November 27, 2010

Reaching adulthood, politically-speaking

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I got to vote in an election for the first time today, which I guess makes me a pretty late bloomer.  I remember my freshman year in college, when all my friends around me were excited about being able to vote in their first presidential election - Bush vs. Mondale.  I could only watch the action from the sidelines, as I'm not a US citizen.

When I became a permanent resident in Hong Kong some years back, I registered to be a voter.  Unfortunately, I moved to Singapore a short time after, and never bothered to change my registered address when I returned to Hong Kong 6 months later.  With the rigged political system in place, I soon lost interest in taking part of the political process.

I finally re-established my residency in Taiwan more than a year ago, which means I missed out on voting in the last presidential election that brought Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to power.  So the mayoral election today is actually the first time I'm eligible to vote.

My residency was moved to Sanchung (三重) following my new apartment purchase, which means my voting district is Xinbei Municipality (新北市), not Taipei Municipality.  My choices for mayor were between Eric Chu (朱立倫), the KMT candidate, and Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the DPP candidate.

Honestly it's choosing the lesser of two evils.  I heard Eric Chu at an investor conference a couple of years ago, and haven't had much respect for him ever since.  I am naturally inclined to vote for a KMT candidate - actually more like inclined to vote against any DPP candidate - but I just can't find a lot of reason to support this guy...

It's almost unthinkable for me to vote for a DPP candidate, although Tsai Ing-wen has, in my mind, been one of the more rational politicians from that camp.  That all changed last night, after the assassination attempt on Sean Lien (連勝文).  In a press conference, Tsai paid lip service in wishing Sean a speedy recovery, then shocked many by blaming the incident on the KMT.  She basically said that the incident was evidence of the poor level of  public safety in Xinbei Municipality, and that the incumbent KMT was to blame for their poor governance record.

She basically turned the shocking incident into yet another political campaigning opportunity.  Was there even a shred of compassion / human decency in this person?  I was furious.  I was determined, more than ever, to cast a vote against her.  We don't need people like her running our lives.

Dad picked me up from the airport and we headed straight for the polling station.  Turns out it's just right next to my new apartment complex.  I spent about 20 minutes looking over the candidates for municipal councilors (市議員) as well as ward chiefs (里長) while riding in the car.  There was a lot of BS and empty campaign promises, and I finally decided to cast my councilor's vote for an old geezer whose political views seemed more agreeable.  As for ward chief... both candidates were poorly educated and looked like thugs - and I know most ward chiefs are incredibly corrupt.  I decided not to cast my vote for either of them.

In the end Eric Chu did win the election, and Tsai Ing-wen was defeated.  I was pretty satisfied with this outcome.  The old geezer did not fare so well... Out of 21 candidates in my voting district, he wasn't one of the top 9 to be elected.


Anonymous said...


Peech said...

hahaha... nice to see people actually read my stuff and bother to correct me. Have changed to "geezer" since that seems to be the accepted spelling...

cheguevara9 said...

Not a fan of your political views... I thought that someone who's obviously spent time abroad, especially in North America, would be inclined to be more sympathetic towards the Independence cause. I suppose though that heritage has a big part in the way your views are shaped. Just as those of us, who are not immigrants from China within the past 2-3 generations, feel strongly about Taiwanese Independence and therefore go, basically, against the KMT, there is a different sentiment among those who have come here in the relatively recent past. That being said, I think when you want to make political statements, or feelings (or whatever you want to call them), you should be, not necessarily saying you are not, doing a little reseach on the repressed history of the Taiwanese People, and the struggle even till this day, for our freedom.


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