Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Tsai’s statement details responsibility

In the past two, three years, I have visited Taiwan’s streets and alleys. In traditional markets, roadside stalls and eateries, I often see the small children that are busy helping their families do business. They come home from school and write their homework on oil-strewn tables and the fading twilight sun. When there are many customers, they give up their tables to accommodate the guests.

When I look at them, my heart is filled with sadness and emotion. They don’t have the most basic needs — not even a table. However, with their own methods, they continue to pursue their futures.

I believe that in this world, all parents have hopes and dreams for their children. These dreams should not be limited by the disparity between urban and rural areas or the rich and the poor. So I tell myself that we have a set of responsibilities to these children that we cannot escape from.

It is a sense of responsibility like this that has led me to decide to contest the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential nomination for 2012. I have decided to fight alongside the party’s elders and with the Taiwanese people: To use all my power to give the next generation a renewed trust, so they can continue to hold hope for the country and have a proud vision of their future.

When my father was alive, he never liked that I took this political path.

He told me once that: “You don’t have to compete with other people. If someone doesn’t want to do it or can’t do it, then you can step in.”

Today’s decision isn’t to compete with someone or to prove anything. This decision is about a sense of responsibility that has to be upheld and I must bravely carry forward this destiny.

In the past three years since President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) inauguration, many unprecedented events have taken place for Taiwan, which have continuously impacted the public’s collective emotions. When Chinese officials come, our police hurriedly take national flags from their own people, compressing the multiple voices of Taiwan into one.

When our young athletes go overseas for competitions — to fight for the pride of Taiwan — they have to endure unequal treatment, resulting in incidents they force them to sit on the taekwondo mat wronged and crying. Our citizens are also sent by the Philippines to China, without reason, and not even a single word of apology is uttered. The government can’t explain these incidents and were at a loss for what to do.

What our young people must be at a loss to understand is why democracy and freedom — achieved through the blood and tears of the past generation — can be easily pushed aside because of our relationship with China. Why does this government continue to feel good about itself, even when our national dignity is trampled upon even to the point that people can no longer accept? Why must the government continue to remain ambiguous when dealing with the issue of our sovereignty, even when our own recognition of this piece of land is so oblivious?

For a long time, it was the sense of collective existence that brought Taiwan together even in the most difficult of times. However, now, when the people’s collective feelings are constantly hurt, this government doesn’t seem to care. It doesn’t employ any means to repair these broken feelings.

We are not asking for much — all we want is a government that cares like we do. This country must be able to give its next generation a sense of pride — and not heartache.

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