The delay to President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election campaign headquarters’ sixth youth camp was a result of its disorganization, one would-be participant said on Sunday.
The sixth “Democratic Election’s Great” youth camp event was scheduled to be held in Taipei on Saturday and Sunday to coincide with the birthday of Republic of China founding father Sun Yat-sen (孫逸仙).
The event was planned to educate participants about Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水), a formative figure in Taiwan’s colonial resistance movement against Japan who holds the title “Taiwanese Sun Yat-sen.”
However, a student named Arthur Wong, who enrolled in the camp, said he received a short message from the Ma campaign headquarters the day before the event saying that the event would be postponed by one week because of poor weather and the fact that some students were taking midterm exams.
Ma’s campaign headquarters spokesperson Yin Wei (殷瑋) said yesterday that campaign events, including the youth camp, were expected to hold seven rounds across the nation.
Yin said an average of 70 people applied to take part in each event.
Fifty people had applied to attend the sixth youth camp, Yin said, adding that a number of those applicants had called his office to request the event be postponed.
Yin said the youth camps, the KMT Youth League and the Institute on Policy Research and Development camps have been attended by more than 1,000 people and that the other symposiums held in Taipei and New Taipei City (新北市) attracted at least 60 and at most 150 attendees.
Yin said the youth camps are a success and they would continue to be held to raise youth participation in public matters as well as increase interaction with the younger generation.
However, Wong said that after telephoning the campaign headquarters he discovered the true reason the event was postponed was because it had not even received 25 applications of the allotted 60.
Wong said the camp program kept being altered, adding that when one female participant asked the campaign headquarters where they would be staying, she was told: “We can only tell you that it’s in Banciao District (板橋), [New Taipei City], but all other information is still classified.”
Wong said he and his friend signed up for the event because they had received confirmation that the chief executive of Ma’s re-election campaign, King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), would give a talk at the camp.
After the event was rescheduled, the speech was canceled, Wong said.
“Ma wishes to attract the support of first-time voters in this election, but after personally being involved with this event, I have seen the ridiculous and outrageous mistakes the Ma campaign office has made,” Wong said.
Using students’ midterm exams as a reason to postpone the event was ridiculous, as Ma once chatted with National University of Kaohsiung students the night before their midterms, Wong said, adding that the campaign office’s response to the female student’s inquiry was ludicrous.
“Ma says he has more than 200,000 fans on his Facebook page, but it is stunning that he could not even get 60 people to show up for his event,” Wong said.
Wong wrote about the event on his blog on Friday and received a lot of feedback from other netizens. One, named Andie Li, commented that the KMT’s youth vote would “dissolve like bubbles.”
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer
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