Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taiwan Pride 2008+Taiwan Politics 2008....

Above: Gay men in skimpy swimming trunks parade along a busy Taipei street...i think the impact of them parading on the streets with buses and vehicle passengers driving past is great as it influences mainstream society into accepting, or at least, starting a conversation on gays and lesbians in Taiwan...imagine a family in a car or friends passing by seeing this, its bound to start a discussion on gays which is always a good thing..even just discussing it..
Above: 'Waterboys'..always a highlight of the Taipei Pride as you get to see hunks in trunks...hehe...

Above: 'One Mother is Good. Two Mothers is even Better' .

Above: More 'Waterboys'...

Above: Tongzhi (Gay) Hotline...with Taipei 101 in the background... (The Above 5 photos come from a blogger who was there at the parade)

Above: Malaysian participants at the Taipei Pride 2008.

Above: Rainbow Flag along Taipei's busiest stretch...ZhongXiao East Road Sec. 4

Taipei held its 6th annual Pride Parade on September 27th themed 'Run the Rainbow Way' and it was reported that 18,000 people attended. Taiwan's pride parade which started in 2003 and has grown steadily since then in both diversity and participants, is now not only the biggest pride parade in the Chinese-speaking world (China does not have any pride parades and Hong Kong's is very small...) but also is Asia's largest LGBT pride parade (yes! its actually larger than the one in Tokyo and even Asia's gay capital Bangkok!)...this year there has been more emphasis on diversity within the LGBT community including highlighting bisexuals and trangendered people.

The spanish movie 'Queens' also opened in Taiwanese cinemas to coincide with the pride parade showing the visibility of the pride parade nowadays considering how the movie was made in 2004 and cinema owners are open enough to decide to screen a gay-themed movie to coincide with the parade.
Youtube Video of Taipei LGBT Parade 2008:

Taiwan Politics October Rant:

I wanted the DPP to win but the KMT won instead in Taiwan's Presidential Elections early this year....this meant that Taiwan only experienced 8 years of rule under a different government and reverted to KMT rule once again which has ruled it since 1949.
Anyways, the economy hasn't improved since Mr.Ma came into power (one of his key campaign pledges was to give Taiwan a 6% economic growth rate and turn around the economy which had been faltering under the DPP govt..) and now the KMT have revised their pledge and said that 6% economic growth is unlikely to be achieved until the END of Mr.Ma's presidential term, which means in 4 years this is party which sought to present itself as the economic wizkids of Taiwan as opposed to the DPP which was presented as lacking economic credentials..

And one thing which piss me off alot is the KMT emphasis on closer economic ties with China. It says the future of Taiwan lies in closer ties with China and wants to put all its eggs in the one basket, China. This makes Taiwan extremely vulnerable and is in effect eroding Taiwan's bargaining power with China as it becomes increasingly reliant on China's economy for its own survival. One must remember that the highest period of economic growth for Taiwan was during the 1980s and 1990s before China became a financial and political giant in Asia and it did fine without China's economy. I don't see whats different now. I mean of course trading with China is desirable but one must remember that Taiwan and China have a 'special relationship' which means that unlike other countries, Taiwan must actually rely LESS on China's economy, not more!

Many KMT supporters will cite China's large economy, its financial prowess, and the need for Taiwan to reap benefits from China's still growing economy, but lets not forget that other countries in Asia such as Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, also rely on trade with China to boost their GDP growths BUT do not argue that they must rely on China's economy solely to boost domestic growth, which is one you hear incessantly from pro-reunification and KMT people and supporters...i think at the heart of it is an arguement based on emotional terms rather economic terms, that China and Taiwan are inherently one and the same race and culture and thus a tight economic cooperation between the two is desirable.

And then Mr.Ma, in an interview with a Mexican paper, said that China and Taiwan are both 'regions' of China which means that Taiwan is NOT a country but merely a 'region' of some kind of delusional cold-war era concept of 'China' which Mr.Ma and the rest of the KMT call the Republic of China (ROC)...basically the KMT and Mr.Ma are now REGRESSING (make no mistake about that!!!) back to cold-war era mentality whereby 'China' means the 'Republic of China' and the ROC means BOTH China AND Taiwan and the PRC (the Beijing government) has no legitimate claims over 'China' and is renegade government!

Mr.Ma's only logical conclusion is thus this:

The Republic of China is the only legitimate government over the WHOLE of China including the mainland AND Taiwan. The PRC Communist government which has been ruling China since 1949 DOES NOT REALLY exist.

Taiwan is a part of the ROC. It is thus not a country of itself but is the 'Taiwan region' of the ROC whilst China is the 'mainland region' of the ROC.

This is of cos bullocks and total BS given the reality that the PRC Communist government is now recognised as the only sole legal government of the whole of China by every (almost) nation on earth AND is also the holder of a permanent security council seat at the UN.

By lowering Taiwan's status to that of a mere 'region' and with the reality that the whole world now only recognises the Beijing CCP government as the sole government of China, do you think anyone in the world, including the CCP in Beijing, would not take that to mean that Taiwan is indeed a mere 'region' (like Hong Kong and Macao) of the People's Republic of China??!

