One often hears pet owners say: "I see my pet as a human being and a member of my family."
The essence of the remark suggests the obvious: A pet -- be it a dog, cat, rabbit or squirrel -- isn't a human being to begin with.
By the same token, when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
It is dumbfounding to hear such an ethnically prejudiced remark from the mouth of a presidential hopeful in democratic Taiwan today, where human rights and respect and appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism are trumpeted every day.
Ma spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (
Ma's insulting remark was more than just a slip of the tongue as some, quick to leap to the pan-blue golden boy's defense, argued. It was an exposure of Ma's unconscious self that showed him to be filled with elitist chauvinism and prejudice against the nation's Aborigines.
For a long time under KMT rule, Aboriginal cultures were suppressed, if not wiped out completely. In recent years, the country's Aborigines have slowly regained their sense of self-esteem and cultural pride, and the last thing they need is prejudiced comments from a potential future national leader.
Ma was also quoted as saying at the same venue that: "If you come into the city, you have to play by its rules."
Obviously Ma didn't realize that the Aborigines were in Taiwan long before he was. What right does he have to say to the Aborigines: "If you come into the city, you have to play by its rules"?
James Watson, the Nobel prize-winning biologist and DNA pioneer, apologized and stepped down from his position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in October over offensive comments he made about the intelligence of Africans.
Ma has offered no such apology.
It is sad to see that, as of yesterday, when the news broke, no Aboriginal representatives had come forward to challenge Ma and defend Aboriginal dignity. The Council of Indigenous People -- supposedly the nation's highest body looking after Aborigines' rights and well-being -- uttered not a single word of condemnation, nor have we heard any demand of an apology by Ma from Aboriginal lawmakers such as Independent Legislator May Chin (
When the Aborigines and their representatives fail to stand up and demand due respect for their brothers and sisters, how then can they expect people like Ma to show them respect and teach people what appreciation for diversity means?
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