We all need to put more effort on building a better system and rejecting a bad one, but not on building allegiance with our hero or vilifying that of our opponents ...
Extramarital gay sex video
The suspicion that Ma Ying-jeou is gay (President of Taiwan in Gay Sex Scandal) has been circling around for some time. I first heard about it roughly a year ago during the heat of 2008 presidential election. A Special Report VCD (非常光碟) Episode-2 was to be published (See Taipei Times 3/9/2008 editorial for a call to stop this notorious VCD). It was said that part of the content is about Ma Ying-jeou's gay life.
Somehow Ma Ying-jeou and his people got to either learn about or watch the content before it was even mass-produced. The production was stalled. It was said that all VCD-making factories in the entire Taiwan were threatened by forces from all sides, including the police, the prosecutors, and the gangsters, thus no one dared to make any copy.
Ma's opponent, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) presidential candidate Frank Hsieh (謝長廷), also condemned the VCD.
After then the talk of Ma being gay seemed to fade out from the scene, until recently when the formal president Chen Shui-bian mentioned it again in his court hearing on 2/25/09.
Chen said that there was a DVD showing Ma Ying-jeou's intimate relationship with former ICRT DJ Charles Mack, nicknamed Chocolate. Chen said that Special Investigation Panel Prosecutor Wu Wen-chung (吳文忠) put a hand to suppress the DVD from going public by the owner, Mack's wife Chang Wei-chin (張瑋津).
After Chen's statement, DPP party whip at Legislature Yuan Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘) confirmed that he was there when Wu asked Chang not to reveal the DVD (reference in Chinese: 柯建銘：吳文忠喬光碟 我在場).
Wu responded by saying that he didn't recall if Ker was there when he pull the plug on Chang's intention of going public with it. He might not be aware that by eagerly discrediting Ker, he in fact confirmed that the DVD did exist, and he did exercise his power to suppress it from publishing even he, as he claimed, never watched the DVD.
When asked in this regard the next day, Chang wanted journalists to seek the truth from Ma and Ma's closest think tank King Pu-tsung (金溥聰), who was the former deputy mayor of Taipei when Ma was the mayor and was Ma's campaign manager during the 2008 presidential election. No idea why King's name was mentioned.
The incident was followed by a wave of attack, aimed at Ma's sex orientation, coming from DPP legislators (ref. in Chinese) .
Where is the alleged gay talk from?
It's not uncommon for negative attacks to appear in campaign or other political power struggles. But Ma Ying-jeou is probably the first and only one who is called "being gay." I was wondering why.
In some occasions he did behave girlie (馬英九 沒有啦), but are all men behave girlie gay? I wouldn't make that conclusion. The former New Your Mayor Giuliani once dressed and performed like a woman but we don't say he's gay.
To my knowledge, the only somehow convincing report to this talk seems to be a news piece, published by UDN, about Ma's response to a movie.
When Ma was in New York back in March, 2006, he was visited by the director Ang Lee (李安) of Brokeback Mountain, a movie describing the intimacy of gays. The pro-blue news udnnews.com reported the encounter (in Chinese: 馬英九會李安談斷背山：Jack回眸很迷人):
李安在紐約當地時間晚上10時，到馬英九下榻的 Sheraton LaGuardia East 飯店，與馬英九會晤。顧不得媒體蜂湧取景，馬英九劈頭就問李安，「我一直想問，Jack每次都回眸一笑，那是刻意的嗎？」
Ang Lee went to Sheraton LaGuardia East to visit Ma at 10 pm New York time. Disregarding the surrounding media's rushing attempt for photo shooting, Ma Ying-jeou eagerly initiated the conversation between him and Lee with a question, "I have always been wanting to ask, Jack (a role in the movie) 'smiles while glancing back' every time, is that intentionally arranged?"
馬英九強調，他看「斷背山」沒有哭，但很感動，他認為 Jack 回眸的表情真的很迷人，好幾次做回眸動作，「非常明顯」。媒體記者聽了忍不住追問馬英九是否對Jack有心動？馬英九遲疑半晌說，「我啊？會啊!會啊！」
Ma Ying-jeou emphasized that when he watched the Brokeback Mountain, he didn't cry but he was very touched. He said that he thinks Jack's "smiles while glancing back" is very very charming, and said that there are several of such a move in the movie that is "very obvious". Reporters couldn't help but ask Ma if he has a crash on Jack. Ma hesitated for a moment and said, "Me? Yes! Yes!"
Ma Ying-jeou said Lee's comment caught the feelings of many. He said that there's indeed a love story in everyone's life, "doesn't necessarily be between sexes or among the same sex. This feelings of love could follow him for the rest of life."
Readers from English-speaking countries might think what Ma said are just straight talks. But in Chinese language, the character "love"(愛) usually is not generalized to describe "all kinds of love" as its English counter part. When you say 愛 and 愛的故事, it almost exclusively indicates the love as in "falling in love".
Certainly, what impression readers will get from this report is up to individual interpretation, and is by no way a proof of Ma Ying-jeou's sexial orientation. However, the description of Ma's response to a gay movie in such details will most probably fuel the rumor or trigger the suspicion that he's homosexual.
