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Food scandals and political fights: the year of the fake

Based on Facebook selfies, food safety issues and political battles within and between the political parties, people chose a perfect word to describe Taiwan in 2013: fake. It was a confusing year for the people of Taiwan. We cannot trust the labels on packages of food, and we cannot trust politicians when they say they are always thinking about the people. The award-winning documentary “Beyond Beauty,” released toward the end of 2013, shows the audience the beauty of Taiwan, and also the hidden ugliness of the island. What did people go through and learn from the year of fake?

In 2013, well-known bakery chain store Top Pot Bakery, which claimed to use all-natural ingredients, was exposed for putting artificial flavoring in their bread. Following the scandal, another issue about cooking oil arose. It turned out that many oil manufacturers intentionally mislabeled low-cost cooking oil as olive oil.

People thought that they could trust the labels on products, and believed in major food manufacturers. They were all disappointed after the scandals broke. Food sellers intentionally mislabeled products so they could lower the cost and earn more profit, and they bet on the fact that most people use the product without questioning it. Most people love beautiful exteriors, and they don't care what the manufacturers does to provide a shining appearance.

The field of politics is always one of the most confusing and complicated of places. In 2013, we witnessed the legislative speaker being accused of involvement in a month-long spectacle involving the Democratic Progressive Party caucus whip, an incident which later transformed into a battle between Wang Jin-pyng and President Ma Ying-jeou.

The nation watched these performances by politicians from all parties, and even though the Legislative Yuan cleared Wang of the accusation of illegal lobbying, people were still confused. We are left wondering how the legislators and politicians could focus on fighting for the citizens' benefit when they are so busy fighting each other. And that question was based on the assumption that those battles between politicians were real.

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