Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ma Yung-cheng's Confession: The Lamentations of a Political Lackey

Ma Yung-cheng's Confession: The Lamentations of a Political Lackey
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
November 3, 2009

Ma Yung-cheng bian has been sentenced to twenty years imprisonment for his role in the Chen family corruption case. In a recent interview, Ma spoke for the first time about the despair he felt since his fall from grace. But all he did was air his grievances against Chen Shui-bian. He expressed no remorse for aiding and abetting the president's law-breaking and dereliction of duty. His entire confession read like the whining of an out of power political lackey.
Ma Yung-chen invested his entire youth on Chen Shui-bian. Ma Yung-cheng became Ah-Bian's assistant when he was in his twenties. As Chen Shui-bian's poltical fortune grew, so did his. Within ten years, he went from a star of the student movement to a member of the new political artistocracy. During his eight years in power, Ah-Bian made a swift downward slide into decadence. When it came time to mediate under the table government business agreements, Ma Yung-cheng was the Chen family's third in command. Oblivious to the perversion of his own values and goals, he and Ah-Bian plummeted from the summit of political power into the abyss, and from there, the custody of the law.

Neither Chen Shui-bian or Ma Yung-cheng are traditional politicians. Nevertheless they held high the banner of progress and reform. That is why their fall was especially distressing. Ma Yung-cheng criticized Chen Shui-bian, saying Chen should have had more guts. Instead "He's just like anybody else who has compromised his ideals." Actually Chen Shui-bian is not like anybody else. Because the average person is not so irredeemably corrupt. But the question is, who built Chen Shui-bian up, depicting him as the savior of Taiwan's democracy? Who helped him to amass such immense wealth through extortion, to abuse his power, and to cover up his crimes? Ah-Bian has already debased himself beyond recognition. But has Ma Yung-cheng ever asked himself, what about his own ideals? Why did he turn his back on political reform, and pursue the exact opposite path?

In Ma Yung-cheng's eyes, Chen Shui-bian committed only two sins. One, he transferred the money overseas. Second, he had an opportunity to deal with the problem, yet failed to do so. He could not persuade Wu Shu-chen to give the money back. In other words, In Ma Yung-cheng's eyes, Ah-Bian's sin was not the abuse of power or amassing vast wealth by means of extortion. Ah-Bian's sin was that he "should have hidden the money better, but didn't." In other words, as long as one hides the money away shrewdly enough, as long as one is not found out, whether the Chen family is greedy or breaks the law doesn't matter. Ma Yung-cheng also said Ah-Bian was wrong not to keep Wu Shu-chen under control. He implied that Ah-Bian was Ah-Cheng's victim. In reality, Chen Shui-bian is the source of the Chen family's corruption. Wu Shu-chen and Chen Chih-chung were merely "good managers" of the wealth illicitly amassed by Chen Shui-bian. In other words, Ah-Cheng was Ah-Bian's victim. Unless we intend to claim that Ah-Bian was Chen Chih-chung's victim?

To this day, Ma Yung-cheng feels that Chen Shui-bian's only sin was to fail to stash the money securely, and to allow himself to be victimized by Ah-Cheng. Therefore, to this day, Ma Yung-cheng has yet to engage in earnest soul-searching. Ma Yung-cheng said that "as I helped Ah-Bian maintain his political power, as I manipulated the apparatus of state, I always thought about what was in Ah-Bian's interest. I consulted my own conscience. I felt it was right to do what I did." Ma Yung-cheng wanted to underscore his "loyalty." But he was loyal not to his country, or his political philosophy, or even his duty. He was loyal to Chen Shui-bian alone. Does Ma Yung-cheng even remember why he got into politics? Does he not see the extent to which Ah-Bian and his family have betrayed the nation, and to which Ah-Bian has betrayed his duty as head of state? Why does he remain mired in self-delusion? Why doesn't he come to his senses? Why does he continue helping Ah-Bian conceal his crimes, including his "South Strategy Project" and his "Rewards Roster?"

Chen Shui-bian and Ma Yung-cheng have long been adept at crisis management. Over the years they have demonstrated an aptitude for spin doctoring. As long as they can adminster enough spin, they can lead the public around by the nose. To this day, Ma Yung-cheng remains unwilling to examine the Chen family corruption case from the perspective of democratic values and the legitimate use of power. Is politics for him nothing more than an amoral power game?

The most regrettable development was not that Ma Yung-cheng invested his youth on a political swindler, but that an entire generation of student movement leaders such as Ma Yung-cheng and Lin Teh-hsiung lost their way and lost their values. Chen Shui-bian has brought himself to ruin. But the most regrettable development is that Ma Yung-cheng and the "Boy Scouts" who helped Chen Shui-bian run the country never held any political values of their own. They were merely hangers-on content to cling to the margins of political power. Chen Shui-bian's wrongdoing was a mirror, one in which Ma Yung-cheng never saw his own reflection.

Ma Yung-cheng described how every day over the past year, he has woken up in a fog, and looked forward only to the time when he could again go to asleep. This "political golden boy" was once fast, accurate and relentless. He squandered his youth on Chen Shui-bian. Does he intend to squander the rest of his life on Chen Shui-bian as well? Ma Yung-cheng, open your eyes and ask yourself a question. Namely, how can a star of the student movement use his quiet time to atone to the student movement.

2009.11.03 04:39 am



陳水扁和馬永成都不是傳統型的政治人物,而是打著改革、進步的大旗崛起;也正因為如此,他們的沉淪更讓人痛心。馬永成批評說,陳水扁其實可以更有Guts 一點,「他現在像個普通人了,某些理想的東西減低」。事實上,陳水扁現在仍然不是一個普通人,因為普通人不會怙惡不悛到此地步。問題是,當年誰把阿扁塑造成台灣民主救星?又是誰從旁幫他聚斂、濫權、遮掩?阿扁固已面目全非,但馬永成有沒有問過自己:理想還在不在?何以竟走到了改革的反面?






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