Mon, May 20, 2019 - Page 6 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Do not discourage travel

As a partially retired college professor who vigorously encourages his students to step outside their “comfort zone” and spend at least a semester studying in another country, I have some concerns with the tone of your article (“Student leader warns on China tours,” May 14, page 1).

I have absolutely no argument with the advice to “beware,” especially for students from Taiwan traveling to China, but let us tone down the fear-mongering rhetoric. If we really want our young men and women — our future government and business leaders — to succeed, we must encourage, not discourage, them to experience life for themselves.

This is a pragmatic approach. With the proliferation of traditional and social media available to one and all today, the dismissive: “Trust me; I’ll tell you what you need to know” simply does not work. Our future leaders should be urged to learn for themselves, to ask questions when confronted with challenges, and to think critically, digging deep into the situation and applying logic to the solution.

Taiwan has every right to be proud of its youth. They are confident, well-educated young men and women who are laser-focused on success, but they must be allowed to spread their own proverbial wings and learn to fly.

At the same time, as adults, we should be leading by example. Cowering in the back corner of our bedroom closet and refusing to venture out of our comfortably familiar neighborhood tells younger generations that it is okay to be ignorant, to not know what lies around the corner or across the seas.

To question is good, as is to challenge. More important, though, is to be curious; to ask the “why” and “how” questions that will draw open the knowledge-darkening curtains and allow in the light of understanding.

So, “yes” to those students and others who have received or are considering offers to travel to China and elsewhere. Take advantage of the opportunity to experience life for yourself. Be aware of what others have cautioned, but call on your own inherent intelligence to draw your own conclusions.

As the British poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) said so well in 1709 in his Essay on Criticism: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

Kirk Hazlett

Adjunct professor at the University of Tampa, Florida

Silencing the press

When Dennis Peng (彭文正) and his guests were having a routine politico-economic talk show on Formosa TV on April 22, all of a sudden, without any warning, the show was cut off.

Audiences in Taiwan and overseas were extremely disappointed and displeased.

This incident was reportedly due to the constructive comments and suggestions made by the popular show to the central government. It is an unprecedented insult to freedom of the press and speech in Taiwan.

The National Communications Commission and the Control Yuan should order Formosa TV to show, without delay, the recorded but aborted portion of the program on the day of national disgrace. The persons who caused this incident should be held responsible.

Unfortunately, commentator Yao Li-ming (姚立明) has also been silenced, and authors Ching Heng-wei (金恒煒) and Cao Changqing (曹長青) have been asked not to write any more articles for their special newspaper columns.

How can such uncivilized political oppression occur in Taiwan? Can Taiwan still claim to be a free, democratic country?

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