Take heart, Starok
I happened to read Slawomir Starok’s story about being attacked in Taiwan (Letter, Dec. 21, page 8). I feel that Starok’s character is straightforward. He speaks out about what is on his mind to people, even to strangers. I appreciate his attitude. I am the kind of Taiwanese who would not be angry when people try to correct me if I am wrong. However, unfortunately, the person Starok encountered is another kind of Taiwanese.
Think about what life would be like in New York City. Would everything be OK in that famous city? Think about life in Italy, France or England. Is Starok sure that the difficulty he encountered in Taiwan would never happen in those countries?
There are prisons, courts and police stations not only in cities in Europe, but also in the US and everywhere else in the world.
Starok should not be too depressed. I hope his family will be able to get over that harrowing experience. Usually, I do not like to go out after 11pm in Taiwan because I am afraid bad things might happen. I hardly ever correct people to their face in public about something that everybody knows: Riding a motorcycle with children is dangerous and police will fine violators. If I think I have to say so, but no one listens, I shut up and leave. I would not argue with violators as a kind of common sense.
A few months ago in the MRT in Taipei, a girl scolded me, telling me that I should not chew gum on the MRT. I accepted her advice immediately with a smile.
There is no need for Starok to be so depressed. He should just avoid correcting people in Taiwan or any other country again for fear of putting himself or his family in danger. If he cannot stop himself from doing this, he should be sure that the behavior he is trying to correct is so dangerous that it poses an immediate danger to the public.
I hope to see and meet Starok someday and hope that he is recovering well.
Our climate responsibilities
There is an urgent global issue that climatic change has been speeding up because of human activities. According to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the most recent assessment of Earth’s average temperature has risen by 0.74?C from 1906 to 2005, and that the average temperature will continue to rise.
The rate of climate change is now so fast that we are attempting to adapt our lifestyle to slow it down. Extreme abnormal weather events are likely to become more intense and more frequent. This is a crisis of global proportions. Therefore, we must alter the way we live to save energy.
Some fundamental measures we can seriously consider are taking public transportation and buying recycled products.
It takes less energy to manufacture a recycled product than a brand new one. Moreover, we can encourage people to eat locally grown food. If the food doesn’t have to be transported long distances, less carbon dioxide will be emitted from the trucks shipping it. Eating in-season fruit and vegetables saves on enormous transportation costs and reduces carbon dioxide.
If everybody undertakes these measures, we can hopefully reduce carbon dioxide emissions. For a better future, we cannot overemphasize the importance of saving energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
A lesson for the military
One of the military’s duties is to plan for emergency situations. There should be a contingency plan for any unpredictable situation. Because of weekly practice, military personnel can react to any kind of emergency without thinking. Military officers and soldiers were recently attacked by local residents at a military base in Kinmen County.