Making ends meet
Just how out of touch with things is the president of the Control Yuan? (“Control Yuan chief under fire,” Dec. 4, page 2) How can he even begin to make such statements about university students in Taiwan? My wife and I return to Taiwan every year and with each passing year it amazes us how difficult it is becoming to support a family and educate even one child on a single income. We have friends who work six days a week and 10 to 14 hours a day. On those salaries they run a household, educate at least one child, save a small amount and help with parental expenses. This leaves little for what one might call recreation.
We see many university students who come to the US on J-1 visas for summer work and travel and they all say the same thing. What money they bring back to Taiwan helps to defray educational expenses. We know of several who have to work part time to help with university costs.
For Mr Wang to make these statements shows just how out of touch he really is and how irresponsible such statements are. He owes these young people and their parents an apology at the very least.
Keeping up with Hau
As an avid cyclist whose office is on Dunhua Road, now affectionately known as “Dun Hau” Road in honor of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), I am disappointed by recent comments that the bike path is a colossal and embarrassing waste of taxpayer dollars.
First, as evidenced by the large number of bus routes that ply Dunhua on the way to Songshan airport, adding the bike lane is an obvious convenience for the countless commuters who travel to the airport by bike. Moreover, compared to the boring, flat, straight bike paths around Da-an Park, the Dunhua path meanders from the pavement to the sidewalk and back again, leading to a much more interesting ride.
Plus, the many pedestrians and the inevitable red-light-running motorists make the morning commute much more exciting, almost like a video game. One or two near-death experiences each day on the way to work gets my blood pumping much better than a cup of hot coffee.
Hau deserves credit for his support of extreme sports. Not to mention that he is helping the local economy by encouraging cyclists to buy helmets and rear-view mirrors.
In addition, the slippery green (low-risk area) and red (high-risk area) paint scheme is pretty and reminds me of Christmas.
It’s also important not to underestimate the tourism appeal, as I frequently see groups of Europeans taking photos of the bike lane to impress their friends back home.
It takes a great leader with real fortitude and boldness to push through a NT$100 million (US$3.2 million) plan to make Taipei more colorful and exciting, and the voters have clearly indicated that they want to see more projects like this in the future.
Yonghe, Taipei County