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Archive for September, 2006

Surrounding the President

Last Friday night, the protest to out President Chen was stepped up a notch with an organised march around the central Taipei area with a route designed to create a 5km circle of people around the Presidential Office. As you can imagine this would require a tremendous amount of people, and that was exactly what happened. There’s no other way to describe the turn out except to use the overused cliche ‘sea of people’ as it was literally a never ending flow of red down the street. There was no way to tell whether you were at the start or the end of the march as it was just people for as far as you could see.

The enthusiasm and energy of the crowd was kept high with never ending chanting and shouting. When one person stopped, another would take over. It mattered not who you were, whether male, female, old or young. As long as you shouted the President’s nickname (阿扁), the crowd would respond with “Step Down (下台).”

Saturday, the very next day, the President’s supporters dressed in green staged their own sit-down rally literally a block away from the Red camp. Both groups have been there since and tension is quite high as any miss-hap could result in an explosive riot. It’s obvious this is not just a few activists with nothing better to do. This is something that the whole population is involved in.

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MRT after the march

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Voice of the People

The rage all over the news for the past six months has been scandal after scandal involving the President’s family. First it started with the President’s son-in-law being involved in insider-trading and using his name and position to receive knock-backs from promoting certain products. The dust from that hadn’t even settled when it was found that the First Lady received a large sum of cash-vouchers for Sogo, an upscale department store in Taiwan, to influence the company’s take-over decision.

It was then uncovered that the President himself had been shifting his election campaign money into a personal account and also money that was allocated to him for Government purposes has been spent on personal items such as the rent for his son-in-law’s apartment, and the salary of their nanny. Of course the President denies the accusations or that he had no knowledge of the wrong-doings of his family. Regardless, the people are fed up and want him to step down.

Starting from September 9th, thousands of people have converged outside Parliament House dressed in red to stage a peaceful protest. They have sat there through battering rains, thunderstorms and the scorching hot sun without any indication of backing off. It’s a protest where people come and go as they please. People go off to work, then come back and mothers are bringing their kids to show them democracy at work. Interestingly over half the people at the protest are women so the chances of this turning into a violent encounter is slim. They also show their motherly touch by looking after us young people, offering us food, water and rain coats.

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Check out the rest of the photos from today here. Might go again a few more times during the week to see what’s going on. Oh yeah.. Bali write-up. It’ll happen when I’ve collected and gone through all the photos from my friends which is gonna take a while.

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Off to Bali

Tomorrow.. or should I say this morning, at 8:30am I will be on a China Airlines flight to Bali which is almost back to Aussieland. I will need to be at Uni at 5:30am to meet up with my classmates to take the coach that will take us to the airport. It should be a good trip as I may get to see the other side of what are normally very conservative and tame people. I’ll see you all in five days.

I’ll leave you with photos from Venessa’s pot-luck party a few weeks ago. It was quite a success with some majorly good food, and almost all the Kojen people past and present showed up which is definitely a rarity.

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Random photo of the crowd

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View from roof.

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