KMT can­di­date prom­ises to fight ‘un­con­ven­tional’ bat­tle in pres­i­den­tial race

The China Post - - BUSINESS -

CW: Can you de­scribe your ex­pe­ri­ence in the KMT pri­mary?

Hung: There’s an old say­ing that “only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.” In the be­gin­ning, there was a lot of cyn­i­cism be­cause I wasn’t a big name. So I told my­self that I was a “brave name” that dared to give it a shot and show some guts.

CW: Many peo­ple are cu­ri­ous to know if it was your de­ci­sion to throw your hat in the ring or if oth­ers wanted you to run? Did Pres­i­dent Ma ( Ying- jeou) sup­port your de­ci­sion to give it a go?

Hung: I’m a no­body, so how could Pres­i­dent Ma have sup­ported me? How could he have re­cruited some­body with­out any stature like me to run? Lit­er­ally no­body took me se­ri­ously.

Peo­ple then said I had no chance of win­ning and I wasn’t run­ning for real. I re­sponded that sol­diers can be de­feated or get killed in ac­tion, but they can­not run away. Since I had al­ready started, how could I pos­si­bly run off?

Then peo­ple started mak­ing fun of me, say­ing the Huang Fuhs­ing vet­er­ans branch of the party was help­ing get en­dorse- ments for my can­di­dacy and then that it had been barred from do­ing so. I re­ally had no idea who was writ­ing these scripts. (Note: Can­di­dates needed the sig­na­tures of at least 15,000 KMT mem­bers to be el­i­gi­ble to run in the pri­mary. Hung was the only per­son to meet the thresh­old).

Af­ter I got enough en­dorse­ments, then the is­sue of 85 per­cent to 15 per­cent, or 50- 50 popped up. ( These rep­re­sented ra­tios of dif­fer­ent types of opin­ion polls to de­ter­mine Hung’s sup­port rat­ing and see if she was pop­u­lar enough to be­come the KMT’s can­di­date.) Peo­ple fix­ated on that, with some say­ing I didn’t have enough guts and was not will­ing to ac­cept a chal­lenge ( be­cause Hung was against more chal­leng­ing thresh­olds). I said I was only will­ing to ac­cept a poll show­ing my sup­port rat­ing be­cause that’s what was writ­ten in black and white in the KMT’s reg­u­la­tions and we should not dis­tort the rules.

What made me happy about the end re­sult is that I would have achieved the thresh­old no mat­ter what stan­dard was used. But I think the lack of con­fi­dence party com­rades had in me was nor­mal. It made sense for

peo­ple to feel un­easy.

‘Awak­en­ing’ Peo­ple the Cam­paign’s Ob­jec­tive

I have told my aides that we needed to put up a fight and cre­ate some mo­men­tum to get more peo­ple to sup­port us. Once that mo­men­tum takes hold and be­comes hard to stop, you’ve won back the hearts of your com­rades and they won’t feel a lack of con­fi­dence in you any longer.

So rather than blam­ing or com­plain­ing about oth­ers, it makes more sense to sim­ply work harder. Up to now, I still feel that way — that awak­en­ing peo­ple is ex­tremely im­por­tant.

Wher­ever I go, peo­ple are ex­tremely ea­ger. You can feel their ex­pec­ta­tions. Peo­ple seem to have found hope, and the ex­pres­sions in their eyes and the ex­ten­sions of help­ing hands pro­vide the mo­ti­va­tion that keeps me go­ing. The more I go around and come in con­tact with peo­ple, the more de­ter­mined I be­come. I will not pull out un­less I’m de­feated. If I give it ev­ery­thing I have and lose, my sup­port­ers will for­give me. But if I sim­ply give up, how can I face them?

CW: Your can­di­dacy only re­cently got go­ing, and you only have a short time re­main­ing be- fore the elec­tion. How will you run your cam­paign?

Hung: We will con­tinue to fight an un­con­ven­tional bat­tle. Many peo­ple say that our net­work of con­nec­tions and fi­nan­cial re­sources are in­ad­e­quate and that our op­po­nent has been at this for a long time. But if we can win back the hearts of peo­ple in a short time, we can over­come per­sonal and fi­nan­cial net­works. That’s the only (strat­egy) I can think of and is why I be­lieve we have to run an un­con­ven­tional cam­paign.

