Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Year of the Legislature Slumber Party

The Year of the Legislature Slumber Party
China Times editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
A Translation
June 14, 2012

Summary: History will of course remember them. It will remember this group of legislators who held a slumber party in the legislature. One day when we recall what Taiwan was like in 2012, we will remember the buffoons who wrote this ludicrous chapter in Taiwan's political history. They and the dais, so critical to Taiwan's fate, will be written into the history of Taiwan's democracy.

Full Text below:

Over the past several days, Taiwan has been windy, cold, and wet. Disaster relief and reconstruction efforts have stretched available manpower to the breaking point. At such a critical moment, another group of war weary soldiers wishes it could rest but cannot. These soldiers are not busy with disaster relief. They are DPP legislators. Over the past several days, these brave souls have been modern counterparts of the Eight Hundred Heroes who defended the Shihang Warehouse during the Battle of Shanghai. Their nerves are stretched to the breaking point as well. As they gaze up the dais, they endure sleepless nights as well. Meanwhile, the KMT legislative caucus has implemented its "centrifugal deployment" tactic. KMT legislators are the modern counterparts of Allied forces during WWII, attempting to seize a beachhead in Normandy. Their goal? The very same dais.

This magic dais sits in the Legislative Yuan. Can U.S. beef be imported? Can the government levy a capital gains tax? Who will be appointed to the NCC? All manner of questions affecting the people's livelihood, tax justice, and media freedom will be decided on this dais.

This week is the last week in the current Legislative Yuan session. Over 300 bills need review. Yet legislators have adopted a "don't worry, be happy" outlook, as if their sole responsibility is to engage in a Blue vs. Green battle of wits. Some provisions of the draft amendment for the Food Sanitation Management Act pertain to U.S. beef imports. This has led to a major showdown between the ruling KMT and opposition DPP. The DPP legislative caucus has occupied the dais in the Legislative Yuan. Some DPP legislators even brought sleeping bags. They intend to stay the night. They intend to make it impossible for the Legislative Yuan to debate and review bills. KMT legislators have repeatedly threatened to reclaim the dais. They want to allow the legislature to function normally. Collectively these legislators are several thousand years old. Yet they are indifferent to the 200 million dollars in agricultural damage caused by the June 12 floods. They are indifferent to the thousands of people evacuated, to the thousands of households flooded, to the thousands of vehicles snarled in traffic. They are indifferent to an entire range of real problems. These legislators seem to treating the legislature as their own little Arcadia. Blue and Green legislators surround the podium. They don't even realize it has been raining, let alone realize the need for disaster relief.

All Taiwan was reeling from the floods. Yet these legislators conducted themselves in such an infantile, vapid manner. No wonder they felt guilty about what they were doing. Legislators are accustomed to a life of leisure. They could not even endure five days in a sleeping bag. DPP legislators asked that the legislature be cleared. They wanted to show that they too wanted to call a truce. DPP legislators wanted to play hero. But they also wanted to hang back from the front lines. They wanted to have their cake and eat it too. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. The KMT, meanwhile, wanted a cake walk. But it was unwilling or unable to do what it needed to do. It failed to take the bridgehead. As a result all it could do is feel sorry for itself.

During the presidential campaign, former DPP Chairman Tsai Ing-wen's persimmon campaign angered voters. She invoked the parable of The Judgement of Solomon. She boasted that she was "the real mother." What she meant was that although she felt aggrieved, she nevertheless had the larger interests of the people at heart. She said that was why she was willing to let the matter slide. Tsai Ing-wen's self-serving rhetoric overreached. But the incident and the parable are things the Blue and Green parties should think about. The two parties each insist they are upholding the interests of the public. But what really constitutes upholding the interests of the public? Who really has the right to boast that he or she is "the real mother," seeking justice before King Solomon?

Over the past several days, the public has watched bedraggled DPP legislators desperately searching for any excuse to end their "occupy movement" without losing face. But even if they make it through these last five days, what of it? Does that mean the government will no longer have to confront the U.S. beef imports issue? The TIFA issue? Politicians are so obdurate and short-sighted. How can earn the people's trust? How can they assume weighty responsibilities?

Over the past several days, the public has witnessed the KMT's impotence. KMT legislators flapped their mouths. They solemnly swore they would retake the dais. Instead, their members kept vanishing and their numbers kept dwindling. If the KMT really wanted the Legislative Yuan to resume normal operations, it would have assigned at least as many members to do battle with the DPP. The KMT is so halfhearted in defending its ideals. How can politicians like this persuade the public they are willing to fight on their behalf?

