In a number of countries recently, disputed elections or allegations of corrupt government led to "people power" sweeping down the streets and setting themselves up as judges. Encouraged by the media, they want to see their claims vindicated by deposing the "bad guy."
Taiwan's "red tide" wants to depose the president because he is supposedly corrupt. In this case, we see appeals being made to "people power": gimmicks such as parades in red combat dress, flash mobs and soft strikes have absorbed time and energy -- even the precious life of a policeman who was on duty.
Most people realize that deposing the president won't make the rest of the bureaucratic pyramid change overnight. The same problems of corruption will re-appear. Unfortunately, however, we find that those people in the "red tide" don't understand that deposing a president can't solve these problems. It seems they have lost their minds.
The make-believe process is easy to track: a leading actor, in colors fit for a fashion parade, uses exaggerated, repetitive and entertaining methods to give participants the impression that they constitute "people power" and can storm a new Bastille. Caught up in this fictitious revolution, they act without proper judgment and become pliant followers.
"People power" is too precious to be wasted like this. If the resources that drive "people power" can be better connected to the development of this country and its society, then it could constitute a tremendous force and lead to great achievements. But if the power is misused, under certain circumstances it could lead to unexpected trouble and even catastrophe.
So, the public must decide the circumstances in which "people power" will be used. They must also be aware of the importance and influence of this power.
Its potential derives from a consensus of the following pillars of a democratic society: One must be humanist, with the group having preference over self-interest; one must be humble; and one must be humorous -- choosing a peaceful, joyful and harmonious way of helping society move forward.
If "people power" relies on a figurehead, then this means that participants are not humanist, humble or humorous. If Shih Ming-teh really is humanist and humble, then he should end his self-gratifying role as lead actor and choose more harmonious ways to help Taiwanese.
A brickbat over brides
I have a problem with the article "Baoshan foreign brides bake moon cakes for elderly"(Oct. 7, page 2).
In the second paragraph, the reporter writes: "The women, all immigrants from Vietnam and Indonesia, said that they remembered how lonely they felt when they first arrived in Taiwan and couldn't speak the language, so they decided that they wanted to do something for people feeling lonely over the Mid-Autumn Festival."
To adopt such a view, the reporter must have a disgraceful view about all women immigrants, especially from Vietnam and Indonesia.
In Taiwan, I have found that most women coming from these countries are having an unpleasant experience in Taiwan in terms of social status.
They have been treated unfairly in terms of work placement. Some even have to work extra hours without pay.
These women lack legal protection during their time in Taiwan, and I hope that the next time this reporter writes about female immigrants, especially from Southeast Asian countries, your editor will do a thorough job on it because this kind of news will have a serious impact on how Taiwanese behave toward immigrants and on the relationship between Taiwan and Southeast Asian countries in particular.