Ko Wen-je


#61

:unamused:[/quote]

Hao Potsun was the top man behind the Lafayette scandal, James Soong was the one disbursing the funds, and 7-8 people got killed in order to keep their mouthes shut. You do not know history very well.[/quote]

I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the history. I’m rolling my eyes at the idea that it is relevant to now.

Hao Longbin is not his dad…and Ma isn’t his father, either.[/quote]

I do not get what you are trying to say with this.

The gangster/construction/KMT state is alive and well, and violence is part of its modus operandum. There have been murders in connection with the Dapu incident, even gangster intimidation against the protesters in front of Hau’s toilet seat. (The Tapei Arena).

You have intimidadion, violence and open collusion with gangsters all over the place, especially when you are looking into property scams you are up against people who do not shy away from killing.[/quote]

You’re moving goalposts all over the place.

You said Ko, in his investigations into previous mayors Hao Longbin and Ma Yingjiu, is going to uncover a ton of corruption. As a backup point you referred to alleged instances pertaining to Hao’s father. I don’t get it. These things are unrelated. You think Ko will uncover stuff about Ma and Hao because of the rumors about Hao’s father?

As for Ko uncovering a load of corruption. We’ll see. I think you’ll be disappointed at the amount uncovered. I think we will find out about some shady-ish deals with contractors, but I doubt we’ll see anything Earth-shattering. I think the amount of corruption found in the Taipei city gov’t will be on par with what we see in most democratic city gov’ts. A bit of bribing here and there and that’s about it.


#62

[quote=“Taiwanguy”]

You said Ko, in his investigations into previous mayors Hao Longbin and Ma Yingjiu, is going to uncover a ton of corruption. As a backup point you referred to alleged instances pertaining to Hao’s father. I don’t get it. These things are unrelated. You think Ko will uncover stuff about Ma and Hao because of the rumors about Hao’s father?

As for Ko uncovering a load of corruption. We’ll see. I think you’ll be disappointed at the amount uncovered. I think we will find out about some shady-ish deals with contractors, but I doubt we’ll see anything Earth-shattering. I think the amount of corruption found in the Taipei city gov’t will be on par with what we see in most democratic city gov’ts. A bit of bribing here and there and that’s about it.[/quote]

First of all, he is already uncovering a load of corruption, Hau’s toilet seat is likely built on a ton of hongbao’s. Again, either Hau is a complete idiot, or he took his fair share of the corruption cash. My money are on the second option.

When it comes to violence and politics here - do you not open newspapers or did you come here last month? You have lots of that, and a lot of it happens with the understanding from the top.

Moreover, when you trot out the tired line of: “Taiwan’s corruption is not worse than the one you see in other democracies”, which you implicit refer to above, you are being downright offensive to people from more mature and much less corrupt places.


#63

[quote=“PaMaFanAiFangBian”]From the SCMP today.

Having trouble finding the appropriate category to put this under. A few ideas that came to mind were:
1)How to win friends and influence people
2)Foreigners just don’t understand us.
3)unwanted gifts - what to do with them

