選舉

我在台灣沒有投票權,跟政治人物的接觸也頗為有限。我們里的里長出來拜票的時候,看到我,一直貼在嘴巴上的僵硬微笑會一時鬆開。有時候某些候選人一不留意就會伸手過來要跟我握手,一抬頭看到我的白臉就會立刻把手收回來。但是當一個外來者也有好處。其一是朋友之間或在工作場合,不用跟人表達你家的政治立場,就算你想要告訴別人,也沒人要聽;同時你的政治立場也不會在潛意識的層面上,被同事或朋友察覺出來。簡而言之,台灣人不會以他們一般的標準來對待你,因此你可以很自(白)由(目)地詢問他人的政治色彩。不過久而久之,你不用問也多少會感覺到。

 

講到這一點也不是很準確,因為你可以大概從一些細節,猜測他人的家庭是藍是綠是紅,但這也不代表在投票箱前,他們就會聽話地投給父母要他們投的那位候選人。我待過不同「顏色」的學術和工作單位:藍的綠的大學、綠的科系、紅媒體到白的公司,後來也算是回到一個(還帶一點藍的)綠色單位。在每個單位都需要看很多宣傳品,也因此很容易被洗腦。在藍的單位時也許會覺得綠營做事不踏實,不懂得妥協;在綠的單位時也許會覺得藍營只有在看錢、沒什麼原則。可能都有;可能都沒有,不過也許都是因為我們以不同框架看,所以會有不同的印象。

 

講到框架,我以前一直對柯文哲有一種說不太出口的反感,可能是略受媒體的影響,說他恐同、親中、自我感覺良好等等。媒體最近也有報導他父母在最後時刻替他到中選會登記連署,最後卻遲到了。媒體報導這則新聞的大方向帶有一點幸災樂禍的意味。但就算深綠的人看到這則報導,儘管讀起來很爽,應該也很清楚這大概不是真相。柯文哲若真的想選,不會拖到這時候,還派老人家幫他登記。剛好我最近在看柯文哲寫的《白色力量3》,柯P對民進黨很失望不是因為民進黨對他的直接攻擊,而是他們在明明知道一個污衊他的假新聞報導是偏頗的情況下(如器官移植的葛特曼案),還去煽動爭議。 

 

也許當一個選民最重要的,是能夠離開同溫層,用不同的框架反省政治立場。

 

ㄟ對啊,我忘了……你上次總統大選是投哪一位?

Posters Surrounding the Abandoned Taipei Dome Construction Site

Ko Wen-je still seems to enjoy quite a lot of popularity as Taipei mayor, despite being increasingly distant from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which did not nominate a candidate in the mayoral election in which he was elected. There has been talk this time round of DPP politicians running against him, but Ko has so far come out on top on polls (reference).

Ko’s reign as mayor has not been all smooth sailing by any stretch, however, and one of the major controversies of his term is still in evidence at the abandoned construction site of the Taipei Dome where posters denouncing Ko can still be found plastered over the walls of the site:

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(Top) “Protect old trees before the election
Move old trees after the election
‘Making Real Change’ (from the title of Ko’s second book White Power 2: Making Real Change)
Start with changing yourself”

(Bottom) 7 Questions for Ko Wen-je
Mayor Ke Wen-je, Are you going to let the construction of the corrupt landmark restart?
1. Have you completed the renegotiation of the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Contract?
2. Have you dealt with FarGlory’s illegal breach of contract?
3. Have you dealt with the controversy surrounding the Taipei Dome scandal?
4. Did FarGlory complete the implementation of the seven public safety standards?
5. Have you passed the changes to the Urban Design Review, the environmental impact assessment and the building license?
6. Have you realized the concept of “lining roads with trees” (a campaign slogan)?
7. Have you dealt with the impact on traffic after the capacity was dramatically expanded?

