President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and Premier Lin Chuan (林全) have been meeting with the media and non-governmental organizations (NGO), which might be a good sign that the government is moving in a better direction.
Prior to Tsai’s inauguration in May, most people expected that she would turn a new page for the nation and that the government would be the “best at communicating” as she promised after she won January’s election.
However, in the past three months, the government’s decisionmaking mechanism seems to be a little chaotic, with many policy decisions coming as surprises.
For example, the government seemed to reverse its stance on whether workers should be entitled to seven holidays per year when a shift to mandatory two-day weekends takes place or whether workers should be required to have one day off after six days of work.
The government seemed determined at first, then after speaking with business representatives, it changed its stance, even canceling the day-off-after-six-days policy, with that decision made on July 31, the day before the policy was to be implemented.
Such rushed decisions and sudden changes have triggered protests from almost all sides affected. In the debate over labor issues, businesses complained that the government made decisions unilaterally, while labor unions said they were not consulted.
News outlets have expressed discontent over the government’s seeming unwillingness to communicate with the media — mainly criticizing the Executive Yuan and the Presidential Office.
Failure to communicate might not be the only reason for the sharp drop in popularity for the president and the premier, but it must have contributed a great deal.
An opinion poll released on Monday by Taiwan Indicators Survey Research showed that Tsai’s approval rating dropped below 50 percent, while her disapproval rating rose to 39.8 percent.
As for the premier, his approval rating was 37.3 percent, dropping below his disapproval rating of 40.4 percent.
Perhaps the nation’s top two leaders have realized the serious nature of the political crisis they face: Lin, who has often been reluctant to be on the front lines, arranged sessions to speak with labor and business representatives on Friday, while Tsai invited reporters to a reception in Taipei yesterday, where she spoke and answered questions.
Will things improve? That is unknown, but at least the president and premier are starting to interact directly with the media, as well as NGOs.
Keeping the communication channels open and smooth is the first step. If the government sincerely listens to what people have to say and takes into consideration other opinions when making decisions, it would certainly improve a great deal.
The administration of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was often criticized for being opaque, acting willfully and feeling good about itself — despite protests — which were important factors in the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) landslide defeat in the legislative and presidential elections.
People voted for Tsai and her Democratic Progressive Party because they believed that combination would bring change.
Certainly, the public is slightly disappointed three months into Tsai’s administration, but it is never too late to make changes and win hearts again.
As China pushes the world to avoid official dealings with Taiwan, leaders across the globe are realizing just how dependent they have become on the democratic nation. Taiwan is being courted for its capacity to make leading-edge computer chips. That is mostly down to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s largest foundry and go-to producer of chips for Apple Inc smartphones, artificial intelligence and high-performance computing. Taiwan’s role in the world economy largely existed below the radar, until it came to recent prominence as the auto industry suffered shortfalls in chips used for everything from parking sensors to reducing emissions. With automakers
If social media interaction is any yardstick, India remained one of the top countries for Taiwan last year. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has on several occasions expressed enthusiasm to strengthen cooperation with India, one of the 18 target nations in her administration’s New Southbound Policy. The past year was instrumental in fostering Taiwan-India ties and will be remembered for accelerated momentum in bilateral relations. However, most of it has been confined to civil society circles. Even though Taiwan launched its southbound policy in 2016, the potential of Taiwan-India engagement remains underutilized. It is crucial to identify what is obstructing greater momentum
In memory of Diane Baker: one of the last working dance journalists, a true dance aficionado and dear friend. On Friday, through a mutual friend, I received the shocking news that dance critic Diane Baker had passed away suddenly at her apartment in Tianmu, Taipei. The news quickly spread, and messages of concern quickly swarmed in from the dance community in Taiwan and abroad. Her sister Sharon in the US later confirmed that Diane died of a heart attack on Wednesday last week. She was 65. Diane was a dear friend to Taiwan’s dance community. Her frequent appearance at dance performances in
A full year after an outbreak of a novel coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, the Chinese government last week finally relented to international pressure and granted access to a team of scientists from the WHO to investigate the origins of the disease. However, serious questions remain about whether the team would be able to carry out its investigation, free from the meddling hand of the Chinese state: The signs do not bode well. The team was originally due to arrive at the beginning of this month; however, their visas were abruptly canceled while several of its members were already in transit.