"Pay close attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A new slogan for Ma Ying-jeou

This is gonna hurt you just as much as it'll hurt me!

Taiwan's new president, Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) -- who is neither a lawyer nor an economist -- used the double entendre馬上就會好」 as a slogan during his presidential campaign. The two meanings of that slogan are: "Things (specifically, the economy) will be good right away"; and "If Ma ascends (to the presidency), then things will be good."

Are you ready for this? (你準備好這些事情了嗎?)
I'd hope that even hardcore Ma supporters would be questioning their values by now. Just for starters, on the very day of Ma's inauguration, the TAIEX dropped 226 points:

TAIEX down 226 points on Ma's inauguration day
That can't be a good sign!
(image via the pro-blue Era News, May 20, 2008)

And it didn't stop there. In the next 4 days, share prices continued to dive, bringing the post-inauguration drop to 460.67 points so far, or approximately 5%. Although tourism stocks "outperformed after the Cabinet said on Thursday that it remained committed to bringing in more tourists from China," couldn't that "commit[ment]" just be more empty promises?

The changes keep a-comin'
Ruh roh! Another day has passed since I wrote the preceding paragraph, and the stock market has plummeted another 126.90 points for a whopping total of 587.37 points, bringing Monday's market close to 8707.83 points!

Much more will soon become painfully apparent for everyone in Taiwan.

Shadoobie, shattered
Increases in the price of cement (a more than 10% increase), gasoline (20%), electricity (20 - 30%), natural gas (30%), fertilizer (50%!), and many other commodities are imminent, and their effects will be widely felt.

A chart of *some* of the impending price increases
Is there any escape from such "joys"?
(image via SET News)

Tough love?
As you'd expect, Ma has an "explanation" (which isn't really satisfactory) for the "pain" (Ma's own term) that will soon be felt:

[Maddog translation:]
It's better to hurt for a short time than to hurt for a long time
That's simply amazing coming out of the party of "活不下去" ("can't stand it")!

At the same time, his campaign promise of bringing an ecoonomic growth rate of 6% by the end of this year -- part of his "633 policy" -- has already been "downsized" to probably less than 4.8%, according to Council of Economic Planning and Development Chairman Chen Tian-jy (陳添枝):

[Maddog translation:]
It will be difficult to reach even a 4.8% economic growth rate this year
The GDP was 5.7% last year under the administration of Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), and with over half a year left for Ma to fulfill his promises, it makes me wonder how anyone could have believed that his words weren't mere campaign rhetoric far beyond his actual capabilities.

In just one week, it's all gone Pete Tong!
In light of the empty promises and impending price increases described above, I've come up with a new slogan for Ma's regime:
''Instant Pain!''
"Ma's presidency will cause a lot of pain!" or "Instant agony!"
(a slogan which I'd prefer not to be true)
(More easily-spoken substitute: 「馬上好痛!」)

Oh, and a big one-fingered victory salute to President Ma for removing "台灣" (the Hanzi for "Taiwan") from the Presidential Office web site before the end of his inaugural speech. It's quite curious how he and his party are still acting like sore losers.

The KMT hates Taiwan. Is the feeling mutual?
If the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) doesn't hate Taiwan, WTF could their excuse be?
(image via the print edition of the Liberty Times, May 21, 2008)
(Here's the text which accompanies the above image.)

At least there aren't any dead bodies rotting on the balcony of the Presidential Office so far -- that we know about!

Wake-up calls: , , , , , , ,

Cross-posted at Taiwan Matters!

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