The head of the Government Information Office (GIO) Pasuya Yao has had a rough couple of months:
- In late August, it was reported that a fund the GIO had setup to help victims of the December Tsunami had not paid out a single dollar. Several charities which had cooperated with the GIO were in serious financial difficulties because of this.
- On an official trip to the Carribbean, he was reported to have been having late night drinking sessions with an airhostess, midnight frolics on the beach with some nurses, and falling asleep during a press conference by President Chen.
- The premier annual Taiwanese radio and TV award ceremony, the ‘Golden Bell’ awards were thrown into confusion after nominations were released (leaked?), but then recalled by the GIO.
- The GIO took out a full-page advert in many newspapers to attack the proposed pan-Blue NCC law, and defend the DPP proposal. He was heavily criticized for this partisan move.
- When questioned by legislators, he admited he didn’t know his own salary.
No wonder some are now calling him the George Costanza of Taiwanese politics!
Why have all these news stories come out recently? Well, of course, the most obvious answer is that Yao is an incompetent minister with a knack for putting his foot in it. However, it can hardly be coincidence that all these stories have come out after he was responsible for refusing to renew the licenses of several TV channels – thus drawing the ire of Taiwanese media. Freedom of the press means that if you piss off the press, then they will get their revenge. Pasuya Yao must be yearning for the ‘good old days’ of the GIO (otherwise known as the ‘James Soong years’) when anyone critical of the GIO would have been shipped off to Green Island, and their newspaper shut down.
But wait, it gets worse
Just when he thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did:
- The legislature finally managed to pass a bill without bloodshed: The whole purpose of the NCC bill is to disband the GIO, and so put poor old Pasuya out of a job.
- Ten days ago Pasuya Yao signed an information exchange pact with Senegal:
Yao said the GIO has endeavored to push forward international information exchange as a way to expand Taiwan’s diplomatic space and strengthen the nation’s relations with its allies.
The poor guy must have been pleased with that, until he found out what the first bit of information that would be exchanged was: Yesterday Senegal announced it was switching diplomatic ties from Taiwan to China. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is conspiring against you …