Elections set for Jan. 14
Officials from the Central Election Commission said it was decided that the next presidential and legislative elections would be held on Jan. 14 next year. Citing the need to save taxpayers’ money, the 11-member commission decided earlier to hold the two elections simultaneously in January without fixing a date. By combining the two polls, the commission is moving the presidential election forward by more than two months. The inauguration date of May 20 remains unchanged. President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) will face Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) in his bid to seek a second four-year term. By contrast, all 113 legislative seats will be filled more than a month later than usual. Members of the legislative body also serve a four-year term, which begins on Feb. 1.
Taipei hospital fined
A Taipei hospital has been fined after it fired a male employee for dressing as a woman at work, officials said yesterday. The private Mackay Memorial Hospital was fined NT$50,000 for violating gender equality laws after it laid off a 35-year-old transvestite engineer, surnamed Chou (周), an official with the Taipei City Government’s labor department said. Chou kept his cross-dressing from his employer when he was hired five years ago, but he started to grow long hair and wear women’s clothing to work last year, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported. The hospital can appeal the ruling, but has not yet announced if it plans to do so.
Cellphone survey released
The results of a recent survey show that 80 percent of Taiwanese teenagers have cellphones and that more than 90 percent of them feel anxious when they cannot use them. The King Car Education Foundation polled 2,141 students from fifth-graders to university students last month to find out how cellphones affected their lives. According to the survey, the 80 percent cellphone penetration rate represents a 15 percent increase from 2009. Cellphone ownership among senior-high school students had reached 96 percent and nearly 100 percent among college students. About 93 percent of the respondents said they felt uneasy when they could ot make calls because their cellphone does not have a signal or has a dead battery. They also said they felt anxious when they could not get through to someone.
Musical to headline festival
A Taiwanese musical that portrays the country’s eminent democratic trailblazer Chiang Wei-shui (蔣渭水) has been chosen to open the biennial Chinese Drama Festival to be held in Macau later this year. The Chinese Drama Festival, which rotates amongst four cities — Beijing, Hong Kong, Taipei and Macau — was first launched in 1996. Featuring a range of productions, the festival is also a showcase for academic papers related to Chinese drama. This year’s festival is slated to be staged in Macau from Dec. 14 to Dec. 20, with the musical The Impossible Times (渭水春風) as its opening act. The organizer has yet to announce the rest of the lineup for the event. Directed by Fu Hung-cheng (符宏征), The Impossible Times follows the life and political deeds of Chiang in the 1920s and 1930s. Actors and actresses speak in Taiwanese, Japanese and Seediq, but English subtitles are available during the