But the TRF refuses to get discouraged, Tsai says, as the group intends to send more young people to rural communities to live and work, whether it is farming, running a small business or working at farmers’ associations or district offices. For Tsai, though law and policy reforms are important, changes need to be made from within too.
“[Miaoli county commissioner] Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻) and his confederates may look like gangsters, but they clean your clogged ditch and other problems. It is an issue of trust … We need young people to take part in public affairs in rural communities. Over the decades, Taiwan’s rural villages have gradually emptied. How is it possible for them to grow and develop again? And what will development look like? We don’t know, but we intend to find out,” Tsai says.