But, that certainly is not a problem. "Being gay" should never have become the issue in the first place. It's not only an assassination of personality, but also, even worse, is an insult to gay community by portraying it as negative.
But in Taiwan, media and politicians, especially that of DPP, can't seem to get their hands away from it. No surprise it backfired -- a press conference by the gay community on 2/27 to criticize that the "sexial orientation" is turned into a political tool in Legislative Yuan (in Chinese: 馬巧光碟政治爭議 性別團體斥污名歧視)
With focus on Ma Ying-jeou's sexial orientation, another issue (under the condition of the rumor being true), "extramarital affair", seems to be ignored.
There were many cases that a politician paid dearly for his/her sex affair. It doesn't matter it's gay or not, and doesn't even matter it's extramarital or not.
Examples are former Secretary General of Presidential Office John Chang (章孝嚴), former DPP Kaohsiung Mayor candidate Chang Chun-hsiung (張俊雄), former New Party Legislator Chu Mei-feng (璩美鳳), and former Judicial Yuan vice president Cheng Chung-mo (城仲模). Because of sex scandal, their political careers suffered either a sharp break or a complete termination.
In USA, former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had to resign in March, 2008, from his governor seat for an extramarital sex scandal, and former senator Larry Craig had to give up his senator seat for a gay solicitation in public he was involved in in 2007. One of the Democratic Party stars John Edwards had to go into an early retirement of his political career for his extramarital affair. The are many other examples, many of the people who paid with their career are promising political stars. And don't forget how harshly the former President Bill Clinton was hammered when his extramarital sex scandal was exposed.
The mounting examples show that, in both Taiwan and USA, involving in an extramarital sex scandal is considered serious enough for a politician to pay with his/her political career.
But Ma Ying-jeou is different. He is above all the laws and rules applied to all politicians in both Taiwan and USA. Not that there's a proof that he is involved in extramarital affair. When his alleged extramarital sex scandal became a widespread topic among people, not even any sort of investigation is conducted. Instead the authority went full speed with state power to suppress a possible evidence.
Certainly, the anti-government camp play no small part in this negligence by focusing on the issue of Ma's sexial orientation.
What really is at risk: erosion of justice
But the issue of 'extramarital sex scandal" doesn't even come close to what really matters to Taiwanese. At worst it's just Ma Ying-jeou's personal reputation. Taiwanese won't suffer a bit more even if Ma has many of such personal scandals, and won't suffer a bit less if the rumor is proved to be just a rumor.
What really matters in this case is the abuse of prosecutorial power.
The development of Ma's alleged gay sex video revealed, as I highlighted in an earlier paragraph, that a prosecutor dared to suppress something from publishing even though he doesn't know what exactly the content of the material is.
That's the point Chen Shui-bian wanted to make.
If you look at the context of Chen's entire defense strategy in the court hearing -- that he gave several examples of prosecutors involving in prosecutorial power abuses in several cases, including Ma's alleged gay sex video -- you would know that the purpose Chen mentioned Ma's alleged extramarital video is to remind people of prosecutor misconducts. Ma's sex life is NOT what Chen aimed for.
Unlike some personal reputation, the prosecutorial misconduct represents the erosion of judiciary system and it affects the right of every one in Taiwan. It should have been what bothers Taiwanese the most in this sex scandal storm.
Unfortunately Chen's real purpose is ignored and Ma's alleged sex video stood out. The green camp (or at least, part of it) once again showed the lack of focus on something really matters, and the blue camp once again showed the audacity to abuse judiciary power and put their people above the law.
- A screenshot of the webpage 馬英九會李安談斷背山：Jack回眸很迷人, in case it disappears into the thin air.
- Video of Frank Hsieh and Ma Ying-jeou talked about their views on "Gay Marriage Law" in one of the Presidential debates:
02-24-08 總統大選辯論 公民提問 10 -- 是否贊成同志婚姻法.
I personally think they both did a lousy job on this. One thing surprises me is that one attendent mentioned there are total of 2,000,000 gays/lesbians in Taiwan, which is almost 1/10 of entire population ! Did I hear it wrong ?
- Taipei Times reports a press conference held by the gay community on 2/26/09, Gay activists to form bloc for Da-an district election. It does quote one of the attendants saying that "we estimated that around 10 percent of voters in Da-an District are gay."
- Earlier this year, Ma Ying-jeou was heavily criticized by the gay, lesbian, transgender and sex worker rights activists for discrimination against them: Groups slam Ma over gender 'bias'. It seems to show that Ma Ying-jeou applies his honey-tongue to all walks of lives.
“Ma said in his New Year's speech that he would not hesitate to come to the rescue of whoever is suffering — and it's all bullshit,” Chung Chun-chu (鍾君竺), executive director of the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters, said during a press conference to publicize a list of new items highlighting government violations of gender and sexual rights.
“He is a more skillful liar than [former president] Chen Shui-bian [陳水扁],”(highlighted by Taiwan Echo) Chung said, as she commented on news reports about the government's failure to make any progress on legalizing prostitution and gay marriage.
“When Chen [Shui-bian] raided brothels [as Taipei mayor], he did it openly,” Chung said. “Ma, however, makes beautiful but empty promises.”