Republic of Casino?
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) loves to make shocking remarks on occasion. One of these was that “ROC” stands for “Republic of Casino.” Witty or not, this contains referential values and deserves our attention. Behind the playful and flighty semiotics is an unsettlingly damnable and corrosive mindset that has everything to do with undoing the legitimacy of this election.
Why “damnable”? Because it nullifies everything Mayor Ko stands for. It has rendered all Ko’s political endeavors and maneuverings a matter of tongue and cheek exercise.
Why pit your values of integrity against the Democratic Progressive Party when you perceive your election campaign for your party is in essence gambling? Does this mean the more dirt you dish out against your political opponents, the better chance for you to come out ahead?
The goal is to win and whatever it takes to win. By Jove, how have you fallen to such a state of wanton callousness and indifference! Or, should we say, My Lord Cheng-huang, the God of Hades, to whom your parents had sought the oracle of approval on the final day for you to sign up as a presidential candidate.
Fortunately, you decided against signing up at the last minute. Lord Cheng-huang would not have taken your political gambling mindset lightly.
Why “damnable”? Because it nullifies everything Taiwan stands for. It implies a “deep state” that is controlling the destiny of the island, of which the people of Taiwan have no say.
This means for all the democratic achievements that the people of Taiwan pride themselves with, for all the bloodshed and lives sacrificed for democracy’s sake, Taiwan is and will remain a plaything of this “deep state” of super powers.
Why “damnable”? Because it nullifies creative endeavors and finds a replacement in “chance.” Does not the locale of a casino embody the spirit of chance and syphon out the drive to be other than casting the dice and taking a chance?
Honestly, Mayor Ko, you belong to the ilk of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜). You are all depraved cynics, detrimental to the future of Taiwan.
You hide your betting spirit behind claims of integrity while Ma and Han veil theirs with claims of legitimacy as representatives of the Republic of China.
Let the young voters vote down these political gamesters and cynics. Taiwan has had enough of them. Let creative endeavors prevail. Vote for your own interests and ensure the democracy in Taiwan continues to flow and grow.
Martial law trope an insult
People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) finally learned to defend press freedom in the presidential debate on Sunday last week, so it was timely for Han Cheung to remind us that Soong has yet to redeem himself after suppressing press freedom in the 1980s (“Taiwan in Time: Unleashing the media free-for-all,” Dec. 29, 2019, page 8).
We still remember those days of martial law and one-party dictatorship. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) insulted that memory when it tried to shout down the Anti-infiltration Act (反滲透法) with the slogan “martial law has been restored!” (“Legislature passes Anti-infiltration Act,” Jan. 1, page 1).
The KMT has yet to face up to the injustices it committed, but only knows to project those very injustices with a cheap trope and a false equivalence.
Those worried about martial law would do well to heed these words from Soong back then, with renewed significance: “Our nation is in a period of emergency... Many [newspapers] are fighting just to survive and [publish] content that is not beneficial to the readers.”
Congratulations to the Taipei Times on two decades of bringing Taiwan closer to the world.
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