Fri, Feb 23, 2001 - Page 12 News List

Letters

Put common sense first

Reading the article written by Wu Yi-ju ("Taiwan's needs must be put above the DPP's," Feb. 9, page 12), I am wondering how Wu can claim that "polls uniformly indicate that most people support the construction of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant"(核四)? The polls have not indicated this.

Contrary to Wu's argument that President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) administration should "be doing something about ensuring we have power alternatives first before scrapping the new plant," I think we should ensure that we have a nuclear emergency rescue plan and a consensus about that plan before we resume building the plant.

A nuclear accident caused by human error or an earthquake would be devastating to our dense population in Taiwan, causing mass fatalities. It is only common sense to ensure public safety before considering whether we have enough electricity. Don't you agree, Wu?

Shultz Lu

Atlanta, Georgia

Pop culture panic

A recent article which focused on the exchange of popular culture and its effect on Taiwan, offered a telling and wider picture of alarmists adopting cultural xenophobia under the guise of "national reflection." Writing in reaction to the growing influx of Japanese "teen idols" in Taiwan, Chen Chao-Ju's (陳昭如) offering ("Let kids have their Japanese teen idols," Feb. 16, page 12) seemed excessively nationalistic, if not overtly antagonistic.

Indeed, popular culture can, in some social-academic circles, be treated as a commodity -- something to be assessed, theorized, capitalized or produced. Yet, when it becomes a matter of delineating cultural territory and patrolling its borders, in an effort to screen the type of "popular" commodities that might leak through cultural customs, the agenda becomes apparent.

I find it strangely comical that popular culture is now given a ledger in some Taiwanese theorists' book-keeping of popular culture, as if it should and could be tallied. I'm fearful that, tongue-in-cheek, local and/or national cultural unions will soon emerge from the woodwork to picket the unfair and "unbalanced cultural export[s]," comparable to the trade unions in the US who rallied and lobbied for tighter import restrictions on plastic consumer products. Instead of "Save us, V6!" imagine the more perverse slogan: "Save our jobs! Save our traditional cultural fetishes!"

My suspicion is that Taiwanese teens are simply reacting to popular culture as young people around the world would: in a state of hyperactivity and hormone-regulated desire to do, follow, acquire and appropriate popular things. Thus, I remain puzzled as to how this pseudo-phenomenon (V6) could be described as "irrational," or even how it could be discussed among moralists. Can we suppose, then, that rational behavior is connected to moral action? If so, then one could suppose that every nation is filled with irrational and immoral citizens. This, of course, is highly probable.

Sydney Wong

Lukang

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