Hahaha, haven’t blog for a long time. But the recent event is definitely worth a blog.
After many years of blue/green deadlock and the more recent pan blue dominance, the climate seems to finally change. In the recent nine-in-one local election, KMT suffers a huge defeat.
I suppose this is partly due to the weak candidates that pan blue put out, but more importantly, I think this is partly a reflection of people’s worsening impression of KMT as a whole (especially younger generations). There are a lot of different things that contribute to this, and probably different people see different issues. Some see KMT’s sellout of Taiwan to China, some see the failed promises (especially economic promises, where KMT thought itself as the expert, but really, all they can come up with is China, China, China, and nothing else…IMO they completely miss the mark on how to improve Taiwan economically), some see worsening cronyism and government corruption…etc etc. You can make a huge list on this, but the point is…under KMT, things seem to get worse.
Another way to look at it though, is that there are definitely something new, something very different going on. I think that the younger generation has finally join into the politic discussion of Taiwan, and with them, the new technology and culture. This is especially evident in Taipei City election, where Dr. Ko won again Mr. Lien, using a complete different strategy and tactics.
In any case, the hope for Taiwan now, I think, is that non-pan-blue elements can hold or even advance further…keep KMT out of power for at least 10 years. This can force KMT to change fundamentally or fall apart completely, in which case, another political party can take over. Part of Taiwan long time problem has always been KMT’s illegally gained deep pocket and other legacy left from martial law era. So if the non-pan-blue does a good job, they have a chance to really change Taiwan for the better.
But then again, to be a practical pessimist, KMT is no push-over, and the Empire might strike back. This is only the beginning. There would be many more challenges ahead for Taiwan, I am sure.
More Thoughts 1: In any case, it proves once again that…democracy, although not anywhere near perfect, is better than other system…just look at what is going on in Hong Kong and compare…
More Thoughts 2: I think that history might put the Sun Flower Movement as the turning point of this whole thing, and I would agree. The movement literally saved Taiwan from the point of no-return. But what is probably equally important and interesting, are the events that lead up to the Sun Flower Movement, and how it affects the events after.
This piece is worth a read. http://www.hi-on.org.tw/bulletins.jsp?b_ID=116499
You can say that Mr. 曹長青 is too conservative but he has some good point. I also think that a lot of slogans DPP used during election are not clear and can give people the wrong impression. The two slogans I do not like the most are 公平正義, which will remind Taiwanese of communism, and 大聯和政府，which sounds more idealistic than practical.
公平正義 is a prime example of bad slogan. I think that what DPP wants to express here is to lower the payment and benefits to the government officials, and use the money for other more beneficiary purpose. However, the slogan just sounds like DPP can be the judge of what is right and wrong, which is just too arrogant and too dictatorial like, and I think a lot of Taiwanese will be picky on that. Therefore, DPP really needs to be careful of its slogans.
Also, some of DPP’s people really have to think about the party’s alignment, because I think actually a lot of Taiwanese do not like left leaning party. Taiwanese ethic and culture believes more in people trying to stand on their own two feet, that is why the song 愛拼才會贏 is so popular in Taiwan. Instead of just using left wing thinking like “fair” society etc, DPP should also think more along the line of creating more opportunities and create good environment for investment (without relying on China, which will create huge problems for Taiwan later).
Only less than 2 months left until the presidential & legislature election for Taiwan. The recent trend certainly looks very favorable to DPP. However, optimism is still too much of a luxury right now I would say, given the past experience, KMT’s vast network and China in the backstage.
The good thing about the past 4 years is that it lets people remember or realize once again how bad KMT was and still is. People had this false belief that KMT is very good at economy, when the economic miracle during that time is more of the result of Taiwanese hard work and the right global environment. Furthermore, a lot of problems were also created during that time, but no one seems to notice. Regardless, government might help in some area, and created problems in other area, but to say government can solve economic problem magically is just pure naivety. Even if Tsai gets elected, there is no way she can improve Taiwanese economy to a whole new level. However, government could setup a better direction and create a better economic environment, and this I believe Tsai has the ability to do, although still quite difficult.
The main point of this election IMO though, is about being realistic and honest to oneself. There is no 633. ECFA and China are not some miracle cure. China’s intent toward Taiwan is clear and has so far never changed. International environment is tough for Taiwan, but Taiwan also has its advantages. This is the current situation, and I hope Taiwanese will not be fooled by Ma’s lie and myth once again.
