Sun, Sep 03, 2017 - Page 6 News List


Singling out some teachers

So, let us get this straight. The government has amended its laws targeting a specific group of foreign teachers in Taiwan, citing a reaction to a particular event: “The recent amendments to the laws regulating cram schools and their teachers were precipitated by the widely publicized suicide of the 26-year-old Taiwanese writer Lin Yi-han (林奕含), who in April of this year committed suicide, a decade after allegedly being sexually assaulted by her Taiwanese cram school teacher.” [Taiwan News, July 5, 2017]

Specifically, all cram-school teachers are required to provide criminal background checks. The new amendment does not include teachers in international private schools or public schools, or other foreign or domestic workers, only those working in “cram schools,” as they are termed in Taiwan.

The question is why all foreigners seeking employment should not be required to provide a criminal background check prior to arriving in Taiwan? At the very least, anyone seeking to work with children in Taiwan should be checked.

I am quite certain that no one would disagree with such a policy.

One must consider that it might have been a more effective precautionary measure to prevent this crime from occurring in the first place.

Why, because of one tragic event, is a single group being targeted, as if to ensure they are not deviants similar to the perpetrator in this case?

When a deranged Chinese man, Li Weiguang (李偉光), who immigrated to Canada in 2001, murdered and beheaded a Canadian citizen on a Greyhound bus in 2008 because he heard voices in his head, the response of the Canadian government was not to decree a new law mandating Chinese immigrants specifically to have mental health checks.

Such a reaction would be deemed unconstitutional and undemocratic.

While foreign teachers and workers in Taiwan are somewhat accustomed to being legally singled out in contrast to Taiwanese nationals, the subdividing and targeting of this specific group based upon one crime ostensibly paints the cram-school teaching community with the same brush.

If that is how the government defines the word “democracy,” then perhaps a different meaning should be taught for that word.

George Baker


Imagining community

Even though the Taipei Summer Universiade ended last Wednesday, the excitement here still lingers.

This is the first time I have seen an international event in Taiwan unanimously connect millions of hearts in a “Taiwanese imagined community” — one beyond party divides, beyond ideological differences.

Even the pro-China, or at least the pro-KMT, media such as CTITV livestreamed the “Taiwan’s Heroes Parade” in the wake of this effervescent global sports event.

After the riot of the pension reform protesters, most netizens, both pan-blue and green, had a strong aversion to the protests, blaming the protesters’ unabashed manner for the unsuccessful opening ceremony.

The protesters’ excuses became all the more absurd as they received no support, physical or emotional — no matter how grand the appeal of their claim.

However, the riot serves as an emotional summons to the national pride of the Taiwanese imagined community, as the nation’s pride suffers an “enemy” intrusion.

Criticism of the riot came not only from political media outlets but also from social media such as Facebook groups on Chinese calligraphy and translation. For the first time, I saw Facebook comments set aside Taiwan’s ideological divides.

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