Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - Page 8

Tragedy gives Ma window

The media coverage of the death of army corporal Hung Chung-chiu (洪仲丘) has exposed the deceitful and corrupt flaws in the military, leaving the public with deep qualms over our national security and greatly worried about the integrity of our armed forces and their capability of defending this nation.

Despite the public’s discontent with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) second-term performance and foreign reporters’ skepticism about his ability to govern, this incident has given him a window of opportunity. Ma now the chance to demonstrate to the nation and the world that he is a determined, decisive leader that can resolve the military’s image crisis so the armed forces can stand up taller than ever and the nation can place their trust in them.

To seize this opportunity, the president should immediately call for the establishment of an independent and bipartisan committee to investigate Hung’s death. As the supreme commander of the armed forces, Ma has the obligation to eradicate the corruption that has long been present in the army, navy, air force and the marines.

Only by taking this once-in-a-life-time opportunity to expose the wounds and sores in our armed forces can they be healed and the military rebuilt. By doing this, the country that we love so dearly and the democratic system that we cherish can survive.

David Wang

Greater Kaohsiung

Buy gold, stay out of China

In a normal market environment, Taiwanese universities would be establishing class after class on China’s “seven banned subjects,” but of course we do not have a normally operating market in Taiwan.

In the hybrid Orwellian/Huxlean slow-motion train wreck that is China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has now banned the following subjects in schools:

The CCP clearly shows its disdain for the galaxies, stars and planets by banning the teaching of “universal values,” showing a clear bias against things we take for granted, like gravity and sunlight.

Yet apart from the easy-to-mock low-hanging fruit, the rest of the list is depressing from an economic point of view.

The Fourth Estate — the press and media — is supposed to help keep the government from doing crazy, excessive things like building high-speed rail trains to nowhere (ie, Tibet).

Yet, China’s list of things that so-called “educators” cannot teach now contains “freedom of the press,” “civil society and civic rights” and “judicial independence.”

Luckily, there is a clear gap that Taiwan’s universities can step in to fill. What a perfect money-making proposition.

Elsewhere, investors have been approaching me about a “Banned in China” (BIC) retail space in Eslite bookstores, where people can sit on a couch and watch Cape Number Seven as many times as they want. The BIC Group hopes to generate sales for the published authors whose books are banned in China, which will also occupy a place of prominence in the display, along with a reading area.

As for those tourists who only read simplified Mandarin characters, suck it up and get educated. The “BIC model” has been deemed a massive profit-maker for small businesses and publishers, according to one analyst, who also said the Second National Palace Museum was on track and would open its doors sometime in the next six months.

Regarding the rest of the list, any government that tries to suppress scholarship regarding “crony networks” and “historical mistakes of the CCP” (of which there are many, I assure you), will find that Taiwan’s universities will spring to the challenge, immediately offering classes in these important subjects to the foreigners from the other side of the Strait.

It is important to remember that “primitive” rural societies existed on the back of farmers who grew enough food to feed their families and expand production toward their neighbors in a barter economy. Cheap oil and rapid industrialization have been at the core of the world’s four-decade expansion and, along with climate change, it is rapidly coming to an end.

In other words, if China — the world’s second-largest economy — bans any teaching against the inevitable reversion to the mean, it is only going to set itself up for the biggest face-palm failure of all time.

As time marches on and mistakes are revealed, a major correction in optimism is warranted. I was distressed to learn that 10 percent of Taiwanese workers are working in China — I hope they have an exit plan.

As I have said many times before, buy gold today to protect yourself from insane politicians and bankers.

Torch Pratt

New Taipei City