A two-part TV commercial “foreseeing” a Taipei resident’s “undesirable life” after independent Taipei mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) is elected has sparked a fusillade of criticism and mockery after it was released by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Sean Lien’s (連勝文) campaign team, with one academic calling the advertisement the “Lien team’s prescience of its own doom.”
The first part of the commercial, titled Taipei, the day after tomorrow, was released on Tuesday and the second half aired yesterday. It features a young woman in the city who is facing multiple problems concerning public services:
She wants to take a bus, but finds that the line has been discontinued under Ko’s policy of canceling inefficient bus routes. On the news, she sees that Ko has failed to fulfill his public housing promises over a standoff with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
The woman is nearly run over by a group of YouBike users rushing to return the bikes, as a caption underneath says that Ko once said that the public bicycle rental system’s success hinges on Taiwanese’s stinginess.
She also finds it difficult to hail a cab and has to ask her friend to pick her up, all because of Ko’s policies. The woman then goes online and finds discussion threads about Ko saying that he has only now realized that many of his policies had already been implemented by his predecessor, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), and reads comments from netizens asking whether life would be so bad if Lien had won the race.
Yet all is not lost, as the woman then gets a chance to come back to right before the election and, seizing the moment, throws a wish card reading: “Change, realized” — Ko’s campaign slogan — into a trashcan.
Netizens have picked the ad apart online, with some citing factual errors in the captions and others labeling the commercial “indecent” and saying it verges on blackmail.
Other Internet users have changed the commercial’s captions so that they tout Ko’s successful implementation of policies instead: “Bus system more efficient,” “Unafraid to confront state power” [on public housing], “YouBike system is now everybody’s transportation” and concluding that such changes can be realized.
Some netizens joked that the woman in the ad cannot find a cab because all of them are occupied, which would imply that taxi drivers are doing good business. They added that since the protagonist is using an iPhone 6 and a Macbook, and lives in a posh, spacious apartment equipped with electronic locks and an LCD television, the commercial is actually saying that under Ko’s stewardship, young people in Taipei would be able to afford expensive electronics and good housing.
Others just opted to slam the depiction of a “typical” young woman living in the city as “unrealistic,” with one user saying: “It is surprising that [even though the campaign is nearly over] the people on Lien’s team still have their heads in the clouds [about the reality in Taipei].”
Chen Fang-ming (陳芳明), a Taiwanese literature professor at National Chengchi University, said the commercial has “again revealed [the Lien’s team’s] wickedness, this time via its placing a curse on Taipei residents’ future lives.”
“They [the Lien campaign] lack the ability to positively express and advocate their own views, and can only imagine a deplorable life for Taipei residents [if Ko wins]. This is brazen rumor-mongering and exposes their heart of darkness. This is a serious violation of the spirit of democracy, with absolutely no respect for their opponent,” he said.
Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday condemned the KMT for employing negative campaign strategies, saying that it is doing so because it has come up against a dead end in its bid to win the Taipei race.
“It is embarrassing for a ruling party to engage in mudsling during the final phase of an election, instead of advertising what it has achieved,” Tsai said.
Meanwhile, Ko’s latest commercial, features several small families going about their usual Sunday activities on the day after the election.
The ad shows them cooking, doing laundry, tidying the house and taking their children out for a walk, saying the families are going about their business as usual, before adding that “a small change to the unchanged life makes us start to anticipate” a better Taipei.
Additional reporting by Loa Iok-sin
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with