A recent comment by President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) on the string of food scandals that have rocked the nation this year has caused ire among netizens.
At the 14th annual National Golden Awards for Architecture on Monday, Ma said that “maybe the problem was not so serious because the foods in question had started out as high-quality products before they were tainted.”
“Even if eating the tainted food will not harm your body, it may hurt your heart [feelings] because the product label it bore was misleading. Therefore, honesty should be just as important as quality for the food industry,” he said.
The food scandals that have erupted this year have left many Taiwanese fearing for their health and highly concerned about food safety, which is likely why Ma’s comments prompted such indignation among the nation’s online communities.
One netizen scoffed at the president’s remarks, saying: “The tainted food will not just hurt your heart, but also your liver and kidneys.”
Another netizen by the name of “Otto Chen” urged the public to “send all the tainted food to the Presidential Office, let Ma eat it all,” while another using the name “Master Hsiung” wrote: “It appears that this fellow has severe brain damage from eating tainted food.”
Last week, online communities also ridiculed Ma for being out of touch with the common people.
On Thursday evening that week, the president posted a message on Facebook, saying: “The sun is setting and it’s time to call it a day, but many people are still working. They are working for their families, for the public and for the country. I salute you for your diligent, hard work.”
While this message purportedly aimed to show Ma’s concern for and gratitude toward Taiwanese workers, many people reacted angrily to it, as evidenced by the more than 3,000 replies the post received, many of which where negative.
One blogger responded: “Yes, I’m still hard at work and this is all because of your policies,” while another wrote: “Have you got any idea that you are the one responsible for making people live through such painful times?”
“Even when we work overtime, it is not enough, since our wages are not high enough to earn a living,” another netizen added.