Tue, Nov 03, 2015 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Huang-Peng partnership outlines vision for NPP

WANT WANT POLITICS?Legislative candidates Huang Kuo-chang and Neil Peng said their friendship began at protests against a possible media monopoly forming

By Lin Hsin-han and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

While most people suggested that he contest Taipei’s Daan District (大安), which is where he lives, Peng said he made a name for himself trying to have Wu recalled, and his ultimate goal is to see Wu removed from office.

Peng said he has always been “a firm believer that the concept of social rank is nonsense and neither the political elite nor intellectuals should be entitled to feel as if they are better than others.”

“I am a simple commoner, one who wears sneakers and never dress shoes,” Peng said.

“I browse stalls and visit traditional markets,” he said, adding that he mingles with the public and can be approached at any time.

Peng said his contempt over politicians’ inability to evaluate themselves honestly began when he was young.

“The saddest sight I have ever seen was an older person holding an umbrella for an office director at the Presidential Office Building,” he said.

Bristling with indignation at the sight, he said it made him think: “Who does [the director] think he is to degrade another human being in such a way?”

Peng said his criticism of “the elite” is due to his intolerance of how people are degraded by Taiwanese politics.

A lawmaker has a different role from a city councilor and should concentrate on drafting legislation to improve the nation, he said.

“If [a lawmaker] feels more legislation is needed to help support democracy and the economy, they should provide it,” Peng said, adding that they must be vigilant against unnecessary development, land expropriations and projects that waste public resources.

DUTY

If legislators are not stopping such things, they are neglecting their duty, he said.

The writer said he hoped to introduce humor into the Legislative Yuan.

He said the cutting wit and quick reactions shown in the British Parliament demonstrated a political environment that is cultured and that he hopes the Legislative Yuan would be able to debate in such a manner within a decade.

Peng and Huang met for the first time at a protest in 2012 during a student-led demonstration against Want Want China Times Group move to acquire cable television service provider China Network Systems (CNS).

Opponents of the deal said that as Want Want already owned major media outlets in Taiwan, including the China Times newspaper, China Times Weekly magazine, Want Daily, CtiTV and China Television Co, the group would be able to impose a media monopoly.

Critics also expressed concern over a perceived increase of Chinese interference in Taiwanese media, as Want Want is seen as being pro-China.

Huang said he was moved when Peng, a former China Times deputy editor-in-chief, was willing to support the protests right from the beginning, while other intellectuals and media workers had been reluctant to back the movement, either due to their ties to the Chinese-language China Times or because they were unwilling to aggravate Want Want Group chairman Tsai Eng-meng (蔡衍明).

Peng is the sort who would — in the middle of a race that he is running — be sidetracked by an argument on the street and inevitably be drawn into the conflict, Huang said, adding that it was this kind of personality — the kind that stood up against injustice — that made Peng likeable.

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