As the term "election" goes all the rage, Taiwan will be electing new members of local governments and parliaments on November 24. New Taipei City, formerly known as Taipei County, is one of the hotly contested places where Su Tseng-chang from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and Hou You-yi from Kuomintang (KMT) are racing for the mayor's office. What would sound surprising to some is that Su has been a winning candidate 20 years ago, when he beat Hsieh Shen-shan from KMT with a small margin ahead in the 1997 election.
In collaboration with the Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation, ASCDC puts forward an exhibit titled "Who Did You Vote For? 1997 Taipei County Magistrate Election" on Open Museum to share pictures taken during the campaigns at both sides.
With the proposal of Ke Chin-Yuan, producer of the Taiwan Public Television News, ASCDC started digitizing pictures stored in foundation's archives, whose themes include Hong Kong, economic activity, political party, governmental ministries, environment, and social movement. The archives' slide pictures, photographs, and negative films have been digitized and labeled as CC BY-NC-SA files. The first phase of the project digitizes nearly 24,000 slide pictures about elections, among which there are 3,400 pictures about the 1997 local elections (except that of Taipei City and Kaohsiung City) being annotated and published on Open Museum.
In the exhibit, many children can be seen in the pictures. With eyes wide open or waving a little flag, they are taken by people rallying for the campaign. Today, after 20 years, they have grown up and gained adult suffrage. They will have a say in the 2018 local elections.
The 1997 elections have been a history-making game-changer, because DPP's overall percentage of vote obtained outnumbered KMT for the first time in a nationwide election. After twenty years of democratic education, did the country contrive to bring up a new generation with a sound common sense to wield their rights? Only through vigorous civic engagement from all parts of the society can these struggled-for rights be protected and exercised from generation to generation, such that we may approximate to our shared ideals.
All are welcome to have a look at the exhibit on Open Museum and revisit moments of Taiwanese democracy in the making.