Just in time for the holiday book season, we get word of an exciting new release.
I’m talking about the much-hyped indictment of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁).
I can only hope they’ll be publishing it in paperback, because my consumer vouchers won’t cover a hardback version.
Move over (in your grave), Michael Crichton. Hit the road, Stephen King. A new kid’s on the block. Or rather, kids.
Our very own Taipei Times reported that seven prosecutors have been burning the midnight oil to produce the complete yarn. And now they’ve delivered.
Which makes it sound like the Term Paper from Hell. Checking up daily on their progress has been State Public Prosecutor-General Chen Tsung-ming (陳聰明). I can imagine their repartee goes like this:
Every day, 3pm:
Chen Tsung-ming: “You guys done yet?”
Seven prosecutors: “Nope.”
Then, yesterday, our rag had this ominous tidbit:
“They were planning to finish the indictment and make it public today but things did not work out as planned.”
Ah, yes, the old “things did not work out as planned” excuse. I tried that one a few times on my Psychology 101 professor back in my dazed and confused college days, but it never did hold much water. Every time I ended up doing thought correction (toilet cleaning) at the campus military liaison’s office.
Here’s some other excuses our seven scribbling prosecutors should have used before fronting up with the goods:
1. The ink ran out,
2. Four of us came down with carpal tunnel syndrome,
3. An enraged orangutan escaped from a Kaohsiung zoo and ate the draft indictment,
4. We can’t think of any more synonyms for “corrupt,”
5. A-bian paid us not to finish it, and
(my personal favorite)
6. Writer’s block.
When it does eventually hit the presses, the indictment will be for die-hard, true-blue A-bian haters what a new J.K. Rowling effort is to crazed Harry Potter fans.
For most of us, it may finally be the elusive cure for insomnia we’ve desperately been looking for all these years.
But for the ambitious reader, it promises to be the potboiler of the season, packed with juicy tidbits on A-bian and his family’s alleged wrongdoings.
What was Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) wearing when she allegedly met with Chinatrust shuaige Jeffrey Koo, Jr (辜仲諒) to hand over a mouth-watering slice of a state-run bank in exchange for kickbacks?
At which fancy Japanese restaurant did Wu allegedly award Diana Chen (陳敏薰) the consolation prize — the plum chairwomanship of Taipei 101?
How did Koo introduce the Chens to his cousin over at Taiwan Cement to negotiate the niggling details of an alleged kickbacks-for-land deal?
How much money was allegedly sent through shady underground banks by the first lady’s relatives, and how much was managed by respectable white-shoe brokerages abroad?
Ripping stuff. Unfortunately, the whole oeuvre is looking like it will lack the main element of any truly successful narrative: sex.
Or even a love interest, for that matter (A-bian and his wife’s alleged infatuation with filthy lucre doesn’t count).
Where’s the skin on skin?
I mean, Kenneth Starr’s notorious report on former US president Bill Clinton had it all — kinky cigar stunts in the Oval Office, Monica Lewinsky thong sightings in the White House copy room, cheesy dialogue when Clinton had to tell Lewinsky he didn’t have time for a tryst (“Every day can’t be sunshine,” he famously told her).