The manager of an official fan page for former Vice-President, and contender for the post of KMT chairperson, Wu Den-yih, posted an apology on Facebook, after being criticized over a joke published to the page, that many considered discriminatory towards Taiwan’s indigenous people.
Critics said the joke played on ethnic stereotypes of aborigines being uneducated, and at the same time mocked their accent.
Wu served as Vice-President to Ma Ying-jeou from 2012-2016. He was First Vice Chairman of the KMT in 2014 and acting Chairman in 2014-2015. The fan page “Taiwan’s loyalty – Wu Den-yih fans,” was set up to support his candidacy for the position of Chairman.
The joke was posted on April 9, and an apology was added to the post April 11.
New Power Party spokesperson CL Lee criticized the Wu camp at a press briefing yesterday, April 12, saying that the joke showed they lacked awareness about stereotyping and discrimination. Lee also criticized Wu for not having responded to the matter.
The joke centers on an aboriginal at a job interview.
When asked about his educational experience, the employer hears “台大歷史” (Tái dà lì shǐ) which translates to “National Taiwan University, History.” NTU is Taiwan’s top university, and the employer is impressed.
But the interviewee actually said “抬大理石” (tái dà lǐ shí) -“lifting/carrying marble.” Marble quarrying is an industry on Taiwan’s east coast, where many aborigines reside.
The misunderstanding arises because the aboriginal interviewee pronounces the last two syllables with the wrong tones.
Wu himself graduated from National Taiwan University with a History major, and the joke was said to be a self-depreciating joke. But readers commenting on Facebook didn’t accept the use of a mock aboriginal accent to make the point.