Is justice blind?
You cannot put two foreigners together in Taiwan for more than five minutes without one bringing up the traffic.
I always end up returning to the same thought: If bad behavior goes unpunished, it is tantamount to encouraging it. That is why I maintain the key problem is one of enforcement. That is why I was furious last weekend.
I was sitting on the back of a friend’s scooter about to make our two-stage left turn at an intersection. I pointed out a police officer standing on the side of the road we were about to turn onto, but, to my amazement, when the left-turn arrow turned green, a number of scooters turned left, ignoring the two-stage turn, which, I was led to believe, is illegal. Yet the officer did nothing as the offending drivers zoomed past. I thought to myself: He must be on a more important mission. To my disappointment, I was wrong. He was on what I consider to be a much less important mission.
As the light changed, an elderly scooter-rider made an illegal right turn into the arms of the awaiting officer. He had passed up the opportunity to stop the left-turning drivers and instead caught the old woman making a right. I told my friend what was happening and he said it happens all the time and that the officer has his particular duty and would not be concerned with other infractions.
I cannot be sure if this is the case, but it certainly appeared to be. Coming from a jurisdiction where a right-turn is legal at a red light after the vehicle has made a complete stop, I feel that the police officer had missed the more serious transgressors.
Why is it that Taiwanese generally have such a serious and committed work ethic and yet the attitude of the police seems so uninterested in law enforcement and public safety? My friend enlightened me saying that the cops at home (for him in England, but also for myself in the US) generally work near their homes. They have a “beat” that they feel attached to and they do not want anyone to break the law in their part of the city. Their attitude amounts to: “Don’t even think about speeding near MY school zones.”
Do police here not feel the same attachment? Are they moved to different districts? If anyone knows, please share.
Showing your love
I would like to express my opinion on a recent report (“One couple divorces every 10 minutes in Taiwan,” April 23, page 14): “It is easier said than done.” A common response when people learn, for example, the actual rate of divorce. In fact, the rate of divorce in Taiwan has registered a major increase, according to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, with 50,700 divorces last year.
For me, a 20-year-old woman, I am curious. What is wrong between two grown-ups? Do they fail to express themselves? Or do they not know how to communicate with others, even when they are facing the person they love?
I think the problem can be addressed by people not talking about their feelings or shouting too much and then divorcing too easily.
Learning how to talk with each other is useful because it shows people how to get along and it is good for teaching kids.
My mother is a tender, rational and wise woman. She listens carefully to others with different opinions and she then talks with them in a soft voice. After that, any problems they may have had are solved and people are not only grateful to her, but also like her a lot. So do I.