Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lessons for Ma Ying-jeou: Men of Virtue and Men of Ability

Lessons for Ma Ying-jeou: Men of Virtue and Men of Ability
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
March 25, 2008

"Love and trust" may have been Frank Hsieh's campaign slogan, but most voters think that given Ma Ying-jeou's character traits, it fits him better. "Reconciliation and coexistence" was another of Frank Hsieh's campaign slogans. But again, given Ma Ying-jeou's character traits, most voters think it fits him better as well.

Ma Ying-jeou's character traits were perhaps the main factor in his landslide victory. People have become aware of Ma Ying-jeou's distinctive character through contrast. They have contrasted his words and deeds with those of his political rivals -- Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian, and Frank Hsieh. Many voters have little confidence in the KMT as a party, but are pinning their hopes on Ma Ying-jeou individually. Taiwan has endured 20 years of dirty politics, political decay, and power struggles. Ma Ying-jeou's personal austerity and moral rectitude have established a new political standard for the public on Taiwan.

Ma Ying-jeou has led the KMT to a great victory. We dare not say that after Ma Ying-jeou occupies the presidential office, his manner will not change. But most people chose Ma Ying-jeou because they wanted to establish a new standard for a national leader, one very different from the stereotype embodies by Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. This is what Morris Chang meant when he hoped the public would choose a president whom young people could emulate.

The presidential election boiled down to a contest of character. It was an indictment of the character of politicians over the past 20 years, and a quest for redemption. Ma Ying-jeou's moral character is not in question. What is in question is whether he is an able leader in addition to being a virtuous leader.

During his campaign, Frank Hsieh blasted Ma Ying-jeou's "executive decision making ability." That was of course campaign rhetoric. But it is also a serious issue. After all, the public surely hopes that their president, in addition to being a man of virtue, will also be a man of ability.

An ideal president would be both virtuous and able. These traits need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, for a president to be virtuous is a form of ability in itself. Chen Shui-bian lacked the ability to be virtuous. Besides, if a president is not a man of virtue, but a man of ability, what will his ability be devoted to, other than to the doing of evil? To wit, the nightmare we have endured for the past eight years.

We hope that Ma Ying-jeou will be a man of virtue as well as a man of ability. By this we mean that he will exemplify the character required to lead a nation and a society, and also the ability to govern wisely and skillfully. Ma Ying-jeou has already proven himself on the first count. We look forward to seeing Ma Ying-jeou prove himself on the second count.

Over the past year, Ma Ying-jeou has lived with ordinary folk in southern Taiwan. He has endured the Discretionary Fund witch trial. These have been character-building experiences.

He planted rice, picked fruit, caught fish, mended clothing, cleared land. He learned how hard the lives of people at the bottom of the economic ladder were. He learned how physically and psychologically oppressive the apparatus of state could be, as he faced possible prosecution. He learned how to increase the nation's prosperity in the event he was elected president. He learned how to prevent the state from perpetrating social injustice. We await the arrival of a president who is both a man of virtue and a man of ability.

A president who is both a man of virtue and a man of ability may be able to develop Taiwan's potentional and increase Taiwan's social harmony. The DPP has debased the mantra "Love for Taiwan" until it is utterly meaningless. "Love for Taiwan" has become Orwellian Newspeak. It has come to mean the incitement of "ethnic (more precisely, "provincial") hatred" and the repudiation of one's own nation. Ma Ying-jeou might consider devoting a little time each month to charitable activities, to caring for the socially disadvantaged.

That would constitute genuine "Love for Taiwan." Taiwan's potential has been stifled for over a decade. Taiwan's doors have been closed for over a decade. Ma Ying-jeou should liberate Taiwan's potentional. Taiwan's potential is the people's potential.

During the recent election the public no longer trusted the Democratic Progressive Party. The public was undecided about the KMT. Ma Ying-jeou's character inspired hope, and Taiwan society clutched at straws. Will Ma Ying-jeou's character meet society's expectations? Will Ma Ying-jeou's ability meet society's expectations? No one knows.

"Dare to hope, follow your dream" was Chen Shui-bian's campaign slogan. Today, ironically, the public has pinned its hopes and dreams on Ma Ying-jeou. Chen Shui-bian betrayed those hopes and dreams. Will we find that Ma Ying-jeou has betrayed our hopes and dreams four or eight years from today?

2008.03.25 02:19 am


馬 英九的人格特質應是他贏得壓倒性勝利的主因。例如,人們常在馬英九的政治對手身上,如李登輝、陳水扁及謝長廷的言行中,發現馬英九不同流俗的人格特質;又 如,人們或許對國民黨並無太大信任,卻將希望寄託在馬英九身上。台灣經歷了近二十年來烏煙瘴氣的政治沉淪與權謀惡鬥,馬英九的相對比較樸實、清澈的人格特 質,如今成為多數人民選擇的政治新品牌與台灣新價值。

我們不敢說,此時帶領國民黨贏得大勝的馬英九的人格特質,與坐上總統職位後的馬英九 的風格表現,會不會「一路走來,始終如一」;但可確信,多數人民選擇了馬英九作為國家元首,原因之一是希望看到馬英九能夠樹立與李登輝及陳水扁二位總統不 同典型的人格形象。張忠謀在選前說,希望選一個能做年輕人模範者當總統,也許就是此意。



在 一位理想的總統身上,「好人」與「能人」不應成為相互排斥的概念。其實,總統能做「好人」,即是一種珍貴的「能力」;如陳水扁者,就根本沒有做「好人」的 「能力」。何況,總統如果不是「好人」,卻竟然是一個「能人」,充滿著為非作歹的「能力」,那麼就回頭看看過去八年的噩夢吧!


近 年來,馬英九四處long stay,又遭遇特別費的官司,應當對其人格內涵有極大增益。他在插秧、摘果、捕魚、縫紉、拾荒等等親身體驗中,應當深感民生的艱辛;他在面對檢方起訴及 司法審判時,亦應深感國家機器對人民身心造成的巨大壓迫力。當了總統,如何為人民生計增加國家的助力,又如何為社會正義排除國家的操縱力;這些皆有待一位 「好人/能人」的合體總統。

「好人/能人」合體總統,也許應以開發「台灣的力量」與「台灣的愛」為基本職志。先說「台灣的愛」:「愛台 灣」一詞已被民進黨徹底糟蹋,竟然以挑激族群仇恨及否定國家為「愛台灣」;馬英九可考慮每月至少安排一次親身參與慈善田野活動,關懷社會弱勢,把「台灣的 愛」開發出來。至於「台灣的力量」:台灣的力量已內耗空轉了十餘年,也被鎖國政策禁錮了十餘年,馬英九應當是「台灣的力量」的解放者,而「台灣的力量」就 是「人民的力量」。



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