Daily shorts Nov 7

Paul Katz posted here last week on the Piggy bank scandal. The ever observant Michael Turton at the View From Taiwan points out that pigs have a history of symbolism in Taiwan. He reminds us that “when the KMT first arrived the locals would call the KMT the “pigs”. Rituals in which pigs were sacrificed then took on a political double meaning, the more so because the KMT became increasingly bent on reshaping traditional religion as the Taiwanese practiced it, under the slogan of “Simplify Customs and Save Waste”, deep into the 1970s. Indeed, the Taiwanese used to cover the pigs with colorful Nationalist political symbols, ostensibly demonstrating their loyalty to the regime in carrying out traditional religion, but since the pig was killed, the double meaning should be obvious”. In the same post, Michael posts an image of a children’s textbook from the early 1980’s showing how children donated their piggybanks out of love for the state.

I noted in another recent post, that KMT spokeswomen have outdone themselves in terms of their sanctimonious hand wringing over the “politicization of children” in the piggybank drive. On Twitter, the ever-punctilious @TimMaddog from Taiwan Matters linked to several examples of the KMT using children in their ads.

Ben Goren at Letters from Taiwan has been busy. First, he suggests some suitably irreverent campaign slogans for the major parties. You are invited, esteemed reader, to add your own in the comments below. Ben also flipped me some anecdotes about Taiwan’s readiness for a woman president. He says “while it seems that more women will vote for Ma, many ‘because his is so handsome’, another load will not vote for Tsai out of a feeling that she reminds them of the elementary school ma’am that punished them for not finishing their homework.” Although the gender voting dynamics are far from clear cut, Ben avers that “Taiwanese are ready for a female President and I think Tsai’s gender, despite the DPP playing it as a positive meme, will not factor too greatly into the final results”.

Tsai targeted rural aboriginal communities in latest leg of her campaign on the east coast, where “she pledged to advance Aboriginal autonomy and laws related to Aboriginal lands and maritime space, some of which have been seized by governments for several decades, and establish a “new partnership” between the government and Aborigines to “correct the historical mistakes that have lasted for hundreds of years.” See Scott Simon’s post comparing candidates’ indigenous policy platforms.

James Soong is in the news, and he’s not having a good day. First, he’s fed up with his computers being hacked. And he wants y’all to know he’s absolutely, positively not going to pull out of the campaign after doing a deal for seats in the legislature. Nah-ah, ain’t happening people… The first link here has a great Soong quote. Observe during this campaign: for a Big Man politico, Soong plays the injured soul so often and so well. Apropos being hacked, he laments how “furthering oneself by killing a rival is the act of a despicable man”. Is that Bushido?

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