Sun, Oct 22, 2017 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Not again for Ma, Soong

The boring “news” that can be described as “not again” is that former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has been acquitted again and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) has been appointed again as “Chinese Taipei” chief delegate to the APEC summit.

These events should be considered as old stuff rather than news. Their repeated occurrence only disappoints Taiwanese and implies that the government lacks versatility.

Taiwanese have said for years that the law would turn whenever it met Ma. If judicial reform is successfully implemented, this saying would automatically vanish.

All people are created equal and no one is above the law.

Taiwan is a free and democratic country, but it is an unequal society. For example, former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) has not been treated equally to Ma, who faced more serious charges than Chen.

Before being granted medical parole, Chen was imprisoned for six years in a small cell, while Ma has been as free as a bird for more than 16 months.

Soong is a good representative for himself and his party, but he is not a good chief representative for Taiwan. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) appointed him according to China’s demands rather than Taiwan’s needs.

The APEC summit would like to hear Taiwan’s true voice. The most qualified person to speak for Taiwan is President Tsai herself.

Every beginning is difficult. Tsai should not be shy to make an unprecedented try. Taiwan should no longer be treated like an Asian orphan with a bad name.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio

Question data pushers

A 3,000-year-old parable recounts how blind men touching an elephant described the animal.

I was reminded of that story when I read the following excerpt from a Taipei Times article: “Taiwan had a total of 8.458 million households last year, an increase of 0.9 percent — or 72,000 households — from 2015, a DGBAS report showed. Women headed about 2.51 million of these households, an increase of 827,000 households with a growth rate of 6.6 percent compared with a decade ago, the data showed” (“Women are increasingly the main breadwinners,” Oct. 16, page 2).

Kangaroos are being compared to kumquats, unless the rates of change were stable over the 10-year period. In that case, however, the change over a 10-year period would have been 9.7 percent for all households, with that for households headed by women being 6.6 percent and that for households headed by men being 10.6 percent.

Apparently, one of the blind men felt the side of the elephant and described it as a wall — a relative increase in the number of households headed by women — but somebody else might have felt the tail and described the elephant as a rope — a relative decline in the number of households led by women.

The observation is not really relevant to the main thrust of the findings which are, allegedly, that “women are increasingly the main breadwinners.”

However, it does illustrate that if “data pushers” are left unchallenged, many people will unquestioningly believe any conclusion that is presented.

It would be interesting to discuss whether other findings reported in the article really support that thesis, but it is not worth the trouble. The primary reason is that there is no information on what questions were asked, how they were asked, or even who answered them.

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