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Here the Chinese for Songshan Cultural and Creative Park have been defaced to read “Songshan Logging Park”. Under this is a another poster, which reads as follows:

“The Big Scandalous Egg (a corruption of the Chinese for Taipei Dome) is facing a lawsuit for profiteering, we ask that the administration of Mayor Ko Wen-je end the contract and revoke the construction permit.
Don’t exchange fairness and justice for money, don’t renegotiate the contract for the flawed scandalous egg (Taipei Dome), cancel it.”

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(Top right) Ko Wen-je and Farglory are both telling lies, until the public safety appraisal has been completed, plant it with trees.”
(Bottom) “The scandal hasn’t been cleaned up, cancel (the project) and put trees in its place.”

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This piece of graffiti has a more interesting story behind it. It reads, “The purity of youth has fooled the whole country to their deaths.” This sounds like something reminiscent of the criticism of the Student Sunflower Movement. However, according to a news article, a man in his 50s went across Taiwan graffitiing this message on a range of different landmarks in 2016. There are picture of him in action here, although I’m not sure if this is a copycat or an original creation.

For an interesting explanation of Wayne Chiang’s recent decision not to run in the mayoral election, check out this Frozen Garlic update.

Ko P’s naughty language in the Taipei Dome PowerPoint Presentation 柯P簡報中的「呼死啦」和「ㄍㄢˋ!」

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Former doctor and current Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has been in the news again, this time for using bad language in a PowerPoint presentation that he gave at a meeting of the city council. To be honest I think that the bad language “ㄍㄢˋ” (pretty much every second word a high school student says) he used was the least cringy thing about the whole affair. The more worrying problem is Ko Wen-je’s continuing attempts to paint himself as some sort of folk superhero with his comically named White Power movement.

The offending picture, shown to the right of the slide above, shows Chao Teng-hsiung, chairman of the Farglory Group, the company contracted for the project, former Taipei mayor Hau Lung-pin and Ma Ying-jeou bursting out of an egg labelled the Taipei Dome on the head of a dragon (I guess they’re the true kings of Westeros). The reason there is an egg is because in Chinese the dome’s name is “大巨蛋” which means big arena or dome, but contains the character for egg. Most people seem to be reading the cartoon from left to right:

Ko Wen-je (cutting open the egg with a scalpel in his doctor’s white coat): There’s a problem with this egg. (這顆蛋有問題)

Ma Ying-jeou: Fuck! He’s actually using a scalpel to cut it open. (ㄍㄢˋ!他還真的用手術刀來切呢)

Hau Lung-pin:  (random symbols indicating swearing)

Chao Teng-hsiung: Let it die! (呼死啦!)

TVBS’s Situation Room, which I blogged about previously, did this report on the affair:

Ko Wen-je previously halted the construction of the Taipei Dome, accusing the previous mayor of colluding with the chairman of the Farglory Group in corrupt dealings and complaining about the standards of the building. He’s now ordered the chairman to start work on the project again – not a likely scenario – or he’ll dissolve the contract. There’s background on the story in this Taipei Times article.

Here’s Ko Wen-je being arrogant and indifferent about the whole thing in a council meeting:

Politics be as it may, we can still take the chance to learn a little Taiwanese. The words Chao Teng-hsiung says:

「呼死啦」or “ho   la” – the presenter in The Situation Room also says it at the timecode below:

The 「呼」 is a passive marker similar to 「給」 – so the phrase means “Kill him”, in the sense of “give him death”.

Update: Commenter Chenfra suggests that the omitted subject here is “it” not “him”, so the translation is likely to be “let it die” or “let it go” rather than the “kill him” or “give him death” I originally posted. He also suggests other more likely candidates for the passive particle “ho” including “互” and “予”.

I welcome any corrections if I’ve misunderstood anything!

