DPP’s Tainan mayor William Lai yesterday ordered the removal of all fourteen remaining statues of late President Chiang Kai-shek from the public school campuses of the city, an attempt seen as a gesture to end the worship of the one-time hardline leader of China and the KMT before the general election of 2016.
Erecting Chiang’s statues island wide had become a rampant movement since his death in 1974. To deify Chiang was no doubt a try by all levels of bureaucrats to bootlick Chiang Ching-kuo, his eldest son and successor. Building of Chiang’s statues was not halted until the death of Chiang’s son in 1988.
However, for Taiwanese, old habit was hard to change. Creating deities or something like god to worship is indispensable in daily lives. Since Chiang’s son has been dead for almost thirty years, we would let him rest in peace for now and just focus on what people have been worshipping in recent years.
Last year a bunch of mob college students formed themselves a so-called Sunflower Movement occupied the assembly hall of the Legislature Yuan for over a month to prevent lawmakers from passing trade and service agreements with mainland China. These students later even broke into and occupied the Executive Yuan for a short time. Although these students claimed that they were not members of opposition DPP, everyone knew whom they were supporting. The leaders of the Sunflower Movement, a few graduate students disgruntled to ruling KMT, were immediately worshipped. Whatever they had done was acquiesced. Even that one of the young leaders’ repeated involvement in sexual harassment was therefore tolerated.
Deification is never strange in politics. How about in religion? Of course, religion is about worshipping god(s), what is so special about it? The recent case of Tzu Chi Foundation’s involvement in land development called the public’s attention. Tzu Chi Foundation, created by Master Cheng Yen, is Taiwan’s largest religious charity organization. For years, Tzu Chi has done an incredibly great deal of good things not just in Taiwan and mainland China but over the whole globe. However, the way Tzu Chi collects its donation through Pyramid scheme has drawn criticism. In addition, its founder, Master Cheng Yen, has already been modulated as Supreme God. The question raised was why not Cheng Yen tells her worshippers to stop?
Creating god or smashing his image is definitely not something that the All Mighty wants us to do.