Sun, Dec 15, 2013 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

Wanted: A new Cabinet

In its editorial on Wednesday, the Taipei Times said: “An overhaul of the education system is due to reduce the stubbornly high unemployment rate and keep the country competitive” (Editorial, Dec. 11, page 8). At the same time, it demanded that “The government should take a serious look at this issue and reform the education system.”

Indeed, we really must find a way out of the mess that President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration has brought to Taiwan. Right away, two things must be done:

First, we must abolish the concept that “the professors rule the nation.”

a) In the current Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) Cabinet, there are 34 ministers, and 23 of them used to be professors (including Jiang) in colleges or universities. That equates to 68 percent. There are 13 ministers without portfolio, and nine of them are professors — a ratio of 69 percent. The Cabinet has failed miserably and distressingly. Only 20 percent of people are satisfied with its performance. These ministers might have once been outstanding researchers, scholars or writers, but in the area of management, they are incompetent, unreliable and undependable. The minister of the interior has the highest rating with 40-plus points, but many have only single-digit satisfaction ratings — and a few have just 5 points.

b) Many ministers’ attitudes and statements are unbearable and can not be endured by the public. They are arrogant, disrespectful to the legislature and uncaring of the public. A few examples would be Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) and Lung Ying-tai (龍應台).

c) These ministers have no compassion or basic human feelings toward the people they serve. Despite doing such a poor job, they still want to receive their end-of-year bonuses, while most of the population has not had a salary increase for six or seven years. The average ministerial end-of-year bonus is roughly equivalent to 26 months of a new college graduate’s salary — NT$22,000 per month.

Second, we must abandon the 5,000-year-old Chinese maxim: “Get an education, become an important government official and glorify your ancestors.”

Unfortunately, most people in Taiwan still accept this rotten Chinese idea. It explains why the great majority of parents encourage their children to get a college education instead of learning a skill in vocational schools or becoming a factory worker. This idea is now deeply ingrained and will be extremely hard to overcome. However, the government has to demonstrate that it has the courage, determination and sincerity to take the lead in this new century and highly competitive world and destroy the old culture.

To change a rotten culture takes a long time. Let us take it on as a long term project. However, first things first — the Jiang Yi-huah Cabinet must go. The next cabinet must NOT be a “professor Cabinet” — not just bulls—t [sic], but with an ability to fix things which are broken — if Taiwan wants to continue to survive and have a future.

Ken Huang

Murrieta, California

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