Fri, Sep 02, 2011 - Page 8 News List

A new vision for today’s Taiwan

By Ruan Ming 阮銘

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has been announcing various aspects of her party’s 10-year policy guidelines. They have been met with criticism from several directions. Some have sought to brush them aside, saying they are just empty words and phrases that offer little that is new. Others have tried intimidation, saying that their rejection of the “1992 consensus” risks destabilizing the cross-strait situation.

Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairwoman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) in particular got hot under the collar the night before Tsai announced the section on cross-strait issues, posting “18 questions” on Facebook that were irrelevant to the issue at hand.

Why all the invective? Because this section laid out a promise to the next generation, aimed at strengthening the foundations for Taiwan’s sustainable development, carving out a way forward for the next decade of Taiwanese democracy, cutting through the unprogressive pan-blue/pan-green, independence/unification tug-of-war, and creating a blueprint for Taiwan’s future. I like to style it as a “workable wish for Taiwan’s future.”

The fact that it drew the ire of the older generation of government officials, academics, journalists, talk-show hosts and politicians from across the political spectrum really comes as no surprise. Both Lai and President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) know full well that as soon as someone else manages to capture the public’s imagination with a new approach for Taiwan’s future — one that is grounded in reality and perfectly feasible — their game is up. It is good that many young people on Facebook “liked” the guidelines.

This “workable wish for Taiwan’s future” revolves around six main points: a stronger, jobs-driven economy; an altruistic society with fair allocation of resources; a secure environment conducive to sustainable growth; a diverse and innovative approach to education; a deepening of democracy through increased participation by the public; and a strategy for peace.

Each one of these is based upon feasible foundations, on both the domestic and international levels, and explores Taiwan’s potential strengths and the strategic errors of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), clearly pointing out the way forward for Taiwan if it is to compete internationally. This is music to the ears of the younger generation who are fed up of their political leaders whistling the same old tune.

Forging romantic dreams that are divorced from reality is simply building castles in the air, mere delusions that are better left ignored. Dreams are nice, but one cannot always have things as one would ideally like them. Reality often puts a stop to that. However, to abandon one’s autonomy and strengths and cede them to someone else is plain suicidal and dooms one’s future prospects. It is certainly consigning the fate and fortune of the citizens of the country to a very precarious situation.

Of course, politicians need to keep their feet firmly on the ground, but at the same time they need to keep an eye firmly on a better future, a vision that they can aspire to. Only then can they lead the public forward.

Tsai’s 10-year policy guidelines tick both boxes. It is realistic while working towards an ideal, and this is precisely why the younger generation “liked” it on Facebook.

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