Ko parade

This afternoon, the Ko campaign held a big parade in Taipei City. Again, I am a terrible photographer and I have a lousy camera, so don’t expect too much from these pictures. After yesterday’s disaster, I tried to stay steady and these pictures are less blurry than those from the Lien march.

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The crowd gathers at the CKS memorial. This photo covers about 1/3 of the total crowd. Since everyone wants to know, I’d say that the numbers of people in the Ko and Lien parades were fairly close. Both parades took over an hour to walk past a given spot, though the Ko parade may have been a bit more densely packed. The Lien parade claimed 80,000 people, while the Ko parade (inevitably) topped that with an announcement that 200,000 had joined. It is much harder to estimate a parade than a stationary crowd (which you can see all at once). Based on the crowds at the beginning and end of the Ko parade and at the end of the Lien parade as well as watching both march past me, I’m guessing the Lien event may have had as many as 50,000 people take part in some part of the day’s activities, and the Ko parade may have had 75,000. Remember, I’m a killjoy, and my numbers are always lower than everyone else’s. Also remember, that’s still a hell of a lot of people and a very successful political event.

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The nutcracker and a tiger stand in front of the main gate, with the CKS Temple looming in the background. Why the nutcracker and a tiger? Surely you can come up with something more unexpected than that.

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Yes, yes. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. Now that makes perfect sense.

Edit: A commenter points out that this is actually Mother Teresa and George Mackay.  I thought it looked like Mother Teresa, but I was confused by the baby. Also, I confess I have no idea what George Mackay looked like.

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Hong Kongers support Taiwan. I saw a few yellow umbrellas and other references to Hong Kong.

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Taiwanese are not Chinese. One side, one country. There wasn’t any official platform from the campaign. Everyone brought their own appeals. Some people marched carrying ROC flags. This group is from the independence wing of the political spectrum, but they were by no means the dominant voice. There was probably less hard-core Taiwanese nationalism today than there was hard-core Chinese nationalism at yesterday’s Lien parade.

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The Ko ladies group gets their parasols ready for the parade. The Lien campaign is making quite an issue of Ko’s attitudes toward women, so it is very helpful for Ko to have a visible and prominent women’s group supporting him.

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I love this photo. The kid is wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, but he doesn’t really need to be anonymous today, so it’s on the back of his head. The I-Pad is more interesting than the revolution today. Still, the Sunflowers have had a strong influence on the Ko campaign, and there were a lot of young people at today’s parade.

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Ko’s campaign manager, Yao Wen-chih, stopped for a few minutes right in front of us. Everyone wanted to take a picture with him. This is just about as close to being a rock star as a political scientist can ever get.

Edit: Commenter pohao points out that this is Yao Li-ming 姚立明, not Yao Wen-chih 姚文智. Oops. Thanks for the correction.

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Every parade needs a marching band or five. This one only had one, but at least they had a color guard to go along with it.

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After Mary, Joseph, and the nutcracker, here’s a more conventional dragon float.

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I took a lot of pictures of balloons, people dressed in costumes, signs and so on because they are colorful. However, most of the marchers were just normal people happily joining along.

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Above, I said that the Ko campaign didn’t really have a slogan or a theme. That’s not quite true. The main theme was inclusiveness. This was symbolized in part by their many colors of flags. They had eight differently colored flags with identical messages (#hugforTaipei). Many people collected one of each and marched with a rainbow of colored flags in their hands. These people are marching with blue flags — that’s the KMT’s color!

The political scientist in me is a little disconcerted by this emphasis on unity. Unity and harmony are often the slogans of dictators. Democracy requires a bit of division to work. I suppose we in Taiwan are not really in any danger of not enough division though.

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A blow-up god rides on a flatbed truck. The campaign had eight of these trucks, one for each of the color groups. Each group represented both a geographical area of the city and a theme, such as youth or creativity.

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Here on the Nangang District truck, someone wears the Nangang Exhibition Center on his head.

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The view is better from up here.

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A lot of signs were professionally printed, but a surprisingly large number were handmade.

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Ko’s campaign is committed to the idea of i-voting. This may come from the Sunflower influence and the idea that the internet can coordinate preferences. It may also come from the Ko campaign’s commitment to bottom-up politics. Probably both. Personally (and professionally), I think internet voting is a terrible idea and I hope it doesn’t catch on.

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Maybe someone should have told the artists that the Songshan Airport is not in Songshan District. The Sun Yat-sen Memorial is appropriate, though.

