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September 26, 2017

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Ko slammed over inappropriate speech

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Pan-green Taipei mayor hopeful Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) was accused of inappropriate speech after he allegedly made fun of Taichung mayor Jason Hu's wife Shaw Hsiao-ling (邵曉鈴).

In his speech titled "The Wisdom of Life and Death," National Taiwan University physician Ko briefed the audience on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), using Shaw as an example. "Shaw had a broken left arm and was not right in the head; but Hu seemed to be happy and laughing," said Ko, referring to Shaw's injuries that resulted from a serious car accident back in 2006. "I'm saying what the situation seemed to be like then, I don't know what really happened," Ko was heard laughing.

Ko's words were slammed as inappropriate by many local media and the participants of the event, resulting in him clarifying that he had meant it as a joke. "On the day of her accident, all of the paramedics thought she was doomed, but eventually the ECMO saved her life. Hu was laughing because of this," said Ko at the late Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator Chai Trong-rong's (蔡同榮) memorial later that day.

"One cannot be accurate in speech at all times. Shaw's brain was indeed affected by the loss of oxygen," said Ko.

Ko was also questioned about his previous statement that indicated that the DPP will lose a 5-percent approval rate if he joined the party. "This is the opinion of the citizens of Taipei from 1998 until today. This is also why the city's political elections are bipolarized and caught in the conflicts between the pan-green and blue camps," Ko reasoned. "In Taiwan's elections, more often than not people are left with no choices, even if they have the right to vote, so people are filled with hate and sadness. This is what the society is like, which is a problem that is observed in public surveys."

Ko, who has been openly pan-green for a long time, was still hesitant about whether he would join the DPP and represent it in the elections. "The DPP has postponed its candidate consulting sessions, if it is held off until next week, I will make my decision next week. One day passed is one day saved," said Ko.

Holding My Breath to Wait it Out: Ko

In response to public suggestions that Ko should not join the DPP, Ko said that he would be "holding his breath and waiting it out (waiting for DPP input)."

The party is looking for a solution regarding Ko's status, as the pan-green physician has not yet decided whether he will join the DPP and run on the party ticket — if so, the DPP may need to alter its regulations to allow Ko to compete. The DPP's current regulations require a candidate to have at least two years of membership to receive the party nomination.

"I'll see what the DPP has in store (for me) and start practicing how to hold my breath now. No one from the DPP has been in touch with me about this or how the joining and candidate issue will be solved," said Ko.

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