The Taipei City Government’s Department of Information and Tourism has come under fire for an ad it recently placed, with numerous netizens calling it arrogant.
From Friday last week through yesterday, the department placed an ad in local newspapers promoting a new city government policy that raises the housing subsidy given to Taipei residents to NT$5,000, beating the subsidy bar of NT$3,600 set by the central government.
The ad — titled “Sorry, we’re just that attractive” — has sparked a storm of criticism from netizens.
As Taipei has long been referred to as Tian Long Guo (天龍國), a term denoting wealth and lack of knowledge about the woes of real life, on the Internet, the advertisement’s title caused netizens from four municipalities to concur that “such language is typical of the area.”
The derogatory term is taken from the popular One Piece comic book series drawn by Oda Eiichiro, in which a group of people, called “Tian Long,” are given special rights and do not know the difficulties of life outside their particular area.
“The title should be changed to ‘Sorry, we just scorn people that way,’” some netizens said, while another, Hsieh Meng-en (謝孟恩), said the title should instead say: “Sorry, our mayor is incompetent.”
The comparison made in the ad between Taipei and the other municipalities has also caused discontent.
One netizen going by “Clitier Chen” said: “For a long time, Taipei has been getting the good stuff and urban development across Taiwan has been imbalanced. In effect, it is forcing others to leave their homes in other counties and come to live in misery in a concrete jungle. Then the rich people from Taipei come to our hometowns and develop them as they please while destroying the environment. Afterward, they just go back to their big condos and mansions in Taipei with their pockets full of money. This is what’s called debasing the people and debasing the land.”
Criticizing the Taipei City Government-sponsored ad as being blatantly egotistic, netizens said that if the ad implied that Taipei‘s social welfare is incomparable to that of other counties,’ then it would indeed be a joke.
“If you really wanted to make a comparison, compare Taipei with foreign countries,” another netizen, Lei Hsin-cheng (雷昕澄), said. “Let’s see if your social welfare can lure citizens of Sweden, France and the US to immigrate [to Taipei].”
The money used to increase the subsidy as well as that used to pay for the ad have also caused outrage.
“The Taipei City councilors should block the expenditure for this arrogant advertisement and tell [department commissioner] Chao Hsin- ping (趙心屏) to pay for it herself,” a netizen said.
In response to the negative online barrage, Chao on Sunday said that the ad was to promote the city’s new policy, which began yesterday and will continue to Aug. 24.
“We wanted to draw people’s attention by using an eye-catching title so city residents will be aware of their rights,” she said, adding it was not the city government’s intention to “rile the other municipalities.”
Another netizen, named Wei Wei Chien, said in a post that it did not matter if the advertisement was attractive because what Taipei has is the conglomeration of a lot of resources form everyone else across the nation, adding that the city was absolutely not an ideal place to live.