A ridiculous comparison
President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) supporters love to compare him to US President Barack Obama. During last year’s presidential campaign, one of Ma’s most famous — now infamous — commercials featured galloping horses with the words “The Power of Change” plastered across the TV screen.
Pan-blue-camp supporters portrayed Ma as having characteristics similar to Obama: charismatic, athletic, youthful — not to mention Harvard-educated. Voters from both countries have high expectations for the presidents to dig their countries out of the economic slump.
But one can only take this comparison at face value, because when one probes deeper, comparing Ma and Obama is like comparing a bitter melon to a honeydew.
Since Ma took office on May 20 last year, he has gone back on almost all of his campaign promises. Even the economic policies that Ma has claimed credit for, such as opening direct flights and negotiating a trade agreement between Taiwan and China, have come at the expense of Taiwan’s sovereignty.
As crime and suicide rates rise, so does the cost of gas, electricity, groceries and everything else.
In addition, Taiwan’s democracy is again under siege, with riot police brutally cracking down on protesters during the visit of China’s envoy to Taiwan.
Despite warnings and criticisms from international human rights organizations such as Freedom House and Amnesty International, a high school student was arrested for simply chanting “Ma Ying-jeou, step down” just last week.
The most recent and appalling episode happened when the information chief of Taiwan’s representative office in Toronto was alleged to be the author of numerous articles, editorials and blog entries depicting Taiwanese as low-class, uneducated, unsophisticated idiots who deserve to be governed by a dictatorship, while advocating a military takeover of Taiwan by China.
When Ma was asked by reporters for comment on the matter, he chose to keep silent — as he has done countless times before when faced with a difficult situation.
Recently, Ma’s cohorts again compared him to Obama by mocking the gray hair that appeared on Obama’s temple since he took office. This was meant to flatter Ma for still having beautiful, jet-black locks 10 months into office.
What Ma’s adulators fail to depict in such comparisons is events such as this: When Obama addressed a group of concerned citizens this week at a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, California, he said: “I know Washington is all in a tizzy, and everybody is pointing fingers at each other and saying it’s their fault, the Democrats’ fault, the Republicans’ fault. Listen, I’ll take responsibility; I’m the president.”
He went on: “So for everybody in Washington who’s busy scrambling, trying to figure out how to blame somebody else, just go ahead and talk to me, because it’s my job to make sure that we fix these messes, even if I don’t make them.”
Until Ma stops blaming the previous administration and the world environment for his stance that kowtows to China, his inability to manage crises and inability to assume the responsibilities that a president should, the act of comparing Ma to Obama will remain not only erroneous, but also ridiculous.
Kuo must be recalled
The Association of Taiwanese Organizations in Toronto (ATOT) held a press conference and community forum on the Kuo Kuan-ying (郭冠英) scandal last Friday.