Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei mayoral candidate Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) is no stranger to the ups and downs in politics.
Before announcing his bid for the Taipei mayoral seat in March, Su had been lying low since losing the 2008 election as the DPP’s vice presidential candidate.
Prior to this, Su had also kept a low profile after losing a re-election bid for Pingtung County commissioner in 1993 and resigning as premier in 2007 under the former DPP government.
However these setbacks threatened his political career, Su has always managed to make a comeback. Moreover, his latest attempt to return to politics — through the Taipei mayoral race — could pave the way for the 2012 presidential election, as he is considered one of the DPP’s frontrunners for the post.
Defending his commitment to the mayoral race, Su has said that he is looking no further than his current campaign, pledging to “do a good job and finish the term” if elected.
“Mr Su joined the election because he believes Taipei residents are rational enough to look beyond party affiliations and vote for a capable candidate,” Su’s campaign spokesman Lee Hou-ching (李厚慶) said.
A long-term aide who has assisted Su since the time he ran for Taipei County commissioner in 1997, Lee described Su as a politician who is precise, while being able to embrace new ideas.
Taking the advice of his campaign staff, who are mostly in their 30s and 40s, the 63-year-old candidate uses Facebook, Plurk (a local microblogging service similar to Twitter) and a personal blog to promote his campaign platform and interact with voters.
The traditional hard-line “deep-green” rhetoric is largely absent from his campaign. Su also started to wear pink polo shirts in campaign activities, softening his image as an aggressive and hardcore DPP heavyweight.
“Having served as a local government head, Su is good at interacting with the grassroots. He’d memorize their names and ask them about their family. Years of experience in politics have also made him more open-minded and tolerant,” said DPP Taipei City councilor candidate Lan Shih-tsung (藍世聰), who worked as the director of the DPP’s social development division when Su was the party chairman.
Su, also nicknamed “electric light bulb (電火球)” with his baldpate, worked as a human rights lawyer for more than 10 years before entering politics.
He joined former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) and other activists in defending political dissidents in the “Kaohsiung Incident,” a pro-independence rally in 1979 against the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime that turned violent, and became a politician two years later when he was elected to the former Taiwan Provincial Council.
He co-founded the DPP in 1986 and was elected Pingtung County commissioner in 1989. However, he suffered his first major defeat in 1993 when he failed to get re-elected.
Su resurfaced in 1997 when he won the Taipei County commissioner election, saving the pan-green stronghold for the DPP amid corruption allegations against the incumbent, You Ching (尤清).
Su had a good record of governance and gained popularity serving as the county commissioner for two terms, despite accusations from the KMT that he left Taipei County with a debt of more than NT$80 billion (US$2.6 billion).
While Su was a popular figure among pan-green supporters, he lost the DPP presidential primary to Hsieh in 2007. However, he agreed to overlook any conflict and teamed up with Hsieh as the vice presidential candidate.
“Losing the primary was a big blow to him, but he spent like 10 minutes to gather himself up and told his aides to accept the result and move on,” Lan said.
The pair lost the presidential election in March 2008, and instead of staying active in politics, Su chose to spend more time with his family, who plays an important role in his life.
As a father of three daughters, Su said he lived in a “female dorm” surrounded by his mother, wife and daughters. He is often seen accompanying his mother and never hesitates to express his love to his wife.
“My wife has always been supportive and has remained the biggest calming force in my bumpy political career over the past 30 years,” Su said in his campaign blog.
His close relationship with his three daughters, who put their work and school on hold to help with his election campaign, also helped establish his image as a family man.
In a recent interview with CtiTV, his eldest daughter, Su Qiao-huei (蘇巧慧), described her father as being meticulous about everything, even when it comes to wiping a table.
“You need to fold the cloth twice to make it about the size of your hand, and then use the cloth to wipe the table from right to left. He thinks it’s more efficient that way,” she said.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群), a close aide to Su Tseng-chang, said his meticulous style brought a lot of stress for his aides, who were often scolded if they failed to do things his way and meet his standards.
“He is harsh on himself and on his staff, too,” he said.
Expressing confidence in his ability to execute policies, Su Tseng-chang said he believed his precise and meticulous character would help in pushing for more efficient municipal developments.
“When I was in the Taipei County Government, one of my work principles was that no municipal projects should be delayed,” Su said, and promised to “make city development proceed more efficiently if elected.”
Liya Chu (朱如茵), whose parents are New York-based Taiwanese restaurateurs, has been crowned the champion of US television cooking competition MasterChef Junior, after wowing the judges, including celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, with a feast of fusion cuisine. In the finale of the show’s eighth season, broadcast on Thursday, Chu walked away with US$100,000 after serving a spread of spiced duck breast with scallion pancakes and miso eggplant, followed by coconut pandan panna cotta with a passion fruit coulis and sesame tuille. Chu, who was 10 years old at the time of filming three years ago, faced off against then-11-year-old Grayson Price from
A university student has gained the spotlight for an interactive map he designed detailing all of China’s military bases and installations throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Soochow University music student Joseph Wen (溫約瑟), who calls himself an amateur military enthusiast, said he created the map to “help people better understand the cross-strait situation.” Wen originally posted the map online on June 14 last year, but it gained greater attention after he mentioned it during an appearance on a China Television talk show. On the show, Wen said he had gathered information on the locations from publicly available Web sites, as
GLOBAL STRATEGY: Indo-Pacific alliances need reinforcement to prevent Chinese occupation of Taiwan, which would threaten Japan, Hawaii and Australia, Pompeo said The US should officially recognize Taiwan as a free, independent nation and establish official diplomatic ties, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo told an event at the Hudson Institute in Washington on Friday. Every US president since Harry Truman has considered Taiwan’s existence to be of utmost importance to US national security, Pompeo said. Taiwan is a principal US partner in technology and economic matters, and if China were to capture Taiwan’s semiconductor supply chain, it would severely hamper the US economy, Pompeo said. Should China occupy Taiwan, it would severely weaken US influence in the Indo-Pacific region and its surrounding areas,
Opening-day ticket sales for a horror exhibition at the Tainan Art Museum were suspended twice on Saturday as the show attracted too many visitors. Titled “Ghosts and Hells: The Underworld in Asian art,” the exhibition runs until Oct. 16. It is the local version of a show that debuted at the Musee du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris. It was planned and curated by Julien Rousseau. The Tainan museum said that within an hour of its doors opening, more than 1,000 people had entered the exhibition. By noon, 3,000 physical and virtual tickets had been sold, while the museum had more than 4,000