Fri, Aug 19, 2011 - Page 8 News List


Unequal treatment

I find it remarkable that it took the government less than 24 hours to find the body of Taishin Financial Holdings president Lin Keh-hsiao (林克孝).

If it were any average person, it would take weeks — as has been proven with the death of other hikers. This is yet another example of how the rich get special perks.

If you are wondering why London is burning up and revolutions are taking place in the Arab world, look no further than these types of injustices. While the weak suffer, the rich bask in their little world of grandeur.

It is about time that rich people, investors, bankers and their kind wake up and see that ordinary people cannot survive while their companies make a killing.

I feel deeply sorry for the loss to Lin’s family, but I hope that more people will speak out against the unfair treatment we peasants receive.



Banning the anthem

No school band, from any country, should ever be asked to refrain from playing their national anthem (“School band told to drop national anthem: official,” Aug. 9, page 3). That the request apparently came from a citizen of their own country betrays the presence of a turncoat in their midst.

To invite a band to play, then dictate what it cannot play, would be like booking Elvis and telling him not to sing Blue Suede Shoes or telling the Beatles to skip Help. There is no reason for it. None.


Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Bad driving in Taipei

I have lived in Taiwan for more than eight years, and the last four in Taipei. I have always been impressed at the safety of living in this city; being able to walk the streets any time of day without fear. It is a reflection of the decency and civility of people in Taipei.

So why is it that when these same people are seated behind a wheel, all sense of decency and concern for others transforms into an arrogance that defies belief, and a sense of entitlement where other people’s safety, even their very lives, are of no importance? Not all drivers in Taipei are like this, but after observing this behavior on a daily basis for some years now, it is clearly an endemic problem.

Suggesting drivers in the city “can’t drive” is to say they don’t know how to drive. For anyone who has completed a driving test in Taiwan, it is of no surprise that the training and testing are hopelessly inadequate.

Go to any major intersection on Zhongxiao E Road at midday and watch drivers taking a left-hand turn. It involves dangerously veering into and across the other lane, establishing a personal inside lane on the opposite side of the road, even if it runs over a pedestrian crosswalk, and finally pushing through a gap of crossing pedestrians. Left-hand turns are mentioned in the written driving test; they are not practiced nor rigorously tested in an actual road test.

Suggesting drivers in the city “won’t drive properly” is to say they know how to drive, but they choose not to. This is a more unfortunate reality of life in Taipei: racing through red lights, not using an indicator before changing lanes, not stopping the car for crossing pedestrians.

The other factor in this madness is what motivated me to write now. While walking home from lunch recently, I encountered a typical scene: a small road with an intersecting street running through it; no traffic lights, but with a pedestrian crosswalk. While crossing the street, a car approached coming down the street from the opposite side of the road and heading through the intersection. When the driver saw I was continuing across the crosswalk, he accelerated toward me; I had to literally dive backwards to avoid him. This is not the first time it has happened, but it was the closest I ever came to being hit full on.

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