Ko P’s team gets it in the neck for Weibo proposal 王世堅說柯P「食碗內 洗碗外」

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 12.03.12 AMI don’t have a TV at home, so when I was recruited by a friend to wrap tamales at his house, I got a rare opportunity to watch some political talk shows, which are usually amusingly varied according to the political affiliation of the channel they’re broadcast on. This one from TVBS (relatively Kuomintang-leaning/blue), is called ‘The Situation Room’ in English and 「少康戰情室」 in Chinese. Footage from the Legislative Yuan is always a great opportunity to learn some Taiwanese of the shouty aggressive variety:

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Wang Shih-chien is upset because Taipei mayor (independent but largely seen as DPP leaning) Ko Wen-je proposed setting up a Weibo account for the Taipei City government in line with a suggestion from across the strait. Weibo is a social-media platform, similar to Twitter, but set up to conform with Mainland China’s censorship guidelines, which is why the DPP legislator isn’t a fan. This is the phrase in Taiwanese he uses with the Mandarin context:

台灣政治界沒有一個人
No-one in the Taiwanese political arena
會上去微博
Goes on Weibo
微博是給黃安們用的
Weibo is for the likes of Huang An (China-based Taiwanese singer)
你知道嗎?
Don’t you know?
莫名其妙
I’ve never heard the like of it
不務正業
It’s a dereliction of your duties
這典型的叫食碗內 洗碗外
This is a classic case of biting the hand that feeds you

The phrase is 食碗內 洗碗外 pronounced”chia̍h  óaⁿ lāi  óaⁿ meaning that you eat the provisions of your own community, but wash dishes for another community, and by extension, to bite the hand that feeds you.

The Ministry of Education Taiwanese dictionary, however, states the phrase as: 「食碗內,說碗外」, which makes slightly more sense, meaning “You eat food from your own community, but say that you got it from another community”, i.e. to bite the hand that feeds you, or deny gratitude to those who provide for you. The 說 is pronounced “seh or soeh” (depending on what variety of Taiwanese you speak), and 洗 is pronounced “sé or sóe” so there’s little difference of sound between them. Most places on the internet use 洗 however.

It’s equivalent to the Mandarin phrase 吃裡扒外 chīlǐpáwài.

Incidentally, the singer mentioned in the rant, Huang An, is quite famous as a traitor to Taiwanese independence by the independence lobby. He’s one of the people who criticized K-Pop singer Chou Tzu-yu for waving a Taiwanese flag and he’s for unification with China. Apparently he still loves one part of Taiwan though, the National Health Service

Here are the tamales in progress for anyone who is interested:

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And if you want to know what else I was watching, check out my post from the day before yesterday on 台灣國語 in the Taiwanese version of Adventure Time.

What the hell are you playing at? 變啥魍? pìⁿ siáⁿ báng (搞什麼鬼)

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Found this in yesterday’s Liberty Times (《自由時報》), a paper that leans towards the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Taiwanese independence. It was a front page story on a housing developer that is accused of misrepresenting the square footage of  a development that they were working on in cooperation with the Taipei city government. In the course of the article it emerges that the city government had previously been informed of the expected difference in square footage, at which point incumbent mayor Ko Wen-je (an independent with DPP leanings who secured a win in the mayoral election with a non-partisan platform), states that he doesn’t understand what the hell the people in the lower ranks of the Taipei City government are playing at:

不解「下面的人是在變啥魍」

This is a useful phrase if you want to substitute the phrase 搞什麼鬼 in Mandarin for the Taiwanese phrase 變啥魍 pìⁿ siáⁿ báng (Unfortunately the normal dictionary I use is out of action so you’ll have to click through to get access to the button to play the sound. There is no audio file for 「魍」, however 「蠓」also  “báng” is pronounced identically so I’ve provided the link to that sound file instead.)

As I’ve stated in previous posts, you’ll commonly hear Taiwanese phrases inserted into Mandarin sentences – and this is the best way to start learning Taiwanese if you don’t yet know how to have a whole conversation in Taiwanese.

Feel free to contact me with any cool Taiwanese words or phrases you hear and want featured on the blog.