Link in Chinese
Apparently when speaking at a women's equality forum, Mayor Ko, to use the words of other commentators, "gaffed" by pontificating on how there can be more unmarried Taiwanese men than women when Taiwan "imports" foreign brides, using the word for "import" that is used for objects rather than people (is there a word in Chinese for importing people?).
I tend to agree - this was a gaffe, one of many for a mayor whom I generally support, but still have reservations about regarding his views on women. I know, people say dumb things, people speak poorly, or they get in a fit of pique and say things they don't really mean or that don't reflect the entirety of their worldviews (or just aren't accurate in light of their entire worldviews).
But he's done this more than once: in the past saying he - a doctor - couldn't have been a gynecologist because he didn't want to spend his career "with his head between a woman's legs". I've thought for awhile these "gaffes" are more than poor choices of words, and veers into the "when people tell you who they are, believe them". In terms of his views on women, I can't help but think Ko is telling us who he is, and perhaps we should listen. Especially in light of his more eloquent handling of almost every other matter - why does he keep getting this one wrong if his statements don't belie some deeper belief that he doesn't dare acknowledge in public, in a country that despite being deeply traditional is also one of the most, if not the most, progressive in Asia, and possibly the best country in Asia for women.
What makes it tough is that, well, I like the guy. I cheered when Ko won the mayoralty (then again, who wouldn't given the opposition?). I like a solid progressive anti-establishment maverick, and it's no secret that I despise the KMT and support the goals of the DPP, even though I find it hard to support the DPP itself (Ko is not DPP, he's an independent with DPP-leaning views). It's easy to shout down or mock someone you don't like having views you find abhorrent - to give American examples, for me it wasn't hard to laugh at Mitt Romney, and it's quite easy to roll one's eyes at say, Chris Christie or dismiss Bush II for the idiot he is. It's a lot harder to, say, come to terms with the fact that Hillary Clinton is a terrible person, or that Obama has foreign policy goals that horrify me.
Such as it is with Ko - how do I square his statements about women, telling us who he really is, with the fact that I support and even like him?
I don't know. Watch this space.