Former vice president Vincent Siew (蕭萬長), once hailed by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as the “designer of Taiwan’s economy” has made a comeback, and this time he has fashioned himself as a patriot.
While going to great lengths to persuade the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and opposition parties to put an end to their arguing and stop being angry at each other, Siew borrowed a quote from former US president John Kennedy in an attempt to get Taiwanese to be more loyal to their country.
While these actions and comments seem big and sound impressive, they are incongruous with what is really going on in Taiwan.
When leaders show they are incompetent and are acting in an absurd way, the opposition parties and voters have both the right and responsibility to object and be angry.
If they instead pretend everything is rosy and that they get on like a house on fire, something is really wrong.
Those in power have a responsibility to improve things for the public while also establishing justice.
Talking about transforming anger into kindness not only turns everything upside down, but it is also extremely hypocritical for Siew to turn around and blame both sides of the political spectrum the way he did.
Having been born in a region of Taiwan that has a strong Taiwanese independence contingent, Siew should really ask himself why KMT legislators do not have the courage to get angry and instead sit around and let Ma ruin Taiwan. The way these legislators have acted is no different to the way past officials sat around in fear and obeyed the commands of former dictator Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).
Kennedy took over as US president at the height of the Cold War. At that time, the lines between freedom and communism were clearly drawn and this is why he called on Americans to serve their country and contribute to it when he said: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”
The meaning of Kennedy’s words was clear: Regardless of color, one was considered an American as long as one held citizenship and all citizens should serve their country. Kennedy never tried to make any preposterous claims about the US’ sovereignty stretching over all of Europe or “Communist China.”
The way Ma views Taiwan and its national sovereignty goes against the public’s will and the way things really are.
Taiwanese are willing to serve their country, but their country is not the country that is imagined in Ma’s idea of “eventual unification” with China.
How could people not “get angry” when Ma does not view Taiwan as his country and wants us to serve China instead?
Siew has managed something of a superhuman feat by still being able to smile after holding the position of premier during the time when former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) advocated his “special state-to-state” policy and then serving as vice president while Ma’s regime accepted Beijing’s conditions and designated Taiwan as part of China.
Siew’s use of Kennedy’s quote was a cheap attempt at pulling the wool over people’s eyes and trying to turn Taiwanese into obedient sheep.
However, Taiwanese are justifiably angry and as voters in a democratic country, they are the one’s who possess the final say on the matter.
They should therefore ask themselves what Ma has done for Taiwan.
James Wang is a media commentator.
Translated by Drew Cameron