『Taipei Times】Same-sex marriage boosts legislature in ‘word’ poll: CCW

Same-sex marriage boosts legislature in ‘word’ poll: CCW

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Netizens and civic groups have chosen the character “同” (tong, which means “similarity”) to describe last year’s legislature because it signifies the vibrant support for legalizing same-sex marriage and calls on the government to stand on the same side as the public, the results of a poll organized by Citizen Congress Watch (CCW) showed on Tuesday.


Participants also voted for the top 10 legislature-related news of the past year, with the No. 1 slot going to the Sunflower movement’s occupation of the Legislative Yuan over the government’s handling of the cross-strait service trade agreement in March and April.


The watchdog has organized the poll since 2008 and said that last year’s voting produced the first-ever value-neutral character to describe the lawmaking body.


By selecting 同 as the winning character, voters parted with a string of negative characters seen in the past years, such as “假” (jia, “fake”) in 2013, “廢”(fei, “useless”) in 2012 and “恥” (chi, “shame”) in 2011, CCW chief executive Chang Hung-lin (張宏林) said, adding that the legislature should take the neutral result as encouragement.


Since the Sunflower movement, the public have come to hold more positive views about participating in public affairs and to be more attentive toward them, and that reflects why the “similarity” character was chosen, Chang said.


A netizen surnamed Lee (李) proposed “同” as one of the 60 characters that netizens put forward for the vote. In the description attached to the candidate character, Lee wrote: “If government officials saw the world from the same angle as the public, black-hearted bills would not have been rammed through the legislature; if businesspeople could sympathize with consumers, tainted materials would not have been used for companies’ gains; if heterosexuals could empathize with homosexuals, the latter’s right to marriage would not have been blocked.”


The characters that came in second and third were “割” (ge, “to slice”) and “腐” fu, “corrupted”), with “割” referring to the Appendectomy Project organized to recall legislators perceived to be failing to respond to the public’s needs.


The CCW said that the Legislative Yuan occupation topping the news poll reflected participants’ views that the legislature has long been malfunctioning and turning its back on the public. The group said that the while it had continued to call on the lawmaking body to not be the Executive Yuan’s stooge, legislators’ indifference had in the end resulted in the Sunflower occupation, staged by members of the public demanding their rights back.


The piece of news that received the second-highest number of votes was the Appendectomy Project reaching the second stage in its bid to recall Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) and that a recall referendum is to be held soon in Taipei’s Neihu (內湖) and Nangang (南港) districts.


The third-most popular story was KMT Legislator Chang Ching-chung (張慶忠) storming through a joint legislative committee review of the controversial service trade agreement in 30 seconds and trying to send it directly to the general assembly, the act that triggered the Sunflower movement.