Premier William Lai (賴清德) yesterday apologized after suggesting that caregivers should look past their low salaries and treat their jobs as “doing good deeds” sparked controversy.
Lai, a former physician, made the remark at the launch of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s “1966 Hotline,” aimed at addressing people’s needs to care for elders in their homes.
“Taiwanese society thrives on virtuous acts, acts to help others,” the premier said during his speech, citing as an example police and firefighters from all parts of the nation who poured into Tainan to rescue people trapped in the rubble after a massive earthquake last year.
Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times
“Although those of you who take care of older people only make about NT$30,000 [US$994], which seems disproportionate to your responsibilities, I want to encourage all caregivers to bless Taiwan with your virtuous acts — by performing good deeds,” he said.
Lai’s remark quickly went viral, triggering a torrent of online criticism, a majority of which called on Lai to “lead by example” by also “doing good deed.”
The backlash prompted Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) to issue a statement to clarify Lai’s remarks.
“The premier meant to encourage people to treat one another with kindness,” the statement read.
“Long-term care services is an industry that is meaningful and needs to be pushed forward. Being a caregiver is more than earning a salary or fulfilling one’s life goal, it is also about performing virtuous acts,” it read.
“We hope that the premier’s words will not be misunderstood or distorted by the public,” it said.
Later, on the sidelines of a forum on long-term care services in Taitung, Lai told reporters that he would like to apologize for his remark.
“I did not make myself clear and caused misunderstanding. I am truly sorry,” he said.
“I meant to say that caregivers have a tough job, since they work with elderly people, physically or mentally challenged people or people with dementia. That is why I encouraged them to show kindness, patience and even tolerance,” he said.
The premier said he hopes that when caregivers are faced with challenges or under stress at work, they will remember they are performing virtuous acts and doing good deeds, adding that this transition of mental state is known as “sublimation” in psychology.
He said that the average salary of a caregiver is NT$32,000, while that of a head caregiver is NT$37,000, both of which have increased.
“The Executive Yuan cares greatly about caregivers’ salaries,” he said.
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: A US Air Force KC-135 tanker came less than 1,000 feet of an EVA plane and was warned off by a Taipei air traffic controller, a report said A US aerial refueling aircraft came very close to an EVA Airways jet in the airspace over southern Taiwan, a military aviation news Web site said. A report published by Alert 5 on Tuesday said that automatic dependent surveillance–broadcast (ADS-B) data captured by planfinder.net on Wednesday last week showed a US Air Force KC-135 tanker “coming less than 1,000 feet [305m] vertically with EVA Air flight BR225 as both aircraft crossed path south of Taiwan” that morning. The report included an audio recording of a female controller from the Taipei air traffic control center telling the unidentified aircraft that it was
A series of discussions on the legacy of martial law and authoritarianism are to be held at the Taipei International Book Exhibition this month, featuring findings and analysis by the Transitional Justice Commission. The commission and publisher Book Republic organized the series, entitled “Escaping the Nation’s Labyrinth of Memory: What Authoritarian Symbols and Records Can Tell Us,” to help people navigate narratives through textual analysis and comparisons with other nations. The four-day series is to begin on Thursday next week with a discussion between commission Chairwoman Yang Tsui (楊翠), Polish-language translator Lin Wei-yun (林蔚昀), and Polish author and artist Pawel Gorecki comparing
MOVING OUT: A former professor said that rent and early education costs in Taipei are the nation’s highest, which makes it difficult for young people to start families The population of Taipei last year fell to the lowest in 23 years due to high rent, more transportation options and the expansion of northern cities into a single metropolis, academics and city officials said on Monday. Data released this month by the Ministry of the Interior showed that the capital was home to 2,602,418 people last year, down 42,623 from 2019. The decline is second only to 1993, when the population fell by 42,828 people, while Taipei’s population was the lowest it has been since 1997. Taipei saw the biggest drop among the six special municipalities, while Taoyuan led the group in
A US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote “freedom of the seas,” the US military said yesterday, as tensions between China and Taiwan raise concerns in Washington. US Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defense identification zone near the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Islands, 東沙群島). The US military said the carrier strike group was in the South China Sea, a large part of which