KMT supporters protesting Chen Chu’s (陳菊) appointment to the presidency of the Control Yuan, with the slogans 「拒絕酬庸撤換陳菊」 (Reject cronyism, withdraw Chen Chu), 「民主已死，暴政必亡」 (Democracy is dead, tyranny must fall) and 「民心已死，還我民主」(The hopes of the people are dead, give us back our democracy). There was a middling crowd outside the Legislative Yuan in the morning, where KMT legislators occupied the floor. These were taken after work.
People protesting on the morning of President Tsai’s 2nd inauguration. The sign has the not-so-catchy slogan you’d expect from someone who still doesn’t believe that Tsai has a doctorate:「妳有沒有羞恥心 當總統 沒有博士 真騙子」 ‘Don’t you have any shame? Being president without a doctorate, what a cheat’:Continue reading
Someone isn’t an Eric Chu (朱立倫) fan. This poster is still displayed on the Yonghe side of the Zhongzheng Bridge in New Taipei:
“Eric Chu, your political life is over! During the time you were mayor, you didn’t even know clauses 1 and 2 of Article 53 of the Civil Code. You also deliberately twisted the law to cover up your mistake. You tolerated illegal activities from guilds, which was a clear dereliction of duty. You’re clearly not suited to run for president.”
For your reference, the Article in question is listed below:
Art. 53: “The resolution concerning the alteration of the bylaw of a corporation shall be passed at a meeting at which the majority of the members of the corporation are present, and by a majority of over three-fourths of the members present, or when over two-thirds of the members of the corporation declare their consent in writing.
The alteration of the bylaw of a licensed corporation shall be approved by the authorities concerned.”
The wording is vague enough that it could refer to a wide range of allegations, but I saw a few articles like this, which give you a general feel.
The person behind the poster is likely Wei-Shyue Chang (張維學), who was behind previous posters in this position, opposing Japanese imports, supporting Hong Shu-chu, and on the Diaoyu Islands and the comfort women issue.
Whoever it is, the neighbouring political banners give you an idea of where their support lay in the KMT primary:
The slogan on this Han Kuo-yu banner is a call for us to “Think of the children, to save society,” which has echoes of the anti-gay propaganda in the run-up to the referendum on gay marriage.
TVBS’s ‘The Situation Room’ has returned to talking about the impeachment proceedings launched by the Control Yuan against National Taiwan University President Kuan Chung-ming after he’d been in the post just a week. The discussion reveals a lot of interesting theories about the role of the「獨派」, or ‘pro-independence’, faction within the Democratic Progressive Party, who President Tsai is said to have appointed to the Control Yuan as a compromise, but who are now allegedly going rogue.
Kuan has been accused (so far) of having a second post while being an official, writing editorials in Yizhoukan （一週刊）, although there is a lot of debate as to whether or not this constitutes a second post, as contributing to magazines and newspapers is quite a common practice among officials.
In the course of this debate, Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文) used a Taiwanese phrase *09:50* to try and communicate what she feels is the disconnect between the priorities of the DPP and of the public:
老百姓（in Mandarin) 逐工著是顧三頓爾（in Taiwanese）
逐工 ta̍k-kang is equivalent to 每天 in Mandarin (every day)
就是 tiō sī is the same as Mandarin (are just)
顧三頓 kòo-sann-tǹg is equivalent to 顧三餐 in Mandarin (to concern oneself with getting three square meals)
爾爾 niā-niā is equivalent to 而已 in Mandarin (and only that)
*I’m not sure if she says niā once or twice here.
From the context of her comments, we can guess why she chose to use a Taiwanese phrase. She’s talking about and appealing to the common man who hasn’t got time for politics, and Taiwanese is a way of appealing to this Taiwanese everyman.
Interestingly in the 五月天 (Mayday) song ‘I Love You無望’ both the phrase 逐工 ta̍k-kang (0.20), and ‘每一工’ muí tsi̍t–kang (0.31) are used, to mean “every day”. In Mandarin 逐日 is more formal and is closer to on a daily basis, whereas 每天／每一天 is less formal. I’m not quite sure of the differences in Taiwanese, although one Taiwanese friend suggested that 逐工 can mean “the entire day”.
Ko Chih-en (柯志恩), a KMT legislator-at-large, is another regular on TVBS’s political panel show ‘The Situation Room’.
In an interesting discussion on the long delay to Kuan Chung-Ming’s inauguration as President of National Taiwan University, she used the Taiwanese term 「鴨霸」(ah-pà) in the middle of a Mandarin sentence on political panel show ‘The Situation Room’, as follows (from roughly 5:29):
Why was the inauguration unable to proceed?
Because the ruling party has been too overbearing about it all
According to the information I can find, it’s unlikely that 「鴨」(ah) is the original character in the expression, and it’s likely used as a stand-in for either 「亞」(a) (as the original form of 「惡」 or「壓」(ah) (according to the Ministry of Education dictionary). The nearest Mandarin equivalent is probably 「霸道」, although 「鴨霸」 can also be used in Mandarin.
For another duck-related phrase, you might want to check out my previous post here.
One of the great things about living in Taiwan is that when political leaders make speeches, like the speech made by Xi Jinping on Jan. 2, there is a flurry of discussions and critique on political panel shows and on social media, and people aren’t scared to express their own opinions on them. This is also a great learning opportunity, as people are more likely to come out with an interesting turn of phrase when they’re not being overly careful about what they’re saying.
One, such political panel show that I’ve grown fond of over the years is TVBS’s political chat show ‘The Situation Room’. Cheng Li-wen (鄭麗文), a politician and broadcaster previously aligned with the Democratic Progressive Party but who later became a Kuomintang member and is now the KMT Vice Secretary-General, is a regular on the show and is one of the more humourous panelists.
