Wed, Dec 31, 2008 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Schlock redux

I believe the reviewer of the film Australia (“Schlock on the barbie,” Dec. 26, page 16) is factually wrong about the removal of Aboriginal children. According to my knowledge, only mixed-blood children were stolen “to breed the color out” of Aborigines. It was assumed at a conference of Australian governments in 1937 that the “full-blood” Aborigines would just die out. Most of the stolen children have horrific stories to tell of sexual abuse, exploitation and blighted lives to this day. Aboriginal leaders say that conference laid down a policy aimed at annihilating the race.

The minutes of that conference are available at sydney.indymedia.org.au/story/minutes-1937-breed-colour-out-conference.

DIET SIMON

Australia

Apples and oranges

If you want to compare two things, you have to be sure that the two things are of the same nature to lead to a correct result for reference.

Thus, I find Trace Gomez’s conclusion odd (Letters, Dec. 23, page 8). He compared two things; one is former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) case and the other is KMT policy. The former is about principles of criminal law and their application to one person, and the latter is about a policy that risks the loss of sovereignty for the entire nation. Although Mr Gomez’s English is fluent enough to convey the conclusion that “This attitude is why the DPP is no longer in power,” fluency cannot make up for the fundamental flaw in reasoning that comes from comparing two things that are different in nature.

KUOJUNG NI

Hsinchu City

Anti-smoking policy

I am writing in regard to your article about a new anti-smoking policy to be implemented next year (“S.H.E, John Tung join efforts to promote smoke-free environment,” Dec. 2, page 2). In fact, smoking has been banned in public places in Taiwan since 2000. Violators are fined according to the law. This anti-smoking policy protects us from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke.

Although some people say the new policy is too strict, I think it is still necessary. We are aware that smoking and the toxic substances in cigarettes have been proven to cause many fatal diseases such as cancer, heart problems and lung disease. We also know that smoking has a great influence not only on the smokers themselves, but also on non-smokers around them.

It is said that smoking takes the lives of millions of people around the world every year. In short, the government is supposed to shoulder the responsibility of informing the public of the dangers of smoking and more strictly enforcing its anti-smoking laws.

SEAN HUANG

Pingtung

Gerrymandering tendencies

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) recently convened and presided over a meeting of senior government officials, party elders and powerful corporate financiers. At this meeting, the members of this “elite” clique discussed their plan to redraw the borders of counties and municipalities in Taiwan, which would entail the redrawing of electoral districts as well as the reallocation of financial resources.

Such a redistribution of electoral constituency boundaries is known as “gerrymandering.” The tactic of gerrymandering almost invariably favors the ruling incumbent and the ruling political party. In some nations, gerrymandering involves the manipulative reapportioning of the electorate along socioeconomic and ethnic lines. Gerrymandering never occurs by chance; it is a ploy and tactic employed to give the advantage to one political party over another. It is a ploy that is orchestrated to “stack the electoral deck” in favor of one political party over another.

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