Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 8 News List

For Mayor Ko, some words are not enough

By James Wang 王景弘

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is said to have an IQ of 157, has come up with a “rough estimate” that only 6 percent of Taiwanese could be classified as either “deep blue” or “deep green” as far as political loyalties go, and said that this 6 percent of partisan diehards have very loud voices and have “kidnapped” Taiwan.

Ko once described himself as “dark green” and, in his former role as a physician, he signed a certificate confirming that jailed former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) of the pan-green Democratic Progressive Party was seriously ill, which led to Chen being released on medical parole.

If the deep greens have “kidnapped” Taiwan, then given Ko’s record of “dark green” affiliations, he must also be a “kidnapper.”

He later wrote a book about “the power of the color white,” in which he theorized about a social power that was neither “deep blue” nor “deep green.” Apparently he was able to “kidnap” this other 94 percent of “white” voters to get elected mayor.

Given that the bulk of his support came from this white sector, why is he now saying sorry to deep green supporters?

Taiwan’s younger generation is said to be “naturally pro-independence,” while the generations who have lived through hardship recognize that Taiwan and China are independent of each other, and that if they want to merge, Taiwanese should have the final say.

Such a standpoint would be quite natural and in keeping with democratic principles, but Ko cannot bring himself to say it. When confronted with the issue, he would rather deal with it by playing word games and talking nonsense.

Speaking at the twin-city forums in Shanghai in 2015 and again last year, Ko said that “the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family,” but he has since apologized for saying so.

The disagreement between Taiwan and China is actually not one of “family” and “enemy,” but one of “one” or “two” — that is to say whether they are one country or two.

Now Ko says he spoke rashly because he “only wanted to get over the problem.” However, he not only chose to talk about a “family,” but also called it “one family,” using the key word “one” that China was so keen to hear from him.

This is an important matter that concerns the nation’s existence or disappearance, but the childish wording he used — “just to get over the problem” — expressed the standpoint of the other side.

That is not the power of white, but “red power” or even a new kind of “White Terror.”

This is such a serious matter that definitely more than just 2 or 3 percent of the population — Ko’s estimate of the deep greens — were upset by what he said.

It is a question of the speaker’s basic ideas and credibility.

However, Ko’s apology was half-hearted and insincere. He only said sorry to get over the problem.

Then he started babbling about how some people on his team were very “upset” about that particular sentence of his, and his response was to say: “Whatever you want to hear, I will say it for you.”

If Ko really means to apologize for his careless statement, it cannot be dismissed with a mere “sorry” as if it were just a petty quarrel between friends.

James Wang is a media commentator.

Translated by Julian Clegg

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