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The Bubble Soccer King. The Lien campaign actually took issue with this character yesterday. One speaker complained that the Ko campaign was diverted with superficial things like bubble soccer while the China-Korea FTA threatened to marginalize (ie: bubbleize) Taiwan’s economy.

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This float celebrates all the wedding photography studios in Zhongshan District. Mrs. Garlic thought that the bride looked a bit like a transvestite and wondered if the Ko campaign was openly supporting gay marriage. She was so disappointed when I told her I thought the bride looked like a woman.

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Marchers waving a city council candidate’s flag. I was shocked at how few city council candidates were there. They must have been asked to stay away, perhaps to maintain the idea that the Ko campaign is not simply an extension of the DPP.

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Well of course the doctors support Ko P. Or at least the people pretending to be doctors.

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This was my favorite float. In Wanhua District, one of the first centers of the Tangwai movement, a fake candidate asks for votes. Frozen Garlic!

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Cinderella and her prince walk next to the pumpkin carriage. What happens when the clock strikes midnight? Or 4:00pm on the 29th?

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A TSU candidate’s supporters march. The sign on the left says, “a vote for Sean Lien is a vote for the communist party.” Wow, they completely skipped over President Ma. He must feel really unimportant.

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Six kilometers is a long way to walk on stilts. Maybe it’s time for a rest. Everyone wanted to take a picture with the girl in Aboriginal dress.

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Ko marched almost at the end of the parade. This is great picture of Ko except for the minor problem of the green flag where his face should be. I warned you I’m a lousy photographer.

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The Ko P ladies.

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We’re going to win! One City, One Family!

8 Responses to “Ko parade”

  1. ジェームス (@jmstwn) Says:

    Picture 3: that’s not the Holy Family but you’re on the right track. It’s Mother Teresa on the left (http://www.marypages.com/TeresaMother.jpg) and the most famous evangelist to Taiwan, George Mackay on the right (http://genealogy.ocl.net/twinning/images/mackay_photo.gif).

    • ジェームス (@jmstwn) Says:

      Yao Wen-chih is a DPP legislator and Yao Liming is Ko’s campaign director, right?
      I really enjoyed the photos, thanks! I walked in the parade rather than watching so I didn’t see this much of it. We walked past a number of city council and borough chief candidates who were standing by the side of the road wherever the parade went through their districts, shaking hands and taking pictures. Letting the street sweep them rather than sweeping it themselves.

    • frozengarlic Says:

      Thanks for the corrections. Since I stood in one place the whole time, I completely missed the candidates. However, greeting the marchers as they go by is probably a much better campaign strategy than marching along with them.

  2. pohao Says:

    The description of the 8th picture should be Yao Li-Ming (姚立明).

  3. ジェームス (@jmstwn) Says:

    It’s very true that dictators resort to unity-and-harmony arguments (often under strictly defined depictions of citizens and the state) and we’ll have to see how Ko governs. What’s being promised here is more like Jesse Jackson’s National Rainbow Coalition, which brought together a disparate collection of the disenfranchised to push for populist goals. The rainbow of flags is a literal example of that.
    Both the Rainbow and Ko coalitions -were- pushing against an opponent: wealthy and powerful interests benefiting from the ruling neoliberal system, symbolized all too well by Lien. The challenge of governing will be finding the right places to push against this perceived elite enemy.

  4. Char Aznable Says:

    I don’t know what bubble soccer is but I guess it’s more likely than King Bob-omb campaigning for Ko.

    http://www.giantbomb.com/king-bob-omb/3005-8753/

  5. Weedlord Bonerhitler Says:

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think that girl in “Aboriginal” dress is in traditional Amis clothing. There are 14 very different tribes, it’s kind of not great to just constantly lump them all together as “Aborigines”. It’s like saying someone is in “Asian” dress.

    • frozengarlic Says:

      I think you are probably correct, since Amis is usually the default for Han people wishing to talk about Aborigines. To be honest, I can’t tell the traditional garb of each tribe, which is a reflection of my limitations and priorities. (I can’t tell traditional Han, Korean, or Japanese garb apart half the time either, much less German, Austrian, or Swiss. I just don’t care much about clothes.) However, you probably shouldn’t get too self-righteous. By insisting that there are exactly 14 tribes, you are insulting the ones who have not obtained official government recognition but nonetheless insist they have a separate identity. You can always cut categories into smaller slices, but that is a never-ending process. We all have to resort to bigger categories sometimes.

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