Vote with your free will
The recent American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) announcement that Taiwan has been nominated for the US’ visa-waiver program (“Taiwan gets US visa-waiver nomination,” Dec. 23, page 1) is a biasing move and it has added another perturbation to next month’s elections.
In the 2008 presidential election, the AIT made a similar mistake by announcing that Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) did not have a US green card, although many people still believe he has. Advocating fair elections, the US should remain neutral. The nomination for the visa-waiver program is not so urgent that it had to be announced at this time.
If the US approves the nomination, it is because Taiwanese have credibility. They should thank themselves — not the incumbent or previous administration.
In addition to the US announcement of the visa-waiver nomination, several other perturbations might affect the elections. These include Beijing urging Taiwanese businesspersons in China to vote for Ma, a 50 percent discount on their airfare to return to vote, the smear campaign against Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), an imbalance in party funds, and possible vote-buying and betting on the results.
All voters should ignore these disturbing factors and cast their votes with their free will for their own sake and for the future of their homeland.
The sustainability of democracy and the normalization of Taiwan depend on next month’s elections.
A local angle
In the run-up to next month’s elections, although it is interesting to see how the two main political parties continuously attack each other about procedures and any way that the other may possibly be breaking the law, aren’t Taiwanese more interested in the political decisions and political strategies that may involve real issues?
Or is how to trip the other party up the only important thing in elections?
There seems to be a lack of information about policy decisions, plans or even ideas that reflect the distinctions between the main parties. Also lacking is any real effort to focus on key issues in an intellectual manner or through deeper discussion. Instead, taking up most of the front pages are oversized photos of presidential candidates and trivial information, such as who gave Ma some vegetables.
Please, less drivel and more intellectual debate on core electoral issues. Here is a radical idea — instead of Americans speculating from the US, why not have some Taiwanese intellectuals speculating from inside the country on how the election will effect Taiwanese?
Speaking the truth
It was with a certain amount of disbelief and disgust that I read about the remarks of Taipei City Councilor Angela Ying (應曉薇) (“Activists slam ‘cleaning’ up of homeless,” Dec. 24, page 4). It is hard to believe that she could show such a lack of empathy and caring for the disadvantaged of Taipei.
The words she used were no joke! They were coarse, crude and totally without feeling. However, it also proves that the divide between the “haves” and the “have nots” is widening, and those who have care less and less about their more unfortunate brethren.
This is not just something peculiar to Taiwan. The US is seeing that gap widen every day.
Maybe Ying should think of the old adage: “There but by the grace of God,” and then hold her tongue when she is feeling particularly fortunate.