Erotic Guide EasyCard Reflects Taiwan's Moral Degeneration
China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
August 31, 2015
Executive Summary: Taiwan has undergone nearly 20 years of relatively smooth political development. Elections have led to ruling party changes. Democracy has been consolidated. People can feel proud. Personal dignity and political rights have been ensured. Unfortunately governmental effectiveness has significantly declined. Hysterical campaign tactics have induced politicians to adopt a myopic “whatever it takes to win” mindset. This has led to the degeneration of morals and the undermining of democratic values.
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Taiwan has undergone nearly 20 years of relatively smooth political development. Elections have led to ruling party changes. Democracy has been consolidated. People can feel proud. Personal dignity and political rights have been ensured. Unfortunately governmental effectiveness has significantly declined. Hysterical campaign tactics have induced politicians to adopt a myopic “whatever it takes to win” mindset. This has led to the degeneration of morals and the undermining of democratic values.
The EasyCard Corporation has issued a stored value card featuring Japanese porn star Hatano Yui, provoking criticism by the traditional media. Yet an online group of Ko Wen-je fans and green camp supporters has responded with a "feminist" defense. Why shouldn't Hatano Yui be a stored value card spokesperson, they demand to know. They have accused critics of sex discrimination and job discrimination. They have argued that “the desire for food and sex is part of human nature” and denounced critics of the stored value card as hypocrites.
Mainstream society on Taiwan has its own moral evaluation of the sex industry, sexual liberation, and sex workers. These are reflected in the law. Sex workers and sex consumers are subject to strict laws and regulations. Violators are prosecuted. This reflects public perception. The public might not make a point of condemning foreign sex workers such as Yui Hatano. But neither will it idolize them. The EasyCard Corporation is predominantly publicly owned. It has with much fanfare, made a porn star its product spokesperson. This is unacceptable to mainstream society. That is why the introduction of the porn star stored value card provoked such an intense public backlash.
Consider the feminist or women's rights perspective. Most feminists or women's rights activists disapprove of the EasyCard Corporation's move. They consider it male voyeurism and the objectification of the female body. They think this commercialization of the female body deprives women of their dignity and publicly humiliates them. Of course other feminists believe that women engaged in sex work should be viewed as any normal occupation. They think discrimination against sex workers should end, and lead to the true liberation of women. Some point to the sex industry in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries as examples to emulate. They say their sex industries do not prevent them from being seen as progressive and civilized nations.
This moral debate is a classic case of "he says, she says". The bottom line is this. No matter where one stands, one must be consistent, and apply the same standards in all instances. Whether one is an amoralist or moralist, one must at the very least be consistent. The most lamentable aspect of this debate is moral inconsistency. Many who denounced the sex industry yesterday, praise it today. Many who denounced the sex industry when one party was in power, praise it now that another party is in power. These hypocrites repeatedly contradict themselves. They lack any standards whatsoever. Their sole standard is selfish political advantage.
History offers us the clearest mirror of ourselves. The "Erotic Guide to Taiwan" incident occurred in 2002. A Japanese language sex tourism guide book sold on Taiwan entitled the "Erotic Guide to Taiwan" openly listed information on Taiwan's sex industry. It informed Japanese “Johns” where to solicit prostitutes. As soon as the story broke, then Mayor Ma Ying-jeou was promptly excoriated by various sectors, most notably the green camp. They denounced his anti-vice campaign as ineffective. They accused him of bringing shame upon Taipei. They blamed him for undermining Taipei's international reputation. DPP Taipei City council members held a press conference and denounced this sex industry guidebook for Japanese tourists.
Under public pressure, an angry Ma Ying-jeou aggressively prosecuted the sex industry. Booksellers who sold the book were prosecuted for "harming public morals". Not one green camp supporter came forward to applaud the "Erotic Guide to Taiwan" for “promoting Taiwan” or “popularizing Taipei”. During the “Erotic Guide to Taiwan” controversy, the Taipei City Government opposed the sex industry. But this did not spare it from wholesale condemnation. Today the predominantly publicly owned EasyCard Corporation has issued a Taipei City stored value card with a porn star as spokesperson, indirectly endorsing the sex industry. Yet fans of Ko Wen-je and green camp supporters sympathize with it and abet it. What is this, if not “selective indignation”?
Another politician who has embraced the EasyCard Corporation and engaged in “selective indignation” is Tainan City Mayor Lai Ching-teh, who has refused to appear before the Tainan City Council for over 200 days. During his standoff with the Tainan City Council, he accused KMT Legislative Yuan Wang Jin-pyng of being a “behind the scenes voter buyer”. But the moment Wang Jin-pyng revealed that he would not seek the Kuomintang's nomination for president, he suddenly became Lai Ching-teh's esteemed "Taiwanese Elder". Lai immediately asked Wang to work with Tsai Ing-wen. The “behind the scenes voter buyer” was suddenly elevated to the status of “Native Taiwanese spokesperson”, eminently worthy of “working with” Tsai Ing-wen. What exactly would Wang be working with Tsai Ing-wen on? Vote buying? Lai Ching-teh's acolytes refer to Lai as “Lai Sheng” or “The God named Lai”. The God named Lai's philosophy is simple. Anyone who defers to him is a saint. Anyone who defies him is a sinner. Such is Lai's “selective indignation”.
The “selective indignation” of DPP and green camp leaders knows no bounds. DPP leaders who are indicted are victims of judicial persecution. KMT leaders who are suspected of bribery are incorrigible villains. Lee Teng-hui proclaims that "Japan is our motherland", that "Diaoyutai belongs to Japan", and that "the comfort women issue has been resolved", provoking public outrage. Tsai Ing-wen responds by calling for "tolerance". Lien Chan attends the September 3rd Beijing parade. The DPP immediately leaps up and spews venom. Tsai Ing-wen demands that the KMT "deal with it".
Amoralism and moralism cannot undermine Taiwan's democracy. Only “selective indignation” and hypocritical double standards can.
2015年08月31日 04:10 主筆室