It’s a tough time to be Taiwanese, dear reader.
I’m not just talking about the US$20 million plus “Wiregate” scandal involving former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) family — of which more later.
No, the real downer was watching our baseball team — once the nation’s pride and a silver medal winner in 1992 — lose to China. Yes, that China. The one whose players until very recently didn’t know how to round a baseball diamond with a map.
We whiffed. Choked. Screwed the pooch. Whatever you wanna call it — our boys blew it, losing to the pinche Chicom pineriders 8-7 in extra innings.
It went beyond loss of face. It was even harder to swallow than a family size bag of taike-flavor Doritos (and by the way, the marketing genius who came up with that idea needs to go back to the lab).
Still, did the San Luis Obispo Tribune really need to run the headline “Taiwan strikes out on world stage”? That hurt.
Reuters twisted the knife in deeper with its story “Taiwan baseball chief to explain flop to fans”:
“Taiwan’s top baseball official said he would explain to an angry public next week why his team fell to an embarrassing upset defeat to China in the Olympics and was eliminated from medal competition.”
I’ll spare him the trouble. We sucked. They didn’t.
But there’s more: “‘We see that China has made so much progress and why haven’t we progressed?’ Chinese Taipei Baseball Association president Alex Huang (黃文忠) told Reuters.”
Why, indeed. I’ll give old man Huang one reason: Our head coach, Hung Yi-chung (洪一中), displayed all the judgment of a tanked English teacher at 6am on the dance floor at Vibe. He left our tired starting pitchers in the games so long that I began to think I was watching women’s softball.
But when I saw a few of our “relief” pitchers in action, it all began to make sense. Turns out our bullpen has about as much depth as a Paris Hilton interview.
It was the kind of globally broadcast humiliation that makes a guy want to crawl away into a Jhongli (中壢) basement lameidian with several controlled substances and never come out.
Of course, there was another reason to seek a dank, dark place to hide this week. The former first couple’s latest scandal put an exclamation mark on their long, tawdry fall from democratization icons to national ass-monkeys.
In case you passed out in Carnegies a week ago and just peeled yourself off the floor, former prez Chen admitted that he and his wife had more than US$20 million squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts. He claimed it was all leftover, unspent campaign donations going back to the 1990s.
He then proceeded with a long series of mind-bending explanations that can be summarized as follows:
1. It was my wife’s fault.
2. I didn’t know where my US$20 million was until just a few months ago.
3. When I realized where it was, I decided to donate it to the nation.
4. Except that several months later, I still hadn’t done that.
5. But I was planning to, honest.
6. I didn’t steal the money, because I was gonna give it back.
7. Everybody else does it too.
8. Lien Chan (連戰), James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) are even worse liars than me.
9. Those guys really suck.
10. Can I go home now? I don’t feel well.
Now, lots of people are throwing around the term “money laundering,” which is premature. After all, it’s possible A-bian’s right, and these were just leftover campaign crumbs.