SEF apologizes for inappropriate ad

The China Post news staff

The semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation apologized yesterday for an online advertisement video that used an obscene term to identify aboriginals. In a statement released on its website, the foundation stressed it does not mean to disrespect the aborigines for inadvertently allowing an inappropriate Amis term in a viral video it commissioned to advertise an online campaign to mark its 20th anniversary.

In the video produced by video blogger Tsai Ah-ga (蔡阿嘎), an Amis term for the male genitals (pronounced as “Pa-nga”, (榜仔) is used to describe an aboriginal man.

According to the SEF, the video was launched at midnight Feb. 23 on Tsai’s Facebook page and blog but was pulled off less than 20 hours later after comments on Tsai’s Facebook pointed out the inappropriateness of the term and after Legislator Chen Ying (陳瑩) of the Democratic Progressive Party questioned the SEF on phone over the video. However, as other videos that went viral, the clip can still be found on Youtube. When questioned by Chen, a Puyuma aboriginal, at the Legislative Yuan yesterday, Council of Indigenous Peoples Minister Sun Ta-chuang (孫大川) said that “Pa-nga” is a term “not pleasant to hear” and that no aboriginal person he knows goes by that name.

When used on a woman, the term can be an accusation of her being disloyal to her husband, Chen added. In what seems to be a back-fired plan to appeal to the younger generation, the foundation — funded by the government and controlled by the Mainland Affairs Council to handle exchanges with mainland China — commissioned an marketing company that hired the blogger famous for his use of vulgar language to promote its online poll for the thing people expect most from cross-strait peace.

In its statement the SEF pointed out that it had already censored out inappropriate terms in the original video in multiple reviews. It missed the term in question because no one on the review panel understood the true meaning of the word, the SEF said. Premier Wu Den-yih pointed out in the Legislative Yuan that to respect the freedom of speech and human rights, the government has withdrawn from pre-broadcast censoring of online advertisements and publications. But he admitted that the advertisement in question is inappropriate even if it were produced for private enterprises and needs to be corrected.