Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Who loves Taiwan more? VS. It's the economy stupid!

Who loves Taiwan more? It's really a ridiculous rhetorical question, isn't it? And it may not even get a definite answer when Taiwan votes tomorrow. And I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I believe Blue is going to win. However, it is far from certain that Blue can deliver.

Some really solid Greens that I know are having second thoughts about voting Green again. I think this is representative of Taiwan in general. People are fed up with the political manoeuvering and are looking for some action on the economic front.

And there is a distinct difference in the election strategies of the two parties. Greens are still in their big love-in with rainbows and peace-niks (while at the same time demanding more defence spending). They are the party of dreamers and idealists. They covet a seat in the UN using the name of Taiwan. Dream on! Their leader, Hsieh, has suggested to postpone the election in order have a sit-in for Tibet. Hey DPP, the 60s called. They want you to return your tie-dies!

The KMT or the Blues have very correctly read the situation. Taiwanese are feeling the economic pinch. They are arguing to get the economic house in order. Everything else comes second. The business of Taiwan is business! That's what made Taiwan great! That's what made Taiwanese rich! Taiwan has languished as its Asian neighbors have surpassed, especially Korea. It's a realistic and pragmatic approach and I believe Taiwanese are listening. They may just place their hope in the KMT to restore the good old days. What remains to be known is if the KMT can deliver the goods.

So, this election, Taiwanese will vote with their pocketbooks and not their minds. Will Tibet influence the election? Well that's what Western thinking would argue, isn't it? The truth is that Taiwanese are less international in outlook than the average Westerner. Taiwanese, in the end, are very Taiwan-centric. The economic question will overrule any other political concerns they may have for the time being. And that will be a refreshing change!
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