Thursday, 13 December 2007
The "大中至正" sign at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial was torn down and replaced with "自由廣場." And CKS Memorial is now "Democracy Memorial."
While most people stayed away, some decided to come out and protest. While it may have looked like a riot on TV, I think it was really just a few people suffering from psychological problems becoming emotionally charged and causing small commotions here and there. Unfortunately, our assigners did not get out there and see for themselves the real situation, and just kept sending more and more of us out. At times, there were more reporters out there than there were protesters.
The calm before the storm:
There was one incident where a very upset man drove his truck into a campaign truck. Naturally, cameramen from all stations swarmed around the scene, but the man in the truck decided to hit the gas one more time, and ended up sending several cameramen flying, and dragging one under his truck. The poor guy under the truck was dragged several meters, suffered abrasions, fractures in his chest, arms, legs, pelvis, swelling in his brain, and was bleeding in his lungs. It was a real bloody nightmare.
But with so many reporters out there jostling for a good shot, something like this was bound to happen. Cameramen these days think they are supermen, and our assigners these days think they can capture more news and better shots by sending more and more reporters and cameramen out there.
This woman showed up with her nine-year-old daughter late at night after the sign was changed. Even after her daughter kept asking if they can go home, the mother was obviously too incapacitated to listen, but somehow still got through the police and the barricade. She was then carried out by the four policemen, each holding one limb. All the while, screaming about political injustice or something of the sort.
Many of the commotions were like this. The drunk son of a very famous KMT lawyer showed up in a police uniform and started telling the police off. Of course, he was taken away promptly. There were also plenty of people there protesting for different things, including monks asking stray dogs to be saved. Also, were were people there drinking from bottles of red wine, shouting and celebrating after the signs were changed. It was probably the biggest congregation of media and disturbed people I've ever seen.
To complicate matters, the local government, which is KMT (central is DPP) says what the central government is doing here is illegal. Through this all, the secretary general of the education ministry Chuang Kuo-jung (莊國榮) has been going on camera rebutting the city's legal claims, but all the while, making comments like "(KMT presidential candidate) Ma Ying-jeou is a sissy" and "(Taipei city mayor) Hao Lung-bin (郝龍斌) seems really gay." Some DPP legislators loved it and held a press conference the following Monday to say "good job!"
The KMT's Chiang Kai-shek led a crackdown on an uprising that happened on 28 February, 1947. Tens of thousands of people were said to have been killed and/or vanished as a result of that incident, and the DPP says it doesn't want any place or any thing that glorifies him, so is therefore changing the name of the memorial and its signs. They also want to tear down the beautiful wall & hallway (with several open gates) that encloses the grounds because they don't want to feel the park protected an inaccessible to the people.
I don't care for politics, but I think destruction of beautiful things and historical objects just isn't right.
However, many people, including DPP supporters feel that the DPP government has really lost it trying to get votes for the upcoming legislative and presidential elections. They don't understand why the government is trying to change history when they should really be working on the future.
Taiwan is a beautiful country with wonderful and hard working people. But some of its politicians should perhaps be tossed into the Taiwan Strait.
(news images via TVBS news)