Ma Ying-jeou tells aborigines that he sees them as humans
Update: Ma has now apologized twice and a spokesman from the Xizhou community has said that Ma's comments "hurt their feelings."
The Taiwanese blogosphere and alert readers have caught Ma Ying-jeou on camera telling a community of aboriginal squatters on the Xindian River that
"I see you as humans and as citizens of this city. I'm going to educate you well and do a good job of providing you with opportunities. That's the place from which the attitude of aborigines needs to be adjusted...now that you've come here, you need to play by the rules here..." [emphasis added]
Ma's unbelievably patronizing comments were delivered on Dec. 8th when members of the community presented a petition to Ma at the appropriately named Chiang Kai-shek (Zhongzheng) Public Housing Community. You'll have to skip ahead to about 7:20 to hear Ma making these comments. Personally, I found his comments around 6:20 where he says that "it's not that their [aborigines'] genes have a problem, their opportunities have a problem" at least as offensive. Could this finally be the beginning of the end of aboriginal support for the KMT?
The Xizhou Tribe refers to small settlements of aboriginal squatters mainly from rural Hualien that have been living on both sides of the Xindian River since the 1970s. They are now facing forced relocation to public housing in Sanxia ostensibly on grounds that their settlements are threatened by flooding. Most people familiar with the situation believe that the real reason is that authorities in Taipei County and Taipei City want to turn the areas into more riverside parks sans aborigines.
In a clumsy but telling example of self-censorship, the clip linked to here ran on Taiwan Indigenous TV on December 15th but as Yufu wrote in a letter to today's Liberty Times, the station pulled the story from its site after Taiwanese blogger ma1Dog posted the clip on Dec. 22nd.
Since Roland Soong is so deeply concerned with media censorship over on ESWN, perhaps he'd like to bring this story to a wider audience to disprove doubts about his impartiality when it comes to Taiwan.