Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday offered words of encouragement to Cabinet members, saying they should not lose heart in the face of frustration.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) quoted Jiang as saying at the weekly Cabinet meeting yesterday that it is inevitable that ministers get frustrated when they try to implement policies or wrest bigger budget allocation for their department and when they are misunderstood.
However, they should stay motivated by thinking about why they decided to work for the government in the first place, Cheng quoted Jiang as saying.
Cheng said the premier cited his own experiences, saying that during his stint as minister of the interior on a visit to a care center, he met with an elderly man in his 80s, who uses a wheelchair and is unable to speak. Jiang said he was deeply moved by the elderly man, who held on to his hands and seemed very worried that no one would visit him again.
Cheng quoted Jiang as saying that when he faces frustrations at work he thinks of the elderly man.
Cheng said Jiang’s remarks were not specifically directed at Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台), as he is aware that many Cabinet members have been working hard, even during vacations.
Cheng was referring to the exchanges between Lung and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Yu-ling (呂玉玲) on Wednesday at an Education and Culture Committee session at the legislature in Taipei during which Lung, when asked if she regretted taking up her position, said: “Of course I do, every day. I have been asking myself: ‘What am I doing in this job?’”
Lung said she hardly has time to think about the question during the day, but that it haunts her at night.
Lung then described the lingering controversy over the selection of board members at the Public Television Service (PTS) as the nation’s biggest disgrace.
The station’s board of directors has not been able to function effectively for more than two years because of the lack of a quorum and disputes over nominees.
The Public Television Act (公視法) stipulates that the board can only function when there are between 17 and 21 directors. Currently there are only eight board members, including three that passed the review process last year.
“The issue of the PTS board of directors is all tied up in knots and both sides harbor antagonism against the other. We tried, but we were not successful” in resolving the issue, she said. “This PTS management mechanism has turned into a monster. I feel the matter is Taiwan’s biggest scandal.”
“If this problem drags on, then I would agree that we should abolish the PTS altogether,” she added.
Later Lung clarified her words, by stating that she did not really mean that she wishes to abolish the PTS.
Commenting on Lung’s remarks, PTS workers’ union chairperson Wang Yen-chieh (王燕杰) said: “The problems at the PTS have persisted for a long time and Lung’s responsibility is to oversee these matters and she should discuss the issues more earnestly.”
“If she was a doctor, dealing with a seriously ill patient, she would focus on how to treat the patient so that they make a full recovery and get better,” Wang added. “If she is not up to the task, then she should be replaced.”
Additional reporting by Liu Li-jen and Lee Hsin-fang