Friday, 13 January 2012

Tomorrow's Taiwan Weather Forecast: Rainy with chance of attempted assasination

Who's going to win tomorrow's Taiwanese election? I genuinely don't know - the latest polls had Ma either a few percentage points ahead or one behind depending on who you ask.

Who should win it? I'm definitely not anti-Ma, in fact, in as much as a non-citizen, non-resident should have an opinion on this, I supported Ma Yingjiu against Hsieh in the last election - whatever his failings, he remains a smart guy, and a moderate leader. All the same, Tsai Yingwen also has some very good qualities - she's also a moderate, and also smart.

Who would I pick, then? For me it would be Tsai - it would mark a return to the mainstream for the DPP that would prevent a lurch towards extremism (or being unrealistically idealistic, if you want to put it that way). Also very important is that should she win, she would be the first woman in the Chinese-speaking world to become a legitimate, de jure leader of her country since Wu Zetian.

The one thing we don't want to see is another repeat of the failed assassination shenanigans that marred the 2004 and 2008 elections - but even if they don't recur, it seems almost inevitable that the losers will accuse the winners of rigging the results.

[Picture: Wu Zetian, the last de jure female leader in the Chinese-speaking world. Via Wiki.]


Anonymous said...

How was Wu ZeTian legit? She broke the rules of Patrilineality.

Gilman Grundy said...

I guess those complaints should be addressed to the Tang dynasty electoral commission.

However, since this is the internet and I can never admit I'm wrong - even if she did not become ruler by legitimate means, she was legitimate leader during her time in power because she said she was - monarchies are great like that. This is similar to the situation of the English Republic under Oliver Cromwell - it seized power through a revolution, and was declared illegitimate after the restoration, but during its time in power it was the legitimate power in the country.

I guess what I was trying to point out was that, unlike Jiang Qing, Cixi, or any other woman who may have become de facto power within their country in the Chinese-speaking world, Tsai Ing-wen would be also be leader de jure.

Although, looking at the count it really looks like Ma has this one in the bag.

Mike Fagan said...

"Also very important is that should she win, she would be the first woman in the Chinese-speaking world to become a legitimate, de jure leader of her country since Wu Zetian."

Why is that important?

Gilman Grundy said...

I guess you'd be fine with a woman never winning?

I'm not saying that people should engage in positive discrimination, but that it would be good to see a sign that the negative kind is no longer a strong factor.

Anonymous said...

Well FOARP, as I've pointed out in the other blog, taiwan's political world is very well gender represented anyway, so it' a fairly non-issue , I'm pretty sure sooner or later a women would win the Presidency at this rate, if Ma and Tsai was fliped around (aka Tsai representing the KMT and with Ma's cross-strat policy) she probably won already.

Mike Fagan said...

I couldn't give a monkeys one way or the other as to a politician's sex or ethnicity or any other characteristic that isn't essential to the pursuit of freedom.

Whether the president is a woman or a man is a contemptible irrelevance.

Gilman Grundy said...

@RW - I don't think the Tsai's gender had a great effect on the election results. The DPP would have still have lost had Su Tseng-chang won the nomination - probably by a greater margin because Tsai was a more capable candidate.

I don't know if there's any polling on this issue, and even if there was people world-wide are often hesitant to answer such polls honestly. However, I don't think it would be too controversial to say that there were at least some people in Taiwan (at a complete guess, ~1% of the electorate) who did not vote for Tsai because she was a woman.

It would also be true that many women in Taiwan as elsewhere retain the perception, true or not, that they must do better than men to acheive the same goals.

@Michael - Don't you think sexual equality is a matter of freedom? Never mind whether discrimination exists or not, the perception of discrimination can be as restrictive of opportunity as the real thing. A Tsai victory would have done something to dispell this perception in Taiwan, and I think I can be forgiven for hoping that she might win partly on this basis.

Mike Fagan said...

If you were to stipulate your use of "equality" to the judicial delicacy once implied by the phrase "rule of law", then I would agree that sexual equality certainly is a matter of freedom.

But that's not the sense in which you use the term "sexual equality" is it? You mean something like "equality of opportunity" between the sexes (or perhaps more accurately, the abolition of a person's sex as a criterion of choice).

I would disagree with that generally anyway (the Left's fight against "discrimination" is - at best - a stupid mistake), but you are also using this in the specific context of a presidential election. The idea that the people do (and must) look to the State, and to the electoral mechanism even, for moral example is deeply cynical for it implies that people are either too stupid or too evil to act morally on the strength of their own power of reasoning. I find this deeply repulsive, and is one reason why I regard your claim to be a "conservative" as spurious.

Gilman Grundy said...

@Michael - I think it would certainly be fair to say that I am definitely not your kind of conservative.

Mike Fagan said...

Well I do prefer navy blue to scarlet.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"@Michael - I think it would certainly be fair to say that I am definitely not your kind of conservative."

You're more tolerant than other people with this individual, who figures he's got the conservative market cornered and who enjoys labeling people in a mindless, haphazard and knee-jerk manner.

BTW, how is Ma "a smart guy, and a moderate leader?" He seems to be moving Taiwan in the direction of unification either though he ran on a platform of maintaining the status quo (hardly the behavior of a moderate). And what has he ever said or done to show he's smart? Doesn't he have a reputation for putting his foot in his mouth, saying insensitive things about aborigines, etc.?