Taiwanese are blessed, for they are able to vote for their own president every four years. When presidential elections come around, it is inevitable that the people of Taiwan should make comments on the candidates.
One of Taiwan’s richest business elites, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘), is one such candidate.
A day before he declared that he would run for the presidency, Gou invited former health minister Yaung Chih-liang (楊志良) to join his campaign team. Yaung’s absurd comments on domestic violence then led to a public uproar. It is believed that Yaung’s presence on Gou’s team would damage Gou’s presidential campaign further, but clearly his team could not find a more capable replacement. Some have commented that the US presidential elections have shown exactly what happens when the richest of the rich become president. Much like former US president Donald Trump, Gou is equally high-handed, aggressive, impulsive and manipulative, which is unsettling for Taiwan’s public.
Former Taipei mayor and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) might not be as rich as Gou, yet his similarly high-handed style is also quite disturbing. During his eight years as the mayor of Taipei, many excellent people quit working for him because they could not see eye-to-eye. Ko tends to speak too straightforwardly without a filter, and he never thinks about whether his comments might hurt others. A leader with qualities like Ko’s is no less unsettling for the public.
New Taipei City Mayor and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜) won his second mayoral term in last year’s local elections, but his nomination and candidacy did not win him the full approval of all KMT members. Perhaps Hou has been influenced far too much by his training as a police officer, as he often cannot express how he feels in an appropritate manner, and has failed to establish congenial relationships with others.
Presidential candidates can be assessed using four categories:
The first category is a candidate’s cognitive ability, as it is important to see if they are able to empathize with and understand themselves and others, as well as the events taking place around them.
Second is their ability to express their feelings, whether their emotional expressions or countenance are appropriate in terms of scope, intensity and channel, such as their ability to show kindness and empathize with others.
Third is their interpersonal ability, whether they are able to maintain long-term friendships and relationships.
Fourth is their ability to control their impulses.
These four categories allow for a good evaluation of the personalities of presidential candidates.
Overall, so far, every democratically elected president has embodied the personality traits of being smart, confident, responsible and trustworthy. The president generally has no difficulty getting along with others and can collaborate with others easily. They have the capacity to form friendships and to love, and are able to give and receive. They tolerate others and endure frustration, and they do all this with a sense of humor.
Based on these qualities, Vice President William Lai (賴清德), the Democratic Progressive Party’s candidate, would be the most suitable president for Taiwan.
Chen Chiao-chicy is a psychiatrist at Mackay Memorial Hospital and an adjunct professor.
Translated by Emma Liu
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