Lien’s privileged status draws attention


By Katherine Wei ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — One day after Sean Lien won the Kuomintang (KMT) nomination for Taipei’s mayoral race, his privileged status comes to the media’s attention once again. Pan-green Taipei mayoral aspirant Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday stumbled over a remark that Lien, son of KMT bigwig Lien Chan (連戰), is a pseudo-“Celestial Dragon Person” (天龍人). The term is popular in Taiwan’s blogosphere as a reference to well-off and detached people.

Lien was labeled a Celestial Dragon by many. But when asked by the media for his explanation of “pseudo Celestial Dragon Person,” Ko replied that he would not carry on a private conversation in public; he just made the comment because of a gut feeling. Many reportedly felt that Ko had only a vague idea of what he had done; if — as a fellow competitor — his remark was an attempt to bring Lien down, the effort was not successful as many found the label insulting.

Ko, facing a mammoth poster of Lien during an interview, also stated that the race between himself and Lien was one of unbalanced resources; he could only take deep breaths, relax and face the competition calmly.

Before the recent student movement, KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung (丁守中) had fared better than Lien in public surveys, but Lien’s investment in self-advertising two weeks before the party primaries eventually paid off, said Ko. The physician voiced his thoughts, saying that it seemed to work when “competitors invest in media advertising in an era (dominated) by media outlets.” “How do you truly compete in the elections?” Ko demanded. A public survey by a local media outlet placed Ko’s approval rating at 35 percent against Lien’s 50 percent, to which Ko said he would not take the results seriously. “A week ago, the same media outlet claimed that Ting would win in the KMT’s primaries; isn’t this even more ridiculous?”

The Unification of Opposition Forces

While the KMT seems to be united over its candidate of choice, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has yet to make its decision. Ko, once holding the highest approval numbers among all pan-green hopefuls and thus moving many DPP members to root for his integration with the party, replied that only actual unification would prove helpful in elections. “One shouldn’t judge a great many things by appearances; if you are sincere and kind, slow preparation will work too,” said Ko, who has not yet decided whether he will be joining the party or not. Stating that he would not be limiting himself to joining the DPP for elections, since his most important strategy is to help the opposition forces to unite; it would be impossible for the greens to win the position on their own as pan-blues take up 50 percent of the vote. “Even if we gathered all the non-KMT supporters and brought them against the pan-blue camps, it is still a tie,” said Ko.