A basketball game is not a contest if both teams decide to play defense and do not attack. It is even worse when both sides play not to win, but to not lose. Unfortunately, it appears that the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are just doing that.
Perhaps this explains why in a recent opinion poll conducted by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research, the KMT garnered the support of only 18.9 percent of those polled, with the DPP not faring much better at 30.7 percent, with 57 percent of respondents saying they were not satisfied with the DPP’s performance.
In other words, people are as indifferent to both parties as basketball fans who find that two teams playing defense against each other are hard to cheer.
The KMT’s passivity is perhaps more understandable. The approval rating of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as KMT chairman, has plummeted to as low as 13 percent. Almost all of Ma’s policies, among them fuel and electricity price increases and healthcare reform, have been highly unpopular and questionable.
The party always talks about reform, but rarely takes action to uphold fairness and justice. It failed to ensure social justice in the design of the capital gains tax on securities transactions and protected poorly managed state-owned enterprises, missing a golden opportunity to address the widening wealth gap and a divided society.
Ma and his party talk a good game, but fail to execute and deliver time and again. These failures are perhaps why they no longer go into “attack mode” to lay out substantial plans to benefit the nation, because the more they do, the more they fail.
They neither listen to the public nor seem ready to reconcile with the opposition to work together in the national interest, as Ma stated in his New Year’s address.
The KMT no longer appears to be functioning as a well-oiled machine, with many members reportedly unhappy with Ma’s leadership and communication skills. The only reason they have not yet challenged Ma is that they are biding their time.
While the KMT seems to have good reason to play defense, the DPP’s passivity, which has earned the party the label of being soft, has made people scratch their heads in bewilderment.
The DPP has been criticized for its inaction as well as for its failure to present substantial countermeasures to Ma’s failing policies. The criticism may be unfair, in particular for the DPP caucus, because almost all of its proposals have been blocked by the KMT in the legislature.
Nevertheless, despite presenting an economic policy to counter Ma’s pro-China economic policies, DPP headquarters could have done a better job by making the vague plan for a sensible economy more comprehensive and by explaining it in layman’s terms.
While provoking conflict is never to be encouraged, the DPP should perhaps be thinking about adopting tougher strategies against Ma’s inaction and refusal to listen and communicate. After all, the DPP needs to convince people that it deserves another opportunity to take power.
The most serious concern about the “both-sides-playing-defense” phenomenon is that it indicates that both parties are motivated by political gain, not the needs of the people.
When cynical political calculation rules the day, it is irrelevant which party is in power.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday last week met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at an APEC summit in Thailand. The meeting made front-page news in Japan the following day. Three years ago, when then-Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visited Beijing to meet with Xi, no one questioned Abe’s attitude toward China, as the conservative parties in Japan had been spearheaded by Abe. However, Kishida could easily be labeled as pro-China, as he hails from Hiroshima — a place known for its anti-war, anti-nuclear movements — and was once the director of the Japan-China Friendship Association of Hiroshima.
Superman’s latest flight took him halfway across the world. After an uncertain free agency, superstar former NBA center Dwight Howard finally and surprisingly settled on Taiwan’s T1 League, where the Taoyuan Leopards have welcomed him with open arms and plenty of photographs. In the two weeks since the team announced their latest addition, Taiwanese media and fans have barely been able to contain their excitement. A livestreamed video of Howard visiting a Taoyuan night market and trying chicken butt on a stick (“This is some good-ass chicken!”) not only got thousands of views and extensive media coverage in Taiwan, but
It is quite the irony when former British prime minister Boris Johnson — a buffoon who for far too long was taken seriously — is branded a buffoon for saying something deadly serious. Following Johnson’s withering criticism of China at a business forum in Singapore on Wednesday last week, the event’s organizer, Michael Bloomberg, apologized to attendees, saying that Johnson was “trying to be amusing rather than informative and serious.” However, Johnson’s characterization of China as a “coercive autocracy” that had showed “a candid disregard for the rule of international law” was spot-on. His comments evoked the wisdom of the Austrian-British philosopher
As campaign fever for tomorrow’s local elections turns white hot, supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been going head to head on social media. The latest row was triggered by a Facebook post on Nov. 13 by songwriter and KMT supporter Liu Chia-chang (劉家昌), who rebuked United Microelectronics Corp founder Robert Tsao (曹興誠) for advocating independence. “Although you regained your ROC [Republic of China] citizenship after returning from Singapore, you continue to help the green independents by guarding their flank,” Liu wrote, adding that it was an “insult to the nation.” “When [KMT