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (right) receives a gift of a watch from British transport minister Baroness Susan Kramer. Photo: AFP
Outspoken Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je Tuesday apologised for his slip of tongue over a remark that he would sell as scrap a precious pocket timepiece given to him as gift by British Transport Minister Baroness Susan Kramer.
“I must admit that was inappropriate and I should pay more attention to diplomatic decorum,” he told reporters when asked about the controversial remark he made.
“What is wrong is wrong and I will express my apology to the British transport minister,” he said, adding he would take some classes about diplomatic decorum soon.
Baroness Kramer also told reporters in Taipei Tuesday that she did not mind and she thought Ko was just being humorous.
Foreign affairs experts, however, said the remarks Ko made were rude and made Taiwan lose face.
“His remarks were as bad as they could possibly be,” said Stephen Chen, a former Taiwan representative to the US. “If Ko didn’t like the pocket timepiece, he could have simply said he valued the gift and would take good care of it,” Chen said.
He said the pocket timepiece is not a clock and should not be inappropriately associated as a clock. “The worst thing to say is to sell the precious watch to scarp dealer,” he noted.
Ko Wen-je, a high-flying surgeon who is a popular figure but known for his off-the-cuff remarks, drew a barrel of criticism from across Taiwan’s political spectrum for his perceived rudeness.
In response, his British guest tried to play down the embarrassment. “I’m sorry. We learn something new each day. I had no idea a gift like this could be seen as anything other than positive.
In the UK a watch is precious - because nothing is more important than time,” Kramer said.
She also highlighted the significance of the watch, which she termed as a “very unique item” from the House of Lords.
Rosalia Wu, a city councillor from the major opposition Democratic Progressive Party, later lambasted Ko on her Facebook page.
“City diplomacy is critical to Taiwan, as the mayor of the capital, he should have taken greater responsibility,” Wu said.
Ko presented Kramer with a miniature model of Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest skyscraper and an iconic feature of the city’s skyline.
An independent candidate, Ko, 55, was elected as the mayor of the capital in the island’s local elections in November, thrashing Sean Lien, son of former vice-president Lien Chan.
Ko sparked multiple controversies while campaigning for the post, including describing a female candidate from the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang party as “young and pretty and just fit to sit behind a [department store] counter”.
Although he was labelled as a “loose cannon” by some critics, he has been tolerated by supporters despite a string of similar gaffes.
A recent survey showed his approval rating one month into office stood at a comfortable 70 per cent, as staunch supporters hail him for pledging to battle corruption and streamline bureaucracy.[/quote]

The point being? One being rude, the other not understanding culture? But you know what, he’s still popular because he’s not a politician.


#64

[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]
Seriously? Making gangsters legal politicians is far worse than this!


#65

Ke comes across as very smart and funny. He’s not charming in the way Boris Johnson is but there is something very likeable about his direct and no BS attitude. The force of his personality is not evident if you haven’t heard him speaking in Mandarin.

I think Ke’s main point is that the corporations/tycoons got a bunch of sweetheart deals while Ma and Hau were mayors. Ko is planning to hold their feet to the fire to extract better deals. I wouldn’t be surprised if some more traditional corruption is discovered along the way, but that’s not really what Ke is after. I’m not sure Taipei is that much more corrupt than say the city of Chicago, New York state, or New Jersey. But it sure is compared to the northern European countries.

[quote=“Belgian Pie”][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]
Seriously? Making gangsters legal politicians is far worse than this![/quote]


#66

Could you give an example of that? I’m not saying Ko hasn’t uncovered a load of corruption, but I haven’t heard of any yet. Perhaps I missed it.

My personal opinion - Ko hasn’t been in office very long, and I haven’t passed judgement on his administration yet. I’m willing to give him time to do what he’s going to do. But I think that a lot of his supporters are simply seeing what they want to see. Rather like buying a new car and saying it has great performance and gas mileage, but in fact you haven’t even driven it yet.

Peace.


#67

Hau’s toilet seat only wound up like that due to some palm greasing, let me tell you.


#68

I believe this phenomenon is called politics.


#69

:unamused:[/quote]

Hao Potsun was the top man behind the Lafayette scandal, James Soong was the one disbursing the funds, and 7-8 people got killed in order to keep their mouthes shut. You do not know history very well.[/quote]

I wasn’t rolling my eyes at the history. I’m rolling my eyes at the idea that it is relevant to now.

Hao Longbin is not his dad…and Ma isn’t his father, either.[/quote]

I do not get what you are trying to say with this.

The gangster/construction/KMT state is alive and well, and violence is part of its modus operandum. There have been murders in connection with the Dapu incident, even gangster intimidation against the protesters in front of Hau’s toilet seat. (The Tapei Arena).

