Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ma vs Tsai Debate

A lot of good analysis on the debates going on:

@ Taiwan Matters
@ Kyodo News
@ That's Impossible: Politics from Taiwan w/ A-gu
@ eTaiwan News

Links to videos of the actual debate are on Taiwan Matters, but here's a link to Part I.

As well as a transcript of Part I and Part II (English translation) of the debate.

As far as what I thought from the transcript of Part I, the best points were made by Tsai when she challenged Ma on the secretive contents of the ECFA and how could the Taiwanese public possibly support an agreement of which contents they know nothing about. To that, Ma responds:

The list has not been finalized yet, that’s why we can’t show it at the moment. We try to keep everything behind closed doors during negotiations, but we will make the results public. I promise that I won’t only publicize the list when it’s sent to the legislature.

What Ma fails to mention is that by the time the list is sent to the legislature, it is too late. Negotiations will have been over and the agreement will be well on its way to being inked in.

For most of the other counter-arguments, Ma basically ripped the DPP administration of 2000-2008 as reason for why he is pushing the ECFA as he is now. Arguments Ma made, such as the DPP not getting anything done with China, totally ignores the remarks made by Tsai. Tsai's main points were that this ECFA may be reducing Taiwan's sovereignty; the DPP in the past did not agree to trade agreements because they insisted on Taiwan's sovereignty.

Lastly, Ma's use of the Taiwanese language in certain parts of his arguments was quite demeaning. Does he really believe that inserting a few phrases in Taiwanese will all of a sudden convert these non-ECFA-believers to pro-ECFA-believers just because he spoke in Taiwanese? Gimmicks, gimmicks, gimmicks. To further underline this point, Tsai did not use Taiwanese at all (at least from what I saw from the first part of the video), who would have been the more likely person to do so.

For those who may not know all the past details and comments made by Ma and Tsai, it would seem as if Ma was the winner here. But for those who have been keeping up with all the developments with ECFA, it's clear that Ma's responses just touch the surface of the murky waters beneath.

What's your take on the debate? You can vote in this on-going poll on Yahoo:

The numbers are currently (for who had a better performance?):
37.1% 2433
59.4% 3895
3.5% 230

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