People from all walks of life took to the streets in Taipei yesterday to voice their dissatisfaction with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) governance.
A group of Hakka people held big black flags with calligraphy in white that read yimin (義民, “righteous people”) as they marched. The flag is modeled on the black flags used by Hakka militias who defended their home villages during an uprising against the Qing Dynasty in 1786 and again when they fought against the Japanese occupation of Taiwan in 1895.
“The flag symbolizes the Hakka resistance against injustice and the Hakka spirit of defending our homeland,” said Lee Ting-kun (李廷坤), from Taoyuan County. “We’re here today to tell Ma that most people are suffering in this country. We want to survive and live happily. Isn’t this what the government is supposed to do for us?”
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Taipei Times
Another group, from Greater Taichung, that stood out staged a mock funeral procession.
Two men were dressed up as Taoist priests and performed funeral rites as they marched, followed by people carrying big black-and-white portraits of Ma and Premier Sean Chen (陳?) and an ancestral tablet for the deceased with Ma’s name written on it.
“Doomed by the public, died without disease,” one placard read.
Photo: Fang Pin-chao,Taipei Times
“Skyrocketing utility prices have aroused the anger of gods and men alike,” another placard read.
A 66-year-old woman, Lee Chuang (李妝), wore a pair of hand-woven traditional shoulder pads connected to a “halo” behind her head, and held a hand-woven flag that read: “Step down.”
“This is the outfit of the goddess of mercy,” Lee told the Taipei Times. “My son had a dream a few days ago in which the goddess of mercy told him that Ma should step down to end people’s suffering, so he hand-made this outfit for me to wear in the parade.”
Photo: Reuters / Pichi Chuang
Besides being worried about rising utility prices, Lee said she was also worried that a rising national debt would increase the suffering of the next generation.
“As a mother, I’m really concerned that my children and my grandchildren will have to carry the debts that Ma leaves them,” she said.
Many people who supported Ma during the presidential election also took part in the demonstration.
“I regret voting for Ma. I regret it a lot,” one man said. “Ma had a different attitude before his election. He acted as if he cared about the people before the election, but now he doesn’t listen to what people want.”
The People First Party, normally seen as an ally of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said on Friday it encouraged its members to take part in the Democratic Progressive Party-sponsored protest on their own accord.
PFP spokesman Wu Kun-yu (吳崑玉) and PFP Taipei City Councilor Lin Kuo-cheng (林國成) were spotted in the rally yesterday, chanting slogans calling on Ma to step down.
“Ma should pay more attention to what people want; otherwise he is not suitable to be the president,” Lin said.
Chen Che (陳哲), the host of the Facebook group “Let’s Meet Up on May 20” (520我們不見不散), held up a sign that said: “Net friends, let’s meet up here,” .
“The Facebook group was created on March 18, because I think that, with so many Internet users complaining about Ma, we should do more than criticize him and his policies on the Internet. We should turn our dissatisfaction into action,” he said, adding that two months after the online group was created, it has attracted nearly 3,000 members.
Chang Chia-ling (張嘉玲), director of the DPP’s Department of Women’s Development, also caught many people’s eye when she joined the rally at one of the assembly points, outside National Taiwan University campus, in her bright red wedding gown.
“I came directly from my wedding banquet,” she said. “I will remember this day for all my life, not only because it’s my wedding day, but also because this is the day when so many Taiwanese people have come out to tell the government that we’re suffering.”
FATAL FIRE: The health department is trying to contact the inspector who visited the site of the illegal nursing home to ask why they did not advise follow-up checks The Taipei City Government yesterday said that a health department inspector last year had visited the site of a long-term care facility in Neihu District (內湖) after receiving a report questioning its status. A fire broke out at the facility on Tuesday afternoon, killing three people. The Taipei Fire Department said that it received a report about a fire on the first floor of a four-story residential building on Kangning Road Sec. 1 at 2:38pm on Tuesday, firefighters arrived at 2:43pm and the fire was put out by 3:07pm. The firefighters found three men in beds and rushed them to hospital for
Taipei City Councilor Wang Hao (王浩) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Monday called for security improvements to the MRT, as fare evasion has increased more than 13-fold on the metropolitan railway system over the past five years. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has spoken out against fare evasion and other contraventions of MRT regulations, but since he took office in 2015 the number of contraventions has more than doubled, Wang said, adding that there were 537 cases in 2015 compared with 959 last year. A video was posted to YouTube in June showing people how to evade paying a fare,
FEELING MISUNDERSTOOD: Media speculation has fueled confusion about the KMT’s reasons for skipping a Chinese forum and delaying an AIT meeting, party sources said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on Sunday said that it is not seeking to improve relations with the US or China at the expense of the other, and that its relations with the countries would be topic-based. The party has faced questions over its foreign policy after it on Monday last week announced its withdrawal from the annual Straits Forum and delayed planned talks with the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). The party has also taken a tough stance on the importation of US meat containing ractopamine, while also lambasting China for increasing its military activity in and around the Taiwan Strait. Following
Yuchi Township (魚池) fishers have appealed to the Nantou County Government for help in dealing with an invasive fish species in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭), where it has devastated the local ecosystem. Fishers at Sun Moon Lake have been using electrofishing in an attempt to eliminate the giant snakehead fish — found in Africa and Southeast Asia — but they have struggled to keep up with the growing population of the species, which breeds during September and October, the county government said on Monday. The county has contacted researchers at National Tsing Hua University, saying it hoped they could come up