Voucher plan discriminates
I am happy to see the government doing all it can to help boost the flagging economy.
However, one measure I remain unhappy about is the NT$3,600 voucher scheme.
My concern is not with the scheme’s goals, but with the details of the scheme, which I feel is racially discriminatory.
From what I’ve read in the Taipei Times, all citizens are entitled to receive the coupons. Even foreign-born people who are married to Taiwanese are eligible.
However anyone else, such as an unmarried Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) holder, is not eligible.
Having lived in Taiwan for more than 10 years, having paid taxes for most of that time and as a holder of a permanent resident certificate, I feel disappointed that the government would exclude the thousands of unmarried permanent residents from the voucher program.
Given that the vouchers can only be used in Taiwan and that their purpose is to stimulate domestic demand, I believe a fairer system should have been implemented. The cost of including permanent residents would have been minimal, both in terms of coupons issued and administrative costs. It may also have made perfect sense to include all ARC holders, such as students and caregivers, in this one-off stimulus package.
I hope that future programs like the voucher scheme will include all residents, rather than act as if they do not exist.
Divide and be ruled
The birth and death of a nation is almost always a process marked by considerable disagreement, conflict and widespread fear of an unpredictable future.
Key to a lack of consensus are the divisions between those who are politically invested in existing institutions, land and business relationships, and those for whom the status quo means a continuation of either oppression, lack of rights, lack of national recognition or lack of democratic representation.
At these times it is most important that citizens of a new country rally around easily understood and widely shared ideas of what constitute their country’s territory, name and founding tenets.
A sense of national ‘collective consciousness’ is critical if a society is to generate the political legitimacy and social authority necessary to actualize de jure self rule. It is not a process without risk, as delegates representing the thirteen colonies of the future US well understood when, faced with atrocities committed by British troops, they met in the halls of Pennsylvania State House to determine their response.
Even then opposition to a declaration of independence was fierce, especially from the southern states’ delegates who could only envision disaster for their economies and populations in a policy of rising up against the largest of their trading partners and the region’s dominant military power.
The first US vice-president, and later the second president, fought against those who argued for further negotiation with the crown, and it was only casualties from conflicts such as Breeds Hill, Concord and Lexington, along with King’s threat to hang every rebel, that finally convinced Congress to pass the historic resolution that created what would later become the US.
In the TV series John Adams, HBO’s dramatized recreation of the Continental Congress of 1775 has the delegate for Massachusetts turning to those opposing the resolution of independence, among them delegates from Pennsylvania, Virginia and New York, and accusing them directly: “Do you know, the conduct of some states from the beginning of this affair has given me reason to suspect that it is their settled policy to keep to the rear of our confederacy, come what may, so as not to harm their future prospects. There are persons in Philadelphia to whom a ship is dearer than a city, and a few barrels of flour dearer than a thousand lives. Other men’s lives.”
If the Democratic Progressive Party administrations of 2000 until last year did achieve any one substantive goal, it is that a majority of citizens now seem to perceive Taiwan, not China, as the country over which they exercise self determination, as Taiwanese, politically and culturally.
Despite the anti-democratic and obstructionist conduct of some parties and their settled “unificationist” policy of keeping to the rear while delaying the historically just emergence of this nation, an increasing number of Taiwanese are slowly realizing that economic security is not more valuable than national sovereignty, and a few hints of rapprochement are not dearer than the lives, liberty and health of twenty-three million independent people.
Since COVID-19 broke out in Taiwan, there has been a fair amount of news regarding discrimination and “witch hunts” against medical personnel, people under self-quarantine and other targets, such as the students of a school where an infection was discovered. Quarantine breakers are almost certainly on the loose and it is only natural for people to be vigilant. One in Chiayi was found by accident at a traffic stop because his helmet was not fastened. However, those who follow the rules by quarantining themselves should be encouraged to keep up the good work in a difficult situation, instead of being
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator-at-large Wu Sz-huai (吳斯懷) has said that there is a huge difference between Chinese military aircraft circling Taiwan along the edges of its airspace and invading Taiwan’s airspace. He also said that whether it is US or Chinese aircraft flying along or encircling Taiwan’s airspace, there is no legal basis to say that such actions imply a clear provocation of Taiwan, and asked the Ministry of National Defense not to mislead the public. People who hear this might think that it is not a very Taiwanese thing to say. US military activity in the vicinity of Taiwan
As the nation welcomes home Taiwanese who had been stranded in China’s Hubei Province — arguably one of the most dangerous places on Earth since the novel coronavirus outbreak began in its capital, Wuhan, late last year — problems surrounding the “quasi-charter flights” that brought them back have been largely overlooked. The media used the term to describe the two flights dispatched by Taiwan’s state-run China Airlines because they do not count as charter flights. Taiwanese wanting to board those flights had to travel — most likely by train — more than 1,000km from Hubei to Shanghai Pudong International Airport
As the COVID-19 pandemic spins out of control, many parts of the world are experiencing shortages of medical masks and other protective equipment. I am studying in Washington state, which at the time of writing is the US state that has suffered the largest number of deaths from the novel coronavirus. The week before last, UW Medicine — an organization that includes the University of Washington School of Medicine and associated medical centers and clinics — sent its volunteers an e-mail asking the public to make masks and donate them to hospitals. Attached to the message was a mask donation