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Ko Wen-je: No bus lanes on Zhongxiao W Rd if mayor
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-01-22 11:02 AM
Ko Wen-je told an audience of university students Tuesday that if he were mayor of Taipei the first thing he would do is remove the bus lanes in front of Taipei Station on Zhongxiao West Road. Speaking at an annual meeting of students from Daren University of Science and Technology in Pingtung, the NTU Hospital Trauma Director made the statement in response to a question from a student.

Ko explained that he often takes a taxi ride NTU Hospital to Sanchong for surgery, and 9 out of 10 times the taxi driver will curse the bus lanes, complaining the road is too narrow to allow bus lanes. "People don’t like it,” he said, “so the government should not do it."

Ko has said he will take a one-year hiatus from NTU beginning February 17 to contest the Taipei mayor election. Asked if he worried about having being pressured and frustrated by political life, Ko replied: "At NTU Hospital, 30 seconds can be the difference in life and death for a patient. No matter how rough an election gets or how tired I get, I can’t get as tired as I have been in NTU Hospital surgery; now that’s pressure."

Ko also touched on his experiences while studying in the US. He said one discovery he made is that Americans have a very low tolerance for lying in their elected representatives. He quipped, "If any government official who lied was forced to step down, the whole political arena in Taipei would probably soon be empty!"

Turning more serious, Ko said the problem of arrogance of power on the political scene in Taiwan is so bad that politicians don’t even bother to gloss it over, they just make their political calculations. He said problems are so rampant in the nation and its government, it’s not a matter of petty thieves; it’s more like outright piracy.

Asked what his greatest ambition was at the age of 20, Ko replied that when he was 20 he dreamed of overthrowing the KMT. Now that he is 50, he said, he wants to help build a fair society in Taiwan. Ko said life is full of the unexpected. He is just a simple doctor, he said, who never expected to be goaded by the KMT into becoming a political candidate. But he had to make a choice, otherwise what else could he do?

He mused that the so-called "Ko Wen-Je phenomenon" is the product of the need for truth in a dysfunctional society. He said that beneath the tip of the iceberg of society lies a reality called "powerlessness" that has people trapped in a feeling of resentment toward injustice but unable to find a way out of it.

Asked the seemingly pro forma question of whether he plans to join the DPP, Ko said that he has assured Su Tseng-cheng that joining the party is not a problem for him. He added, however, that a more urgent priority is how he can make things better for society in Taiwan. He said once he figures out what approach will be best for the people of Taipei, joining the party will be little more than a formality.

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