The government has a choice here: either utilize Hanyu Pinyin and get in step with the international community, or put into place Tongyong and see it ignored by the very demographic it is supposed to benefit. After all, for all of their posturing, it is the international community who decides whether these systems are of any use or not.
If they choose Tongyong, then it will just be a repeat of the ill-fated “Street Numbering” plan. They’ll put up signs which may or may not make any sense, foreigners will continue to scratch their heads and get lost, and nothing will change. It will just be another in a long line of romanization systems that, in their efforts to “be different” (contrary to the definition of “standard”), ends up on the trash heap, a waste of money and effort. Taiwan will continue to be a place where each pseudo-romanized street sign will just be another reminder that the government places its own misquided version of politics before usefulness or the welfare of the groups properly romanized signs would benefit.
I don’t see why Hobart cares so much of what Beijing thinks or is likely to say. Surely the benefit to Taiwan is a more important consideration than empty PRC rhetoric.
Considering that they threw out Tseng for his stance on romanization, I would predict that the new guy’s going to make the “right” choice and keep his job. The message is pretty clear.
However, if the majority of foreigners here can’t be bothered with Tongyong, i.e. the newspapers (not likely since two of them are already in the government’s pocket. The News is already supposedly using Tongyong, which just makes it even more laughable and like a DPP-newsletter) and in general, than perhaps sooner or later the government will wake up and realize how inane they’re being, and that they are only hurting Taiwan by refusing to internationalize their romanization, etc.
That’s probably too much to hope for, though. Nothing’s going to change, I think.