"Politicians, gangsters mix at funeral for Taiwan mafia boss - Mon, Apr 26, 2010 AFP
TAICHUNG - Senior Taiwanese politicians rubbed shoulders with mob bosses at the funeral Monday of one of the island's most prominent mafia leaders.
The Buddhist service for Lee Chao-hsiung, who died of liver cancer last month, was expected to attract a gathering of up to 20,000 people in the central city of Taichung, organisers said.
Taichung Mayor Jason Hu, a former foreign minister, was among the mourners, saying his attendance was a sign of gratitude after Lee left 60 million Taiwan dollars (S$2.6 million) for charities in his will.
Ties between politicians and criminals are strong in Taiwan, especially at the local level, triggering concern that the phenomenon could contribute to an erosion of the island's democracy.
The relationship is based on an exchange in which the mafia helps candidates secure votes via bribes or intimidation, and the elected politicians pay back the mob by protecting it from law enforcement agencies and the courts."
This is a fact. It is also acceptable by the Taiwanese people. Or tolerated since they are concerned about the erosion of democracy and yet cannot do much about it unless they are the government!
Lessons for me are:
1. it is not a right thing by simple reason. Yet, it is there. People can make choices. They can see but not tell or pretend not the see and hence have nothing to tell. Whatever it is, it is for the local people to decide what work for them! It is not for someone outside to say if it is right or wrong as they know if it is wrong or right. Just that who is going to take charge to right the wrong, if any!;
2. if the people in authority is not able to right the wrong, it will be doubly unattractive for the ordinary people to want to do that job. Also, if the government and the law enforcing agencies cannot or do not have the capability to ensure law and order, the people will turn to another force. For them, whatever work with the minimal cost is tolerable!;
3. while changes can be started at the ground level, it is far easier if it is initiated from the top as the leaders have far more power and reaches and resources to make things work faster and smoother. It will be hard to break out from the type of relationship between the 'gangs' and the politicians described in this news report as the 'leaders' have more to lose if they do the right thing! This is the crux of most reform - if you don't have leaders with PERSONAL integrity, nothing will work!!
May democracy continue to thrive in Taiwan and that the people get what they want in term of the political system and processes!