In a discussion between panelists from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Kuomintang (KMT) and media commentators on whether former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian is too healthy to remain on medical parole from jail on TVBS’s ‘Situation Room’, the former DPP legislator Shen Fu-hsiung (沈富雄） broke into Taiwanese to try and cut through some of the political bullshit being spouted by both sides. The gist of his point was that nobody in the studio really believes that Chen Shui-bian will go back to prison during the four years the DPP are in power, so there’s no point in arguing over this or that medical report. He also says that given Chen Shui-bian is on medical parole for political reasons, then he should be less provocative about it and not argue with people. This is in reference to his argument with a street pedlar selling bread in a Kaohsiung park who filmed Chen Shui-bian walking in the park. Chen and his friend approached and threatened him with a lawsuit and an “anonymous” tip-off later caused the bread seller to get in trouble with the government. You can get a sense of the effect of Shen using Taiwanese in the middle of a conversation being conducted in Mandarin from the wry smiles of the other panelists. Use of Taiwanese in Taiwan is generally more direct and emotive than Mandarin, so it’s often used when politicians want to convey sincerity (or forthrightness). I’ve indicated the code-switching between Mandarin and Taiwanese below:
Mandarin: 也不用定期有醫療報告 (And we don’t need regular medical reports)
Mandarin: 我們大家也不要在這裡吵來吵去 (And we don’t need all of us sitting here arguing back and forth)
Mandarin: 因為這個都是一種表態而已 (Because it only serves to show where we personally stand on the issue)
Taiwanese: 阿扁啊，即然會當行到這個地步 轉到厝裡 更加出來散步 a píⁿ a kì-jiân ē-tàng kiâⁿ-kàu chit-ê tē-pō͘ tńg kàu chhù nih kèng-ka chhut-lâi sàm-pō͘ (Mandarin: 阿扁啊，即然可以走到這個地步 回到家裡 還能出來散步 / English: Since Chen Shui-bian has already come this far – he’s returned home and he can even go out for walks)
Mandarin: 我覺得要守份一點，要低調一點 (He should wind his neck in a little and do things a little more low key)
Mandarin: 不要給人口舌啦 (Don’t give people anything to talk about)
Mandarin: 不要給人家看到這個樣子 (He shouldn’t let other people see him act that way)
看到 khòaⁿ-tio̍h (Seeing that)
真的很刺眼 (Is really irritating)
I wonder will Chen Shui-bian take his advice.
If I’ve made any mistakes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.