Pure Shit

Burn KMT, Burn (photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times)

My wife’s family participated in demonstration against KMT Central Standing Committee member Liao Wan-lung’s (廖萬隆) idiotic remarks this week. In fact, her cousin’s uncle is the fellow with sunglasses and the lighter in his hand in the above Taipei Times pic.

Aborigines may, as a rule, vote KMT – my wife’s fam are from Miaoli, staunch Blue country – but the ruling party is proving itself no less adept than the Greens at insulting Taiwan’s indigenous people.

At a committee meeting the week before last, Liao suggested to President Ma Ying-jeou that aborigines should be prevented from marrying into “other ethnic groups.” (Note the typical ignorant implication that Taiwan’s aborigines constitute one ethnic group.) He is also reported to have labelled them “mongrels.”

Statements like this have cropped up with monotonous regularity in the decade I have lived in Taiwan. From Annette Lu’s bizarre suggestion that aborigines relocate to Latin America, to Ma’s recent patronising guff , at the same meeting, about valuing aboriginal contributions to sport and music.

What makes Liao’s comments so risible is the fact that, as even a dabbler in Taiwanese history could tell you, a large proportion of this island fits his designation “mongrel.” I won’t cite the literature here but a skim through any work dealing with Qing quarantine and immigration policy from the late 17th to mid-18th centuries, coupled with population growth stats from the period, provides incontrovertible evidence of a strong degree of interethnicity in Taiwan.

Furthermore, it was Holo and Hakka Chinese that were mixing, primarily with Pingpu (plains) aborigines. To be sure, the Gaoshan (mountain) aborigines are probably a lot more ethnically pure – whatever that means – than the average Han Chinese here.

But I’m guessing that, having made the journey across the Strait a few hundred years later than the earliest immigrants, the Liao family maintains blessedly untainted bloodlines. Alas the same cannot be said for Liao’s brain which has clearly been infected with faecal bacteria.

Postscript: The Taipei Times, in true form, uses the fiasco as an excuse to Blue bash. I’m not really against this per se but the Greens have been just as bad, if not worse, at least in the time I have lived in Taiwan. Both sides want aboriginal votes but still superciliously look down on Taiwan’s indigenous people as, to borrow from The Breakfast Club’s Carl, untouchable peasants.

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