Banged around Taipei visiting events. Came back to Yungho to find a miniature parade for Frank Hsieh marching around the residential areas there.

Of course, not everyone was focused on what they were supposed to be doing. Take AP, for example: they recommend that Taiwan’s electorate, take two Xanax. Yes, Ma Ying-jeou, a calming figure:

Ma Ying-jeou isn’t a charismatic figure. He calms rather than inspires. He’s a soft spoken administrator who promises to govern by consultation.

Aren’t you reassured? And strangely for foreign media, they assert Ma is not charismatic — that’s in case you were confused by all the other foreign media pieces that assured readers Ma is indeed charismatic (NPR, IHT, Economist, to name a tiny few). It’s actually not that bad, and even spends a few paragraphs establishing that Ma is a wuss, but they blow their chance about halfway down:

Ma has another weapon in his armory _ a Mr.-Clean reputation.

After Chen’s bare-knuckled and allegedly corrupt rule, 57-year-old Ma, who has a doctorate in law from Harvard, is presenting himself as an exemplar of integrity with a track record of fighting corruption even in his own party.

No mention of being indicted for stealing money nobody was disputing was actually in his private accounts, or that his defense was “everybody does it.” Isn’t it great that you can spend a career in opposition to democracy and still be Mr. Clean? Ah, well.

That ubiquitous symbol of speed, modernity, and successful government projects, the high speed rail, puts in an appearance.

Readers are probably aware that the US has put a couple of carriers into the area to deter….whatever. I was told that a US-based academic said that there could be more to the deployment than meets the eye. Hope not.

Jeeps are the vehicle of choice for politics.

Religion and politics, mixed again. On my list of top 5 things I never want to hear a newbie under-25 foreigner say, “Taiwanese don’t care about religion” is right up there with “I’m here to teach critical thinking.”

They say that when you are badly injured, your body floods with endorphins, your brain shorts out, and you simply accept what happens with a sort of existential joy.

That is what watching Taiwanese politics is like.

In addition to mysterious people from the tropics, there were clowns.

And fan dancers.

In Hell the man who invented megaphones is locked in the room with 1,000 of them, all blaring 1,000 different covers of Carpenter songs.

When I came home my father in law was growling at me that no one in Yungho was Green, but there were plenty of people out there proving him wrong.

Traffic came to a standstill.

Beneath an ad for the Other Team, the parade vanishes into the distance….

And the neverending traffic surges into the gap….