Tsai’s visit to the US looks like a great success. The messages (especially about Taiwan Consensus) from the DPP side seems to be well conveyed to the US officials and diplomats. Communication seems like a simple task but in Taiwan’s case it’s very difficult, and this visit seems like a great break through in communicating DPP’s thinking to the US…this is something DPP was not able to accomplish for many years. Of course, expecting this visit to result in some sudden major changes would be unrealistic, but so far this looks like a great improvement.
So it looks like selecting Tsai as the Presidential candidate was indeed the right choice, or the best choice for DPP and Taiwan in the current circumstances. It looks like her style is going through things step by step at the right pace, and be well prepared. DPP first completed its 10 years policy outlook, and then have a well prepared visit to the US to convey the ideas to the decision makers and Taiwanese in the US. Nothing is rushed or half-baked. I am more and more convinced that Tsai is the right type of leader Taiwan needs right now.
Recently I tried to spare some time reading DPP’s 10 Years Policy Outlook (十年政綱). I did not read the whole thing because I am more interested in only certain sections that contains topics in economy, domestic development, government finance, national security, foreign policy, strategy and education. But the thing is indeed very comprehensive, covering wide range of topics that would be interesting to different group of people who are concerned about Taiwan’s future.
Some after thought on this:
Vision & Direction: the 10 years policy outlook IMO is well written strategy paper. Everything stated within is aligned with a clear general strategy. Thus it provides a clear vision and provided strategic directions on how to reach that vision.
Parts I Like: I especially like the section on national strategy, foreign policy and regional development strategy. I also think it is an improvement that DPP considers the national security issues seriously, which a lot of politicians in Taiwan fail to do I think.
Feasibility: IMO overall the plan is feasible within 10 years, but some parts would be a lot more difficult than the others. Also, things could change in the next decade, so future adjustment to the policy is also possible. However, the purpose of the paper is to convey the general principles and strategies of DPP’s national policy. In other word, it is trying to set a right direction, not yard sticks. On this DPP is indeed acting more mature and responsible than KMT, which set some ridiculous and childish benchmarks (633, stock index reaching 20,000 etc) to woe the electors.
In conclusion, I think the direction set by the paper is correct. The implementation will depends on Tsai and her team’s ability to execute, number of legislator seats DPP can get and other factors. However, correct direction IMO is most important…what use is a fast car if you keep driving in the wrong direction. Plus, lots of evidences have shown that DPP’s ability to execute exceed that of KMT (in terms of more economical and higher quality in less time).
UPDATE: another thought just occurs to me. A lot of people feel that many reform (of different degrees) have to be made (example: the justice system), and DPP, with its experience during Chen’s term and the public feedback over the past 3 years seem to have recognize that, as can be felt within this 10 years policy outlook. However, if DPP is going to accomplish what is specified with this paper, it will have to challenge some of the existing special interest group. On this front DPP’s ex-president Chen has not been very successful, and KMT actually also have used the support of these types of group to bring Chen down. Therefore, DPP should think ahead about how to overcome these types of challenges. One thing it needs to do IMO is to use the 10 Years Policy Outlook not only to gather support for election, but also to gather support of reform if DPP wins the election…
The presidential election is coming in a few month, and once again this could be a turning point…or not, we shall see. But the fact of the matter is, Ma’s incompetence has given Taiwan another chance. This might sound kind of counter intuitive, because if the President of Taiwan and his/her team are competent, then they will be able to provide Taiwan with a chance of further prosperity. If they are incompetent, then they will wipe away opportunities and chances of better future. However, it is so, because the direction Ma is taking is a completely wrong one.
If you are on a transportation vehicle heading toward a cliff running at full, and you already have lost control over it, you would most likely wish that this vehicle is a donkey instead of a F-1 racing car, so you can jump off without getting killed. This is exactly the situation Taiwan is facing now.
Many people bash Ma’s incompetence over the years, from burning the government treasury which creates huge debt, to lack of readiness and capability and crisis management, to over emphasis on media coverage without putting any real thought into how to manage the government and plan for Taiwan’s future….etc etc etc. All these are valid and important, but I think what worries many, deep inside their hearts, is that Ma is leading Taiwan toward a point of no return. The way Ma and China coordinate to bring Taiwan further and further into China’s orbit is quite evident in the past 3 years.
On the other hand, despite his incompetence, he is still able to fool many. Unfortunately despite all his incompetence he is still a very good actor, and the media, whose industry consist mostly of traditional pan blue supporters, is able to give him a stage. Plus the KMT have a complex web of connections in the local governmental organization, and of course they have a huge amount of “illegal” fund. All these still give Ma plenty of support.
