Daily shorts Nov 17

The campaigns are heating up. How do I know? Chao Li-yun has drama, somebody sees Beijing’s fingers making mischief, the presidential debates schedule is out and the parties are hawking stuff to raise funds. Still need convincing?

You want issues? Tsai is offering to protect animal rights (and boy could Taiwanese animals use a break). On animal protection she says “ask why the government spends so much money on fireworks displays, instead of asking why we should spend so much on protecting animals”. Alas, the animal activists quoted here will still vote Ma because of his cross-strait policy—because they treat animals so well in China obviously [see comments below]. Ma is going after the education vote, while the DPP promises free health insurance to seniors on the offshore islands (not sure how big or influential that cohort is, but that’s the ‘a prize for everyone’ mentality of campaign season). Ma campaign says they’re going to focus on the economy, but KMT candidates always set out to campaign on the economy, and they almost always get sidetracked. For example, when you think of the Lien-Soong ticket, I bet you think personal attacks, anti-referendum, kissing asphalt due to a surfeit of Taiwan love. What they actually wanted to do was focus on the economy. Something will come up and the KMT campaign will go off message.

You want foot in mouth? KMT calls Tsai a “pseudo Hakka” because she can’t speak the dialect. After many of those guys put so many hours in with the lingua-phone learning campaign phrases in min nan, Hakka and native languages, you didn’t think they’d let this go did you? But it made it rather awkward when the Hakka Society reminded the KMT of the KMT’s policy of suppressing non-Mandarin languages during the one-party era (when Tsai grew up). Wu Poh-hsiung said Tsai Ing-wen had tried to “swindle Hakkas into voting for her” with just a few broken Hakka sentences. There is a very serious issue here, but is Wu really daring me to post video of [insert any number of KMT candidates past and present] speaking contemptibly bad [insert non-Mandarin language] in order to appeal to various ethnic groups?

Yes, campaign season is upon us (and its official, we have a three-horse race for president)

PS Remember that NYT op-ed? Want to see how Paul V Kane (or his PR) described it? From the man’s FB page, I quote “Kane discusses U.S. national security and with a provocative blend of irony, facts, Swiftian satire and seriousness – – the importance of “economic security” over military might, and he makes a modest proposal on how to leverage Taiwan with China to eliminate American debt and reduce the risk of a Sino-American war.”

Mail me at jonathan.sullivan@nottingham.ac.uk, follow me on Twitter @jonlsullivan, or access my papers at http://jonlsullivan.com