Sunday, March 23, 2008

Another Day, Another Election

Easter Sunday has come and gone and Mas Selamat remains a free man for the past 25-days. Singaporeans, are happily going about their own daily business and so as a chirppy little blogger, I'm just bashing away at the keyboard in the hope of getting something vaguely intelligent said.

Anyway, another election has just taken place. This time it happened in Taiwan, better known as the Republic of China. The results were great. Ma Yueng-Ju, the candidate from the Kuomindang Party beat his rival from the Democratic Party. The KMT, formerly one of the world's longest rulling political parties had spent the past 8-years in opposition and it has now come back as a credible democratic party.

The KMT is like a sister-party to the Communist Party on Mainland China. Although both are sworn enemies (The Communist under Mao drove the KMT under Chiang Kai Shek out of China), they were both comitted to the "One China" policy. So, after 8-years of Chen Shui Bian trying to make a "Taiwanese" identity more prominent, it looks like we'll be seeing easier relations between the People's Republic and the Republic of China. The world will carry on with the idea that there is only ONE China.

However, President-elect Ma has shown some independence of thought, which is good. He's even contemplating boycotting the Olympics if the Mainland continues to kick the crap out of Tibetan protestors.

But let's leave that aside. As an ethnic Chinese, I get very happy to see Taiwanese when they go into elections that are actually democratic. The Taiwanese have shown that having a democracy is not incompatible with "Chinese" character - so when you think that the Taiwanese are "Real" Chinese unlike the Singaporeans who are hybrid of Western and other cultures, it's perfectly plausible for Chinese to enjoy democracy and embrace political competition.

Not everything is right with the Taiwanese political system, of course. Corruption is rife and President-Elect Ma, is looking to Singapore as a role model in clean government. Taiwan is also a place where politicians don't get much respect due to their antics - a Taiwanese parliamentary session resembles something akin to a boxing match.

But having said that, the Taiwanese have learnt to succeed in spite of the government. When you look it this way, the Taiwanese are one of the world's most entreprenurial people and politics aside, they have spent the last decade powering the growth of the Mainland. Much of the tech industry in the USA is powered by Taiwanese brains.

Of course, what I remember best are the drinks mashines when I was in Taiwan during National Service. In Singapore, you get used to having a few tea drinks - namely ice-lemon, green and chrysanthamum. Somehow, in Taiwan, tea comes in at least 20 forms and each of those forms is delicious. - People who can get that creative with tea drinks must be onto something.


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