Moral compass lost
Many people were appalled when it was found that some vocational high school students at San-sin High School have been working as sex workers for the purpose of buying drugs, as was reported by CNA on May 5.
Another story, covered by NOW news on May 6, reported the story of a robber who was a former student at the elite Jianguo High School.
It is alleged that he committed his crimes so he could buy drugs.
These two cases involving young people prompt us to ask what’s wrong with our education system.
The public may also be wondering why some young people are becoming addicted to drugs and why these kids have gotten lost in modern society.
Part of the answer might be because they fail to find the core values in life.
The famous Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats once wrote, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”
This can shed some light on how and why these young people are lost in the world of sensual pleasure.
In striking contrast with those young kids is Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊), who made Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people (“Vendor wants normal life,” May 8, page 3).
Chen donates what she has to those who are in need.
When she was in San Francisco, she said, “I will continue to be myself and I am pleased to learn that some people have been inspired by me and have started doing charity work as well.”
She is a role model to us in the modern Taiwanese society.
Unlike Chen, some of our young kids do not know who they are, nor can they identify where they want to go.
That is why they cannot find goals and meaning in their lives.
This means we have to ponder the matter through diverse education.
How can we tackle this difficult problem?
The teaching of ethics and morals may help young children to build up positive value judgments.
By doing charity work, as Chen does, youngsters would be able to find greater fulfillment in their lives.
Youths will thus be able to realize what true happiness is through the process of community service and charitable work.
By caring for people they might become more aware of what they have and learn to cherish it.
Ultimately, they will learn that taking drugs won’t bring them happiness, but only enduring pain.
William Wordsworth wrote in his famous poem The Rainbow, “The child is father of the man.”
We should safeguard our young generations and lead them to a bright future through appropriate behavior provided by formal education, parents and the whole of society.
Indeed, it takes a village to educate a child.
And nobody should be left behind.
Taiwanese film at its best
In a recent film review (“Hidden in plain sight,” May 7, page 16), the Taipei Times gave a thumbs-up to Pinoy Sunday, a GIO-backed movie by Chinese-Malaysian director Ho Wi-Ding (何蔚庭), who has spent the past nine years working as a film and video producer in Taipei.
In my opinion, the movie is so good and so universal that it deserves an Oscar someday for Best Foreign Film — it’s that brilliant.
Although it’s set in Taiwan, it’s not only about Taiwan. It’s about life all around us, no matter what country we are from or live in.
The movie is a funny, yet tender, comedy about the trials and tribulations of a pair of happy-go-lucky Filipino foreign laborers working in a factory in Taiwan. These two men represent Third World workers who make iPads, iPods and iPhones in factories scattered across this nation for the consumer-product hungry Western world.
The film is both a comedy and a tragedy, with a storytelling touch that is as sublime as it is divine.
And the star of the movie, the inanimate yet colorful star of this wonderful cinematic masterpiece, is a red sofa.
Yes, a bright red leather sofa that’s been thrown away by a Taiwanese family —discarded and left on a dirty city sidewalk in metropolitan Taipei — is one of the stars of this movie.
It’s a symbol of many things in the film: the haves and the have-nots, the rich and the poor, the factory bosses and the factory workers, the rich Taiwanese and the dark-skinned migrant worker from the Philippines, dreams and reality, justice and injustice, love and betrayal — all wrapped up in one bright red sofa!
It’s red. It’s a couch. It’s been thrown away as garbage.
To the two Filipino factory workers from overseas, working in Taiwan to make money for their families back home in Manila, the red sofa is a dreamed-of ticket to comfort, and a kind of dream machine.
The two protagonists in the movie spend the entire film trying to get the oversized, cranky, creaky, ungainly, and yes, heavy red sofa back to their worker’s dormitory on the outskirts of town.
You will never look at a sofa in quite the same way again, especially a red sofa like this one.
The various attempts to push, pull, carry and even float the sofa to their spartan dormitory room is at the heart of this laugh-out-loud tragicomedy that would make even Shakespeare proud — yes, the comedic Shakespeare.
Pinoy Sunday is not just a movie about Taiwan. It’s a universal story about love, life, dreams and the reality that sometimes interferes with good intentions.
I think this movie has a chance at winning an Oscar. It’s that good, and that compelling. If Taiwan gave birth to the films of Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮) and Ang Lee (李安), let’s raise a glass to toast the fortunes of Ho Wi-Ding, who just might bring home some nice film awards for Taiwan, too.
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