If Taiwan were a business organization, the Legislative Yuan would be one of its BUs (business units), but one so inefficient and lacking in dedication, it would have been dissolved long ago. What company would tolerate a business unit so lethargic and irresponsible? In normal times, legislators never burn incense at the temple. But in times of need, they suddenly become "deathbed converts." And slapdash ones at that. If Taiwan were a family, the Legislative Yuan would be a family member, but one so unruly and unwilling to learn, the parents would have given them a whipping and disowned them long ago. What family would tolerate a black sheep who never shapes up?

All Taiwan was being battered by floods. Yet Blue and Green legislators found time to engage in "king of the mountain" games on the legislature dais. It doesn't getting any darker than this. Have they concluded they can get away with anything? That nobody can do anything about them? Voters who waded through waist deep flood waters, voters who were evacuated in panic, remember the names of your legislators. Remember where they were the day of the flood. They sat in air-conditioned comfort, spouting smarmy nonsense.

History will of course remember them. It will remember this group of legislators who held a slumber party in the legislature. One day when we recall what Taiwan was like in 2012, we will remember the buffoons who wrote this ludicrous chapter in Taiwan's political history. They and the dais, so critical to Taiwan's fate, will be written into the history of Taiwan's democracy.


這 幾天,台灣到處淒風苦雨,各地救災、善後,忙得人仰馬翻。就在這個時候,也有一群人累得兵疲馬困、欲罷不能;當然,他們可不是忙著救災。這幾天,民進黨立 委們像八百壯士死守「四行倉庫」一般,繃緊神經、夜不成眠,盯著一個台子;另一方面,國民黨團則搬出所謂的「向心式部署」戰術,彷彿二戰盟軍要在諾曼地強 勢搶灘一般,而他們的目標,也是這個台子。


這 個禮拜是立法院本會期的最後一個禮拜,還有三百多個法案要審,不過,立委諸公們似乎是「債多不愁」,好整以暇地玩起藍綠大鬥法。因為《食品衛生管理法部分 條文修正草案》中有關美牛進口的爭議,朝野陷入嚴重的攻防戰,民進黨團占據議場主席台,甚至帶睡袋、徹夜防守;總之,就是要讓立法院根本無法討論、審議這 個案子;國民黨立委則幾度揚言要奪回主席台,讓議事正常進行;就這樣,年齡加起來有幾千歲的國會議員們,就是不管六一二水災造成超過兩億元的農損、數千人 撤離、數千戶淹水、全台交通大打結…等現實問題,立法院彷彿成了立委們的「世外桃源」,藍綠立委圍著這個主席台,「不知有雨、遑論救災」!

在 全台大受水患煎熬的時刻,立委們還這麼幼稚、無聊,難道不會心虛嗎?立委平日養尊處優慣了,真的能夠連睡個五天睡袋嗎?其實也不全然如此。民進黨要求國會 淨空,顯示他們也想休兵了,問題是,民進黨既想逞英雄又想安全下莊,天底下哪有這好康的事?同樣的,國民黨既想速戰速決又無法攻堅突襲,奪橋不成也只能遺 恨了吧。

前民進黨主席蔡英文在參選總統時,曾因柿子文宣惹怒選民。當時她以「所羅門王面前那位真正的母親」自居,意思是說,儘管心裡有委 屈,但因為一心以人民為念,所以願意先放下。姑且不論當時蔡英文的這一番自我投射是否得當,這個故事和比喻,也值得此刻藍綠政黨深思。兩黨都說要為人民的 權益把關,但要怎麼做才是真正地顧念人民的需要呢?誰才有資格無愧地說自己是所羅門王面前,那個真正的母親?



如 果台灣是個企業,立法院是其中的一個BU(事業單位),效率、態度這麼差,應該早就被裁撤了吧,有哪個企業可以容忍旗下單位,如此怠惰、如此不負責任?立 法委員平時不燒香,現在連臨時抱佛都抱得七零八落;如果台灣是個家庭,立法院是其中成員,如此頑劣不受教,家長早就「鞭數十、驅之別院」了吧;有哪個家庭 可以忍受歲歲年年總不長進的敗家子。

當整個台灣陷於水災折磨時,藍綠立委們卻還有閒情逸致進行「主席台大風吹」的遊戲,暗黑世界,莫此為 甚!難道他們是吃定了大家拿立法委員一點轍也沒有嗎?水深及腰的選民們、惶恐撤離的選民們,可要好好記住選區立委的名字,記住他們在水患之日,待在冷氣房 裡納涼、扯淡的嘴臉。


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