Sun, Jan 14, 2001 - Page 8 News List

Editorial: Lu should reformulate her strategy

Does Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) really think people distrust her because she is "old" and "ugly?" Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) would probably beg to differ, and Lu should not believe it either. We hate to see the Lu camp so in the dark about why people believe The Journalist magazine (新新聞) over Lu, despite evidence strongly in her favor.

People expect you to look the part. That's not to say you should always look young and beautiful, just go ask the so-called "boy scouts" in the Presidential Office. Their youth and good looks don't seem to fit the important roles they play in the Presidential Office. They have become the subject of considerable public criticism as a result.

Taiwanese culture demands respect for seniority and hierarchy. In such a culture, good-looking women who are accomplished at a young age often face speculation that they got where they are through "special relationships" with powerful men. Hsiao Bi-khim is a case in point.

Besides age and physical appearance, the definition of "look" in the present context should include the way people conduct themselves. In this sense, Lu does not "look" her part for at least two reasons.

First, in our culture, women are still expected to keep a low profile. They are not expected to be outspoken or aggressive. Very clearly, Lu is a contrast to this expected role. In this regard, we sympathize with Lu because these expectations are simply wrong and outdated.

But Lu's conduct also has run counter to people's expectations of a vice president. Traditionally vice presidents are nobodies, expected to shut up and keep a low profile. Even more importantly, vice presidents, and presidents for that matter, are not expected to get into lawsuits with media organizations, especially while they are still in office. In particular in Taiwan, where people vividly remember government censorship and white terror, Lu's lawsuit with The Journalist strikes some very sensitive nerves. With such a history, people are quite inclined to believe allegations by The Journalist that phone records have been deleted -- despite the fact that the security organizations who might arrange this are so full of anti-DPP elements that such a move would almost certainly be leaked. And Lu's emotional outbursts at a press conference immediately after the article in question was published, her large defense team and other moves indicative of a tough posture serve as real contrasts to The Journalist's attitude. Because of Lu's enormous resources and high position, The Journalist has deliberately and wisely chosen to keep a very humble and low profile. During press conferences, its editor in chief has repeatedly emphasized the magazine's disadvantage in evidence gathering as "ordinary and insignificant citizens." The Journalist has successfully portrayed the lawsuit as a battle between David and Goliath, winning the sympathy of the general public.

We hope our vice president realizes that she is by no means "old" or "ugly." Her well-groomed hair, expensive jewelry, and extravagant clothes suit her well. What worries us is that she will continue to formulate strategies based on the erroneous assumption that her original sin is in the way she looks rather than the way she conducts herself in her position. We hope she can reformulate her strategy to win more trust and affection from the people of Taiwan. There is still hope. After all, Bill Clinton suffered a fate no worse than Lu when he was harshly criticized by the media for his extra-marital affair and draft-dodging but he still managed to climb out of the hole he had dug. As long as Lu does the right thing, she still has a shot at winning over the people.

This story has been viewed 2996 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top