Frozen Garlic’s flag fetish

It’s possible I may have gone overboard this year. I can’t help it. We are living in a golden age for handheld campaign flags. The big ones out on the streets are a dying breed, but the percentage of candidates handing out small flags at rallies has never been higher. So it has been a banner year (pun intended) for the Frozen Garlic flag museum.

I think this is every unique flag I have collected this year. Of course, when you go to as many rallies as I have this year, you inevitably have a lot of duplicates, especially for the presidential candidates.

Let’s start with the presidential candidates.

Tsai Ing-wen’s flags are pretty blah, to be quite blunt. The three printed by her campaign have dull colors and not much in the way of an interesting design. It’s no wonder that the other day her official website had a picture of people waving bright green flags printed by the local Yunlin campaign team.

The two upright flags were printed by Su Bing’s 史明 office, which is why one of them has a picture of the eminent historian.

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Eric Chu’s campaign has a much more colorful set of flags. There are two basic designs, the One Taiwan logo and the camouflage rainbow design. The yellow flag was printed by the Luo Ming-tsai campaign in New Taipei 11. And yes, the flag in the middle is a partisan campaign flag.

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Here are some flags from the PFP/MKT collaboration. My first thought when I saw the upper left logo was that they were trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. It turns out that was exactly their thought. It symbolizes reconciling different opinions, which I think is a fantastic image for a society that takes pride in pluralism and diversity.

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I really like the Free Taiwan Party’s dove logo. I tried a couple times to get a SDP or Green Party flag, but they didn’t print enough. Damn environmentalists with mislaid priorities.

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Ok, now we turn to the legislative candidates. These three rows are from Taipei 3, Taipei 4, and Taipei 5. This is all of the main candidates, plus You Jui-min.

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Here are a few candidates from Taipei 6 and Taipei 8. I’m not a big fan of the Lai facebook “like” flag or the nondescript Lee flag. However, I do appreciate the two flags that actually look like KMT flags. You’ll notice how rare these are, even in districts that have always been deep blue.

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Candidates from New Taipei 1, 3, 4, and 6. I’m not a big fan of any of these designs.

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New Taipei 10, 11, and 12. I admire Lu Chia-chen’s unabashed KMT flag screaming ROC at the top, but it might be ill-advised in his district. Luo Ming-tsai in New Taipei 11 could easily display his KMT pride, but instead he went the cowardly and tried to hide his party affiliation. I have a few Lee Ching-hua flags from years past, and I think they are all just about this creative.

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The Taoyuan flags. I don’t care for the yellow DPP flags. Which party are you? I could ask the same question of the red and purple KMT flags. Chen Lai Su-mei’s flag might be my favorite flag this year. I love the unabashed deep green and the unique design. In a year in which almost all DPP flags look a bit similar, this one stands out. I especially love the rays shooting out from the DPP logo. It reminds me of the old Japanese military flag, and I love the idea of her deliberately but discreetly enraging some die-hard Chinese nationalist with her campaign flag.

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The race here in Keelung. Hau wins the battle for most unique flags by a single legislative candidate. I kinda like his 1970s retro look. The DPP flag is pathetically generic. Yuck.

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Hsinchu City and Miaoli. I like the two Miaoli flags. Purple and green is a really nice combination. The DPP has used purple heavily in the past, but this is the only one I’ve seen this year.

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Some flags from Taichung and Changhua. Hung Tsu-yung is the only person to use the square flag this year. I’m amused that there is a picture of her waving a flag, but that flag is not her campaign flag. I can’t stand the two white DPP flags from Changhua. It’s like they went to the neighborhood flag store and bought the cheapest one.

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Finally, five of the six major candidates from Chiayi.  I’m particularly disgusted by these horrible DPP flags. These are safe green districts; they could use a splash of deep green on them. Look at the flag for Tsai Yi-yu, in the upper left. Does it look like Tsai Ing-wen has gained a little weight? The more you look at that, the worse the photoshop effort looks.

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4 Responses to “Frozen Garlic’s flag fetish”

  1. ジェームス (@jmstwn) Says:

    Great post! Yep I pretty much agree with your assessment. I appreciate that centrist voters are tired of partisanship and thus the parties have an incentive to avoid deep blue and green hues, but it makes for aesthetic weakness. And centrists don’t typically some to rallies anyway.

  2. Zla'od Says:

    As a vexillology fan, I see two honest-to-God flags on this whole page–the rest are just ads.

    • frozengarlic Says:

      Which two? The ROC and MKT flags? It’s not a coincidence that those are also the only party flags. None of the others are supposed to be symbols that people form long-term attachments to. Still, they are tools for political communication, and some of them do that job quite effectively. I wouldn’t demean them as mere ads. People don’t take mere ads home or invest any emotions in them the way that some people (not just me!) do with these campaign flags.

      • Zla'od Says:

        Yes, those two. (The dove one might be turned into an effective vertical bicolor, though.) Perhaps a more charitable conclusion would be that Taiwanese vexillology departs from the European tradition which holds that flags ought to communicate in a fundamentally different language than words. But still–these things look exactly like ads, even if they do come mounted on a stick.

        Not that ads are evil per se. I recognize that they do serve a purpose, and that there are degrees of effectiveness and elegance even within their medium. BTW people do become emotionally attached to such things as Nike shoes and Hello Kitty tee-shirts!

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