I think Mr.Ma has too much historical baggage and is still living in the cold war era of 'Free China' (meaning Taiwan) and 'Red China' (meaning mainland China)....its so silly and offensive that i simply dun know whether to laugh or cry...

Under Lee Teng Hui and the DPP, there was already a healthy trend towards asserting Taiwan's distinctiveness and culture called 本土化 'Localisation'. I think this was a natural and necessary step considering the current trend worldwide of indigenous culture appreciation and localisation be it from Australia's emphasis on Aboriginal culture in its identity-forming process to Japan's recent recognisation of its Ainu people as an official indigenous people to Malaysia and Singapore's culture of lahs and Malaysian and Singaporean English which only made Taiwan's emphasis of its indigenous roots only the more inevitable. From Lee Teng Hui's 特别国与国关系 'special state-to-state' relations in characterising Taiwan-China relations to former President Chen's characterisation of Taiwan-China relations as 一边一国 'one side one country' i have always felt that the DPP were much more willing to accept reality and the actual on- the-ground reality that Taiwan is already an independent country and the ROC no longer controls mainland China. The DPP have always recognised the CCP Communist government as the only legitimate government in China whilst the KMT has refused to do so.
And now Mr.Ma has regressed ALL the way BACK to cold war era characterisations of Taiwan being 台湾地区 'the Taiwan region' and mainland China being 大陆地区 'the Mainland China region' of the Republic of China. Mr.Ma said he respects democracy and the Taiwanese people's right to choose either independence or reunification with China. can you choose independence when you're merely a region of the ROC and the ROC government is in Taipei?! If Taiwan became independent, where would the KMT/ROC govt go?? (cos the DPP don't really say they're part of the ROC) Certainly not back to Nanjing or Beijing cos the CCP government is there...then where??
The KMT people hide behind the Constitution which characterises the Taiwan-China relationship as one between regions of the ROC..this shows that the Taiwanese Constitution has to be changed urgently because it is totally unreflective of post-cold war realities and the reality that the CCP government has been ruling China since 1949 and that the PRC has existed since 1949 and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Taiwan has been an independent nation state since 1949, separate from China, and never was the myth which the KMT government conjured up to legitimise its rule on Taiwan, being 'Free China'.

So lets see what nonsense Mr.Ma spews up next time and whether the economy will truly become better as espoused all along during the campaign by the KMT and Mr.Ma or that its all empty promises by the KMT.......

Previous posts on Taiwan's politics:


W Tan said...

Hi HC,
Thanks for your note on my blog. Had a quick look on your site and read some of your interesting postings on your views on Taiwan, China, Tibet, etc. Nice stuff.

As for the Biennale, I have only been to the Singapore and the Taiwan ones. Both are equally wide in scope. The entrance fee for the Taiwanese one is 1/3 of Singapore's but the Singapore Biennale has excellent captions and descriptions on each of the exhibits whereas the Taipei one has an one line caption that does not tell much. Whilst one could get a guidebook at the Taipei Biennale for US$5 (the book is free together with the entrance fee for the Singapore one), there were few signs to inform the visitor that. I was asked by the Taipei security guard not to take any photos...whereas photos are allowed at the Singapore Biennale. Go to both if you are in both cities.

One more thing: I have seen a few of my Taipei gay pride photos on your blog. I assume that it was an oversight on your part to have forgotten to put an acknowledgement or a link to my site.

Feel free to contact me for any travel related query. You can find my personal email at this link:

I have lots of travelogues and photojournals at

Look forward to hearing from you.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

w tan: hey...thx for the reply!!
I wanna ask how do u get all the money and time to travel all around the world?

also i can't rem which pictures are from where,(indeed, which ones r press ones n which ones are from bloggers themselves!) thats why i didn't mention links..but if u want me to, just let me know which ones r urs n i shall update with a link to ur site=)

also, i shall have a look at ur travelogues and journals at ur site!

aimlesswanderer said...

I haven't read anything about it, but are you sure that the KMT are trying to regress the relationship with the mainland? The CCP was, paradoxically, happy that their old adversaries won the election, as they were less likely to rock the boat and start talking about "independence", which the DPP used to.

Surely the KMT just want to emphasise that, economically (and, possibly later, politically and culturally) they think that the future lies primarily with its enourmous neighbour. If they start saying, again, that they are still the legitimate government of the whole of China then cross strait relations will collapse awfully fast, and that won't help economic growth.

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

aimlesswanderer: yeah. i think they're regressing bckwards actually..sad but true..

W Tan said...

Hi HC, the first 5 photos are mine.
I have been in investment banking and CFO of a listed company before. A mixture of savings and market windfall helped to financed my travels. Often it's a matter of choice - do you wanna save for a property, a flash car or extended travels round the world. I have many wealthy friends who said non-stop they envy me and yet they have no desire whatsoever to make any sacrifices in other spending, or in their career. Why complain then?

hcpen 彭皓全 said...

wtan: i've amended my post with a link to ur blog...thx for the tip!
yea, i totally agree with u..but then again ur frens r rich, many ppl can't afford what u n ur frens can afford even if they save and sacrifice on certain spendings.
lucky u (and ur friends!) :)