Sun, Sep 10, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letters: Shih's in for the long haul

I had been brooding on the possibility that former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) was very serious about becoming a martyr in order to secure the ousting of President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). That fearful feeling, however, was dispelled when I read Shih's latest statement that he is determined to continue his sit-in until May 20, 2008.

Looking back, I cannot deny that I was held hostage emotionally by Shih's announcement that he already had his will drafted and that he was preparing for martyrdom. What made the whole thing even more terrifying to my easily excited imagination was that the specifics about how he was going to dispose of himself were not given.

Consequently, images of how other martyrs died invaded my thoughts. At first, TV footage of Vietnamese monks dousing themselves with gasoline and setting themselves on fire eerily crept into my memory. This was quickly canceled out when I was led to understand that he was going to shed his "blood." So the images of monks shrouded in fireballs were replaced with the agonizingly macabre scene of Yukio Mishima committing seppuku.

But then I thought that Shih probably was not proficient in handling a dagger and would botch his martyrdom if he were to try to cut through his navel with it. Besides, to do the job properly he would need an assistant to chop his head off while he carves open his gut. For such an assistant, I do not doubt that former DPP legislator Lin Cheng-chieh (林正杰) would be happy to indulge him. But who knows, it might take more than four chops to get the job done.

What a childish stream of thoughts with which I boggled my mind! Now I can take a deep breath and feel relieved knowing that Shih is going to carry on with his sit-in until May 20, 2008, when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), his beloved master and patron, will pat him on his head and thank him profusely for getting the real job done.

Yang Chunhui

Salt Lake City, Utah

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