It’s “in” to be a diva again.
I’m not talking about Lady Gaga, the economically dressed crooner of Poker Face fame (which, by the way, wins my vote for hands-down most annoying song of the decade).
Nor am I referring to South Korean pop sensation The Wonder Girls, who this year loosened — mercifully — S.H.E’s stranglehold on the airwaves.
No, I’m referring to that aging trio of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) heavyweights: Lien Chan (連戰), James Soong (宋楚瑜) and Wu Poh-hsiung (吳伯雄) (OK, OK, I know Soong is actually chairman of the People First Party, but you know what I mean).
Let’s call them the “Wonder Fossils.” Like past-their-prime pop stars who simply refuse to fade away gracefully, this trio of has-beens is once again insisting on the spotlight.
Recently, they were each crooning their own off-key version of the hit song Nobody But You — but this time aimed at visiting Chicom Trojan Horse Chen Yunlin (陳雲林).
The Presidential Office apparently sent out a directive limiting banquet-hosting duties during Chen’s trip to a few local officials of the government’s choosing. Ominously, that didn’t include the Fossils.
Denied the chance to throw their own banquets for Chen and feeling dissed, the three got themselves all in a huff. They started screeching to the media, throwing catty hisses in the general direction of the Presidential Office.
The result was like watching a trio of theatrical has-beens cake on the makeup, squeeze themselves into three-sizes-too-small spangled spandex, and cry to the cameras until the mascara runs down their faces.
Most shameful was that the divas got all worked up over Chen, a low-level party hack with no real policymaking power or heft in the Chicom hierarchy.
Observing this spectacle, a wit at the Straits Exchange Foundation told the China Times that it was like the “A-listers versus the C-lister.” (Or the “A-cards versus the C-card,” in the local slang.)
More like the “C-cards” versus the “F-card,” if you ask me.
Lien was caught on camera sulking at the table of a banquet he had been barred from hosting.
But it was Soong who went to the extreme, forcing a secret “love motel” rendezvous with Chen at Sun Moon Lake’s elite Lalu Hotel — in defiance of the government’s itinerary for Chen’s visit.
Never mind that while Chen was hidden away in the hotel giving … uh … “face” to Soong, most of my beloved country’s media hangers-on were crammed onto boats waiting to get footage of Chen touring the lake.
Then, caught by the paparazzi leaving the hotel like a philanderer after a quickie with his mistress, Soong whined about “bad communication” on the part of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government. He even complained that the government disrespected his contribution to cross-strait ties by refusing his “official request” to meet with Chen.
Now the Wonder Fossils couldn’t win an election if their lives depended on it, even if they ran on the same ticket instead of against one another — as has been proven at the polls on several occasions.
But these three are still singing the tired tunes of their ’80s heyday. They’re stuck in an alternate, Confucian reality where elections never get in the way of true love between autocrats, and authority comes not from the ballot box but from one’s seniority and guanxi.
Times are changing, though.
The Apple Daily chimed in thus: “No matter how high their political status, Lien Chan, James Soong and Wu Poh-hsiung should not have tried to meddle with the biannual high-level cross-strait talks, because they no longer hold any government positions.
“Gone are their days of power. Now is Ma’s turn. They should have respected Ma’s decision out of consideration of public sentiment.
“Had they entertained Chen, it would have undermined the Ma administration’s efforts to emphasize the government-to-government nature of the talks between Chen and his Taiwanese counterpart, Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤).”
With bitchy divas like these still kicking up a fuss, it’s no wonder that Ma has called back his top political strategist, King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), from abroad.
“King the Knife” (金小刀), as the local rags call him, is widely regarded as the master strategist behind Ma’s rise to the Taipei mayorship and the presidency. He was hanging out this fall at the Brookings Institution in Washington, collecting business cards and quietly getting to know the ways of that strange, exotic world inside the Beltway.
But now, he’s been recalled on short notice to take over cat-herding duties as KMT secretary-general.
He’s already shown his rapier-like communication skills against the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
King to DPP: If you oppose the economic cooperation framework agreement [ECFA] with China, what alternative do you propose for Taiwan’s economic future?
DPP to King: Er ... um ... we’ll get back to you on that one.
But corralling the KMT elders who, zombie-like, wander around our fair island, will be a far more challenging task. Impervious to knife blades or other mortal weapons, it may only be possible to contain them.
Case in point: a reliable NewsWatch source in the pan-blue camp said King is drawing up contingency plans for the next cross-strait meeting in Taiwan, due late this year.
He’ll have the three divas safely out of the limelight on Green Island for a special international summit of “Unreconstructed Autocrats United.”
Befitting their status, the Fossils will stay in the very best hotel suites — right next to the “Friends of Pinochet” delegation from across the Pacific.
But which of the three will get the coveted corner suite?
It will take all of King’s cunning to find a solution that keeps the Wonder Fossils from running off to TV cameras to complain.
Maybe he should try quoting them a line from fellow diva Beyonce:
So don’t you ever for a second get to thinkin’
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