Election Day

I’m not very politically engaged. My answer to being disenfranchised is to politically disengage. I do nominally lean pan-Green. However, if I had the power to vote, I would probably vote for whomever I felt was the best candidate for the time and place, regardless of party affiliation.

Despite being politically detached, I know an election is happening. The rise in the decibel level of my community forces my awareness. The tendency in Asian elections, as with many things here, is to try to be as noisy as possible. There is a pretty constant stream of trucks, with loud speakers, driving up and down the street blaring their political messages. Along with occasional marches of one or two hundred people screaming the slogans of their chosen one.

My first experience of Asian election noise came in South Korea. [That’s  not quite true, my first experience came in Thailand, but involved tanks and automatic weapon fire, and so falls outside the purview of this discussion]. Where I lived, in Korea, they had massive apartment complexes each containing a dozen, or more, large residential towers. At about five in the morning, a truck would pull up and stop outside each individual building and blare its political message at the insensate beings within. I was stunned that any political candidate would consider this to be a good move. My natural [Canadian] reaction was nobody would vote for such an a-hole. My Korean friends found my reaction stupefying. How would you know who to vote for if they didn’t come yell at you at the crack of dawn?

Compared to that, Taiwan election noise is positively civil.

The other reason I know an election is happening is because I can’t drive anywhere without being diverted by road construction, as whichever party controls the public construction purse strings tries to make it look like they’re really working for the community. It is pretty transparent when you don’t see any construction for 3.986 years, and then all of a sudden you can’t walk to the 7-11 without tripping over a hardhat. But, hey, politicians will be politicians wherever you are.

I know I sound, well, salty, but I’m a big fan of Taiwanese democracy. I lived here during the first democratic transfer of power. I love the enthusiasm and excitement that the Taiwanese bring to their young democracy. Most people seem unjaded about their civic responsibilities. It’s nice.