Age no barrier for Annette Lu
A while ago, right after former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) announced her candidacy for the Taipei City mayoral race, negative comments such as “She is too old for the job” began to be heard.
It is surprising to see that a candidate’s age can be an election issue in Taiwan because it is a non-issue in other democratic nations around the world.
We all know that age has nothing to do with a person’s personality, character, ability, performance and moral standing. Most of the time, age represents wisdom, maturity, experience and compassion. Youth represents activity and energy, but it often symbolizes ignorance, carelessness, irresponsibility, unreliability and undependability.
The Executive Yuan and the presidential palace are populated by a bunch of bumblers. Their performance approval ratings are around 10 percent. Why? Because they are young people who have no wisdom, no expertise and no experience.
Age should not be a qualification to be a mayor. The reason is simple: The mayor of Taipei’s job is to manage the business of a city. Therefore, the questions we should ask of a candidate are 1) whether they are wise, mature, capable, compassionate, responsible and trustworthy, and 2) whether his or her heart is in the city and not China.
Age has never been an issue anywhere else. Take the US government for example:
‧ When taking the US presidential oath, former US president William Henry Harrison was 68 and former president Ronald Reagan was 69 years, 349 days old.
‧ When taking their oaths as governors, former Utah governor Olene Walker was 72 and former Alaska governor Frank Murkowski was 69.
‧ The following are senators who are currently serving in the US Senate:
Dianne Feinstein of California, 80 years old; Chuck Grassley of Iowa, 80; Orrin Hatch of Utah, 79; Richard Shelby of Alabama, 79; Carl Levin of Michigan, 79 and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, 79.
‧ The following are still serving in the US Congress:
Ralph Hall of Texas, 90 years old; John Dingell of Colorado, 87; John Conyers of Michigan, 84; Charles Rangel of New York, 83 and Don Young of California, 80.
Finally, the oldest mayor in the world is Hazel McCallion. She won reelection for Mississauga, Ontario, Canada on Oct. 25, 2010 and is currently 92.
Is Annette Lu too old? She is too young to be Taipei mayor.
Time to reassess PRC links
Why did the Chinese government unilaterally declare a new air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea? The announcement has proved to be a disaster for Beijing.
First, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) only looked on as two US B-52 bombers coolly disregarded China’s bluster and flew through the ADIZ. Then, Japan and South Korea announced that their commercial and military aircraft would also disregard the new ADIZ, with perhaps more countries to follow.
Beijing’s actions have undoubtedly damaged its international standing: The US has now all but acknowledged Japan’s sovereignty of the Senkakus, and South Korea and Japan have momentarily ceased their squabbling and begun to confront their common challenges.
However, it is possible, maybe even likely, that foreign audiences were not the main targets of the ADIZ announcement. As a result of the opaque political process in China, it is difficult to discern which entities are pursuing what ends.