Saturday, 16 July 2011

Letter On President Ma's "Taiwanese-ness"


Are not the most powerful words in all languages the smallest ones?


That was the word into which each of my various streams of questioness quite naturally coalesced on learning of President Ma's recent claim that he "fights" for "Taiwan" and that he is "Taiwanese".

So... against whom does President Ma "fight"? The despotic government in Beijing certainly doesn't seem to have noticed if they are indeed the ones against whom President Ma fights. Yet perhaps the President had more powerful foes in mind - for example, could he have meant Chu Feng Min, an elderly farmer from Miaoli County who, on August 3rd last year swallowed a bottle of insecticide on learning that her land would be legally stolen (I will forever refuse that apologetic and dispicable lie-word "expropriation")? If so, then perhaps the President's use of the present tense was accurate as yet more farmers in Hsinchu face the prospect of further violation of their property rights.

So... what does President Ma refer to when he uses the word "Taiwan" in the same breath as enunciating his position as President of the R.O.C? Does his "Taiwan" include the shores of Shanyuan Bay (杉原灣) in Taitung County on which a hotel developer, assisted by the predatory powers of the local government, has forcibly taken land over which the local Aborigines had historical claims? If not, then perhaps that is because the "Taiwan" President Ma "fights" for is not a geographical entity occupied by mere people, but a far grander nationalist abstraction over which only "Taiwanese" members have any rightful claims. Perhaps it is safe to assume that Aborigine people need not bother to apply for President Ma's help - at least not without a reservation, and preferably one well out of the way of potential tourist spots.

So... if even the native people of Taiwan cannot be considered "Taiwanese" then what hope can the people descended from recent Chinese immigrants possibly invest in President Ma "fighting" for them? Since they are mixed with the majority of the population, a naive observer might at least suppose that President Ma would attempt to bestow upon them a system of government that protected their individual rights and interests equally (even if some farmers and Aborigines occassionally get chewed up and left behind). Yet the President is presiding over a transparently partisan judiciary which cannot be trusted and a near-bankrupt set of State finances in which national debt is estimated by the IMF (NT$21 trillion) to be approximately 160% of annual, nominal GDP (NT$12.5 trillion) - leaving a per capita debt of almost NT$1,000,000! A huge some of debt for every "Taiwanese" child of today and tommorow? Could not the President at least attempt to solve this problem by giving back the control of education and healthcare to the private hands of his lionized "Taiwanese" people?

Sirs, in view of the provocative power of small words, I would urge President Ma to say "No" to further predatory violations of private property rights; to say "No" to the predatory dismissal of the Aborigine people's property rights claims; to say "No" to the continuing politicization of the judiciary and legal system; and to say "No" to further government spending and debt accumulation.

But I do not think President Ma would listen to a non-Taiwanese such as myself; I do not have the blood of the "Yellow Emperor" in my veins.

Yours freely,
Michael Fagan.

(Sent: Saturday, 16th July 2011. Unpublished by the Taipei Times.)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is now in place, as of April 2012. Rules:

1) Be aware that your right to say what you want is circumscribed by my right of ownership here.

2) Make your comments relevant to the post to which they are attached.

3) Be careful what you presume: always be prepared to evince your point with logic and/or facts.

4) Do not transgress Blogger's rules regarding content, i.e. do not express hatred for other people on account of their ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or nationality.

5) Remember that only the best are prepared to concede, and only the worst are prepared to smear.