Tsai’s defeat beyond belief
I went back to Taiwan to vote in the Jan. 14 presidential election. Frankly, I feel surprised and puzzled that Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was defeated.
Two weeks before the elections, polls showed this would be a tight race. Many polls showed Tsai had a commanding lead after out-performing the other candidates in three debates. Throughout the campaign, Tsai seemed to be very popular and enjoy a lot of support from voters.
On the other hand, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), in the last week of his campaign, together with his wife, carried out only a few activities, such as canvasing streets and receiving symbolic gifts, which are normally restricted to the start of a campaign. In other words, his campaign lacked momentum and he was keeping a low profile. Apparently he was losing voter support.
During my stay in Taiwan, most people I was in contact with had the optimistic expectation that Tsai would win the election.
During a bus tour with 26 relatives, we had a poll that showed Tsai receiving 17 votes, Ma three votes and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) three votes. Probably the results were like this because we are all Hoklo and my relatives are all upper middle-class, with five teachers among them.
Anyway, Tsai lost the election. Besides the inherent unfairness and the abuse of the government apparatus, China, business tycoons and the US — especially former director of the American Institute in Taiwan Douglas Paal — did irreparable damage to Tsai’s campaign.
Still, a big question is what was the scale of abuse from the government apparatus. Especially, whether the technicalities of vote counting and tallying were transparent, fair and impartial, or had been tampered with.
Ma could not arouse support before the election, but he won big. This is really fishy.
Doing a job on Jobs
Recently there has been a lot of TV airplay for Action Electronics’ ad campaign for the Action Pad tablet. The ad features a Steve Jobs impersonator, which is in very poor taste (“Android maker uses fake ‘Steve Jobs’ to plug device,” Feb. 3, page 2).
This campaign does not just cross the line of common business courtesy, respect and decorum, but completely ignores and leaps over it. The commercial and campaign, with its similar-style press conferences, are receiving some pretty harsh criticism worldwide.
Every person that I have spoken with in Taiwan and elsewhere over the past few days regarding this campaign finds it wholly in bad taste.
What is more troubling is that some of the more uninformed criticism from around the world is directed at Taiwan as a nation, and not at Action Electronics, which duly deserves it.
As businesspeople, investors and consumers, we must sometimes stand up for what is right, or we risk heading into a terrible downward spiral.
Personally, I am not a Jobs fanatic: I still use a Windows-based PC and a Blackberry, but I do believe respect and common courtesy should be exercised within business and marketing. Further, I do realize that Jobs is being portrayed in the ad as an angel, but he is also being impersonated as when he was in his most unhealthy state, a man battling with terminal cancer.
This campaign is not only offensive to Jobs’ family, friends, fans and colleagues, but really to anyone who has had or is battling cancer, or who knows someone who has or has had cancer — a large percentage of the population.