The adoption of a Westernized writing format for government documents is not an attempt at desinicization, but a concerted effort at globalizing Taiwan's ossified bureaucracies and upgrading the nation's competitive edge, Premier Yu Shyi-kun said yesterday.
Although the reform measure did not seem significant, Yu said that it would have a momentous impact on the government's efficiency and the nation's competitiveness.
"The government's attempts to adopt a Westernized writing style for official documents over the past decades will finally bear fruit today, after being thwarted by calls to revive the so-called `Chinese culture,'" Yu said.
"We've wasted 30 to 40 years in an attempt to campaign for a change in writing style, and we cannot afford to wait any longer," he said.
Yu made the remarks yesterday morning while delivering the opening speech at a ceremony of the adoption of a Westernized writing format for government documents and the publication of the integrated online edition of a government bulletin, the Executive Yuan Gazette.
The official bulletin is designed to integrate 20 government bulletins published by the Executive Yuan and 19 of its ministries.
In addition to the online edition, the publication will continue to be printed daily, except for weekends and national holidays.
As even the Chinese government has already changed its writing format to a Western style, Yu said that it does not make sense to criticize Taiwan for adopting the same writing style as an act of desinicization.
"If adopting a Westernized writing format for government documents is desinicization, then it is China who has taken the initiative and gotten rid of `Chinese culture,' not Taiwan," he said.
Yu also called on the public not to politicize the matter because, Yu said, the reforms are being undertaken to get ready for the era of globalization and upgrade the nation's competitive edge.
"If some traditions make things insufficient, obsolete and inflexible, they have to be done away with," he said.
In line with global trends, the Cabinet in August last year approved draft amendments to the Decree Governing the Writing of Official Documents (公文程序條例), which would adopt the Western writing format for government documents. The draft was approved by the legislature in May last year.
Prior to the legal revision, government documents -- except for charts, graphics and statistical reports -- ran from right to left and from top to bottom.