You have intimidadion, violence and open collusion with gangsters all over the place, especially when you are looking into property scams you are up against people who do not shy away from killing.[/quote]

yep There is lots of intimidation and Violence in Taiwan, especially
in the county governments. Miaoli is a dangerous places to challenge the local government, as one example. They use the local police force and prosecutors office to go after all opposition.
Very likely murders have occurred over some recent investment projects, but evidence and will power to investigate is lacking. Widows of the ‘suicides’ have stated as much. Guys in charge of large infrastructure budgets or opposed to certain sctivties jumping off buildings and driving their cars into harbours!?!
White terror is finished but terror still
exists in terms of local government-big business-ganster networks.


#70

If Ko doesn’t watch what he says a bit more the greatest obstacle to getting his policies enacted will probably come from his own people.


#71

[quote=“Mr He”][quote=“Taiwanguy”]
Moreover, when you trot out the tired line of: “Taiwan’s corruption is not worse than the one you see in other democracies”, which you implicit refer to above, you are being downright offensive to people from more mature and much less corrupt places.[/quote][/quote]

Taiwan’s corruption is not significantly worse than many other democracies. I’ve lived here for 13 years. I pay attention to what goes on here and what goes on around the world. You obviously don’t.

This isn’t the end all, but check out this link: worldaudit.org/corruption.htm

Some significant democracies that rank lower than Taiwan:
Spain
Israel
South Korea
Brazil
Greece
Italy
Philippines
Russia

I am not arguing that Taiwan is void of corruption. I am only arguing that the amount and kind of corruption seen in Taiwan is not exceptional. Whistleblowers aren’t getting killed in modern Taiwan. And I still fail to see how Hao’s father relates to the amount of corruption that Ko is going to reveal.


#72

jeez man look at your list…it’s sad you had to put Taiwan against that list to try to big up Taiwan. Actually
corruption holds Taiwan back in
many many ways, fortunately things tend to forward slowly over time despite of it. A bigger problem
than corruption has been lack of ambition though …ambition to clean up air, water, change way things are
done.


#73

Note that the corruptions perceptions index is about how corrupt people think their society is – and the definition of corruption will differ between different countries! But I agree, whistle blowers aren’t turning up dead, unless they live in Miaoli. This is a problem with the KMT and specifically with Liu Cheng-hung, but I don’t think it’s a problem with the Taiwanese governmental system.


#74

[quote=“headhonchoII”]jeez man look at your list…it’s sad you had to put Taiwan against that list to try to big up Taiwan. Actually
corruption holds Taiwan back in
many many ways, fortunately things tend to forward slowly over time despite of it. A bigger problem
than corruption has been lack of ambition though …ambition to clean up air, water, change way things are
done.[/quote]

I’m not trying to “big up” Taiwan. I just get annoyed at the constant Taiwan bashing here. It’s really not nearly as bad as people on this board make it out to be. The KMT isn’t out there knocking off people that disagree with them or stand in their way of island-wide domination. That’s ridiculous. Those days are gone. And before you say that “no one is saying that the KMT is knocking off dissenters” go look at the post I responded to that started this back and forth.


#75

[quote=“Taiwanguy”]
I’m not trying to “big up” Taiwan. I just get annoyed at the constant Taiwan bashing here. It’s really not nearly as bad as people on this board make it out to be. The KMT isn’t out there knocking off people that disagree with them or stand in their way of island-wide domination. That’s ridiculous. Those days are gone. And before you say that “no one is saying that the KMT is knocking off dissenters” go look at the post I responded to that started this back and forth.[/quote]

I think you have misunderstood a lot. There is no Taiwan bashing in claiming that Taiwan is corrupt - it is. You will find nothing to be defensive about, if you are look at the new Taipei Arena.

Since I wrote the original post you are referring to, I take the chance to explain a little more than I already did. You have gangster intimidation against the Sunflower, against the people guarding trees at Hau’s toilet seat, you have gangster aided land expropriation at the new airport city, which is by the way something Ma had set in motion to pay off his friends who helped him getting elected, you have gangster killings down in Miaoli over a land issue of some kind. You have also had shootings of politicians who got to close to the black heart of Taiwan politics.

