Fri, Oct 20, 2006 - Page 8 News List

It's make or break time for the horseman

By Paul Lin 林保華

During the Double Ten National Day celebrations, red-clad protesters created chaotic scenes and hit the cars of foreign dignitaries. When asked about the incident, American Institute in Taiwan Director Stephen Young had no choice but to ask rhetorically, "Shouldn't everybody have manners?"

The scenes were not only disrespectful to President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), but also to visiting foreign dignitaries and the nation's citizens.

The protesters, whose aim was to oust Chen, adopted the four Confucian cardinal virtues as their slogan -- "propriety, justice, honesty and a sense of shame." Their rudeness that day constituted a lack of propriety. The first irony was turning their back on this first cardinal virtue.

And justice? Some say former Democratic Progressive Party chairman Shih Ming-teh (施明德) is a kind and just person, but fail to mention that he abandoned his first wife and daughters. And on the night when the protesters were being cleared from the streets by police, it was not just Shih who was off enjoying himself, but several of his colleagues had also vanished without a trace. When someone abandons his comrades, where is his or her sense of justice?

The label of honesty is an even bigger joke. Nearly all of the top protest leaders, who are pan-blues, have been implicated in past wrongdoings of one kind or another. Shih's links with fugitive tycoon Chen Yu-hao (陳由豪) are questionable, and he is silent on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)'s stolen assets, a symbol of institutional corruption.

Countless such examples beg the question whether the use of the labels of propriety, justice and honesty indicate a sense of shame.

Young seems to have hit the nail on the head. Besides mentioning that the chaotic scene was pointless, he also specifically mentioned People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜), saying, "Go ask James Soong and all of them about [the scene]."

Why bring up Soong in particular? Simply stated, because Soong was an orchestrator of the chaos at the celebration. Even prior to Oct. 10, Soong revealed that he was going to make trouble during the national day celebrations, and he even wore a specially made red suit on the day.

Young is of course aware that Soong is the member of the pan-blue camp who most strongly opposes the passage of the arms procurement bill in the legislature. This not only reveals Soong's attitude toward the US, but also his position regarding the defense of Taiwan's national security.

Rumor has it that pan-blue politicians are rather annoyed by Young's remarks on Oct. 10, whereas I believe that it is the pro-China forces within this country that should be the most annoyed. Young specifically mentioned Soong, who is the chairman of the PFP, in his remark, so why should the KMT take offense?

It is also clear that of the KMT politicians, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) has made the best impression on the US. When KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) visited the US, he was welcomed with open arms. The problem is that Ma has reneged on his promise to the US that the KMT would seek to have the arms procurement budget approved in the legislature. This has disappointed Washington who must now suspect that Ma also is pro-China.

Young, who has a solid understanding of Taiwanese politics, is of course aware that Ma is being held hostage by Soong over the KMT stolen assets issue.

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