With just three months to go until the presidential election, one can hardly say that the campaign is heating up. So far, this election campaign has had about as much passion as President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) marriage and as much warmth as a January hike to the summit of Yushan (玉山) with first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青).
Then again, with such charismatic personalities as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate and bookworm Tsai Ying-wen (蔡英文), the soft-spoken Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) and softer-spoken Ma vying for office, what did we expect?
It’s almost enough to make one wish for another election-related shooting, just to give proceedings a bit of oomph.
In fact, the whole political scene could do with a shot of adrenaline if the performance this week of certain government ministers is any yardstick.
During a report by Wu at the legislature the other day, TV footage showed several ministers and officials snoozing as the premier fended off questions from opposition legislators. Watching it, I couldn’t help but think of the “10,000-year legislature.”
Public Construction Commission Minister Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) and Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) were among the principal offenders, captured on camera resting their eyelids. Lee was by far the most impressive performer, on several occasions seemingly nodding in agreement with Wu’s statements when he was actually just nodding off.
Lee being tired, however, should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his well-publicized personal life.
Meanwhile, Minister of the Interior Jiang Yi-hua (江宜樺) was also caught with his eyes closed, though when quizzed about it by reporters, he — like a schoolboy dragged to the principal’s office — had an excuse already prepared.
Jiang said he had just had an operation and his doctor had told him to rest his eyes whenever possible. With such impressive storytelling abilities, it is easy to see why Jiang has held onto his Cabinet position for so long.
With the election around the corner, it is surprising so many ministers have time to sleep on the job, especially when they should be busy investigating allegations of corruption now that everyone’s least-favorite Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) attack dog has emerged from his mid-election slumber with all guns blazing.
Yes, the pan-blue camp’s very own corruption-chasing Chinese-crested KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) has been in full attack mode over the past couple of weeks, taking several bites at the “Black Tuna,” aka Tsai’s running mate, Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全).
In just two weeks, Chiu has hit Su with a list of allegations longer than People First Party Chairman James Soong’s (宋楚瑜) odds of winning the presidency.
For anyone unfamiliar with Chiu’s modus operandi, he works on the principle that if one throws enough shit, some of it is eventually bound to stick. It worked with former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), so Chiu has stuck with it ever since.
I guess he would have also dished some dirt on Tsai too, except she is so dull he obviously had trouble finding any.
Seriously, though, does anyone pay any attention to a word Chiu says anymore?
I’m not a malicious person and I’ve been around long enough to realize that in most democracies, whichever party holds executive power doesn’t really change your day-to-day life, so January is not such a big deal to me.
However, I would give my left leg for a DPP win if it meant a repeat of Chiu’s Kaohsiung court soundtruck antics of 2004, and more so if it landed him back in jail with Chen as his cellmate.
Joe Doufu is a Taipei-based satirist.
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