[ LETTERS ]

Thu, Jun 22, 2017 - Page 8

Clarity on sex education

Representatives of parents’ associations early this month urged the National Academy for Education Research to impose more rigorous standards to review textbooks prior to their publication (“Parents’ alliances demand say on sex education methods,” June 9, page 3).

I strongly believe that the authority concerned should give a clear explanation on the so-called inappropriate content brought up by parents.

As they had not received a satisfactory explanation for materials in some sex education textbooks, anxious parents restated their doubts about some problematic content like “sexual spectrum.” This scale, proposed by Alfred Kinsey, describes people’s sexual orientation as a continuum ranging from “exclusively heterosexual” to “equally heterosexual and homosexual” to “exclusively homosexual.”

However, parents are worried whether guiding students to identify their sexuality on the scale is helpful or will encourage them to identify themselves as homosexual before they are mature enough.

A study by researchers at Washington State University states that there are indeed complex individual differences within homosexual and heterosexual groups, but unlike a continuous spectrum, “there are fairly clean dividing lines between adults who are straight and those who aren’t.”

If the authorities concerned can instill the correct concept to society and request publishers to modify the content, the anxiety can be relieved more easily.

The Constitution states that parents have the right to raise their children before they reach the age of maturity. One of the main objectives of sex education is to take the responsibility to teach what is important, and what parents might feel embarrassed to teach, and if there is no trust in education authorities, students will be confused and parents will worry.

Parents’ concern about their children’s sex education should be respected. The government should make its points clear as soon as possible.

Tsai I-chien

Taipei

Getting ‘dual recognition’

I cannot help but think that Minister of Foreign Affairs David Lee’s (李大維) last man standing battle cry against Beijing is a ruse to camouflage a covert diplomatic operation aiming for nonexclusive recognition (“Diplomats to battle Beijing ‘head-on,’” June 18, page 1).

Why else would President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) of the Democratic Progressive Party retain a foreign minister who cut his teeth during the decades under the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)? Why on earth should she compete with China as the successor to the Qing Empire, rather than govern as the elected leader of a medium-sized democratic state?

Despite what Lee announced, Tsai must have secretly ordered her diplomatic corps to get Taiwan recognized by countries that also recognize China at the same time — or in outdated parlance, “dual recognition.” This should be achievable by a nimble diplomatic service receiving clear orders — as Finnish diplomats performed the feat of organizing the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (1975) during the Cold War.

The Holy See can set a good example, as Jerome Keating pointed out (“Unique relations with the Holy See,” April 18, page 8). How about the US next?

I wish Taiwan’s diplomats every success and hope I have not jinxed their plan.

Te Khai-su

Helsingfors, Finland