Thu, Sep 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

KMT caucus accuses Monkeys of ‘currying favor’

UNPRINCIPLED:KMT Legislator Alicia Wang said the team held the ‘LamiGirls’ to a double standard, citing a 2008 controversy revolving around player Ngayaw Ake

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Members of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus hold a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to support three cheerleaders who were suspended by the Lamigo Monkeys baseball team for being featured in a campaign calendar for KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu.

Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday slammed the Lamigo Monkeys baseball team for “currying favor” with Taoyuan Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) by punishing three cheerleaders who openly pledged their support for KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and were featured on her campaign calendar.

Following Hung’s news conference on Tuesday denouncing the “bullying” of the cheerleaders, the KMT caucus also held a media briefing to voice its “support for the three ‘LamiGirls,’” a term fans use to refer to the cheerleaders.

KMT Legislator Alicia Wang (王育敏) cited a report by the Chinese-language Want Weekly, which said the reason that the Lamigo Monkeys halted their cooperation with the three cheerleaders was because the team, registered in Taoyuan, “has to curry favor with Cheng [of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)].”

KMT Legislator Chen Pi-han (陳碧涵) criticized the team for failing to protect the girls “in the face of cyberbullying” and accused the team of fawning upon the DPP.

“I also find it incredible that the Lamigo Monkeys have effortlessly changed their shirt design 29 times in 12 years,” Chen said.

KMT Legislator Lee Guei-min (李貴敏) said that the fuss has made the girls afraid to voice their support for Hung, creating an atmosphere that keeps people from having different thoughts and remarks through “thought-bullying,” which is “the fascism that we all despise.”

“The KMT is not only voicing its support for the cheerleaders, but also for Taiwan’s freedom of speech and thought,” Lee said, calling on young people not to allow themselves to be manipulated by politicians.

Wang also accused the Monkeys of holding the girls to a double standard, as one member of the team, Ngayaw Ake (林智勝), was featured on the album cover for a song by Freddy Lim (林昶佐) — a founding member of the New Power Party — that was originally written for the national baseball team in 2008, but was later used by then-DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) campaign.

Wang quoted La New Bears — the Monkeys’ former name — owner Liu Pao-yu (劉保佑), who at the time said that an election is a process for the nation to choose its leaders, which is a good thing, and that he hoped the party’s supporters could refrain from polarizing their support.

Controversy erupted in 2008, when Ngayaw Ake’s image was used on the album cover without his consent, with his wife voicing her discontent on her blog, while the media reported the team was poised to take legal action over the matter.

At the time, Liu said that he would support “whatever is helpful to the Chinese Professional Baseball League, regardless of [political color]” after Lim contacted the team and explained the song’s cause.

In response, Cheng said that there is no need to politicize the matter, adding that managing the cheerleaders is the baseball team’s business, not the city government’s.

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