Sat, Mar 28, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's News Watch: It's my way or the Amway (China)

By Johnny Neihu 強尼內湖

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a dim view of the organization ever since my Second Auntie Feng from Changhua joined up in the early 1990s.

Every time I had to attend a Neihu family gathering — which in those days was all too often — Auntie Feng would corner me with an hour-long conversion pitch, waxing lyrical about the merits of Amway shampoo and toilet paper and describing the bountiful riches that awaited me if I would just attend their next meeting in a rented conference hall in Banciao (板橋) and start peddling her stuff to my friends, co-workers and random strangers on the street.

When dear old Auntie keeled over from a heart attack some years later (bless her direct-sold soul), she left the family with crippling debt and a dinglou full of unsold Amway merchandise. We couldn’t give the stuff away.

Back to the future: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) wants a berth on the next Amway boat to Taiwan. In fact, he’s all but said he’s willing to bend over and squeal like a pig — if that’s what it takes to come visit our dear “treasure island.”

Chicom-friendly rag the China Post had it from the horse’s mouth. According to the paper, Wen said: “‘Although I’m 67 years old, I would like to visit Taiwan if possible. I would like to go even if I can’t walk and I have to crawl.’”

Now, for a Chicom, Wen actually seems like a nice guy — in a kind of grandfatherly, “you’d never guess I’m an autocrat” kind of way.

Which is why I’d hate to see what would happen if he ventured into southern Taiwan.

Go too deep into Tainan County, and I’m afraid it would turn into something out of Deliverance — with Wen in the luckless Ned Beatty role and the shrieking sound of temple suona (嗩吶) instead of deep Georgia woods banjo-pickin’.

I mean, remember what happened to the last Chicom who made a pit stop in Tainan? He’s not gonna forget that old lady with the crutch anytime soon.

Got something to tell Johnny? Go on, get it off your chest. Write to dearjohnny@taipeitimes.com, but be sure to put “Dear Johnny” in the subject line or he’ll mark your bouquets and brickbats as spam.

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