There is a land in which we must all live, a land from which none of us may escape. It is a land to which we must all go and cannot avoid, neither in death, nor in dream. It is a land of opportunity, of joy, of sorrow, of pain, of happiness and toil, of labor and birth. Of creation, of destruction. Of hope, of fear. It is a land of love and peace and milk and honey.
However, it is a fragile land, a fragile peace, a fragile joy. It is a fragile toil, a fragile birth, a fragile pain. It is a fragile land, the future. For how we act in the present and how we acted in the past can all change the future in the blink of an eye. How we behave in the present, dictated by how we behaved in the past, dictates how we behave in the future — and how the future behaves.
I am addressing you today, Taiwan, my nation, my comrades, my compatriots, my lads, my fellows, my beings of birth and of humanity, to tell you that things do not have to be this way. We do not have to live a future determined by the past, chained by the present, tied to a history gone by. We do not have to live in fear, live in oblivion, live in limbo, forever repeating our past mistakes.
We must learn to let go of our past. Of our fears. Of our pain. We must learn to let go of them and take them into ourselves, embrace them and ourselves and realize that despite whatever mistakes we have made, we may live with them, but we do not have to live by them. We may learn from them, but we do not have to live in them.
Here is my proposal: Dream again.
Dream again not the old dream that China will be ours again by law, by providence, by hope, by chance. Dream not again that China will be whole again by geography, by land. Dream not this once again, for it is gone. Instead, dream again, remember again, that we were once one people. That we were once one nation, one creation, one humanity. Before we had let bureaucracy and politics and agendas and disagreements and differences and disappointments divide us, we were as one nation. We were as one and we were happy. And we were happy and we were free. Dream. And dream again.
One nation, one dream. One people, one being. One humanity.
Keeping schools open, safe
I am writing in regards to the tragedy that happened to an eight-year-old girl in an elementary school in Taipei.
Taipei Department of Education Commissioner Tang Chih-Min (湯志民) said it is difficult to keep tabs on everyone entering school grounds because schools are “open” as a matter of policy (“Man allegedly cuts young girl’s throat, May 30, page 1).
I agree that opening school grounds to the public has its merits, but I believe schools should not open themselves without having thorough precautions.
The Ministry of Education believes that reconnecting the schools to the community will be a win-win situation for both sides. People in the community will have more faith in their schools and schools can help students bond with the community by utilizing resources in it.
Opening school grounds has become a trend. Lowering or tearing down campus walls and opening unoccupied classrooms and vacant spaces in schools to the community for recreational purposes are some of the steps that have been taken to make campuses more community-friendly.
However, this policy has been problematic as broken windows, litter and strangers roaming about have become more common. Not only has the environment on campuses deteriorated, but students are exposed to unknown dangers.
Schools should be a part of a community’s property, but that does not mean schools should open themselves unconditionally. Schools should make a thorough evaluation before deciding what areas to open.
The dean of National Chiayi University’s Teachers College, Wu Huan-Hung (吳煥烘), said: “Every school needs to learn how to separate areas opened to the public from the classroom areas to guarantee students a high-quality learning environment and, more importantly, their safety on campus.”
More could also be done to improve the security of school grounds, including security cameras and patrols. Communities should be educated to cherish their school facilities and watch out for each other.
Building safe school campuses is not an overnight task, but it should be taken care of right away.
New Taipei City
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