Mon, Nov 05, 2012 - Page 8

Diversity is the key to life

Wednesday’s editorial (“Promoting gay rights helps Taiwan,” Oct. 31, page 8) was the loudest clarion call for justice I have ever seen in the Taipei Times. I that heard about half of the 50,000 parade marchers were non-gay supporters of the right to wear feathers and boas and walk down the street freely and with dignity regardless of which of their costumes they happen to be wearing while they are students or doing their day jobs.

Folks might jump to the conclusion that I am gay because I do not wear shoes while taking public transportation and my toenails are painted with the Republic of China flag. Some people do not care if I am gay or not, or whom I support, and they just ask (usually) to take a picture of my feet.

Some men have actually saluted my toes, weird and kind of creepy, but if you do not judge me, I will be happy to return the favor. I think the content of my character says everything I need to say.

As a Rangi Association volunteer teaching guitar in Chingchuan (清泉), an Atayal village and tourist hotspot near Zhudong Township (竹東) in Hsinchu County, I played guitar for some young kids who listened to me practice at the riverside tent market. Afterward, I hitchhiked back to the bus station with a family who complimented my singing — a truly magical weekend.

When a kid asked why my nose was so long, I asked why hers was so flat. Then I asked all the kids to join me putting their arms on the table and I pointed out how all our skin colors were different. The obvious truth was that none of us are the same; a good thing.

Medically, we all start out as women, then DNA kicks in and a female fetus’ clitoris and related bits grow out into a man’s foreskin; simple biology. Hopefully the upcoming “Hydrogen to Human” project can shed more light on the “self-assembly” of the universe and of us.

English teachers I know are tolerant of kids saying wai guo ren, or literally “outside country person,” when loudly expressing free speech to their moms in passing. When I hear this, I confront the kid and say “Bu shi. Wo shi wai xing ren,” — meaning that I am from another planet. If the kids ask me for proof, I show them my residence permit, which clearly says “alien” on top. And kids believe me because I have blue eyes. It is hilarious.

Some Bible-wielding folks seem to forget that according to the Bible, God made Eve because Adam was a failed beta-version. God admitted to his mistake after Adam was busted “frolicking” with the animals, according to the oft-translated stories from antiquity.

If God made gay penguins which can raise offspring, then black and white gay humans are okay with me.

If we do not embrace diversity, we as a species will be choosing mediocrity. Plus, we all share this one planet, our only home.

Put Taiwan’s four legislative parties in one pie chart: it creates a funky peace sign that almost matches the peace tattoo on the back of my neck.

So, where is our president on all this?

Torch Pratt

New Taipei City

Ma promises a broken legacy

Taiwanese should read Ben Goren’s letter (Letters, Nov. 2, page 8) for a peek into what their president is doing behind their backs about their future.

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) acts like a chef who cannot take the heat in the kitchen and refuses to accept any suggestions about his cooking. Lacking originality, Ma favors the recipe of the “German model” for “unification.” Germany became a democratic country (like West Germany was) following reunification.

Surely, Ma is not so naive as to think that if the “German model” is adopted, China will convert from communism to democracy?

Regardless, Taiwanese may not want to join China again, having been separated for 117 years.

If Ma forces Taiwan to unite with China, he might have a chance to win a Nobel Peace prize, but Taiwanese will definitely lose their freedom again, possibly forever. Such a peace prize would be a disgrace rather than an honor.

Ma’s recipe for Taiwan’s future seems more like the “Vietnamese model” than the “German model.”

Many Taiwanese think that Ma refuses to replace Minister of Economic Affairs Shih Yen-shiang (施顏祥) because he wants the economy to deteriorate such an extent that his unification plan will be enhanced.

Only a president fixed on betrayal would be interested in such a legacy.

Ma should create an innovative idea about Taiwan-China relations for the benefit of Taiwanese instead of copying from the Vietnamese or German experience. This novel idea should be based on Ma’s own campaign promises that “the future of Taiwan shall be decided by 23 million Taiwanese” and “Taiwan shall not negotiate at gunpoint.”

Nothing is more important for a politician than to keep their promises.

Charles Hong

Columbus, Ohio