Taiwan, As the World Turns, Life Under Ma the Incompetent: the Great Panda Fiasco

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Sunday January 24, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The soap opera of life in Taiwan continues under its so-called President, Ma the Incompetent, a.k.a. Ma Ying-joke. People no longer commiserate about the joke of his 6-3-3 campaign promise. Nor do they even mention the joke of his promise that his great rapprochement with China would bring over 3,000 well-heeled, free-spending Chinese per day to turn Taiwan's economy around. All Taiwan got were loud mouth pikers who when they weren't spitting on the sidewalks were trying to stiff restaurants because they didn't bring much money. The latest sad thing that makes people wonder "Why did we ever believe him?" is the great panda fiasco.

Recall a short time ago when Ma in his on-going efforts to Sinicize Taiwan and take away its identity was going to make Taiwan a center for panda research. As if Taiwan had nothing better to spend its tax-payer money on than seeing how pandas can live outside of their natural habitat? Taiwan spent millions and millions of US$ dollars on this erstwhile project while recession hammered at the gates. The corresponding Ma promise was that this would bring all sorts of spin-off revenue from Taiwan's public.

The results? It's another Ma bust and time to send the pandas packing before they really become a financial burden! One year later we can now thankfully say that Taiwan may perhaps finally be seeing through the Ma hype. Most zoos report that in the first couple of years of the costly renting of pandas from China, spin-off profits are high but then the novelty wears off and profits peter out. Taiwan didn't even get that. Further, the Taipei Zoo spent five times as much money on pandas than it did on penguins and the pandas inspired less than half the visitors the penguins did.

What is the next promise of money rolling in from Ma the Incompetent? The US says it will not re-negotiate the junk beef scandal Ma tried to sneak in the back door. That leaves the blank check ECFA Ma wants Taiwan taxpayers and industries to sign. So the world turns in Taiwan. Stay tuned, there is more coming.