Fri, Dec 10, 2004 - Page 8 News List

Elections seen from abroad

By Jason Lee Boon Hong

Once again, I share the same sentiments as President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁)when he pledged to correct the names of all relevant government agencies to "Taiwan" by 2006 ("Chen pledges to change names," Dec. 6, page 1, and "Chen stands by name change," Dec. 7, page 1).

While I am not familiar with all Taiwanese companies and government agencies, I would urge Chen also to push for the changing of name of Taiwan's national air carrier -- China Airlines. It is indeed misleading.

On my first trip to Taiwan eight years ago, I traveled by China Airlines and I was confused. Two years later, I visited Beijing on an Air China flight, and then I understood the cause of my confusion, or the root of the problem. Even as an Asian Chinese, I have been confused by the names of the national carriers of both countries. As such, would foreigners from Western countries not be misled by the name? Would they then not conclude that Taiwan equates to China?

Taiwan is in the midst of building its own unique and sovereign identity. It may take time for Western countries to be fully aware of the fact that Taiwan is not China.

However, it is heartening to note that Chen will do his utmost to safeguard and further enhance the identity and recognition of Taiwan. That is important, otherwise five years down the road, Taiwan would probably be considered by others to be a small part of China, as in the case of Hong Kong, which is grossly wrong.

Indeed, Chen is right to urge Taiwanese not to focus on whether the constitutional reform entails an "amendment" or a "rewrite." Either way, if it is not carried out conscientiously, be it an amendment or a rewrite, it may merely just result in an addition of an insignificant clause. What matters more is support from the Taiwanese, including the opposition parties, given to Chen and his administration so that he can translate the hopes and aspirations of 23 million Taiwanese into action, via the new constitution.

In this respect, I am certain the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) will offer its support to Chen. Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) has consistently said that the title "Republic of China" is misleading and should not exist. Lee is absolutely right in that Taiwan should be known simply as Taiwan ("TSU, KMT draw thousands to rallies," Dec. 6, page 1).

It is heartening for me, a foreigner, to note that Lee is still going on strong and as enthusiastic as ever, in his pursuit of greater progress and recognition for Taiwan, even four years after stepping down as president.

Since March 2000, when the KMT lost its 51-year rule over the nation to the DPP, many things have changed. One thing that has been consistent over the past four years is the determination of both Lee and Chen to fight for the best interests of the Taiwanese and Taiwan in general.

Both these men deserve to be applauded for their love for Taiwan. Come Saturday, I urge Taiwanese not to let them down.

Please vote for the DPP and TSU candidates because by doing so, you will not be letting down yourselves and future generations to come.

The future of Taiwan is in the hands of the voters, who should entrust Lee and Chen with such a task. The KMT and PFP cannot be entrusted with such a sacred task.

A vote for the DPP and TSU is a vote for a brighter future.

Jason Lee Boon Hong

Singapore

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