Ma Yingjeou’s Cataract Surgery, Taiwanese Netizen Reactions

Ma Yingjeou leaves hospital. Photo courtesy of Apple Daily.
President Ma Yingjeou goes under the knife for cataract surgery. Photo courtesy Apple Daily.
President Ma Yingjeou goes under the knife for cataract surgery. Photo courtesy Apple Daily.

Last week, Taiwan President Ma Yingjeou underwent surgery for cataracts. News of the event went relatively unnoticed, due to the surgery already having been successfully completed by the time the story broke. Taiwan netizens were relatively unsympathetic to the President’s cataract condition, claiming his cataract problem is the reason why he is dull-witted and prone to jumble his words in public speeches. The connection between a cataract problem and being called dull-witted and idiotic may not be immediately obvious, but stems from the Mandarin Chinese word for cataracts (白內障) being relatively similar to the Taiwanese word for idiot (白目).

Currently, Ma Yingjeou’s approval rating stands at about 9 to 11%, with 2 years still left in his second presidential term.

From Apple Daily Taiwan:

Ma Yingjeou Returns to Taiwan University Hospital to Undergo Surgery for Chronic Cataract Problem

Ma Yingjeou yesterday went to National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) for his annual health check, with NTUH reporting this afternoon that his health condition was normal. But as it is understood, ophthalmologists at NTUH suggested that President Ma opt to undergo surgery to correct the president’s nagging cataract problem. Yesterday evening, Ma Yingjeou agreed and returned to NTUH for the surgery, and has already returned home to recuperate.

When the president’s office was confronted with questions about the surgery, they indicated that information related to President Ma’s current health is provided by NTUH. However, it has been pointed out, that President Ma will be visiting Central and South America two weeks from now, where the local sun condition is glaringly strong, which has the potential to damage his vision a second time. It was because Ma coincidentally did not have a public itinerary planned today, that he decided to accept the doctor’s advice to undergo treatment.

However, after President Ma underwent his health check at NTUH, members of the media had asked Chang Hang, the convener of the President’s medical team, about the President Ma’s cataract problem and what the results of this health check, to which Zhang replied at the time that his cataract problem had not deteriorated.

Comments from Apple Daily’s Facebook Feed:

Shrimpo Shao

I’m so concerned for President Ma, and hope he can resign to go home to recuperate.

赤風喬 (in response to Shrimpo Shao)

Please, go home and get educated for 2-3 years, and Taiwan will be able to fly high against the wind. [Note: Two things. First, this commenter changed 休養 to 修養, both pronounced xiu yang, but meaning “recover/recuperate” and “educate/self-cultivation” respectively. Second, the commenter is also poking fun at one of Ma Yingjeou’s famous slip-ups, mispronouncing the phrase 逆風高飛 as 逆轟高灰, which lead to a number of KUSO‘s (the Taiwanese term for spoof cartoon) being posted online.]

Arthur Lee (in response to Shrimpo Shao)

Best if the vice-president takes a break too.

Ti Yu Chuang (in response to Shrimpo Shao)

Taiwan hasn’t yet been sold out, so how can he go home?

Jasper Wu

No wonder he doesn’t see the kind of company he keeps.

Jerry Tsai

I hope Mr. Ma’s cataract problem doesn’t drag on for too long, because what he really needs to get treated is his mental retardation.


No wonder he’s such an idiot.


He rubbed his own eyes, didn’t he? [This is probably in reference to the “Ma Yingjeou handshake curse”. There are numerous jokes about athletes losing critical matches because they had recently shaken hands with Ma.]


To the person holding the knife during the surgery, please save Taiwan!


This is really ludicrous.
Cataracts has nothing to do with governing a country.
Even if the president has done a bad job,
you can’t use someone’s illness to make fun of them!
Regardless of whether you’re blue or green [pro-KMT or pro-DPP],
if you had a problem with cataracts today,
would you like people to call you a blind idiot?
No wonder Taiwan has turned out the way it has,
not because of an incompetent president,
but because of a group of feeble citizens.
This is what my 14-year-old,
cataract-free eyes

BJ Yang

Let’s be a little more courteous, shall we? How dare we say Mainlanders are uncivilized when we leave distasteful messages like these?
What makes you guys any better? Where did all your education go?

Hanna Chen

Even if you don’t like him, and even if he isn’t doing a good job,
even if he hasn’t made praiseworthy accomplishments, he has still put in hard work.
If today it was someone close to you being cursed to drop dead, would you be happy? Would you not be hurt by it?
If today something bad really happens to him, would you not have an uneasy conscience?
So this is the quality of character and upbringing of Taiwanese people…

Rise Yang

Pro-Blue [KMT supporters] love to talk about A-Bian [Chen Shuibian, former Taiwanese president] faking his own illness. Will making fun of Ma a little kill anyone?


For making the country the way it is now, making fun of him is merely appropriate.

Pomme Liao

A-Bian = “He should rot in prison until he’s dead.” Dogshit Ma = “Let’s leave more civil remarks” *snicker*


Are they using taxpayers’ money for this operation again…?

Sing-Kuei Liang

Rest for two years and fully recuperate your health. We won’t blame you.


Written by Aaron Wytze


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