I have to ad­mit that when it comes to tan­gi­ble re­sources, what we have is in­ad­e­quate, not to men­tion that we have stressed we will not take even a dime from the party. But that does not mean that the party will ig­nore its re­spon­si­bil­ity to sup­port our cam­paign. It is re­spon­si­ble for mo­bi­liz­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion, and think tanks can also give me a lot of ad­vice, un­like dur­ing the pri­mary process, when my aides were show­ing young kids the ropes and drag­ging sup­port­ers along.

CW: How do you op­er­ate a cam­paign that is un­con­ven­tional and tries to bring peo­ple to­gether?

Hung: Bring­ing peo­ple to­gether means let­ting them see light and see hope, let­ting them see how you are dif­fer­ent from other politi- cal fig­ures, let­ting them see you bravely ex­plain your own di­rec­tion and poli­cies, let­ting them see you speak the truth and not lie to peo­ple, and let­ting them see us ex­press mes­sages that do not pan­der to peo­ple and do it with con­vic­tion. If so­ci­ety did not like that kind of a per­son, then my poll num­bers would not have risen as high as they have in such a short time.

I con­tinue to speak out and go through var­i­ous chan­nels to al­low more peo­ple to get to know me and un­der­stand me, and even­tu­ally iden­tify with and sup­port me be­cause my name recog­ni­tion still lags be­hind that of Tsai Ing-wen. When you go to ru­ral ar­eas and ask them who Hung Hsiu-chu is, they re­spond, “Who is she?”

And this may sound a lit­tle like self-de­cep­tion or self-com­fort­ing, but then there are TV pro­grams that smear or talk about me or come up with con­trived sto­ries about me on a daily ba­sis, turn­ing me into a topic of dis­cus­sion. From a pos­i­tive point of view, this (kind of pub­lic­ity) is bet­ter than if I was sim­ply ig­nored.

A Race against Time

CW: It’s rare for women to choose to take on so much re­spon­si­bil­ity, and you did it on your own ini­tia­tive. What com­pelled you to get up the courage to take lead­er­ship re­spon­si­bil­ity?

Hung: To be hon­est, peo­ple say that ‘those who wear suits are most afraid of peo­ple who go bare­foot.’ You can call me gutsy, but in fact it was those im­por­tant men who were shack­led by dif­fer­ent fac­tors. They had all sorts of re­straints and wor­ries and mis­giv­ings and were un­able to free them­selves; but I had none of those things hold­ing me back, so it was left up to me. If I lose, I lose. So what!

If I were mar­ried, and my hus­band and son were try­ing to per­suade me not to run, as a wife and as a mother I would have to con­sider their feel­ings even I wasn’t wor­ried about my­self, and that would be a hin­drance. When there are hin­drances, there are fears; I think that may be a big fac­tor (why I don’t have any con­straints).

CW: You have a dif­fi­cult chal­lenge ahead. How will you bal­ance your­self and deal with the pres­sure?

Hung: I of­ten tell my­self that no mat­ter how con­cerned or wor­ried I feel or how much pres­sure I’m un­der, I have to be full of con­fi­dence when I face a crowd. If you don’t have con­fi­dence, how can oth­ers see hope through you?

The big­gest pres­sure I feel right now is not from the things peo­ple on the out­side are talk­ing about. It’s the lack of time. The other can­di­date has been pre­par­ing for six or seven years. That’s the big­gest source of pres­sure for me.

Also, up un­til now, I’ve been fight­ing an up­hill bat­tle. Even from when the party congress con­firms my nom­i­na­tion in July to next year on Jan. 16, it will still be an up­hill bat­tle for me. In the “Fly­ing Geese” strat­egy, the leader is re­spon­si­ble for head­ing the flock into the wind. Even if you are elected pres­i­dent, the next four years are an even big­ger chal­lenge. In the en­vi­ron­ment we live in to­day, help­ing Tai­wan find an ap­pro­pri­ate road for­ward against ma­jor head­winds is a ma­jor re­spon­si­bil­ity.

So to me, time is re­ally ex­tremely tight. My age is also a de­mand­ing test. In fact, I should be leisurely trav­el­ing around the world and en­joy­ing re­tired life. In­stead, I’m tak­ing the last jour­ney of my po­lit­i­cal ca­reer. I’m treat­ing it as the last phase of my po­lit­i­cal jour­ney. Trans­lated from the Chi­nese by Luke Sa­batier Ad­di­tional read­ing se­lec­tions can be found at http://

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