But, Taiwan is indeed blessed with another chance. If Ma is a competent leader and if his team is very competent, they will be able to do an even better job at sugar-coating and misdirection…and less people will be able to recognize the problem and the risk. Because of his incompetence, he busted his promises during election (such as 633…well that one and stock index to 20,000 are just too big of a bullshit even extremely competent people will not be able to accomplish), which cause more people to examine and realize that he does over promises and lies many times…
Mr. Turton has a good counter point to Ted Galen Carpenter and the usual pro-China western academia crowd.
In depth discussion and analysis: http://www.southnews.com.tw/web-tv/00/00321_01.htm
Section 1,2,3 are particularly good IMO. Section 6 also has some nice answers.
The discussion does not seem to mention much about solutions. Maybe their recommendation is in the report, I don’t know. But I guess knowing the problem is half the battle. (Actually the end of section 6, there is a clarifications on the recommendation and solution.)
A lot of pan-blue supporters who pretend to be “neutral” or people who do not care so much about public matters like to use this phrase “it does not matter whomever get elected” ever since there is an election.
But of course it matters. Maybe shit won’t happen to you, but it might happens to your children.
Look at today’s (or maybe it was out yesterday, I don’t know) news:
THIS IS TERRIBLE. A totally brainless and backward education policy that is so bad and “China Center”. It cannot get any worse than this. (On a second thought, under Ma, worse things are possible) Would this absolutely terrible policy happens under DPP administration? NO.
This terrible policy is not a matter of blue or green, it is an atrocity to our next generation’s education. Would today’s corporation welcome this policy? No, because how does studying 四書 help them become more effective employees? Do students like this? Absolutely not. It is a complete waste of their time. This only people that would like this is the absolute deep blue that still live in 10th century probably.
Give the students time to immerse themselves in subjects that are more important and useful. If some students like to study 四書 (which I doubt there are many), let them. Make 四書 an elective. But making them mandatory is an absolute tyranny.
Michael Turton’s blog brought out some interesting new development. And also this report linked on his blog.
Firstly a big applause to Charles Tannock, chairman of the European Parliament-Taiwan Friendship Group. Finally a 3rd party that has the balls to stand up to WHO chairwoman Chan and her master in China. He also focused on the main issue, which is the change of status. This is indeed very good.
However, there is indeed the branding issue, namely the poor name, Chinese Taipei, which was agree upon by KMT 30 years ago. The name simply brings confusion and should be changed eventually. I think mostly KMT agreed to this name because there is a “Chinese” in it. Once again, KMT’s “China” policy put Taiwan in a bad spot. Nevertheless, this is separated issue that need to be dealt with over the long term… (again, this is the reminder to Taiwanese, be vigilant about names and status, because once those are set, they are difficult to change)
The South China Sea situation really got me thinking…China is indeed trying to expand and flex its muscle where-ever possible. In the past, China was only aggressive against Taiwan. But now it seems its ambition is indeed much larger.
This is indeed very contradictory to the usual picture painted by Chinese official and western (or Chinese) media. Chinese officials always use phrases such as “peace” and “economic development” whenever possible. Western media very often focus solely on Chinese economic development…probably mainly because that’s what most westerners want to know, where is the hot market etc.
Like Mr. Turton pointed out many times before, China now shift its attention and ambition else where now that it subdue Taiwan through Ma. Therefore, there are now rising tensions else where. In another word, China is the source of the tension, and it just shifts it around. It is also interesting to note that China seems to always deal with others in the divide and conquer fashion. Before, it be-friendly the ASEAN countries to isolate Taiwan. Also, it forces Philippine to turn against Taiwan. Now it is dealing with ASEAN countries on the South China Sea problem individually, not as a whole. As pointed out by the Asian Sentinel article, some ASEAN countries don’t want to attract China “attention” and therefore do not show support for Vietnam and Philippine. What we all should know though, is that this is a divide and conquer strategy…therefore one cannot avoid the tension, eventually the “tension” will turn to you. In this situation, the best thing to do is actually to unite and resist. But boy…I don’t think optimum scenario will happen because most of the politicians in Asia Pacific are short sighted bureaucrats that would rather avoid troubles than think in the longer term. Plus each countries have their own agenda of course. But we will see what happens.
So it is quite clear…China is indeed trying to expand its influence. Be it South China Sea or WHO. And the only way to stop this is probably for everyone to just have some balls, like Mr. Tannock.
Update: another European Parliament member that is friendly to Taiwan, Hans van Baalen, visited Taiwan and talked to students. I like his view point and advice. And kudos to 林睿哲 for the successfully invitation.