Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letters: Ma shows his ugly side

Lately, Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been using phrases of uncommonly low register, which any decently educated Taiwanese would most likely avoid.

Among these, the most interesting is a phrase about Ma himself in which he said, "just wait and see" my "ferocious side."

In this instance, Ma supposedly used the expression to pacify some furious pan-blue members of the Taipei City Council who had accused him of having a soft stance in pushing the proposal to recall the president.

What this phrase imports however is far from gentlemanly. To say that one is "ferocious" implies that the speaker of the phrase is a hooligan or a mobster in an act of extortion or robbery.

It is a pre-emptive gesture. You say that you are ferocious because you don't want your opponent to think otherwise. Subsequently, your opponent caves in, fearing that what you've said may turn out to be true.

In the context of a question and answer session of a city council, Ma basically achieved his goal and hushed his opponent up by using the phrase.

The implication of Ma's language however is alarming. In saying what he said, either Ma felt compelled to do so for his own political survival or he was suffering from a Jekyll and Hyde psychosis.

In either case, the people of Taiwan have reason to worry. If a gentle, baby-faced, good-looking and important political figure, who has amassed so many votes from female voters, has to degrade himself to the level of a mobster -- in a way very out of character for him -- in order to gain the trust of his own people, aren't his followers implicated as a pack of hooligans?

On the other hand, Ma's outburst may have been a Freudian slip, implying that he harbors a Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. This means that Ma can unexpectedly switch personalities, alternating between a "smooth-faced," "capable and kind" Dr Jekyll and a monstrous and ruthless Hyde.

Is this what Taiwan wants from its president in 2008? If yes, one cannot but wonder whether the people of Taiwan have lost their ability to reason coolly and behave rationally while embroiled in rage and swayed hither and thither by a diabolical media machine that is choked daily and hourly with provocative lies and innuendoes.

Yang Chun-hui

Salt Lake City, Utah

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