Yesterday was Taiwan’s presidential election. When I decided to come to Taipei, I had no idea that 2012 was a presidential year. In the weeks since I’ve been here, I’ve seen countless ads on buses, heard over passing cars with blaring megaphones, on the television, and even flyered on the campus once to don’t forget to vote!
After all the fuss, the campaigns for president against Tsai-Ing Wen and Ma Ying Jeou finally culminated. I spent the better part of Saturday paying attention to the news. Yea, I didn’t understand a good bit of it, but it was interesting to see how the media in Taiwan covered the election. I thought about the big rivalry between the Democratic CNN and Republican FoxNews. The same political bias exists here as well, between certain channels supporting the Kuomintang (KMT) or the Democratic People’s Party (DPP).
In the end, Ma Ying Jeou won. As these articles from the NYT and BBC discuss, Ma’s success ensures that cross-strait relations will continue to improve, not decline, as many thought would have happened if the DPP won. As an American, from a US-China relation’s standpoint, I’m glad Ma won. If it’s good for America, then it’s good in my book.
One other thing that I found interesting was watching the victory and defeat speeches at the end of the night. Ma’s speech almost had a Nixon-esque vibe to it. “xie xie dajia, women ying le (thanks everyone, we won!)” yelled Ma as he raised both arms waving a victory/peace sign, while his campaign staff did likewise. Meanwhile, on the DPP side, I couldn’t help but notice that the media seemed to pay attention to the audience, primarily women, who were pretty much balling in tears of sadness…goes to show how powerful a role the media plays in free nations.