What are Kaohsiung problems? “Old and poor.”
How can one solve them? “Outflow of goods; inflow of people and so Kaohsiung will be rich.” This is basic economics and the election slogan of Han kuo-yu who won the Kaohsiung mayoral election last month.
We can further understand Han’s solutions in the following reports from the pro-Democratic Progressive Party’s newspaper:
[“After suffering from 20 to 30 years of political ideology, elections have become a curse that gives Kaohsiung residents a headache... The city is like a well-dressed man who has no cash in his pocket,”...
Han said that if elected, he would transform Kaohsiung from an “old and poor” city into a “rich and youthful” one, while vowing to stay closely connected to people at the grassroots level by having a member of his team spend a night at the house of someone belonging to a medium-low income family once per month.
He also pledged to be a mayor of integrity, saying that if he is ever convicted of corruption, he would waive his right to parole hearings.
Han’s win is a surprise to many Taiwanese, especially DPP. In 2014 election, due to overall low party popularity, the KMT candidate only managed to get 30.9% of the votes. However, in 2018, Han, representing KMT, got 53.87% of the votes, almost 23% jump.
(What does this mean to the oppositions in Singapore? In 2015, the People’s Action Party won nearly 70% of the votes. However, we need to find someone like Han to motivate voters with a hope and accept change.)
Han is certainly more connected with the voters. From the following quotes from Han Kuo-yu, we can understand why Kaohsiung voters want a change and are willing to take risk.
Universal problems, not only Kaohsiung problems
All governments face the Kaohsiung problems: unemployment for young people, low salary, rich-poor gap, unequal development within cities, ageing problems, economic growth, trade, finance, etc. But Kaohsiung has additional problems: corruptions, mismanagement of resources, high debt, low productivity in administration, disconnection with residents.
To some degrees, Singapore is no exception to the problems. We have high GINI, high national debt, high living and medical costs, fewer good jobs, low wages etc.
Han won the election because he offers hope for a better life. Most importantly, he re-engineers the spirit of enterprises. Under DPP, the restrictions of doing business is not only due to China-Taiwan relationship but all the uncertainties, e.g. energy and environment, and unpopular business practices and laws, e.g labour, market/pricing, selection of key office holders, etc.
Han openly says that in Kaohsiung it is 100% economics and 0% politics. Wow! Sound like Singapore!