Frozen Garlic: Campaign Trail: DPP event in Zhonghe

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On Saturday evening, I went to Zhonghe for a DPP rally. This rally was located in Nanshijiao, which is the last stop on the orange MRT line. I briefly lived in this area, and when I saw the location, I wondered where in the world they were going to find a big empty space for a political rally. The listing said the rally would be right next to the MRT station, and I was pretty sure there were no huge, unused spaces there. It turned out that they blocked off a small street and held the rally there. It was a tiny space, with maaaybe 1000 stools. I was stunned by the lack of ambition for this event. They were holding a Saturday night event in a densely populated area with easy transportation, and they only expected 1000 people to show up? As the event went on, the space filled in completely, and then the space outside the security area filled up. Eventually there were more people (and more densely crowded) outside the security perimeter than inside it. It felt substantial because it was pretty packed (and the crowd was pretty enthusiastic); it’s always better to have a small space packed to the gills than a big space with lots of extra room. Still, the total crowd never got to be more than 2500. In one of my previous posts, I wondered whether Han Kuo-yu’s support was eroding since he was only drawing 7000-8000 people. This event was one-third the size of his events. As I said last time, crowd size isn’t necessarily a good indicator of anything, but I think it is useful to remember just how small this crowd is. I’m going to say a lot of nice things about this rally, so it’s probably a good idea to keep reminding yourself that it was a pretty small event.

 

Zhonghe is traditionally a blue stronghold. There was a lot of military housing and several other communities of traditional KMT voters. For example, lots of people originally from Kinmen have concentrated in Zhonghe. The Kinmen County government even built some public housing in Zhonghe for Kinmen expatriates.

After another musical performance, the third chiong, Premier Su, took the stage. After they introduce someone, there is often a little lull between the noisy introduction and the speaker beginning to speak. During that lull, something a bit unusual happened. Just as Su was about to start speaking, people spontaneously started clapping. It spread through the audience, and then people stood up. Eventually, the entire crowd was giving him a standing ovation. There were no air horns or yelling, just people standing and quietly clapping. It was quite a moving demonstration of affection. As you probably know, Su was recently diagnosed with a virus that causes facial palsy. It isn’t a serious health issue, but one side of his face droops noticeably. Su thanked the crowd for their welcome, and talked about his experience with the virus.

President Tsai was the final speaker. I’ve seen her several times this year, and this was her best speech. Even after a decade in the spotlight, she remains a work in progress when it comes to public speaking. She has spoken a lot more in Taiwanese this year, but this speech was almost entirely in Mandarin. When she is tired, her rhythm becomes monotonous. She has a laundry list of points she needs to get through, and she goes through them one by one, never breaking her (too fast) tempo and ending each phrase with the same call and response. It gets tedious very fast. On Saturday, she slowed down, varied her tempo, spoke with emotional peaks and troughs, and didn’t become overly reliant on the same old call and response phrases. Her delivery helped her to punctuate her points far more effectively, and she came off as much more likeable and trustworthy.

Read the full report here:

Campaign Trail: DPP event in Zhonghe

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