The government and the public are spending too much time and energy devoted to political infighting, yet we lack even the slightest awareness of the approaching crisis and the warnings offered by repeated disasters. The excessive development of and construction on farmland and hillsides continues apace. Whenever a natural disaster occurs, the government of the day, pan-blue or pan-green, has never seriously considered a thorough and fundamental solution, instead falling back on the simplest solution: To relieve public complaint by offering more subsidies.
The helpless victims have no choice, but to accept these subsidies, thus indirectly encouraging the administrative negligence of officials. In addition, the Control Yuan fails to fulfill its duties, allowing reckless officials to shirk their responsibilities by saying historical factors are to blame and that weather is unpredictable. This is what lies at the heart of the nation’s never ending disasters and hardships.
Even more challenges await us in the future. If the government and the public cannot learn from this month’s floods and drastically change our mode of thinking then more advice, better plans and greater funding will not be enough to solve the problem. By that time, the Mayan prophecy that the world will end this year may come true — at least in Taiwan.
Du Yu is chief executive of the Chen-Li Agricultural Reform Task Force.
TRANSLATED BY EDDY CHANG