Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Freddy Lim unfolds New Power Party platform

By Su Fang-ho and Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Chthonic frontman and New Power Party legislative candidate Freddy Lim is pictured on Sunday last week in Taipei.

Photo: Su Fang-ho, Taipei Times

The frontman of the heavy metal band Chthonic, Freddy Lim (林昶佐), has channeled his anger at corruption into action. He intends to effect change from the inside out by running for office in Taipei’s Wanhua (萬華) and Zhongzheng (中正) districts under the banner of the the New Power Party (NPP), which he founded.

In an interview, Lim recently outlined his party’s campaign platform and described his commitment to promoting independence, justice and fairness.

Pointing to his diverse campaign team, Lim said he has established a team drawn from different age groups and all walks of life, because he wanted a campaign that could directly engage the public and “would not pay lip service to justice and fairness.”

Lim has been an ardent advocate of human rights and Taiwanese independence since he was in his 20s and was elected chairman of Amnesty International’s Taiwan branch in 2012. He made a feature movie about Taiwan’s bid to join the UN during Chthonic’s overseas tours in the US and Europe in 2007.

Unlike most politicians, Lim said he hoped that media attention would not only focus on him, but also to other members of his team.

They include Wu Cheng (吳崢) and Lai Pin-yu (賴品妤), who gained prominence during last year’s Sunflower movement; veteran Taiwanese independence advocates such as Wang Cheng-chung (王正中), the former chairman of the Goa-Seng-Lang Association for Taiwan Independence; and even musicians who had never heard of Academia Sinica researcher and Sunflower movement leader Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) before joining the group, Lim said.

“Do you know what ‘destruction of the constitution’ and ‘government corruption’ mean?” Wu recalled asking musicians on the team.

Many civil groups and politicians often churn out catchphrases that they think sound impressive, but whose meaning might be lost on the general public, Wu said.

Some of the team members did not even know who Huang was, which, Wu said, serves as a reality check that the team has to come to terms with when face-to-face with voters.

When brainstorming for a media release, the team’s campaign writers usually rule out all abstract, vacant slogans that elude their less politically savvy teammates, he said.

Lim, who exudes confidence when he performs onstage before big crowds, said he had an attack of stage fright the first time he tried to solicit votes at a traditional market.

Surrounded by housewives who were busy bargaining as they picked out food, he said he felt out of place.

However, thanks to his stint as a judge in a TV talent show a year ago, he found that he has won a fanbase among housewives and was greeted with a hearty welcome in the market, Lim said.

Some of the women cried out his name in English, with an adorable Taiwanese accent, or called him “teacher Chthonic,” he said.

Other bystanders looked indifferent, but that did not faze him, Lim said.

He approached then, looked them in the face, shook their hands and gave them a clear but succinct 30-second explanation of his campaign platform, he said.

“Most people get scared at first, but they would listen to you and let you finish,” Lim said, holding Wu’s hand to demonstrate.

“Freddy was a real nuisance. He stuck to me even in the dead of the night,” Wu said, recounting Lim’s persistence in recruiting him, with the singer calling him three times every day without fail, as well as any time he came up with a new idea to convince him to join the team.

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