Does the Public on Taiwan Really Want a New First Lady?
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
December 9, 2011
Summary: Mrs. Su Jia-chyuan-chyuan, aka Hung Heng-chu, attended a wild blowout featuring male strippers. When footage of the lewd performance was televised, the scene was described as "a den of iniquity." By contrast, First Lady Chou Mei-ching has been visiting small towns in central and southern Taiwan, seeking support from rural voters. Her dress was plain and simple. Her manner was unostentatious and low-key. The contrast between the two wives could not be clearer.
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Mrs. Su Jia-chyuan-chyuan, aka Hung Heng-chu, attended a wild blowout featuring male strippers. When footage of the lewd performance was televised, the scene was described as "a den of iniquity." By contrast, First Lady Chou Mei-ching has been visiting small towns in central and southern Taiwan, seeking support from rural voters. Her dress was plain and simple. Her manner was unostentatious and low-key. The contrast between the two wives could not be clearer.
Hung Heng-chu was the Director of the Pingtung Household Registration Office, as well as the wife of the mayor when she attended this public peformance with male strippers and transexuals. Actually, either a public or private performance would have been highly inappropriate. To the general public such wild parties represent atypical behavior by a nouveau riches subculture in northern Taiwan. Who knew that nine years ago such behavior had already manifested itself in southern Taiwan "high society," with the wife of county chief? The DPP has been boasting about its desire to close the "North-South gap," It appears to have done just that, with truly impressive results.
The DPP often ridicules the KMT as a "bourgeois" political party. It casts itself as the "spokeman for the disenfranchised." But when the political curtain is pulled back, we are regaled by the sight of male strippers. That the wife of the Pingtung County Chief was actually part of such a spectacle, that she actually took part in such a bacchanal, is ironic indeed.
Recently the DPP launched its "record breaking" propaganda campaign, attacking the Ma administration, It relentlessly bashed the Ma administration for the "wealth gap" on Taiwan. But given Hung Heng-chu's part in such a Dionysian spectacle, how can the DPP point its finger at others? What was that "den of iniquity" but cinema verite footage of Green Camp decadence?
The DPP can pretend not to see Su Jia-chyuan's luxury "farmhouse." It can pretend to not see Hung Heng-chu suddenly and inexplicably promoted from ordinary policewoman to deputy director of the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park. But can it pretend to not see the political scandals Hung Heng-chu could precipitate if she becomes First Lady of the Republic of China? Wu Shu-chen was wheelchair bound. Yet she could still turn the presidential palace into a smoke-filled backroom for deal-making with conglomerates and wives of wealthy political patrons. Given Hung Heng-chu's endless string of scandals, what will happen if Su Jia-chyuan is elected vice president? What sort of shenanigans will take place in his official residence?
When Ma Ying-jeou moved into Chen Shui-bian's "Jade Mountain Official Residence" he renamed it the "Chung Hsing Apartment." People virtually forgot all about it. Actually, that was a shame, Had President Ma and the First Lady Chou Mei-ching taken the time and energy to establish a new official residence, they might have established a new image for the First Family. They might have purged the presidency of the vestiges of the Chen family's corruption, extravagance, and abuse of public authority for private advantage. They might have established a new image of integrity. dignity, austerity, and decorum. Perhaps Ma's wife and daughters were too independent minded, too reluctant to bear the burden of the "First Family." They are acutely aware of their proximity to power, They are wary of the once honorific title, "First Family."
Closer examination however reveals that it is not often in politics that those close to power deliberately insulate themselves from power. Take Chou Mei-ching for example, It is hard to find the right word to describe her current activities. One could say she is "stumping." But actually she is merely greeting ordinary people in rural regions, in her capacity as a private citizen. All she does is bow deeply and smile aimiably. She has clearly established an ineffable emotional connection between herself and the public.
Chou Mei-ching's unique style is rooted in her independence and self-sufficiency. It does not emanate from her halo as "First Lady." Chou Mei-ching has made many public appearances lately. The excitement people feel when they see her is palpable. They sense her extraordinary charisma. This the result of energy accumulated during the hundreds of times she did not appear in public beginning three years ago. She regularly and quietly participates in many charitable activiites. She has no desire to make headlines. She is happy to live in the hearts of those whom she has been able to help. She has no need for an extravagant wardrobe to show off her status. Her austerity and sincerity are her greatest assets.
When Su Jia-chyuan's wife scandalized society yet again, Su Jia-chyuan said her conduct "failed to meet society's expectations." But as soon as he finished his statement, he said he hoped for a "high-minded election campaign that returns to policy debate and that lets everyone to know: where's the beef?" What kind of apology is this? What kind of soul-searching is this? Su Jia-chyuan and his wife have repeatedly exposed their corruption and decadence, How can their conduct possibly "meet society's expectations?" Are we to understand that they meet the DPP's expectations? Are we to understand that they meet Tsai Ing-wen's expectations? Never mind that Su Jia-chyuan has no idea where the beef is. Do voters really expect only beef? Do they really not expect their candidate to demonstrate character and conscience?
Chou Mei-ching often wears a slight frown. She appears to be thinking hard while saying litlle. Compare her demeanor to Hung Heng-chu's drunken laughter during the male strippers' performance. This truly is a case of "one Taiwan, two different worlds." The poet Yu Kuang-chung asked: "Does the public on Taiwan really want a new First Lady?" If so, whom? Do they really want Hung Heng-chu instead of Chou Mei-ching?
2011.12.09 02:33 am