Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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The Kuomintang PSY

10/22/2014 Taiwan Explorer
As it turns out, the Kuomintang, Taiwan's current ruling party, has a candidate competing in local elections for the city council in Zhonghe District named Chiu Feng-yao (邱烽堯), that looks a little bit like the Korean singing sensation PSY. While the similarity seems to be coincidental, his campaign is definitely trying to take advantage of it. The top down slogan in red says: "打造快樂新北市" ("Develop happy New Taipei City"). The slogan in the blue bubble next to the PSY caricature says: "一起跳躍" ("Let's jump together").

"Zhonghe style" is not quite like "Gangnam Style".

It's unclear at this point what Chiu's policies of "jumping together" and "developing happy New Taipei City mean", but if we judge it by the policies of his father Chiu Chui-yi (邱垂益), the current mayor of Zhonghe, then there's not much to look forward to. Zhonghe is one of the noisiest, most crowded, and most polluted parts of Greater Taipei, and probably all of Taiwan. Apart from a few new metro stations, and lots of new high-rise apartment blocks randomly shooting out everywhere (with most apartments being empty), nothing much has changed in recent years. Zhonghe is usually voting Kuomintang, there are a lot of old party loyal soldier communities found all over the district. There is no such thing as "Yes We Can!" in Zhonghe, people vote for continuity, and that's why it looks the way it does.

PSY is not amused

I reached out to PSY via phone call, and he told me "he was not amused" after I mailed him the controversial image. He further stated "that his globally recognized caricature was misused for political means by the Kuomintang", and that "he has never worn a T-shirt with Kuomintang party logo", and that the popular chatting app LINE "paid thousands of Wons" for the stickers with his image, so they "will not let Mr. Chiu's campaign team get away without paying royalties, possibly worth thousands of Wons" unless the banner is retracted, and an official apology is aired on Korean national TV by Mr. Chiu's father. He also said that "he supported Mr. Ma's peace initiative in the South China Sea", and that "he was tolerant of various lifestyles". I was not able to get a response from Mr. Chiu, or his campaign staff, but you can send him an email here for further clarifications.

"Why did the Kuomintang not pay any royalties for using my star allure and the LINE sticker!" the real PSY replied while waiting for the official apology.