One often hears pet owners say: "I see my pet as a human being and a member of my family."
The essence of the remark suggests the obvious: A pet -- be it a dog, cat, rabbit or squirrel -- isn't a human being to begin with.
By the same token, when Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou (
It is dumbfounding to hear such an ethnically prejudiced remark from the mouth of a presidential hopeful in democratic Taiwan today, where human rights and respect and appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism are trumpeted every day.
Ma spokesman Lo Chih-chiang (
Ma's insulting remark was more than just a slip of the tongue as some, quick to leap to the pan-blue golden boy's defense, argued. It was an exposure of Ma's unconscious self that showed him to be filled with elitist chauvinism and prejudice against the nation's Aborigines.
For a long time under KMT rule, Aboriginal cultures were suppressed, if not wiped out completely. In recent years, the country's Aborigines have slowly regained their sense of self-esteem and cultural pride, and the last thing they need is prejudiced comments from a potential future national leader.
Ma was also quoted as saying at the same venue that: "If you come into the city, you have to play by its rules."
Obviously Ma didn't realize that the Aborigines were in Taiwan long before he was. What right does he have to say to the Aborigines: "If you come into the city, you have to play by its rules"?
James Watson, the Nobel prize-winning biologist and DNA pioneer, apologized and stepped down from his position at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in October over offensive comments he made about the intelligence of Africans.
Ma has offered no such apology.
It is sad to see that, as of yesterday, when the news broke, no Aboriginal representatives had come forward to challenge Ma and defend Aboriginal dignity. The Council of Indigenous People -- supposedly the nation's highest body looking after Aborigines' rights and well-being -- uttered not a single word of condemnation, nor have we heard any demand of an apology by Ma from Aboriginal lawmakers such as Independent Legislator May Chin (
When the Aborigines and their representatives fail to stand up and demand due respect for their brothers and sisters, how then can they expect people like Ma to show them respect and teach people what appreciation for diversity means?
Over the past few years, migrant workers’ rights have improved in Taiwan, but there has not been a comparable improvement in protections for employers, who are faced with a range of challenges, such as family nurses mistreating patients or workers threatening to change brokers or demanding that employers change their jobs. Then there is the decrease in work standards. Migrant workers too often find the lure of the underground jobs market irresistible, are unaware of employment laws and regulations, or have found that National Immigration Agency (NIA) checks are lax, and as a result abscond. If this happens, what protections or
The World Health Assembly (WHA) held its annual meeting this week; Taiwan was still not represented. Its journalists were also barred from covering the online-only proceedings, despite the nation’s clearly demonstrated pandemic expertise that has set an example for the world. When the SARS epidemic reached Taiwan from southern China in 2003, dozens of lives were lost, but its health experts learned the importance of general testing, masks, technology to locate infected persons, swift decisions and quarantines. The lessons were applied immediately across Taiwan when COVID-19 arrived this year. From 2009 to 2016, Taiwan participated as an observer in the assembly under
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