TAIPEI: Slammed by critics for his lack of charisma, Taiwan’s unpopular outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou has released an unlikely comedy farewell video, which has gone viral with more than 5 million views.
Ma has seen support plummet since he took power in 2008 with the public deserting him over his Beijing-friendly policies.
His fall from grace is widely seen as compounded by a lack of ability to connect with ordinary voters.
But in a last-ditch attempt to show his more humorous side, he released a playful video on his official Facebook page as he prepares to hand over the presidency Friday to his opposition rival Tsai Ing-wen.
The tongue-in-cheek video garnered a rare surge of positive feedback as he chided himself over his nickname “deer antlers.”
Banners at protests opposing Ma’s policies have portrayed him with antlers growing out of his ears—a pointed jibe after he mistakenly said deer antlers used for Chinese medicine were actually hair from the animal’s ears.
“I admit I was wrong. I’m willing to be punished,” Ma said in the video, which depicted him with cartoon antlers. He proceeded to copy out the correct meaning three times as “punishment.”
Ma has also been mocked for having a “death-grip handshake” after online commenters documented misfortunes that befell people who had shaken hands with him.
“I didn’t know my hands were so powerful. I better take good care of them,” Ma said in the video, as he applied moisturizer.
The video was viewed 5.5 million times on Facebook and close to 40,000 comments were left, many of them thanking Ma.
“I have once liked you, complained about you, even cursed you. But in the end, I still have to thank you,” said one commenter named Janus Lai.
“Honestly I felt very sad after watching it, seeing president Ma mocking himself. You really are virtuous!” another named Ming Kun said.
Ma came to power on a platform of friendlier ties with Beijing. A rapprochement and a slew of trade deals followed, culminating with a historic handshake with Chinese President Xi Jinping last year.
But Taiwanese voters increasingly saw him as a puppet of the mainland, which still views the self-ruling island as part of its territory.
The end of the video took a sentimental tone as Ma read out heartfelt messages left by supporters for his work.
“Thank you, netizens, for the support you’ve given my team,” he said.
“My eight-year term as president is soon coming to an end. Let’s finish fighting this glorious battle together.”
The video can be seen at: https://www.facebook.com/MaYingjeou/?fref=nf