Fri, Jun 21, 2019 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTER ]

President’s true nature

The jaw-dropping participation of former premier William Lai (賴清德) in the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) presidential primary provoked a heated debate.

One of his glorified excuses was that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) approval rating flatlined after last year’s local elections. He claimed that because there was only an outside chance of her winning next year’s presidential election, he must step forward to take the responsibility to run.

Ostensibly, looking at poll data, it seems that Tsai did not do her job well. However, can polls represent the whole story? Should people not look under the hood before blaming her for her low popularity?

As a responsible voter, it matters more to observe politicians’ actions over a long period than to only listen to them during campaigns. Tsai might be not an eloquent speaker, but she is definitely a pragmatist.

Her administration focused on reforms. She pulled off the government employees’ pension reform, which was a head-scratcher for previous presidents, amended the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), raised the minimum wage and codified marriage equality. She also developed green energy to achieve the goal of a nuclear-free homeland policy.

More importantly, she made Taiwan’s consensus clear to the world when China’s dictator tried to unify Taiwan with a policy of “one country, two systems.”

Almost all the issues she tackled were controversial, making it difficult to please everyone, but she did not choose the easy way out by leaving the problems for a second term.

During the reform process, many rightists felt offended, but some extreme leftists said that her efforts were not aggressive enough. She was often caught between two fires, but she always kept trying to find the best solution to let the two sides meet in the middle.

After Tsai took office, she led Taiwan away from China’s clout. The nation is on the right track, although some of us might lose some benefits for now.

With her dedicated administration, the Public Service Pension Fund will not go bankrupt in 30 years, the goal of a nuclear-free homeland is reachable, the minimum wage has been raised incrementally and Taiwan has become an impressive nation that embraces the values of humanity and equality in Asia by legalizing same-sex marriage.

Tsai has proven that making wise calls can lead Taiwan to prosperity without inclining toward China too much.

Of course, there are still many amendments that need to be done because it is never easy to perfect reforms all at once, but Taiwanese should have faith in Tsai. She is not only a reformer with determination, but also a real statesperson who will bring Taiwan to the world.

The bravery of doing the right thing with long-term vision means she is a statesperson instead of a politician.

Hung Hsiang-fei

Taipei

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