Pointing out that this takes place is NOt Taiwan bashing, it’s merely shouting “thief” when some elected or unelected crook has his hands down in your pocket book.

Also, claiming that I stated that KMT kills political opponents - you are putting things in my mouth I did not say - nowadays, they sue them, put pressure on the media and use vote buying instead, no need to get your hands dirty with other peoples blood.

No, they kill and intimade people whenever it interferes with their money making schemes.

You remind me of an old interview with Ma on “Hard Talk” on BBC. When pressed by an extremely knowledgeable and smart interviewer, he got pushed so much back over the cross strait issue that he in the end said: “You foreigners do not understand Asia”, or something to that effect. (That was when I realized what a complete disaster a Ma presidency would be.) You saying something vaguely similar comes across as overly thin skinned.


#76

I think it’s more because this is a very green leaning board. I do think there are a lot of ex-pats who have bought too much into the far green leaning narrative that is using it so they can rule the island with their own iron fist. They go accuse and blame the KMT for vote buying and such because they know the rallying cry of no freedom or democracy will no longer work because Taiwan is free and democratic. Ironically, the Communist Party of China did the same thing when the KMT was in power on the mainland. Chi… er, Taiwanese people will be Taiwanese.


#77

To be honest, you are wrong.

The far majority of vote-buying cases here originate with the KMT - do you not read the newspapers?

DPP and iron fist - no that’s also a KMT speciality. The DPP rule in the 2000’s was not harsh at all, more like a bit muddled and stymied by the KMT whenever the latter had a chance.

You must be a young one, since you do not remember.


#78

It always surprises me how often I hear people defend Taiwan against perceived criticisms by making comparisons with the lowest common denominator. With regards to Ko Wen-je at least he isn’t a crony KMT/gangster KMT/self-serving China sell out KMT. Just because Ke is none of the previous, it does not automatically make him a good mayor for Taipei, and yes things can still get worse.

As mentioned previously, Taiwan’s 2014 rankings in Asia in terms of “perceived” corruption is only two notches below HK. However having lived in both places and married to a Taiwanese, I do find there is a great disparity to concepts of rule of law and what is acceptable. For example a person we knew in Taiwan had problems with his import/export business and was under investigation for breaking the law. He managed to find the right level guanxi and now it is a non-issue. I perceive this as corruption, my wife thinks this is normal.
If one of Ke’s main agendas is to expose the corruption of previous high level politicians, I am sure if he digs around, he will find plenty. I just hope he has the backing of the judiciary and the police to bring them to justice.

My point is that a mayor’s role is a political one and it requires building consensus, behind the scenes bargaining and maybe giving up some of your ground for the greater good. I am not sure that Ko Wen-je will be able to do that.
However I do not agree that because he isn’t a crony KMT/gangster KMT/self-serving China sell out KMT, that automatically makes him a good mayor. Better than the alternatives agreed, but can’t Taiwan ask for better?


#79

All I can say about Ko is that he’s refreshing to the political scene. His quest to go after corruption under every crook and cranny is admirable. So be it. As to what he does in the future, that’s left to be seen.

Every time I go back to Taiwan to see my relatives, one of the things that do cross my mind when I’m there is “money talks”. I’m not surprised by any of it when things like this cross the news. That’s the way greed works. (Same goes for vote buying…) As long as gangsters also exist for intimidation purposes, then…yeah, corruption will be here for awhile until some drastic measures can be taken.


