Saturday, January 21, 2006

Taiwaner of the Week

Taiwaner of the Week is a new feature to Big Ell's Blog where he will look at an event in Taiwan that was in the news.

When I was a kid my sister and mother went crazy when Prince Charles married Lady Diana. I went crazy when Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones tied the knot. I never thought I would see spectacles like this ever again, let alone in Taiwan. Boy was I mistaken, Taiwan's wedding of the year may not have matched the pomp and ceremony of the aforementioned Royal Weddings but it was a pretty good showing.

Non-Partisan Solidarity Union Legislator Yen Chin-piao celebrates the marriage of his youngest son with a massive wedding in the Sports Stadium at his hometown of Shalu in Taichung County. There were up to 2000 tables and latecomers were taken to additional restaurants in nearby towns.
The more than 20,000 guests taking the 2,000 tables at the main arena included the four top leaders of the opposition "pan-blue" alliance -- Honorary Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-pyng and People First Party Chairman James Soong.

President Chen Shui-bian sent congratulatory gifts and message, though he did not show up personally.
This is yet another indicator of Taiwanese societies move away from the pan-greens to the pan-blues. The pan-greens used to have the wedding banquet record but have failed again to meet the challenge of the blues. The number of wedding tables at the weddings of Taiwanese big-wigs has always been a bell weather of sorts in Taiwan Politics. Very similar to the empty promises bell weather in Canadian politics.
The previous record for a wedding banquet on the island was set by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's Legislator Hsu Chih-ming, representing Kaohsiung County, who needed 1,688 tables to settle in the guests when he married off his daughter in January 2004.
It is also good to know that the legislator Yen drives one of the only five Bentleys driven in Taiwan. He allowed his son Yen Chia-yi and his bride to use to lead the wedding procession. This wedding procession included 36 BMW 475s.

In Canada weddings that take place with the bride being six months pregnant brides are known as 'shotgun,' weddings. I am not in any way impying this is the case. The Yen's have traditionally gotten married young and the youngest son is no exception.

Both the groom and the bride are aged 16, the junior Yen beating the records of his father and an elder brother, who both married at 17.

With three sons and one daughter, Yen will soon have a new member joining the family. His youngest daughter-in-law showing up at yesterday's wedding banquet is six month pregnant.
The cash filled red envelopes were also flowing, an estimated NT $30 million or almost $1 million American. So much money in fact that the police had to escort the money to Yen's office.

The China Post also writes some personal information about Mr. Yen. A veritable rags to riches story. He is sort of a Taiwanese Horatio Alger of sorts.
But the largest ever wedding banquet tells the development of Yen, one of the highly unusual politicians emerged in the Taiwanese-style democracy. With only a high school diploma, Yen started his political career as a li chief in the coastal town of Shalu -- one "li" is comprised of dozens to hundreds of households. He soon moved up into the Taichung County Council and Taiwan Provincial Assembly.

After the Taiwan Provincial Government was relegated to only a nominal organization, Yen returned to Taichung County Council and became a speaker.

At the age of 45, Yen was elected chairman of an administration committee supervising the operations of the "Chenglan" Temple in Tachia, worshipping Matsu -- the Goddess of the Sea.
Although widely seen as a man loyal to his friends and congenial to most people, Yen was expelled from then-ruling KMT because he backed former Taiwan Provincial Gov. James Soong in the 2000 President after then President and KMT Chairman Lee Teng-hui vetoed a sure-win Lien-Soong ticket. The KMT split paved the way for then opposition Democratic Progressive Party to take over the power for the first time.

Yen then started facing a series of litigations, including misappropriations of public funds to treat council members when he served as speaker.

He returned to smooth sailing after getting elected as a legislator with a big victory. Currently serving his second term in the Legislative Yuan, Yen is a member of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union (NPSU) that normally teams up with the opposition "pan-blue" alliance.
I am not brave enough to have opinions on Mr. Yen. I have a lovely wife and daughter which basically means I don't have any balls. Or big enough balls to say anything negative about Mr. Yen. The only thing I know is that the food would have been much better than this banquet from the View from Taiwan.

BTW: If you are wondering how Yen now looks so svelte these days check out his diet.

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2 comments:

Sean Reilly said...

There is nothing more romantic than a teenage shotgun wedding held in a soccer stadium.

The only problem was the time zone change from here to Canada, as my mom had two stay up until four in the morning to watch it live on CNN.

That, and the high probability that anywhere up to two thousand sharks were massacred to provide the third course.

tony tseng said...

This news sadly reinforces my perception of Taiwan becoming a ship (island) of fools.