In critiquing Xi’s speech in which he proposed a “one nation, two systems” approach to Taiwan, she said that he’s trying to push cross-strait relations forward at such a pace that he risks not getting anywhere at all. She used a Taiwanese phrase similar to “more speed less haste”, 「食緊挵破碗」(lit. eating with such haste that you break your bowl), which is pronounced “Tsia̍h-kín lòng-phuà uánn“:
You can hear her say this phrase in Taiwanese while she’s primarily speaking in Mandarin at 5:27.
Photo by timlewisnm, licensed under Creative Commons.
Recently I’ve started to hear the term 「佛系……法」 a lot. The term plays with the Buddhist concept of noninterference, essentially suggesting that instead of trying to follow your boss’ direction/ study in school/encourage internet users to Like your page/earn money etc., you should just resign yourself to the fact that things are beyond your control and that if what you want is meant to be, it will happen without any effort from you. In one sense it can be used as an attack on the perceived lack of a work ethic among millennials, suggesting that they think they deserve to get their dreams served to them on a plate, while millennials themselves have adopted it to counter this narrative, as an expression of their cynicism at how much of a difference they can make by following the rules. Different verbs or job titles can be inserted into the blank depending on what the author is describing.
The first time I saw it was when a friend sent a meme featuring a familiar cartoon character, Bobby Hill from King of the Hill. Although my friend had no idea who Bobby Hill was, the meme featuring him meditating while incense burns in the foreground seems to have caught the Taiwanese imagination. I’ve put some examples of the use of the meme I found on the internet below. There was one example I saw of an English use of this meme, but it doesn’t seem to have caught the imagination of the English-speaking world quite so much:
A friend of mine posted a Taiwanese phrase in a Mandarin-language Facebook post recently that caught my eye:
The post translates roughly to:
For the first time in my life I got a drink for NT$1 in a lucky draw, and it turned out to be when I was buying a coffee for [name omitted], isn’t this what they call [lit.] the pig not getting fat, while the dog balloons.
There seems to be several variations of this phrase, including the one above, the version my colleague suggested 「豬沒肥，肥到狗」(ti bô pûi, pûi tio̍h káu) and the one listed on the Ministry of Education dictionary 「豬毋大，大對狗去」(Ti m̄ tuā, tuā tuì káu khì (Click link for audio)). A literal reading of the phrase is someone being unable to fatten their pig for market, while the dog, which is meant to serve as a guard dog, and should be agile, is getting fat instead.
One explanation of this phrase I found at this blog, suggests that it was originally quite a misogynistic phrase, as it could be used to describe a situation wherein the son of a house, who would actually benefit the family if he got a good education, gets bad grades in school, while the daughter, who wouldn’t benefit the family with an education, gets good grades:
A very horoscope-heavy profile on Weiling Chen (陳慧翎), the director of the Taiwanese drama On Children (《你的孩子不是你的孩子》) and the actor in the recent first episode, Ivy Yin (尹馨) makes reference to this interpretation, when the director (Chen) mentions that her mother once used the phrase, comparing her and her younger brother:
“Piscean Chen Weiling’s pressure growing up came from not being understood. She always remembers when her mother said, “the pig won’t get fat, while the dog gets fatter,” questioning why she was more brilliant than her little brother.”
It does seem to have a wider application, however, as both the poster and the subject of my friend’s post were male. In this context it’s kind of a mixture between ‘casting pearls before swine’ and a bitter cry of ‘why do some guys have all the luck.’ My friend is suggesting (jokingly) that he deserves good luck, but instead it’s being wasted on his friend.
A report in the Liberty Times used the phrase in a political context too, although the fact that Tsai Ing-wen is a woman may make the use of the phrase more natural. If you couldn’t tell from the subtle objective tone below, Liberty Times is not a big fan of the KMT:
“The KMT has always considered cross-strait relations its strength, and its leading elites take their orders from Beijing. Now, it seems, this has become toxic to their election hopes, so these heroes are unable to make use of their skills in this department.
As the situation continues to evolve, if Tsai Ing-wen doesn’t make any mistakes, the overall trend of the November election isn’t hard to guess at, as only the party in government will be sitting pretty in the mid-term elections. It’s only this situation that will drive Beijing to reconsider their stance on Taiwan. Cross-strait tensions are unlikely to ease until next year. However, China, in the end, is sure to discover that “the pig isn’t getting fatter, while the dog is ballooning”. Isn’t this dialectic quite good fun?”
This suggests that China will end up working with the DPP (the fat dog), rather than the KMT (the skinny pig), despite its idea of which party should be the best for it to work with.
Outside 101 is a bit like Hyde Park Corner in London. Lots of “interesting characters” on soap boxes. This man was previously pictured protesting Germany’s alleged refusal to reimburse Reichmark bonds issued in Taipei by Japan in the 1920s, with the Japanese reportedly forcing many Taiwanese to buy them against their will. He’s actually posted screen shots from the European Press Photo Association on another placard beside him. He was suggesting their refusal constituted being Nazis again and his placard still says “Hitler Resurrected”. He’s resorted to passive aggression now, stating in English and Chinese that given Germany’s failure to address or engage with the argument and that “they can’t afford it anyway”, he was giving the bonds as a gift to Germany. For more info you can check out their Facebook Group The Old German Mark Association. Looks like he’s had some abuse about his use of the Nazi flag, as he or someone else has crossed it out and drawn a thumbs down on it. Lots of media coverage on his protest, so maybe that’s what has led to his change of heart.