TAIPEI — Taiwanese satirists have quickly rolled out web videos and ringtones lampooning their leaders, who they accuse of being too slow, smug and out of touch in reacting to the havoc caused by Typhoon Morakot.
President Ma Ying-jeou has said it was the worst-ever typhoon to strike the island in terms of damage after it unleashed floods and mudslides that left more than 500 feared dead earlier this month.
In a YouTube video broadcast by cable news channels on Friday, the faces of the 59-year-old president and top cabinet officials are superimposed on Chippendales male strippers as they gyrate to "Sorry, Sorry", a South Korean dance song.
The brashest moves in the video, titled "Taiwan's Super Saviours", go to Cabinet Secretary-General Hsueh Hsiang-chuan, 65, who local media have cast as the typhoon saga's villain. He has offered to resign but remains in his job.
Earlier this week, Hsueh ill-advisedly called a late night television talk show to justify dining out at a five-star hotel to celebrate Taiwanese Father's Day on August 8 as Morakot slammed into the island.
His rant was quickly set to music -- and became a hit mobile phone ring tone -- with the lyrics: "Father's Day, went home at five or six o'clock, drove car myself. Father's Day going out -- is that out of line?"
Hsueh raps the song in another YouTube video where his and Ma's smiling faces are placed on disco dancers who slam hips on a neon-lit floor.
The visuals for dancing videos appeared to have been created using tools on the US parody website JibJab.
The Chippendales video had been viewed more than 41,500 times within 24 hours on Friday morning and the disco video was watched more than 47,750 times.
It is not the first time the Taiwanese have turned to online comedy to take their politicians to task.
A popular political cartoon website parodies former president Chen Shui-bian, who has been detained and is awaiting sentencing on corruption charges, singing behind bars and preparing to count piles of money and gold.
President Ma's approval rating fell to an all-time low of 16 percent this week as Internet users flooded the presidential office's web site and other on-line forums and blogs with complaints.
Ma has apologised repeatedly for the government's sluggish response to the typhoon, but has said he will not step down.
In addition to Hsueh, the defence minister and the deputy foreign minister have tendered their resignations.
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