Despite the almost 23-day occupation of the Legislative Yuan’s main chamber, an overnight takeover of the Executive Yuan and several anti-government protests, including one by tens of thousands of mostly students and young people that paralyzed a major thoroughfare in Taipei, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) still appears clueless about the origin of the problems facing the government.
At a breakfast meeting yesterday with business leaders, Jiang said that he had been excited to meet with young entrepreneurs, whom he said are different from student activists because they are “full of ideas and energy, willing to try and work hard.”
More importantly, such young entrepreneurs “do not complain about the government all day long, and they would not blame their failures on the government either,” the premier said.
Jiang, in his praise of young entrepreneurs, accused student activists of lacking ideas and energy, being reluctant to work hard and blaming the government for any and all problems and failures.
Such belittlement of young people who have shown an extreme commitment to working for a better future for themselves and this nation is shocking coming from the head of the executive branch of a democratic government.
The activists who took over the legislative floor in March wanted to prevent a rushed passage of the cross-strait service trade agreement through the legislature because they were concerned that the agreement could widen the growing rich-poor gap and threaten the nation’s sovereignty, economically and politically.
The activists who blocked traffic in Taipei the following month wanted to stop the government from activating the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, once it is completed, because many problems and flaws have already been discovered at the plant and with its equipment.
The slogan on T-shirts worn by many of the young activists — “Save our country by ourselves” — shows how different they are from the picture painted by Jiang. They do not blame the government, they are disappointed with it, and they believe that they should be out on the streets to prevent the nation from deteriorating further.
Moreover, many young entrepreneurs are working hard to create their own businesses not because they do not have any complaints about the government, but because they are so disappointed with what the government has to offer them.
Media reports and surveys show that one major reason many young entrepreneurs decide to start their own businesses is that the government’s economic policy is largely aimed at benefiting large corporations at the expenses of their employees. Rather than slave for another at a low salary, these young entrepreneurs would risk establishing their own businesses.
Many young entrepreneurs did take part in the recent anti-government protest. Some took part whenever they had spare time, others provided material goods or money to support the activists occupying the legislative chamber.
Despite all of the protests against the cross-strait service trade agreement — before and after it was signed in June last year — government officials still appear clueless about the public’s unhappiness with the pact and distrust of the government. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) claims public support for the agreement has increased, and has urged Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators to pass it during the extra legislative session that begins on Friday.
Jiang and others in the government have it backwards. The problem is not that young activists are blaming the government for their failures; it is that the government is trying to make the activists the scapegoats for its blunders and ineffectiveness.
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