Not only does the Ministry of National Defense have the right to limit and/or curtail any and all visits to China by retired officers, it has the duty and obligation to do so. It is unknown what these retirees discuss or give away in order to curry favor while on holiday.
An officer is sworn to support and uphold the constitution of Taiwan — for life. His obligation does not end with taking off the uniform. Not only do the soldiers of Taiwan deserve better from their superiors, the people of Taiwan should be demanding the same loyalty from the military.
Tantamount to racial hatred
Michael Fagan (Letters, page 8, Aug. 30) is apparently not in favor of anything at all, except, very explicitly, racism and, more implicitly, anarchy.
The many things he doesn’t know about the rule of law, “Western enlightenment” and the Chinese people and their history and culture are evident from his revolting diatribe.
Also among them, I suspect, is the fact that in certain Western jurisdictions, which have been served very well by the rule of law (whose origins go back to Plato, and which has been a central feature of English constitutional and political discourse since the Magna Carta in 1215), his letter may in certain circumstances have landed both him and the Taipei Times in the dock for incitement of racial hatred.
Upholding English standards
Andrew Chard’s letter about a recent contest to find a catchy English slogan for the National Immigration Agency (NIA) (Letters, page 8, Sept. 1) was an important one.
He said he “was astounded to read that a panel of judges had decided on a [Taiwanese] fifth-grade student’s slogan, ‘NIA care what you care,’” adding: “Indeed, it is quite obvious that the panel of judges who chose the winning slogan did not include a single native English speaker.”
Chard further stated: “This sort of thing should never happen. The use of English by any government agency should be thoroughly checked and approved before being adopted — particularly in such a high-profile competition, reported [in] the national news [media].”
Of course, Chard is correct. Someone with a native English-speaking background should have checked the winning slogan before it was made public. I also spotted the news story about the slogan and immediately checked the NIA’s Web site and found a toll-free 0800 telephone number and called the hotline. A Filipina phone operator kindly took my message about the slogan and connected me with an NIA official who said he understood my concerns, appreciated the phone call and gave me his e-mail address so I could send in a corrected version of the winning slogan, which now reads, in English: “NIA cares what you care about.”
It’s good to write a letter to a newspaper editor. It’s also good to get on the phone and talk directly to the agency responsible for issues that concern you.
One nice thing about Taiwan is that government officials usually do listen to advice on English matters, so I recommend using the phone and Internet next time to try correct things you want to chime in on. When expats talk, Taiwan listens.