Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 Election Posters, Such As They Are

This is one of my favorites - a bus wrap encouraging people to buy their train tickets to go home and vote.
This year's election...well, it's hard to tell there's an election on, not to mention a presidential election. Where are the trucks blaring music? The posters? The fliers? The campaign ads? The candidates shaking hands and giving you tchotchkes? In the last election - which wasn't even a presidential election, I got keychains, pens, notepads, a magnet and so many tissues that, well, I'm still blowing my nose on 張慶忠.

Generally speaking I've seen more campaigning from the DPP than the KMT, which surprises me - not that the DPP seems to be doing more (at least that's my impression - I can't back it up with stats) but that Ma's hold on the presidency is so tenuous that it almost seems lackadaisical, even arrogant, of the KMT not to be stepping it up. I thought it was because I live in Da'an, where a KMT majority is assured, but no, I've left Da'an and not seen much different.      

I'm not lamenting the trucks - they were annoying - but I kind of liked the long lines of drummers pulled on a towing apparatus going down the street and the free stuff. I used to draw devil's horns on the Ma Ying-jiu notepads.

In the past two days there has been a ramping up of campaigning, but still not nearly at the level I'd expect. Tsai has a fighting chance; why not fight harder for it? Ma's incumbency is precarious;  why not fight to preserve it?

My favorite ad so far has been Tsai's bus campaign to encourage people to buy tickets home to go vote. I've discussed before the fact that the lack of absentee balloting seems to hurt the DPP more, as more of them are registered to vote in southern Taiwan but work in Taipei/northern Taiwan than the other way around. Without absentee balloting, fewer people who need to travel to vote will do so.

I can't seem to catch the "Taiwan Geographic" bus ads I've seen - I'd love to feature one here if I could get a shot fast enough. My camera's dead so I have to borrow Brendan's iPod whenever I want to take photos.

I also regret not taking a photo of the election posters in Burmese when I had the chance a few weeks ago. It doesn't look like I'll get another chance to go to Nanshijiao and do that.

Finally, on Hengyang Road near Cha For Tea/Bo'ai Road Intersection/Shanghai Dispensary is a GINORMOUS poster of good ol' Mr. Soong. I mean this thing is huge. It covers a third of a building. If you're eating in Cha For Tea and looking out the window - which is how I noticed it -  you're basically staring at him. His pores are each as big as your face, or at least they would be if he weren't airbrused.

Other than that, here are a few posters and other things I've come across, with a bit of commentary for some.

This is one of the first references in campaign materials I've seen to Tsai being the first female president (if you look at the sticker, it says "Taiwan's First Female President".

Smiling George makes me smile. 
I can't imagine a politician getting away with posters that say "Smiling ________" on them back home. Smiling Mitt? Only if his circuitry misfired. Smiling Barack? Sounds dumb. Smiling Newt Gingrich? Eeeeeeewww.

I hope Smiling George wins. I like him just for this.

A book for sale at "The Taiwan Store"
 A book in Chinese full of political cartoons sympathetic to Tsai and the DPP. I think there's a pun or idiomatic joke in there somewhere regarding Ma's "horse foot"...I mean other than the obvious surname joke. My Chinese isn't good enough to figure out if I'm right, though.

This is one of the few pedestrian bridges in Taipei covered in election posters. I suspect in the next few days we'll see more. So far so good, except...

Really? Does he not realize that this is a little too close to "Heil Hitler"? I mean it's not, but it's just...too...close.

Wait, are these guys Marxists? If my memory is correct, Communist parties are now legal in Taiwan (please, please correct me if I'm wrong. I'll edit this in that case), although that was not always the case in the democracy's infancy. I know 主義 as meaning either "doctrine" (which is far too vague) or "Marxist". Either way their sign is not very exciting.

Let's all go buy more khakis together!
 Seriously, Ma Ying-jiu wearing his mother's pants.

Please vote for me, please please please! Pretty please? Vote for me? Please?

This is some graffiti - possibly far too old to be a reaction to the election, on a mountain in Zhonghe near Yuantong temple. It says "The KMT and the Communists Get Together to Conquer Taiwan". The person who wrote it is probably against that, but according to Joseph the writing is not entirely clear.

Up close, this one says "Taiwan Next, Zhonghe Best" with a view of urban Taipei County...err, Xinbei City.

This kind of Star Wars-esque poster saying "Go Taiwan" (台灣加油, once used almost exclusively by DPP candidates) is on many buses.
Mr. Happy Face wears a Taiwan Next sweatshirt at the Qingshan Wang birthday celebration.


Rust said...

I think a better translation for the graffiti is "KMT, CPP working together, selling out Taiwan." (國共聯手,出賣台灣) Since the word used is "selling out", I think is logical to conclude that the writer is very much against such a notion.

Anonymous said...

Four comments:

主義 means "doctrine" or “-ism” and does not mean “Marxist". Marxism would be 馬克思主義 and Marxist would be 馬克思主義者.

“国共联手, 出卖台湾” are simplified characters of “國共聯手,出賣台灣”. The phrases are popular expressions used constantly by the DPP supporters to attack KMT for “joining hands with CCP to sell out Taiwan”.

台灣主義黨 (Taiwanism Party) is a new obscure political party which aims to rebuild Taiwan society on several moderate social reforms. Recent notable about the party is their new 26 year old female secretary general who looks like a “movie star”. (What else do you expect from Taiwan news media on election news?)

Communist Party is legal and in existence in Taiwan. Taiwanism Party is not Communist Party.

FFM ( Not what you think)

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

Thanks, I appreciate that!

I kind of didn't believe it when I heard it used for Marxism (something I learned in Guizhou) - but Google Translate seemed to agree with the old ranting guy I heard it from.

Then again, a.) my Chinese level was not that high at the time, and I never bothered to look back and question that conversation and b.) I think he was just crazy - as in, so into Marxism that to him, it was "the Doctrine" - the only one. Like how some (some!) very devout religious folks will sometimes say "the way" or "the path" - with the idea that there's only one path.

maoman said...

Well, it's true that Marxism has an "ism" in it, but so does chauvinism, and the word "主義" is present in both. And to change your "主義" means you change your mind:
"Do you want to go see a movie?"
"No, I want to go to the beach."
"! 我改變主意!我也想去!" (I changed my mind - I want to go, too!)

Jenna Lynn Cody said...

True. And I *knew* that, too. I really did!

Goes to show what one bad lesson can do early on in language learning.