#80

“Corruption” is relative, but I will compare Taiwan to the USA. I think that the USA is more corrupt. When I say that, most people fall out of their seat. I maintain that it is true. Let us just take a few examples:

  1. Bailouts. Specifically, bailouts of rich people. Companies like AIT and Goldman-Sachs. Supposed liberal left-leaning anti-business Obama has thrown literally trillions of dollars of bailouts at Wall Street banks that by any reasonable should have been allowed to fail. When you add in the “secret bailouts,” the amount given away technically exceeds the size of the US economy, and the USA is only allowed to get away with it thanks to the fact that the US dollar is world’s reserve currency. If Greece, Spain or Taiwan tried to pull such a trick, they’d be bankrupt. I do genuinely believe that if you had banksters in Taiwan who were as corrupt as they are in America, those banksters would be in jail, the banks in question would be taken over by the government.

sott.net/article/250592-Audi … t-Bailouts

  1. Lobbying of the US Congress. Basically, lobbyists in Washington, DC and the state capitals write legislation and get their bribed legislators to pass it. Ever since the “Citizens United” decision by the US Supreme Court, corporations are free to bribe with no dollar limits and no need to report publicly how much they are “donating” to politicians’ campaigns. This is so blatent, and yet barely anyone in the USA even notices. While such things may go on in Taiwan, it would provoke a shitstorm if anything so obvious as what goes on in the USA was attempted here.

  2. The revolving door. Once upon a time, the head of the EPA or SEC or FDA would take his/her job seriously. Nowadays, they resign and the next day go to work for the same companies that they were supposedly regulating, for a big fat salary in the millions of US dollars to do essentially nothing but “consulting,” otherwise known as “picking lint out of your bellybutton.” It’s also a common practice to hand out plumb jobs to relatives of politicians - I couldn’t stop laughing when “liberal” Bill Clinton deregulated Wall Street (look up repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act) and then daughter Chelsea went to work for a Wall Street hedge fund. Of course, Republicans don’t even try to hide it - meet Senator Phil Gramms’ wife, Wendy:

nytimes.com/2002/01/17/opini … ramms.html

motherjones.com/politics/200 … osure-phil

  1. Speaking circuit. Practically every politician retires and pursues a lucrative career giving speeches. I remember when Ronald Reagan got paid US$2 million for a single 8-day speaking tour in Japan shortly after he retired (after opening up the US market to nearly tariff-free Japanese imports). Nice work if you can get it. Who (but a grateful corporation) would pay even $1 to hear babble from a retired Bill Clinton or George Bush? You’d have to pay me to attend.

people.com/people/archive/ar … 79,00.html

news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/geor … 57129.html

  1. Civil forfeiture. So outrageous that even in banana republics like Guatemala or Bangladesh (where it might cost you $10), you have far less to fear from a police stop than you do in the USA:

newyorker.com/magazine/2013/08/12/taken

  1. Privatized prisons. I can remember a time when the USA routinely complained about how Chinese prisoners were being used to manufacture the goods in Wal-Mart. Like the USA is in a position to complain:

salon.com/2013/09/23/6_shock … y_partner/

There are more people in prison in the USA than in China, by both actual numbers and percentage of the population. And this gulag (larger than Stalin’s) is in the self-proclaimed “land of the free.” Could you imagine such a prison society in Taiwan? I can’t.

news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/u … 2page1.stm

  1. Retaliation against whistleblowers. I guess you’ve all heard of the NSA by now. Less publicized is how much of the secret data they collect is used to retaliate against whistleblowers:

pogo.org/blog/2014/02/fda-su … owers.html

huffingtonpost.com/jason-dit … 88818.html

===============

Americans don’t seem to notice the corruption that plagues their society. What they do notice is that their standard of living is dropping. Out-of-control corruption eventually erodes a nation’s economy, and it’s not a coincidence that the poorest nations in the world are among the most corrupt. In what is supposed to be the richest country in the world, many former members of the middle class in the USA wind up homeless, living in a car, saddled with insane medical bills for minor illnesses, or sent to prison for trivial offenses. And then in desperation, they come to Taiwan to look for work (as an English teacher - sounds familiar?), all the while denouncing this “horrible place” because it’s so corrupt.