[ LETTERS ]

Mon, Sep 03, 2018 - Page 6

FAPA president thanks airline

Dear Mr Munoz [Oscar Munoz is the chief executive officer of United Airlines]:

As the president of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a grassroots organization that promotes freedom, human rights and democracy for the people of Taiwan, I write to you today to express my gratitude and support for United Airlines, and to urge United to “hold the line” in the face of Chinese bullying of foreign companies.

We are grateful that, in this respect, your team came up with a creative solution that preserves the dignity of the people of Taiwan: One can now select Taiwan on the United Airlines’ Web site as a location according to Taiwan’s currency, the New Taiwan dollar. This solution provides an excellent model for other airlines to emulate.

It is of course an incontestable reality that Taiwan is a country. Taiwan fulfills all conditions for statehood as laid down in the 1933 Montevideo Convention: It has a territory, a population, a government that exercises effective control and can enter into relations with other countries.

Furthermore, if one plans to travel to China, one cannot apply for a visa to China at the Taiwanese embassy or consulate. If one plans to travel to Taiwan, one cannot apply for a visa to Taiwan at the Chinese embassy or consulate. They are simply two separate countries.

We feel emboldened by the remarks of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on May 5, when she said that Chinese bullying of American carriers “is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.”

China’s bullying of international companies is “Orwellian nonsense” indeed, where a politically closed system deploys its economic weight in the global free market to compel democratic countries to renounce their ideals of free expression and support for other democratic countries.

I again thank you and United Airlines for continuing to present reality and logic in response to China’s irrational and unfounded claims over Taiwan.

Rest assured that we stand by you and your esteemed company, Mr Munoz.

Thank you for your support of Taiwan!

Cordially yours,

Mike Kuo

President of the Formosan Association for Public Affairs

Endorsing English

The official language of a nation has some connection to people and the territory they occupy. In the past 400 years Dutch, Chinese, Japanese and Mandarin have all been used as the official language in Taiwan. It depends on who occupied Taiwan.

After the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) regime of the Republic of China (ROC) was defeated by the Chinese Communist Party, it escaped and occupied Taiwan in 1949. Chinese Mandarin was used as the official language since then, but it has never been authorized in the ROC Constitution.

Last year, the indigenous languages Hoklo [also known as Taiwanese] and Hakka were also recognized as official languages in Taiwan.

On Aug. 27, Premier William Lai (賴清德) said in an interview: “I will set a policy goal next year to make Taiwan a bilingual country, with English and Mandarin being its official languages.”

His statement unexpectedly matched the ambiguity of Taiwan’s status.

Lai’s proposal has been welcomed by the majority of people. However, there are also critics who say he is intentionally abandoning Chinese.

The detractors say that English is already popularly taught at all levels of school in Taiwan as a second language, and that is good enough. To promote it as the second official language would be to openly say that China is substandard, while endorsing the US.

English is an international language and absolutely empowers Taiwanese to compete in the global market if we can handle it as our mother language.

Take Singaporeans and Filipinos as example: They have the benefit of being fluent in English and easily gain employment on cruise liners.

All the chef positions are occupied by them and not Chinese. Do not be surprised; It is because they are better at an international language.

So, if the government can improve the learning environment for the younger generation, so that they do not need to spend extra on tutoring to polish their English skills, it would definitely empower them to compete in the international market.

Politically, Taiwanese should not be limited to Mandarin only, as Taiwan is not part of China. The status of Taiwan today is not the outcome of the Chinese Civil War, but the San Francisco Peace Treaty after World War II.

Having English as the second official language would not only enhance the competitiveness of Taiwanese overseas, but also empower our international involvement.

John Hsieh

Hayward, California