Since the nomination of former Academia Sinica vice president Chen Chien-jen (陳建仁) as the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) vice presidential candidate last month, the phrase “Here comes Brother Da-jen (大仁哥)” — the nickname of a leading character in the popular 2011 soap opera In Time With You (我可能不會愛你) — has been frequently used by DPP legislative candidates on Facebook when announcing Chen’s attendance at campaign events.
Many DPP legislative candidates have been vying for the chance to have Chen appear at their campaign events.
In contrast, the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) scandal-dogged vice presidential candidate, former Council of Labor Affairs minister Jennifer Wang (王如玄), has been shunned by most of the party’s legislative candidates.
The popularity gap between the two candidates was evidenced in a survey released by the Cross-Strait Policy Association earlier this month, which showed 53.7 percent of respondents found Chen favorable, while 63.4 percent said they disliked Wang.
On Nov. 19, Chen attended his first campaign event at a farmers’ association in the hotly contested constituency of New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), chanting campaign slogans with the DPP’s legislative candidates in the area, Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) and Chang Hung-lu (張宏陸).
The event was followed by activities in Taoyuan, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Miaoli County and Kaohsiung.
A week later, Chen accompanied 10 DPP legislative candidates representing a New Taipei City constituency to officially register their candidacy with the Central Election Commission, before joining DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) at the party’s legislator-at-large candidate public introductions.
In the first week of this month, Chen devoted his attention to preparatory work for the “Dialogue with youth” forum at the National Taiwan University Sports Center on Dec. 6. He attended the event on behalf of Tsai.
Following the forum, Chen has made visits around the nation, from Yunlin and Chiayi counties to Tainan, Taichung and Taoyuan.
He has yet to visit Hualien, Taitung and Pingtung counties, as well as outlying islands.
“Almost every day I can hear my party comrades bragging about Brother Da-jen coming to their campaign events, which has filled me with a mix of envy and jealousy,” DPP legislative candidate Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) said.
“Chen is so popular that I don’t even know when can I squeeze myself into his busy schedule,” Chuang said.
DPP legislative candidate Chen Ming-wen (陳明文), who is vying for a legislative seat representing Chiayi’s Jhongpu Township (中埔), said Jhongpu residents had urged him to invite Chen Chien-jen to a ceremony marking the establishment of a Chen Chien-jen fan club on Dec. 5.
“It was a lot of work to have Chen Chien-jen agree to come to the ceremony, but he had to postpone it until Dec. 10 due to the ‘Dialogue with youth’ forum,” Chen Ming-wen said.
“Even though Dec. 10 was a Tuesday, the streets surrounding Jhongpu’s farmers’ association were inundated with people trying to get a glimpse of him,” Chen Ming-wen said.
DPP Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said “Brother Da-jen” is not only popular, but also cooperative, making him welcome wherever he goes.
On the other hand, Wang, who has been embroiled in a military housing scandal since her nomination, appears to have been cold-shouldered by most KMT members.
On Nov. 28, Wang attended a Keelung Handicraft Products Union meeting, but the KMT legislative candidate for the constituency, Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), departed prior to Wang’s arrival. The pair have only been seen together in Keelung on Dec. 6 at a ceremony celebrating the establishment of a KMT worker fan club.
KMT legislative candidates were nowhere to be seen on Nov. 29 when Wang visited a temple in Nantou County’s Puli Township (埔里), on Dec. 4 when she toured a night market in Kaohsiung’s Zuoying District (左營) or again on Dec. 11 at a KMT Miaoli County branch and local women’s group forum.
Although some KMT legislative candidates have invited Wang to their campaign events, they did not advertise if Wang was present.
Wang attended a ceremony marking the establishment of KMT legislative candidate Wang Hui-mei’s (王惠美) campaign headquarters in Changhua County on Nov. 29, but she was not seen in any of the 55 photographs or a 2-minute video posted by Wang Hui-mei on Facebook afterward.
On Thursday last week, Jennifer Wang attended the founding ceremony of a women’s fan club for KMT legislative candidate Cheng Ru-fen (鄭汝芬) in Changhua. Again, none of the five photographs Cheng posted on Facebook after the event included Jennifer Wang.
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