Sat, Aug 12, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: Work dreams and pension schemes

Ever quit your job over something you weren't responsible for? It's all the rage in political circles now. Oh, if only Jolin Tsai would follow suit and stop singing.

By Johnny Neihu  / 

Everybody gets fed up with their job from time to time and thinks about quitting and embarking upon a more leisurely career path.

Believe me, there have been many occasions when I have become so hacked off with the shady world of professional journalism that I have considered packing it all in to become -- yes, that's right -- a gravel-truck driver.

That would be the life, traveling the length of our picturesque island without a care in the world, taking in the beautiful scenery, subsisting on a diet of betel nut, Long Lifes and Whisby and stopping for no one (literally!).

But it came as a shock to all of us career daydreamers this week when Minister of Transportation and Communications Kuo Yao-chi (郭瑤琪) resigned to take responsibility for decisions on the electronic toll collection (ETC) project that she did not even make. Her move was so noteworthy that she may have set a global precedent: the first person ever to step down for something she didn't do.

If public figures in Taiwan were to suddenly start stepping down from their positions because of things they didn't do, this could set off a flurry of resignations.

Who next? Will pneumatic songstress Jolin Tsai (蔡依林) resign her post of Taiwan's "queen of pop" because she didn't actually sing on any of her hits? (C'mon, you can't really call that singing.)

Will the director of the Democratic Progressive Party's policy committee hand in his notice for his complete failure to come up with any policies (other than at election time)?

Or will the entire legislature take early retirement over its refusal to pass any legislation? We can live in hope.

Talking of jobs that nobody wants, poor old Prez A-bian (陳水扁) and the office he holds has taken a real bashing over the last few months. The stature of the position and the perks of the job have been so diminished by all these recent shenanigans that it is a wonder anyone still wants to stand for president in the 2008 election. Following on from Kuo's resignation, this could be another precedent for Taiwan -- the first ever presidential election where nobody stands as a candidate.

Now there's an election race that even former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) couldn't lose -- or could he?

While we're on the subject of Lien and his party, I must admit I found it rather funny to hear KMT Legislator and consensus-creator extraordinaire Su Chi (蘇起) blaming the government for Chad's decision to switch diplomatic recognition to Beijing. Yes, Mr Su, Taiwan was the one responsible for arming rebel forces in Sudan and Chad on the one hand and dangling the carrot of UN intervention in front of Chadian President Idriss Deby on the other, all the while flashing a sign saying "UN Security Council seat" in Idriss' troubled face.

So much for the "agreement" Lien signed with Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) that supposedly gives Taiwan "room" in the international community. The Chicoms obviously believe in the old paradox that "more is less."

With that in mind and the spending behavior of top officials in the media limelight recently you'd have to say that "more is less" definitely fits the bill when one considers loser Lien's big fat pension.

One other rather costly retiree who didn't make the front page recently over the extraordinary amounts of cash she received from state coffers was the late Soong Mei-ling (宋美齡).

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