The character hei (黑) — meaning “black” or “darkness” — was yesterday named “word of the year” to represent the Legislative Yuan by political watchdog group Citizens Congress Watch (CCW).
“The legislature is still full of darkness for the public — it failed to fulfill its promise to allow public access to the video-on-demand [VOD] system,” executive director Ho Tsung-hsun (何宗勳) said, explaining why the word was chosen in a news conference outside the legislature yesterday morning.
The VOD system allows access inside the legislature through live broadcasts or recorded video clips of legislative meetings. At the request of legislative watchdog groups, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) agreed to allow outside public access to the system during the second legislative session which began in September — but the promise has yet to be kept.
“We consider it hei also because the lawmakers acted irresponsibly when reviewing certain bills or budgets,” Ho said.
Some bills and budgets were passed without in-depth discussions, Ho said, citing the Act for Distributing Consumer Vouchers to Boost the Economy (振興經濟消費券發放特別條例) and next year’s central government budget as examples.
“The consumer voucher bill, which involved tens of billions of NT dollars, was passed within 12 days,” Ho said. “And the entire central government budget — which is about NT$1.8 trillion [US$5.5 billion] — was passed almost untouched.”
Only about 0.17 percent of the entire central government budget was held up by the legislature, and budgets for seven ministries were completely untouched.
Fifteen candidate characters — including an (暗, darkness), e (噁, disgusting), lan (爛, horrible) and mi (謎, mysterious) — were nominated by civic groups that formed the CCW. Representatives from seven groups then voted on the final result.
While disappointed at the legislature’s performance last year, the CCW is still hopeful, the group said.
“The coming of darkness means that the dawn is not far from us,” Ho said. “If we look at this word positively, it represents the expectations for reforms in the legislature in the coming year.”