Sat, Jan 03, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's News Watch: Still alert? You deserve an award

By Johnny Neihu 強尼內湖

The last of the fireworks have fizzled out and now everyone can go back to being thoroughly depressed about the state of the economy and life in general.

Happy New Year.

’Tis no longer the season to be jolly — but do not fear. Johnny’s here to spread a little happiness — among members of the journalistic fraternity at least — with a stocking full of gongs in the second-ever Neihu Awards.

I decided to make them a biennial affair after last year slipped by in a kaoliang-induced haze. But enough of my personal foibles (have you ever met a genuine journalist who didn’t have an alcohol or drug problem?), so let’s waste no more time and get on with the first award.

It is on a sad note that I have to present the George W. Bush Award for tragic waste of life posthumously to Liu Po-yen (劉柏煙), the 80-year-old near-lifelong Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) member who died in recent days after torching himself at Liberty Square on Nov. 11 in protest at President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) ass-kissing cross-strait policy.

Poor old true blue Liu would probably have refrained from such drastic action if he had realized how his death would make him a poster boy for the pan-green camp and attract several Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) bigwigs to his memorial service on Tuesday.

Even more tragic, however, was the reaction to Liu’s act from his Chicom-courting comrades. Type Liu’s Chinese name into a Google News or Yahoo News search engine and there is not one single mention of him from our colleagues in the pro-unification press.

If that wasn’t bad enough, when quizzed about Liu’s membership status, a KMT spokesman said at the time that the party had no record of Liu’s membership after 2000 and so he wasn’t their problem.

Compassion for the laobaixing lives on in the KMT.

Another posthumous award, this time for underachievement, goes to the former DPP presidential candidate, freaky Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), following the death of his political career.

Wanky Franky certainly deserves a mention for what had to be the most uninspiring presidential election campaign in recent history (and when you consider the Lien Chan (連戰)-James Soong (宋楚瑜) effort in 2004, that’s really some achievement).

Instead of talking about what he could do for his country, Hsieh spent 90 percent of the campaign obsessing about a Ma Ying-jeou green card that never was and that no one bar him and a few parrots in the pro-independence press was interested in.

Now, and deservedly so, he has been reduced to a role in the shadows with his new NGO, the aptly named Taiwan Shadow Government. The saddest thing is that this group’s Web site (www.shadowgov.tw) even has a counter showing the number of days since Ma admitted he once had a green card.

Good luck to you, Frank. But remember, not much survives in the shade for long.

While we’re on the subject of foreign affairs, the Barefaced Cheek Award has to go to journalist-turned-politician Diane Lee (李慶安), who as a former member of the local press pack should have known that you can never keep anything secret forever, let alone 14 years (tip of the hat to Next Magazine).

Not only did the brazen Diane manage to keep her dual nationality concealed for more than a decade, once rumbled she had the nerve to continue spouting bullshit with a straight face — a trick she no doubt learned over at Chinese Television System (CTS).

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