Poor Eslite decision
I was shocked by the article “Eslite pulls out of deal to screen Tiananmen movie” (May 31, page 1) by Liu Li-jen, Chang Hui-wen and Jake Chung.
The authors mention the refusal by Eslite to screen a Chinese Television System documentary on democratic movements in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The authors think that Eslite’s self-censorship shows that it is afraid of entangling with political issues due to China’s pressure.
A bookstore should help liberate thoughts and ideas. However, by practicing self-censorship of the film, which has sensitive elements, Eslite is actually confining voices.
What is more, the attitude of Eslite toward this incident is contradictory to the brand itself.
On its official Web site, Eslite says its vision is to be innovative and enlighten people. In reality, it has failed as a platform for freedom of speech and publication.
There are actually a lot of books about politics on Eslite’s best-seller list, such as the memoir of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), and its movie theaters are screening a lot of movies concerning sensitive political issues. For example, it is showing Apocalypse Now, a movie about the horrors of the Vietnam War.
It does not seem fair for Eslite to stop showing [the Tiananmen] movie because of its content.
I think Eslite should screen the documentary. After all, a bookstore should celebrate liberty, not keep knowledge captive. If Eslite keeps blocking sensitive issues from the public, it will no longer be a bookstore that respects different voices.
Recently, a lot of independent bookstores have been unafraid to voice their opinions on sensitive issues and accept differences. This is what a bookstore should be about — the liberation of knowledge.
No killing animals
An article about the woes of monkeys in Taitung County has provoked my deep reflection on animal rights (“Taitung County mulling monkey-catching contests,” June 5, page 2).
The author stated that the Taitung County Government was considering the event to alleviate farmers’ complaints about monkeys ravaging their orchards.
By “catching,” they mean to kill.
Taitung County Councilor Ku Chih-cheng (古志成) said that the county gave out insufficient subsidies for farmers to build electrified fences. Therefore, the county should provide more subsidies rather than hold a contest to kill monkeys.
With all the education I have, I know that killing others, human beings or not, is never a solution. Instead of killing monkeys, some methods can be adopted to prevent them from entering orchards.
They can be electrified fences or ditches, but they definitely cannot be hunting.
We do not have the right to decide the fate of wild monkeys by hunting them. We cannot kill people because they get in our way, so what right do we have to take such action against monkeys because they damage orchards?
We do not have that right. All lives are equal. If we should not kill people, we should not kill monkeys either.
As independent Taitung County Councilor Lin Wei-chih (林威志) said in the article, the department should find other ways to stop the monkeys.
Maybe the county could provide premiums and technical help so that the farmers can effectively prevent the monkeys from raiding their orchards.
However, among all the options the county has, killing animals is not an option. It is absolutely not a righteous action to take.
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