Published on TaipeiTimes
Letter: Chen deserves our support
By Peter Dearman
Friday, May 26, 2006
As I sat watching President Chen Shui-bian’s son-in-law taken away by police for alleged insider trading, I couldn’t help but notice how much it looked like a Hollywood paparazzi shootout. The flashes were going off so fast it had a stroboscopic effect. I couldn’t help but think that freedom of the press is taken to the extreme here in Taiwan.
This reminded me how I find it ironic that Chen is cast by his enemies as some sort of autocratic manipulator of democracy. Why then, after six long years of being assailed in the press, hasn’t he tried to suppress it just a little? Indeed, for all his arguable failures of leadership, can it be said honestly that he’s ever done anything against the spirit of democracy? Even if you believe he committed electoral fraud through a staged assassination attempt, I would say to you, why then, has he not been caught cheating at anything else? If he has such control over his minions that he can pull off repeated conspiracies (until now), why would he allow his in-laws to get involved in such an ill-conceived investment scheme? Would he not protect his own daughter better if he were the all-controling Godfather his pan-blue opponents make him out to be?
For me, the fact that Chen recently polled an approval rating below 6 percent indicates most of the population can’t recognize a good man when they see one. His vanishing support reminds me of rats deserting a ship. As for Chao Chien-ming, I hope he is kept under safe observation. If I had caused as much trouble to Chen, I worry what I might do to myself.
Comment: I started to write a point by point rebuttal of the above letter, sent to the editors of the Taipei Times by a western expatriate Taiwan independence fellow traveler living on Taiwan.
But then I recalled the sound advice I offered readers of my column in my own article, How to Read the Taipei Times. At which point I caught myself and realized that a point by point rebuttal would be nothing but a waste of time and energy.
Anyone who has found his way to The China Desk and is reading this weblog entry is probably sufficiently well-informed about Taiwan to know that the above reader's letter to the Taipei Times is a mind-boggling joke.
Either the reader is utterly sincere, in which case the famous quotation from Jonathan Swift comes to mind: "There are none so blind as those who will not see."
Or else the reader is flagrantly dishonest, in which case the almost as famous quotation from comedian Richard Pryor comes to mind: "Who ya gonna believe? Me or your lying eyes?"
No, I'm not going to bother with a point by point rebuttal. Not when even lifelong Pan Green leaders have openly conceded that the Chen regime, the DPP, and the Taiwan independence movement have utterly discredited themselves.
Frankly, I would prefer that Taiwan's Quisling nomenklatura seek refuge in the rationalizations offered by western expatriate Taiwan independence fellow travelers such as the above reader of the Taipei Times.
As Napoleon Bonaparte wrly advised, "Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake."
Far be it for me to interrupt my enemy when he is making the mistake of a lifetime. By all means, keep making your mistake, with my blessing.
Instead, allow me to call everyones' attention to an attitude all too prevalent among western expatriates on Taiwan, one betrayed by the above reader's remark:
"For me, the fact that Chen recently polled an approval rating below 6 percent indicates most of the population can’t recognize a good man when they see one."
Did you get that?
So much for these western expatriates' insistence that "Beijing must respect the democratic will of the people on Taiwan! "
Where is their respect for the democratic will of the Chinese people on Taiwan?
So much for these western expatriates' ritual lip service to the democratic universalist article of faith: "Vox populi, vox dei." (The voice of the people is the voice of god.)
What these western expatriates really mean when they preach "freedom and democracy," is that the voice of white western colonial overlords from the "civilized" First World be treated as the voice of god.
Scratch a "Champion of Democracy," and you will find an elitist. Scratch a western expatriate "Champion of Democracy" on Taiwan, and you will find a colonialist, a contemporary version of the pathetic yet pompous British colonialist so deftly satirized in Somerset Maugham's short stories about expatriate life in the tropics.
No. Point by point rebuttals are pointless. My response to these supercilious latter day colonialists is:
"Do you really have nothing better to do? Go home. Get a life. And allow the Chinese people to live their own."