Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 8 News List


Human rights mark closed

Last March, I came back to Taiwan from the US as part of an election observation tour. During the tour, I had the privilege of visiting the Taiwan Human Rights Memorial Park in Jingmei. I have longed to take my parents to the memorial, as it is a place they would appreciate.

I am back in Taiwan this month, and today I decided to take my mom to this under-appreciated memorial that many Taiwanese citizens have never heard of. After an hour’s bus and MRT ride, we arrived there, only to find the place surrounded by yellow tape with a small sign that said it is now temporarily closed for reconstruction. We saw a guard and asked him for further details. All he told us was that the memorial needed to be checked for fire alarms and so on. We asked him when the memorial would be reopened, and he said he had no idea.

It is hard for me to not link the temporary closure to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) taking over the government. The KMT would seek to close the memorial for obvious reasons, as the memorial brings up the KMT’s wrongdoings in the past.

In writing this letter, I want to let all the readers know about this. I personally find it unacceptable and I hope the media will investigate the matter.


Silver Spring, Maryland

Buying the lies

I strongly beg to differ with Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng’s letter (Letter, Jan. 8, page 8). She states: “It is universally acknowledged that the crime of corruption is premised on its being committed by incumbent officials of the party in power.” Yes, corrupt officials are incumbent. That is how corruption occurs. But, unless I misunderstand her, the majority party also has the power to charge fellow members with corruption. And incumbents of the minority party can also be corrupt and charged with corruption. Such charges happen in mature democracies.

In US history, both Democrats and Republicans were upset about the Watergate scandal, and senators and representatives of both parties were ready to impeach former US president Richard Nixon before he resigned. And more recently in the area of campaign finance reform, members of both majority and minority parties can and do charge their own party members with corruption, and both parties work hard to prevent corruption.

Either Wang really buys the lies handed down by the KMT, or she is diligently trying to justify the bizarre mess passed off as blind justice in the case against former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). Blind hatred would be a more accurate word choice.


Luodong, Yilan

All work and no play

I work at a private, bilingual elementary school in Kaohsiung and have been informed that in addition to working yesterday to make up the New Year’s holiday, we’ll also work next Saturday to make up another holiday. Who is this “Great Boss of Holidays” — a rather stingy, intractable character I must add — to whom the government is kowtowing?

Having recently moved here from Tokyo, where I basked in the luxury of the holiday-laden Japanese calendar, I am surprised by the Taiwanese decision to compensate holidays with weekend work or makeup days. An apparent argument to “bolster the economy” surfaces.

It’s been my observation that Taiwanese spend far more time at work than their Japanese counterparts, but accomplish far less. President Ma himself, having taken no days off since inauguration, has recently been prone to gaffes that have him sounding like US President George W. Bush. My students are falling asleep at their desks. Maybe Taiwanese officials should practice a little moderation, instead of implementing such an uncreative approach.

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