Sitting on the floor at an international airport while charging his phone using a wall outlet was “practical,” Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said yesterday, amid criticism that he was presenting a poor image of Taiwan’s capital.
Ko was photographed sitting on a carpeted floor at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. The photo was posted on Ko’s Facebook page on Wednesday last week, the final day of his five-day trip to Israel, along with a few other photos from his visit.
While the post garnered more than 29,000 likes, the photo of him wearing a suit and sitting cross-legged on the floor was also criticized.
Photo taken from Facebook
The Taipei branch of Taiwan Radical Wings said Ko was “a humiliating government head” for sitting on the floor, blocking a walking area with his bag and using an outlet rather than a charging station.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei City Councilor Wang Chih-ping’s (汪志冰) on Friday said that Ko’s behavior could create a negative impression of Taipei.
Wang said Ko was pretentious, pretending to be casual and close with regular Taiwanese.
His staff should have assisted him to charge the phone, she said.
Democratic Progressive Party Taipei City Councilor Wang Shih-cheng (王世堅) also called Ko pretentious, adding that there must be charging stations at the airport, so Ko was pretending to be easygoing, but as a mayor, he should practice proper international etiquette.
Ko yesterday said he is a practical person and although his staff might have had portable power banks, he would have felt bad if he had drained their devices and he did not want to bother them.
He charged it at an outlet at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport standing up, but sat down in Israel because he thought no one would recognize him there, Ko said.
“The Taiwanese public is good at being fake and phony,” he said, adding that he hates how people expect a mayor to wear a suit and necktie, talk in a certain way and have staff members do everything.
Ko said he has seen many people sit on the floor while charging devices at Taoyuan airport, so those who say he should not have used a wall outlet are just nitpicking.
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