Fri, Sep 28, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Shame on racism

Last week I imagined myself at home in Glasgow, Scotland. I imagined I had just found out that some foreign workers will be moving into my neighborhood, so a few other angry residents and I put up a poster stating that we do not want them here and demanding that they leave. I will happily admit to my natural inner repulsion in imagining such a course of events.

Then I wondered how long it would be before the police arrived at my door. An hour, perhaps two at most. Arrest on the grounds of inciting racial hatred might follow or, if lucky — for me only though — perhaps I would get away with a warning and a demand that the poster immediately be removed. There would certainly be indignation from other neighbors and a statement from the local neighborhood committee that they had nothing to do with this and other calming words about the good race relations they enjoyed and wished to continue.

However, last week in Taoyuan County, a group of residents from Rueilian community (瑞聯社區) did exactly this. They hung up a large notice protesting against a group of Filipinos, who work for a local high-tech company, who will be moving into their neighborhood. The Filipinos had committed no crime; their only problem was that they were Filipinos.

What was the resulting action? Was it demands from other locals, the police or the local authority that the insulting poster be removed? Sorry to disappoint, but the result was that the high-tech company has agreed to rehouse the Filipinos somewhere else.

I can find no other words except “blatant racism” to describe this action. Perhaps it is only the action of a few community members, but, if so, then why do others in the community not feel a sense of deep shame at such actions and why do the local authorities not do something to counteract this behavior?

How would the community act if the incoming residents were Japanese or Europeans? Perhaps a welcome reception or invitations to teach their children English or Japanese? However, they were not, they were Filipinos and subjected to discrimination.

It might be useful to remind this community of who built their highways, high-speed and underground railways and who feeds, bathes and pushes the wheelchairs of their elderly and disabled residents.

These events bring shame not only to this local community but to Taiwan as a whole and bring a major discredit to what Taiwan has achieved over the past 30 or so years. The 5,000-year-old culture that you are so proud of should be showing me the humanity and beauty of the Chinese race, yet there still remains a very deep sub-aware mindset that reminds me also of exactly how ugly the Chinaman still likes to be.

Kevin Gallagher

Hsinchu

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