Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's NewsWatch: If I'm not PC, then I apolitologize

Be honest with me, dear reader. Am I settling into a comfortable routine in my old age, or is my beloved country doing it for me?

In the news: A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislator-elect has been indicted for vote-buying; investors are swooning over the prospect of a little Chinese tourist action; and KMT presidential aspirant Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is bouncing up and down the country like a hyperactive yo-yo on the high-speed rail.

Business as usual. Not even worth writing about.

Yet there is the promise of something new in the air, as the Great Jogger launched his latest national tour, with three exotic flavors-of-the-week.

And what are the top priorities for Super Campaign Trail III?

Old folks who live alone: They're the next best thing to kissing babies. And like infants, they won't be able to fend off an assault if Ma's lips get frisky.

Volunteers: Like the KMT, they do what is right with no thought of personal profit.

Minority ethnic groups: These are the people Ma occasionally hits with his bicycle while speed-dating the country's nether regions.

Yep, Ma's a minority man. He knows all about the plight of Mainlanders. That's why he was stunned and hurt by a painful little incident last month while campaigning in Taipei County.

You remember the one. It was caught on video.

"When you come into our city, you become one of us ... I [will] see you as a human being, as a citizen. I will educate you well," Ma cooed charmingly to his Aboriginal audience, before reeling them in with a gallant flourish: "Aborigines should adjust their mentality. If you come into the city, you have to play by our rules."

And what are those rules, Mr Ma? Well, if you're an Amis Aborigine in Sindian (新店), it means getting kicked out of your flood-plain-designated home just before contractors install an embankment to make the area safe for a big development project.

Welcome to the city -- now put up and shut up.

You gotta like a man who tells it like it is. Yet Ma's generous, unsolicited advice somehow ended up causing him a lot of embarrassment. And in the end, he even apologized.

I'm sorry, did I say apologized? I meant "apolitologized."

An "apolitology," for those unaware, is the first mark of a true statesman. When public figures make utter asses of themselves, as they will, they know better than to apologize. The proper course of action is to say sorry for any "misunderstanding" or "misinterpretation" their comments may have produced among "a few" members of the public.

The Sindian debacle wasn't the only flak Ma has copped for his thoughts on Aborigines. His campaign pamphlets declaring that Aborigines aren't genetically disadvantaged, just economically disadvantaged, struck a sour note, too. But after his heartfelt apolitology, I'm sure the nation's minorities will go wild with joy if he shows up at their door.

The KMT presidential dopeful isn't the only one who's been brushing up on apology-avoidance skills lately. President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) showed recently that he is not to be outclassed by his would-be successor.

Chen, upset at the KMT as usual -- the details are uninteresting -- compared the party to "a woman who makes a row for no obvious reason."

What a pair, Ma and Chen. I've long felt we should team them up as prez and vice prez. Chen can be on top -- he's used to it, after all -- and Ma can be a "No. 2" of sorts (A-bian and dabian (大便), that is).

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