Gallup vs Gallup Taiwan
I just read your piece from last Saturday titled "You love farce? Send in the clowns." Toward the end you commented on Gallup and polling results from the recent election.
Gallup did not do this work. We are the only owner of the Gallup trademark in Taiwan and in 100 other countries around the world. We had a licensee in Taiwan who used the name up until 2002 when we revoked the rights. The poll that has used our name is a counterfeit. The individual [Dr. Timothy Ting Ting-yu,
Global Brand Manager
The Gallup Organization
Johnny replies: Interesting. And there was silly me blindly assuming that Gallup Taiwan was in all good faith a branch of The Gallup Organization. After looking at samples of the wisdom of Dr Tim, I notice that this pollster spends a lot of time barracking for political positions and telling Taiwanese what they should think about politics instead of measuring what Taiwanese think about politics. I've said before that sociologists are vulnerable to conflating cheerleading with science, but this former National Taiwan University faculty member takes the cake.
Defined into oblivion
Bloomberg and China Watch/Asia Intelligence -- a proprietary service -- had an interesting report concluding that the mayoral election results demonstrate that views of "the mainland" still define Taiwan politics.
It is a good article until the last paragraph that contains this argument.
To be sure, the pan-blues are lacking in leaders whose families antedate 1945. But surely politics in Taiwan are about more than China?
Johnny replies: That's precisely the problem. There's no more effective way of essentializing Taiwanese than portraying them as one-issue voters. To see the picture more clearly requires a level of understanding and detailed elucidation of local politics that is of absolutely no interest to your average foreign affairs editor at a newspaper or wire agency.
This red-herring opposition (pro-China/anti-China) does not account for strong differences of opinion in the KMT and the DPP, nor does it have a hope of capturing the complexity of local factional politics, let alone defections.
The international coverage reminds me of the days when Taiwan was Free China -- the supposed microcosm of the China that was and should be. I'm sure, Arthur, you have read literature from the 1960s and 1970s in which academics and journalists came here on the KMT dime and talked about the "Republic of China" with a straight face. They warned of the threat of Red China and rejoiced in surviving "Chinese" culture in the countryside while ignoring or misrepresenting local opposition to KMT thuggery. Of course, it was hard for anyone to object to these confections, considering the reward for dissent was harassment of you and your family and often much, much worse.
It may come as a kick in the teeth to some, but politics in Taiwan is about Taiwan. The China element is relevant but overrated, though of course in presidential elections it looms largest.
As for the pan-blues lacking local leadership, this is slowly changing, though grassroots supporters abandoned local boy Wang Jin-pyng (
Yet from China's point of view, the KMT is more or less a Taiwanese organization. There's something rather interesting about a party that is largely nativized but which is regarded as disloyal by its local rival and as regional by its former enemy.
What is it, I wonder? Someone once wrote about addiction and alienation in a way that comes awfully close to capturing the pathology of a refugee ideology that is rooted in denial and cynicism, yet lays down new roots:
You could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear my crown of shit
On my liar's chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stain of time
The feeling disappears
You are someone else
I am still right here.
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