Wed, Oct 03, 2012 - Page 8

ROC becoming feeble

The Republic of China (ROC) is only 101 years old, but has become increasingly feeble, partly because it was transplanted to Taiwan after its first 38 years. A country, just like a grown tree, might have a hard time adjusting to different soil, even if it was transplanted more than 60 years ago.

The ROC is becoming feeble economically and politically. It is too economically dependent on, and politically dominated by, its younger brother the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Even worse, the PRC has 1,600 ballistic missiles aimed at innocent Taiwanese, has acquired its first aircraft carrier and occasionally practices how to attack Taiwan. In spite of the ROC’s pro-China policy, the shelter of the ROC might become the new battlefield of the old “civil war.”

The ROC is silenced on the international stage and has to depend on its few allies to speak for it. For example, the ROC recently complained through two of its allies to the UN about Japan’s nationalization of the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台). Its sovereignty over the disputed islands is claimed on the basis of what should be in, instead of what is, in the 1951 Treaty of San Francisco and the 1952 Treaty of Taipei.

In fact, the ROC should also complain that the PRC changed the name of the islands from Diaoyutais to “Diaoyu,” because the removal of the ending “tai” implies that Taiwan does not own the islands.

Another factor contributing to the feeble condition of the ROC is the incompetence of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Even Control Yuan President Wang Chien-shien has said Ma risks turning himself into one of the most incompetent presidents in history.

In addition, Ma is a selfish president (“Emperor fiddling as Taiwan burns,” Sept. 27, page 8) who cares more about himself, his associates and his party than he does the nation.

Ma has to explain to economically suffering Taiwanese why his monthly savings of NT$480,000 are more than his monthly salary of NT$470,000.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio

Ma’s legacy: failure

The fact that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) hasn’t voluntarily returned half his salary or resigned after his empty “6-3-3” promise, poor support and incompetence is because his ego shows how out of touch he is. What a crazy bubble he must live in. I see a police-guided chauffeur-driven black vehicle convoy on the overpass while peering down from my balcony at work regularly.

Elsewhere, there’s a fund that pays out to anyone who tries to make a citizens’ arrest of Bush II or Tony Blair. One or two have done it, and collected the prize for helping expose war criminals.

In the same vein, I’m starting a fund reward Harvard University students who can find evidence that Ma plagiarized parts of his thesis, which should be available through the library, perhaps for a limited time.

I’ll put US$1,000 on the table on one current Harvard student to dig through the laundry pile and resolve this long-told rumor: Did Ma attribute his research properly? Furthermore, I question Harvard’s decision to award him a diploma, because Ma’s current economic policies are clearly an abject failure.

The most disgraceful fact about Taiwan’s economy is that young students design amazing inventions that collect dust after they win international medals for creativity.

Will a small enterprise start building the air-assisted wheelchair that helps the elderly stand up and sit down, recently featured in the news? Will it ever be manufactured and sold to people in our aging society? Hmm. Maybe these kids’ medals are collecting dust, too.

While biking outside cities, I’ve seen thousands of empty warehouses. Taiwanese culture derives great satisfaction from work. In particular, the elderly, who like a social angle and could be paid a fair part-time wage to build cool stuff invented by talented kids.

I like the idea of adopting warehouses to build made-in-Taiwan (MIT) products to meet consumer demand, while promoting the best and smartest products in the world, from Taiwan.

“MIT” should mean something, like financial support for that kid who makes the balanced finger-standing painted bird pencil sharpeners. Not sure where the pencil goes, but it sounds like a marketable idea!

I ask the Professional Technology Temple (PTT) to start a Web site so that kids who win international awards can actually have a chance to produce them profitably, and in the process create thousands of jobs in Taiwan.

Kids, stand up for your entrepreneurship! I read how two young fans developed proximity-sensing vibrating shoes so that a blind entertainer they like can walk freely on stage during concerts without fear of falling off. Will these niche products ever be manufactured?

The fact that neither Ma’s team nor state-run banks can see the value in potential small and medium-sized enterprises is a catastrophe for Taiwan’s economy. If I were the Democratic Progressive Party and trying to build a credible premise for Taiwan’s future, I would be running to these medal winners and encouraging small businesses to start up with localized funds.

There’s work to do, Taiwan. Let’s get started.

Torch Pratt

New Taipei City