Taiwan's Little Boy Ma Remains Lost in Lah-lah Land

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Monday September 01, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Ma Ying-joke, the flim-flam man, the phony pony, call him what they will, for the people in Taiwan who watch the real world going on in places like Georgia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Tibet, Xinxiang etc. Ma Ying-jeou's "flexible diplomacy" remains the laughing-stock of the country. Somehow Ma still feels that by being a good little boy to the powers of the world and by continuing to seek venues where he can pose and smile, then all will be solved and the rest of the problems of the country will disappear.

Examine his "new" flexible approach. Ma's message to China, the USA and others is "Look, I will be a good little boy and not cause trouble. I won't insist that people call me President; I won't insist on the sovereignty of my country; I won't apply for the United Nations (UN) membership this year; and if I am rebuffed in anything I do, I will pretend it never happened. I will do all this and anything else you want, just so that you can give me a pat on the head and tell me that I am a good little boy. Then I will smile back at you and we can all feel good."

So the country watched Ma play his "great China tourist card" to solve the nation's economic problems, another laughing stock. He now suggests multiple-entry visas for China's 1.3 billion people. After promising Taiwan's people, that under him the nation's economy would soar and soar, his grand economic strategy has already run out of cards to play. He now tries to blame it on the past administration by saying that he has been dealt a bad hand. But somehow, to say that a nation that averaged over 4.5 percent growth per year for eight years is a bad hand makes people scratch their heads. Most countries would kill for such wealth. The economy is sinking and the phony pony has run out of tricks.

Well what about the UN? There Ma the poseur hoped that his new flexible strategy would be the charm and it would gain participation for Taiwan in other UN programs. Unfortunately it struck out. The Chinese Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya basically said to Ma, "Get lost kid, you bother me." And true to form, Wang Yu-chih of Taiwan's Presidential Office said that we should not take this as a rebuff. China just did not understand that we are trying to be good little boys.

One can only wonder at the fortitude and endurance of Taiwan's seasoned diplomats (if there are any left) who must grovel in this new approach. And as they do it, they must at the same time try to defend and to justify that it is the path of honor and the best path to follow.

One feels like crying out, "Will someone, please, please, please throw this man some crumbs?" For sadly, it has come to that, a state where even crumbs will satisfy this joker. The latest area where Ma seeks crumbs is the coming application for the World Health Association (WHA). Ma has already put forth his case, "Look, I will continue to be a good little boy. I will sit in the corner and be quiet. I only want to be an observer. I won't raise my hand or my voice to gain attention. So won't you please give me some crumbs, then I can go back and tell my people what a great thing I have accomplished."

Ma remains lost in his self-created and imaginary lah-lah land and the sycophants who surround him tell him what a good job he is doing. As for the Taiwanese people, in Ma's first 100 days, they are already speaking out. I will post tomorrow photos of protests in front of the Presidential Palace both on August 9th and August 30th.