Academics yesterday added their voice to the war of words over accusations by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) that Hung Heng-chu (洪恆珠), wife of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice presidential candidate Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全), attended a party during which male strippers and cross-dressers performed in 2002.
KMT Legislator Chiu Yi (邱毅) has called Hung’s presence at the event “inappropriate behavior,” adding that as the wife of the Pingtung County commissioner at the time, she should have known better.
National Central University professor Josephine Ho (何春蕤) said if adults could not participate in events where sex entertainment is provided, then they might as well shut themselves at home and chant Buddhist mantras.
“‘Third-gender public relations’ is also a kind of career and politicians shouldn’t step on and slander marginalized people just for the sake of elections,” Ho said, referring to male workers who cross-dress and drink with customers at bars, a profession regarded as a “special trade.”
Speaking out against TV pundits who implied that Hung’s private life was “decadent” and “filled with parties,” Ho said the accusations were invidious, as Hung was only “watching” and did not participate, adding that as male stripper shows were common styles of modern entertainment, “enjoying the event with the people is also quite good.”
Since the event was in an enclosed area and a show for a private party, and since it was not illegal nor was anyone “flashed” with body parts that should not be seen in public, it was not against better “social mores,” adding that using morals as a tool for elections was blurring the focus of the election, Ho said.
National Taipei University of Education professor Liao Yu-hui (廖玉蕙) said one should keep up with the times, as such shows are often seen at wedding banquets, adding that it is inevitable that sometimes people simply get the “urge.”
“I wouldn’t leave the event or change my seat, maybe I’d even start feeling titillated,” Liao said.
“Hung simply attended a party. There isn’t anything wrong or anything that might have influenced social perspectives about her actions,” Liao said, adding that that the accuser was being “silly.”
Liao also told her husband she did not know why Su apologized.
“If it was me, I would never apologize,” Liao said.
“A young professor once joked about her never being to a nightclub and later I went with a friend to dance at a nightclub and felt excited,” Liao said, adding that another friend working at a foreign company learned how to pole-dance.
“As long as it doesn’t interfere with anybody else, it really doesn’t matter,” Liao said, adding that she was more concerned with what educational and arts policies the presidential candidates offer.
Chang Ming-chu (張明珠), an international modeling director who has trained male models for two decades, said walking the catwalk in a swimsuit was one of the necessary items in a male beauty competition, adding that being “third-genders” was a personal choice.
Chang said Chiu’s remarks bordered on sexual and professional discrimination.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer