Ko Wen-je


#21

People knew he was eccentric when it comes to social situations before the election. The guy admits he has Aspergers. However, he stands out not because of his slight social awkwardness deviates from norm, but because this is a truly brilliant man with great organization skills. That’s what people who voted for him want out of their mayor.

To criticize him for handling social situations poorly is like criticizing someone with Tourette’s for being loud and obnoxious. However, if there’s someone as capable as Ko with Tourettes, I’d vote for him as well, even if he screams “fart! piss! douche!” at foreign dignitaries every now and then.


#22

For me, this is yet another disaster unfolding in Taiwan.

Standing for a political position and not expecting to play politics is just naïve. I get the feeling that he thinks he is a Steve Jobs or another super smart CEO. Unfortunately he comes across as more maladjusted than charismatic. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, plays the buffoon card very well, but he also comes across in interviews as smart, funny and personable.

It is sad for me living in Taiwan, as politics has been central to Taiwan’s development or lack of it, and I can only foresee things getting worse here in the next few years.


#23

Got a long way to go before he can get in the same league as that Canadian mayor.


#24

[quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”]For me, this is yet another disaster unfolding in Taiwan.

Standing for a political position and not expecting to play politics is just naïve. I get the feeling that he thinks he is a Steve Jobs or another super smart CEO. Unfortunately he comes across as more maladjusted than charismatic. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, plays the buffoon card very well, but he also comes across in interviews as smart, funny and personable.

It is sad for me living in Taiwan, as politics has been central to Taiwan’s development or lack of it, and I can only foresee things getting worse here in the next few years.[/quote]

Yep, that is the card he is playing. He compared himself to Data -of Star Trek Next Generation. Clueless and still learning about human interaction?

Well, at least he’s a fellow Trekkie. :blush:


#25

[quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”]For me, this is yet another disaster unfolding in Taiwan.

Standing for a political position and not expecting to play politics is just naïve. I get the feeling that he thinks he is a Steve Jobs or another super smart CEO. Unfortunately he comes across as more maladjusted than charismatic. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, plays the buffoon card very well, but he also comes across in interviews as smart, funny and personable.

It is sad for me living in Taiwan, as politics has been central to Taiwan’s development or lack of it, and I can only foresee things getting worse here in the next few years.[/quote]

He is getting more done than the “non naive” politicking mayors so I think your complaint is sour grapes or pure nit picking.


#26

[quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”]For me, this is yet another disaster unfolding in Taiwan.

Standing for a political position and not expecting to play politics is just naïve. I get the feeling that he thinks he is a Steve Jobs or another super smart CEO. Unfortunately he comes across as more maladjusted than charismatic. Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, plays the buffoon card very well, but he also comes across in interviews as smart, funny and personable.

It is sad for me living in Taiwan, as politics has been central to Taiwan’s development or lack of it, and I can only foresee things getting worse here in the next few years.[/quote]

Yeah, it’d be preferable to have more KMT dynasts selling the country out to China and corporations instead. :unamused:


#27

OK… Maybe I have been too quick to judge. I don’t mean to keep posting stuff from the SCMP so here is my final re-post of another article today on Ko Wen-je. It appears to me that maybe the editor also thought the previous article was a bit too negative.
I do hope he works out.

[quote][b]
Taipei’s surgeon-mayor Ko Wen-je cuts to chase in first month

Taipei’s new chief is speaking his mind, taking on tycoons and bringing down barriers[/b]

Some call him a loose cannon because of his frequent slips of the tongue, but to others he is a godsend who can finally revive Taipei.

One month into office, Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je remains as controversial as the time when he was running for the city’s top job. And no one can say for sure what the city will become under his administration.

Ko, a high-flying surgeon who defeated Sean Lien Sheng-wen, son of former Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan, in the November 29 mayoral race, was sworn in to office on December 25.

“A change in Taipei should start with a change in the culture of the city government,” Ko vowed shortly after he was inaugurated.

Ko’s first order of business to city departments was to reassess the need for so many subscriptions to newspapers and magazines that he found in his office but had no time to read.

The new mayor then ordered all department heads and key officials to act swiftly in dealing with both office work and public affairs - a requirement one of his secretaries found so stressful that she resigned on Ko’s second day in office.

Two weeks ago, he questioned the spending of NT$20 billion (HK$5 billion) to date to host the World University Games in 2017, saying he would never have backed the proposal had he been mayor at the time.

Ko has also made his fair share of gaffes. His latest faux pas - when he said that a fob watch given to him by visiting British Transport Minister Baroness Susan Kramer should be sold as scrap - was widely reported at home and overseas.

Some critics said Ko, a trauma surgeon, operated on the logic of the emergency ward where there was no time for indecision and other niceties. This might explain why he cannot accept slow responses and is prone to speaking his mind.

But this efficiency was also the reason why nearly 70 per cent of Taipei citizens gave him a positive approval rating in a recent opinion poll by the TVBS cable news network.

One of Ko’s first decisions on taking office was to respond to public appeals and demolish a concrete bus lane divider put in place a decade ago during Ma Ying-jeou’s time as mayor.

The demolition was applauded as a smart move because the divider caused serious traffic jams during rush hours and had stayed in place despite public protestations to Ko’s predecessor, Hau Lung-pin.

Ko’s recent quarrels with local tycoons, including Chao Teng-hsiung of Farglory group and Terry Gou of Hon Hai Group, over building expenses for huge construction projects contracted by the city government, also won him praise for conserving the city’s coffers.[/quote]


#28

I’m not seeing why Mayor Ko is a disaster waiting to happen.

The only disaster that I see is that he doesn’t look like he will play politics and major initiatives are going to be deadlocked/blocked by the politicians that are getting screwed by his clean up politics agenda.


#29

[quote=“Abacus”]I’m not seeing why Mayor Ko is a disaster waiting to happen.

The only disaster that I see is that he doesn’t look like he will play politics and major initiatives are going to be deadlocked/blocked by the politicians that are getting screwed by his clean up politics agenda.[/quote]

That is the disaster I am talking about.


#30

[quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”][quote=“Abacus”]I’m not seeing why Mayor Ko is a disaster waiting to happen.

The only disaster that I see is that he doesn’t look like he will play politics and major initiatives are going to be deadlocked/blocked by the politicians that are getting screwed by his clean up politics agenda.[/quote]

That is the disaster I am talking about.[/quote]

You actually didn’t talk about that at all. You linked to an article about getting rid of newspaper subscriptions, a secretary that didn’t have a cushy job anymore and him opposing a major project but so far not doing anything to stop it.


#31

You got the time frames wrong. My initial statement was regards to “timepiece-gate”. The second article was to be more balanced in my posts.


#32

The 2nd article mostly talks about running his city office differently. That’s not the same as having political allies to pass initiatives.


#33

[quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”][quote=“Abacus”]I’m not seeing why Mayor Ko is a disaster waiting to happen.

The only disaster that I see is that he doesn’t look like he will play politics and major initiatives are going to be deadlocked/blocked by the politicians that are getting screwed by his clean up politics agenda.[/quote]

That is the disaster I am talking about.[/quote]

Name one major initiative that is not worth scrapping. Deadlock is progress is Taiwan these days.


#34

Here’s a great interview with Mayor Ke.

foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/29/ta … er1%2F29RS

It gives a good sense of his personality, warts and all. He’s really breath of fresh air. Like other Taipeirs, I loved it when he told the Xinyi Precinct chief on his first day in office that the chief would be fired if another Falongong protester got harrassed (never mind that he doesn’t really have the power to do it). I love the way he is taking on Taiwan’s tycoons like FarGlory and their hideous dome. Not to mention standing up to Terry Gou. As he says in the interview, these tycoons are far too cosy with the government. And his emphasis on open government is an incredible breath of fresh air. Taiwan’s government is reflexively and instinctively secretive. I don’t think Ke-P can change this culture by himself but he’s leading the way. I really liked this:

I’m less thrilled with his anti-Chinese prejudice that is typical among the Taiwanese elite of a certain age and background:

[quote]On the photo of Ko taking the Taipei subway that went viral in mainland China, in part because of its contrast to the cosseted life of many mainland officials:

I couldn’t have imagined that [the photo would get so much attention], but in fact I don’t care, because I was just being myself. This is called a cultural gap. I once said that when more than 99 percent of Chinese people close the doors while doing their business in bathrooms, we can start talking about reunification. This hurt the feelings of many Chinese people, but a cultural gap [between mainland China and Taiwan] does exist. There’s nothing wrong about officials taking the subway. Why is this unusual? So people talked about “one country, two systems,” but maybe we should talk about “two countries, one system” instead. We should try to narrow the gap.[/quote]

This is just wrong and ignorant on so many levels. But it is part of the package. He’s also not taking the subway or riding his bike anymore after threats to his personal safety. Ke-P is changing but I suspect that he will change Taipei as well. He’s already changed Taiwanese politics. It’s going to be a roller coaster ride with our Aspberger syndrome mayor taking on the establishment and learning on the job.


#35

This one is strange as well. I guess stopping at traffic lights in Vietnam is a non-issue because most intersections don’t have any…


#36

[quote=“Mucha Man”][quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”][quote=“Abacus”]I’m not seeing why Mayor Ko is a disaster waiting to happen.

The only disaster that I see is that he doesn’t look like he will play politics and major initiatives are going to be deadlocked/blocked by the politicians that are getting screwed by his clean up politics agenda.[/quote]

That is the disaster I am talking about.[/quote]

Name one major initiative that is not worth scrapping. Deadlock is progress is Taiwan these days.[/quote]

Major initiatives could include job creation plans, low income housing projects, logical infrastructure improvements (not white elephants) or any of his ideas that make sense to do but won’t happen without political support. Without political support he will be reduced to making noise by going after low hanging fruit but not actually accomplishing anything. This might be better than normal but it would be a waste of the political potential that he has.


#37

Ko has received death threat recently, I hope it’s not gonna happen in reality.


#38

I just got up this post and my wife over my shoulder shouted that he’s always saying this from the very beginning! Always saying that he is going to take classes after something like this happens.

Wife said that he seems to be running his Mayoralty like he did in the ER. He may be great at saving lives and making snap decisions but that does not apply to running a city.


#39

[quote=“Taiwan_Student”]
I just got up this post and my wife over my shoulder shouted that he’s always saying this from the very beginning! Always saying that he is going to take classes after something like this happens.

Wife said that he seems to be running his Mayoralty like he did in the ER. He may be great at saving lives and making snap decisions but that does not apply to running a city.[/quote]
I usually lol at this kind of “he’s a surgeon, politics is not his thing” comment, mostly because those that propose the argument have no idea about what it is like to run an ER, and they sure as hell have no idea what it is like to run a city, either. So who is more suitable to run a city? A 40 year-old born in a rich and famous family? :laughing:

I think he has been taking those classes for real, but whether those classes have been working or not is for a very different topic. My point was that he admitted that he was wrong, which is rare for politicians, especially for Taiwanese politicians.


#40

I just got up this post and my wife over my shoulder shouted that he’s always saying this from the very beginning! Always saying that he is going to take classes after something like this happens.

Wife said that he seems to be running his Mayoralty like he did in the ER. He may be great at saving lives and making snap decisions but that does not apply to running a city.[/quote]

It could be argued that politicians are not great at running a city or a country. In fact they appear to be a detriment since they appear to be more interested in greasing their palms instead of doing the right thing. At least with Mayor Ko I feel 99.9% certain that isn’t true. So there is at least that. Whether or not Ko can actually get anything done other block some of the most ridiculous projects remains to be seen. He needs political allies.