As a result of the rosy pictures and clever slogans that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government frequently feeds the public, more often than not failing to substantiate them, many members of the public now have a clearer grasp of the notion of “politics as performance art.”
A look at the recent act put on by Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) Minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄) in the presence of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), however, has taken it to a new level, as the public played witness to a blatant show of brown-nosing that appears to be prevalent among government officials in the Ma administration.
Putting aside for the moment the controversy over who allegedly asked an employee of the Din Tai Fung restaurant to pose as a job seeker at a CLA-sponsored job fair on May Day, the exchanges between Ma, Wang and the “job seeker” were jaw-dropping.
Let’s revisit the dialogue:
Ma: “Do you have a job?”
Job seeker: “I am looking for a job now.”
Wang (standing next to Ma): “Mr President, this [job seeker] is outstanding, [she] faces danger, but does not panic [臨危不亂].”
Wang (looking at recruitment officials, beaming): “She has to be accepted, yeah!”
Wang (clapping and giving two thumbs up): “Oh, she’s been accepted already? Great!”
The over-the-top eagerness put on by Wang was simply revolting.
Is Taiwan still in the Middle Ages where subjects need to be treated as stupid clowns in order to please those who are supposedly superior?
Not to mention the utter inappropriateness of Wang abusing her position as a member of the Cabinet. Her remarks to the recruitment officials were tantamount to an act of coercion, pressuring them into hiring the “job seeker.”
This brings to mind the praise Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) once heaped upon Ma, addressing Ma as “the ultimate treasure on earth (人間極品),” whose looks and characters are impeccable.
Coupled with the recent controversy stirred up by the Ministry of National Defense’s comic book that portrayed Ma as a caring leader concerned about people suffering in the face of the floods brought by Typhoon Morakot, the level and extent of cozying up to Ma is dumbfounding.
Ma, on the other hand, appears totally innocent — the staged act disseminated by the media portraying him as a caring and approachable president.
Lucid minds, however, are quick to look beyond this political playacting and are reminded that it was Ma and his administration who created the situation in which the nation’s unemployment rate remains high and worsening working conditions have prompted workers to take to the streets in protest.
As Ma opens his campaign office and begins to seek re-election, here’s a word of advice for the president and all the government officials who wish to serve the country for another term: Drop the phony playacting.
If Ma continues to allow this brown-nosing culture to permeate through his administration and opts for “political performance art” as the way to woo voters, it will only be a matter of time before Ma realizes that his tactics are working against him. It is no way to win over people’s hearts.