Recently, “Taiwan” has become something of a catchphrase. Just when we thought all that talk about “loving Taiwan” that was popular during the terms of former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had disappeared, it has become a new way of seeking redemption for one’s political sins.
Pan-blue parties, and even the Chinese Communist Party, are resorting to using it as a catchphrase more than the pan-green camp.
First, senior officials from President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) government, who have been failing terribly at everything lately, led by Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺), have been falling over themselves to view Taiwanese director Chi Po-lin’s (齊柏林) documentary Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above (看見台灣).
After seeing the documentary, they reportedly walked out of the cinema with tears in their eyes and it was even rumored that a special Cabinet meeting would be held in which the film would be the main discussion point.
Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) Minister Stephen Shen (沈世宏), who recently accused environmental groups and celebrity activists of being politically motivated, made a surprising move by saying that the agency is doing everything it can to save the environment.
One cannot help but wonder whether he has seen the destruction done to the beauty of nation’s east coast.
Of course, first lady Chow Mei-ching (周美青) and Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan (李鴻源) were quick to join in and become promoters of environmental protection, boosting their political images in the process.
It is not only senior officials of local governments who are fond of watching the film. Senior Chinese officials have also said they want to listen to the different voices of Taiwan.
Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) said that he has come to Taiwan to gain an understanding of what Taiwanese think.
Maybe there was something in the nation’s air that did not agree with him, because during his visit he yelled at a group of protesting students and asked them how many people they were actually capable of representing.
Of course, protesting students cannot represent the opinions of those who are treating people like Chen to dinner every night, including pan-blue politicians such as New Taipei City (新北市) Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫), Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強) and Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌).
It is remarkable that while Chen knows full well that he is wining and dining with legislators and others who wield executive power, he chooses to blame the failure of the cross-strait service trade agreement to pass in the legislature on protesting students.
I really do not see why Chen does not simply get his powerful friends to kick those who are against the agreement out of the legislature and then force a vote on the issue.
Do the government officials who have been in power for so long or those officials who view Taiwan as their “home away from home” really want to see the nation and hear what the Taiwanese have to say?
Is it really that difficult? Do they really have to see Taiwan from the skies above to see it clearly and be moved by it?
Surely, if these officials want to see the nation’s true life-force, all they have to do is turn on the television, flick through the papers, walk among the public and listen to what people are saying at protests.