Mon, Jul 24, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Nation at a crossroads

By Rao Kok-Sian

Taiwan is at the crossroads again. While the agenda that the KMT and PFP have pursued is neither new nor accepted by the majority of Taiwanese people, the pan-blues want us to believe that we have nowhere to go at this juncture.

They argue that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is more corrupt than the KMT. Some from the pan-green camp have even started dancing to their tune, and called for the resignation of President Chen.

The pan-blue noise has been so loud because there has been little media coverage of alternative voices.

And the alternative is to move on from this crossroad. By so doing, the Taiwanese people will show the world that the nation has completed the first stage on the road to democracy.

In the last few years the nation has, under the Chen administration, achieved much. One achievement, whether we like it or not, is judicial independence.

Now, it is up to Taiwan to step up to the second stage, and the upgrade is also an important one.

The choice on this crossroads for Taiwan is obvious: Do we want to continue the democratic transformation to a normal society, or do we want retreat from it and accept the authoritarian habits that once dominated the nation under the KMT.

The Taiwanese have been unfairly treated for the past half century, and authoritarian habits are hard to cast off. The recent scandals surrounding Chen's family have placed the notion of individual responsibility on trial. Some want to see the results of the insider trading investigation and the Sogo saga before they cast judgment on Chen, while many others believe he is guilty by association.

Individual responsibility is seldom encouraged in Chinese culture. We have to learn to accept this burden in a normal society: that one has to be responsible for his or her behavior, but not that of his or her relatives or boss.

We should expect the Taiwanese to view their society in this way, and behave accordingly.

On the other hand, our leaders should should aspire to further several principles, such as justice, equality and fairness. Maybe it is too late to expect these qualities of Chen.

Over the next two years, Taiwanese must demand that their government help promote a society which is just, equal and fair.

If Chen cannot deliver, we will have to turn to someone who can in 2008.

Rao Kok-Sian

Winchester, Massachusetts

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