State-run Chunghwa Post Co has come under fire for its “regulations on decoration for national holidays and festivals,” which proposes the allocation of about NT$60 million (US$1.9 million) a year for post offices across the nation to decorate their premises with flags and other symbols to “boost efficiency while processing mail and packages.”
The regulations have reportedly been delivered to all of Chunghwa Post’s branches, requiring employees to decorate their offices with the Republic of China (ROC) flag and miniature pailou (牌樓) — a traditional Chinese arched structure often seen in front of edifices used to worship deceased national leaders or deities on Double Ten National Day.
During the Lunar New Year, employees are required to put up pompons, couplets, lanterns and set off fire crackers, the rules reportedly state.
Chunghwa Post vice president Chiang Jui-tang (江瑞堂) confirmed that such regulations have been laid out, but the proposed sum has been lowered to NT$59.8 million in light of strong protests by the Chunghwa Post Union against what its members panned as “pointless spending.”
He said the rules were formulated as a move to “overturn the post office’s image” so that it can become closer to people. He said the company would negotiate with the union over the amount to be spent on the decorations.
Union director Cheng Kuang-ming (鄭光明) said convenience, rather than pompons and light bulbs, is the most valued quality of a post office.
He said that the Taipei Beimen Post Office in Zhongzheng District (中正) was criticized for resembling a “night club” when its staff put up neon lights on the outside of the office — an act the public widely viewed as disrespectful to the historic municipal building.
Commenting on Chunghwa Post’s new regulations, Cheng said: “This is not a shopping mall holding an anniversary sale.”
Comparing the decoration fund to a previous proposal to use the same mail cart as that of the UK, he said both policies are impractical and entail unnecessary spending.
“The company should improve its services systematically, rather than making style over substance decisions,” he said.
Some postal workers said they were not against decorations, but the choice of national flag and pailou reminded them of the nation’s authoritarian past.
They also said that they could not understand why the company chose Double Ten National Day over the Lantern Festival and Christmas to try to get closer to people, and that they worried their superiors had become more “backward” in their innovations.
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