Taiwan as the World Turns: the Media Love Good Soap Opera

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Friday September 03, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

Last week the media in Taiwan were all ablaze with the gossip of Kao Kuo-hua, owner of a major cram school being caught French-kissing a teacher from a competing cram school by vigilant paparazzi. One would wonder, why is this a big deal? It would be different if Taiwan's President had been caught in a gay tryst with a youthful page or such, but a cram school owner? Come on.

However, the plot thickened as more facts came out. Kao's second wife Tsai Yu-hsuan accused the teacher Chen Tzu-hsuan of breaking up her home. (Kao was claiming at this point that they were divorced) Kao came back and said that you, Tsai, broke up my first marriage so how can you talk. Somehow in all of this the blame was always cast on the women and Kao, the "dancing teacher" who has a flamboyant style seemed he was the innocent in all of this.

The owner of the competitive cram school whose teacher Kao was "seeing" at first was pissed that Kao was dating one of his teachers, but then as he saw Kao starting to squirm with excuses he got into the game and offered to give NT$1 million to the "new couple" if they married.

Kao proved ever dramatic and tearfully read a note on how Tsai's accusations, and Chen's poor judgment in men in this whole affair was hurting his mother. This was the "Hello moment"

Somehow Kao never seemed to look into a mirror throughout as Tsai supposedly was at fault for Kao fooling around with her while married to wife#1; and then Kao was caught again fooling aorund with Chen while married to wife #2. Kao concluded in tears that these nasty women were hurting his mother's image of him. Hellooo! Do you think you might have a part in this, or are we to wait till you are caught fooling around with someone else while linked to wife#3?

But the real wonder is why the media gave runing time on all this real life soap for several days--I guess ECFA and other items were too dry for public taste. But this is where Taiwan's media need to do some soul-searching; sensationalism still seems to be the order of the day, whether it be political soap opera, or otherwise.