Election Time in Taiwan

"Except for the difference in language and dress, and the absence of cigar-smoke, it could have been any political rally banquet he had ever seen since he had been a teenage illegal voter. It was a big success; the boys from the precincts came, were fed and liquored, received the Word, and went away full of party spirit. The next day, the work began." --
H. Beam Piper, Gunpowder God

Elections in any country are a blast.  Here in Taiwan we are one of the world leaders in providing free-wheeling, colorful, candidate-filled political feasts where anything can happen, and always does.  On this web page, which I'll be updating as time goes by with new pictures, I've collected some representative advertizing from the local election multiverse.

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An abandoned department store hosts ads for the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

Is it a coincidence that this 3-D ad was erected in front of another ad?

A cluster of ads.

A huge row of ads face a busy intersection.
An ad featuring the multibillion dollar boondoggle, the high speed train, as an image of speed and progress.

On many street corners volunteers wave flags during rush hour.

A candidate's sign overlooks a key road in southern Taichung county.

A DPP candidate asks for your vote.

The Pope giving a benediction?

Vamping for votes.
Here a candidate appears to bless a police station.

Adds featuring the KMT mayor of Taichung, Hu Chih-chiang, are often filled with energy (balding, on right). Here he promotes a fellow KMT candidate.

Lin Chia-lung, the DPP candidate for Taichung mayor, likes to appear in athletic poses.

A DPP candidate endorses his daughter.

Drivers speed by an ad in downtown Taichung.

An add for the DPP's Lin Chia-lung says "Enough! Little Hu" using the diminutive form of reference for the older KMT politician.
One of the things I most enjoy is the juxtaposition of ads. Here an add for Buddhism stands next to an add for a candidate. Note that he refers to himself as a "Tiger Warrior." As if in fear that such aggressive image might give offense, right next to it is a cartoon tiger so infantile it makes Hello Kitty look ferocious. Can't say as I would vote for anyone to the left of Hello Kitty.

A sound truck driver stops along a busy six lane road to polish the truck.

A newspaper add for KMT Mayor Hu of Taichung says that Taichung is hot on the heels of Taipei, represented by a horse, a reference to KMT Mayor Ma of Taipei, the KMT party chairman, whose name means "Horse" in Chinese.

This add promises that Lin of the DPP will add 50,000 jobs to Taichung. Sure. I believe that.

Lin of the DPP promises to cut violent crime 50%. Sure. I believe that.

This sign DPP candidate's sign emphasizes Greening the local township, perhaps a pun in that "green" is both a reference to the environment and to the DPP, part of the pan-green coalition of pro-Taiwan parties.

A car carries a sign calling for Taiwan to build national independence.
A sign overlooks a highway, one of many showing the candidate doing something athletic.

Candidates also give out free packs of tissues with ads on them, a common practice among Taiwanese businesses as well.

An excellent poster makes the candidate look authoritative, informed, and decisive.

As we walked through the market, a sound truck assailed us.

Moments later another sound truck went by in the other direction, as if in answer.

General Patton promises to fight for Sanyi.
Election HQ is surmounted by an enormous poster.

"It's Mr. Clean!" exclaimed my uncle when he saw this poster.

Overlooking an intersection, a candidate pleads for your vote.

This sign advertizes the woman, emphasizing her youth and energy. One of Asia's fascinating contradictions is the number of females in politics in societies that remain staunchly pro-male.

The man in the vest is Mayor Ma Ying-jeou of Taipei, born in Hong Kong, now the chair of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in Taiwan.  The slogan says that the world is changing, and new blood is needed. Below that, the sign says that the candidate has a UK masters in political economy. Candidates in Taiwan frequently flaunt their education.

Two candidates face off over a Taichung intersection.
Simple banners like this are hung everywhere. Underneath the three characters of the name are a set of slogans that say something like Good Heart, Good Speech, everyone together works for the public benefit.

Any spare bit of fence or wall will be festooned with posters.

A candidate running for Taichung County Chief. Literally.

An independent candidate for Taichung County Council.

A DPP candidate for the Taichung Country Council running for the seat that represents Tanzi, Daya, and Shengang.

A KMT candidate's poster covers a building, promising to work for the township with one heart and one mind.
Like chemotherapy, elections have hideous side effects. Here a sound truck goes through our neighborhood during the napping hour in the afternoon. The following day an outraged neighbor chased one truck down on his motorcycle and bawled out the driver for waking him up.

Intersections generally host the biggest signs.

Candidates are often portrayed in this stylized position of begging for votes.

At this intersection, everyone is watching you.

A sound truck fills the morning with barely-intelligible Taiwanese.

Advertizements flood an Wufeng intersection.
Cars rush past as Candidate Liu begs for their votes.

As with most candidates, this presentation includes a slogan about the quality of his previous public service.

Cars surge down a Taichung street under the watchful eye of a local candidate.

"Let's go!" English is a sign of youth, hipness and international outlook.

Another feature of many political ads is an association with the high speed train as a symbol of progress and high tech.

Banners and photos line a Tanzi street.
Look at that smile. Who could say no?

A New Party ad emphasizes the "New Party Quality Guarantee."

A sound truck dodges to the side of the road. In addition to noise pollution, they also snarl traffic and cause accidents.

One interesting fact -- the DPP candidates appear without attributes of power like ties, the KMT candidates frequently appear in ties.

How many political angels can dance on the end of a telephone pole? Taiwan has the answer......

After the election, all of these banners will disappear overnight as though the election never occurred.
Just more signs among many....

A Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate informs us that she is young and a female university instructor.

Ads cover each other on a construction site fence.

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