself for the negative impact on KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's (°¨­^¤E) election bid and said he would "consider ending his life" if Ma lost the election because of the incident.

Ma and KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (§d§B¶¯) yesterday said they respected Fai's decision to leave the party. In response to Fai's suicide threat, Ma said he would spare no effort to win the election.

Two things that make this so uniquely Taiwanese (or Asian? or representative of the political process in nascent democracies? I just don't know):
- the suicide threat, of course
- the fact that the presidential candidate didn't say, don't commit suicide! Or make some speach about how he would certainly win. Or focus on the scandal in the other party. It's just, "Dude, I'll try my best. Keep your fingers crossed!"

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