So Taiwan’s President Ma won’t be lodging an official protest over the Economist calling him “an ineffectual bumbler!” How magnanimous of him. The UK mag must’ve been shaking in its boots in fear that El Presidente would take them to task over this
painstakingly accurate baseless and malicious slur! Probably.
Even if they aren’t going to “protest”, the very fact that there was talk of this by legislators shows how bloody childish and irrational they are. And it’s not just the KMT. Foreigners who have offered their tuppence worth on sensitive issues to Taiwanese friends or family members will know that a lot of people don’t take kindly to foreigners “interfering” even when they were sometimes asked for their opinion in the first place! I’ve been taken to task for calling Chiang Kai-shek a dictator by staunch green, Taiwan independence types! He may be a dictator but he was “our” dictator. Message: “Keep your (long) nose out forriner!” Similarly, note the DPP jumping to Ma’s defense. Message: “Only one thing worse than our crap prez and that’s Johnny Forriner lambasting our crap prez. If there’s any ridiculing to be done, we’ll be doing, aaaaahite?!”
This tribal, us-against-them mentality can be seen from the comments that there has been a “storm” in the press over the audacity of this British rag. “I feel bad and also sad some foreign media would launch such a criticism against our national leader,” says KMT legislator Lo Shu-lei. So it would be all right if it was local media, then?
Anyway, I reckon the old KMT party are still pining for the martial law era where they used to be able to bang people up for complaining about the weather, or worse, make people “disappear”. See, they don’t seem to be able to distinguish between a country (read government here) and its press. How you gonna “lodge a complaint” with the British authorities for an editorial than appeared in a privately-owned magazine? If you feel you’ve been libelled, take up a suit. Don’t hear any talk of that, do you?
Amidst all the idiocy, I did have to laugh at this snidey aside in South China Morning Post: “Diplomatically isolated Taiwan is highly conscious of its image abroad, with the local press often reporting at length if the island is mentioned in international media, even if it is as part of the weather forecast.”