About 40 teachers who created human rights education curricula for a contest to promote human rights content in schools were honored at a ceremony yesterday.
“Through my curriculum, I want students to realize how farmers have always been the disadvantaged group and have always been exploited,” said Liao Che-chiang (廖哲強), a teacher at Mailiao High School in Mailiao Township (麥寮), Yunlin Conty, whose model won “the most recommended curriculum” award in the contest organized by the Deng Liberty Foundation.
In his curriculum, students would be taught about the Erlin Incident of the 1920s and the ongoing campaign against a science park expansion project in Changhua County’s Erlin Township (二林). They would also be taken on a trip to the locations where these events happened, as part of efforts to link the abstraction of human rights with actual, physical places.
PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES
In 1935, Erlin sugarcane farmers, who said they were being exploited by large corporate sugar mills, refused to sell their produce unless the sugar mills would negotiate prices with farmers and allow farmers to oversee the weighing process. Sugar mills turned down the request and, with help from police, attempted to harvest the sugarcane by force. The move triggered physical confrontations between farmers and police officers, and many people were wounded and hundreds of farmers were arrested.
Erlin farmers are once again protesting against the government’s takeover of their land, this time to make way for the Erlin campus of the Central Taiwan Science Park.
“It’s so interesting that, despite an 80 year difference, farmers from the same area are again facing exploitation, though this time in a different way,” Liao said.
Meanwhile, three teachers from Ganghe Elementary School in Kaohsiung City won an award for a curriculum design that seeks to make students rethink women’s status in society.
According to their curriculum, students would head for the Female Laborers Memorial Park — formerly known as the Cemetery of 25 Ladies — in Kaohsiung.
Twenty-five unmarried female workers, who died when a ferry carrying them to work sank in Kaohisung Harbor in 1973, are buried there.
According to tradition, women can only be properly worshiped after death and as members of their husbands’ families. For unmarried women, they can only be sent to temples or collective cemeteries for women, but not as members of their biological families.
Believing that the Cemetery of 25 Ladies was disrespectful to women who made important contributions to their families and the nation’s economic development, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) renamed the area Female Laborers’ Memorial Park in 2008.
“I think this practice is so not fair and discriminatory to women, and I think it’s better to remember them as workers who died in an accident on their way to work,” said Liu Yu-hao (劉育豪), a teacher at Ganghe Elementary School who initiated the curriculum design. “By bringing up the issue in class, we’d like to make students think more about women’s status in society.”
However, Liu said some parents might object to the curriculum, since he and his colleagues not only sought to challenge traditional practices, but were also taking students to a cemetery.
“A lot of controversial political issues occurr in Taiwan because people do not learn enough about protection of human rights at school,” Lee Min-yung (李敏勇), a poet and a member on the foundation’s board of directors, said at the ceremony. “To strengthen democracy in Taiwan, we must educate our children about protecting human rights and freedom, instead of making economic development the sole goal of the country.”
Ronald Tsao (曹欽榮), another board director, said that when people are aware enough of human rights issues, “they will know what to do when a democratically elected government goes astray.”
TOO TIRED: Investigators found that the pilot’s lack of alertness could be attributed to a lack of sleep the previous night, when he had slept with his child It was a copilot’s inappropriate operation of the aircraft and the pilot’s insufficient alertness that led to a hard landing of a China Airlines cargo flight on Dec. 13, 2018, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. Flight CI6844, a Boeing 747-409 which departed from Hong Kong International Airport, landed on the pre-threshold area of runway L5 at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, about 21m before the head of the runway, an investigation report said. The hard landing damaged three runway lights, but none of the personnel on board sustained any injuries, the report said. When approaching the runway, the copilot failed to maintain
DISTRUST WARRANTED? The WHO is under China’s control and has become a useless organization, while data from China cannot be trusted, a Control Yuan member said China’s demand that the novel coronavirus that emerged in Wuhan, Hubei Province, not be referred to with names like the “Wuhan pneumonia” betrays its lack of confidence in itself, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) told lawmakers yesterday. Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Yi-yu (蔡易餘) asked Su, during a interpellation at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei, for his view on China’s attempts to redeem its national image in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. These included China’s efforts to “bleach” its image, including having WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus publicly praise its handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, and thanking it for buying time
REPEAT OFFENDER: The man went outside for exercise on Wednesday and then left his home on Saturday with his girlfriend, officials said A New Taipei City man has been fined NT$400,000 (US$13,221) and ordered into government quarantine after breaking home quarantine for a second time on Saturday. The 25-year-old man, surnamed Chen (陳) returned to Taiwan on Sunday last week and was ordered to home quarantine until Sunday. He was seen leaving his home on a scooter with his girlfriend on Saturday, three days after he was fined NT$200,000 for going outside to exercise, police said. Chen has now been placed in a quarantine center arranged by the district office and health center of the district where he lives, police said. Police warned the public
Taipei residents who stay at hotels in the city during their 14-day mandatory quarantine period are eligible to apply for the city’s NT$7,000 subsidy, with online applications to be launched next week. Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) on Monday said Taipei residents who have COVID-19 Health Declaration and Home Quarantine Notice dated after March 19 and a quarantine hotel receipt for the dates covered by the quarantine period, would be eligible for the subsidy. The Taipei City Government on Sunday told the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) that so many city residents are under home quarantine that about 90 percent of