The Nazi-costume farce that played out at Hsinchu Kuang Fu High School, with the class’ teacher performing a Nazi salute, was, as many have pointed out, an indication of the nation’s poor education on its own transitional justice.
Sadly it also reflects a larger vacuum in education in general that discourages independent, systematic and logical thinking.
As the scandal gained attention, it was revealed that at the same cosplay event another class performed a skit about Aborigines killing Japanese, aiming to recreate the Wushe Incident of 1930. The host touted the skit as a “revival of the Chinese nation,” or zhonghua minzu.
Transitional justice for Aborigines is another thing the nation has gotten wrong, with Aboriginal opposition to the colonial government still misinterpreted or intentionally misappropriated for another oppressor’s political end.
Entrenched Chinese/Han-centered ideologies aside, that the misuse of history and symbols — as exposed by the Nazi-themed event — is prevalent in Taiwan cannot be separated from the fill-in-the-blanks education system that has been adopted to facilitate the grading of students.
How do you expect students to seriously deliberate the reasons for the rise of a totalitarian regime in what was supposedly a parliamentary democracy in pre-World War II Germany and learn from the lesson when what is required of them are exam answers to questions like: “What year did the Nazi regime take over,” or selections in a multiple-choice question asking them to name the causes?
If history is only about numbers — How many people were killed? What year did an incident happen? — and information is disconnected from context, students are not led to reflect on humanity. For them, history is never about people and their fears, arrogance and ignorance, but only about symbols, which will be treated with flippancy.
There is less about right and wrong, and diminished thoughts on questions of why things happened, while there will be more about simple outcomes, like who won and who lost.
There is a hint of consequentialism in this style of education. The system of “merits” and “demerits” used to grade students is an example, while the practice of writing off demerits with awards is actually in place.
It is not rare to hear Taiwanese say that a certain political leader, autocrat, or regime might have done something wrong, but they also contributed to society; the unspoken agenda is certainly that their failings might be canceled out by their contributions.
However, that is not how justice — even justice in the most naive sense — works and explains why compensation alone without holding the perpetrator accountable can never satisfy those who are treated unjustly.
Injustice cannot be erased by achievement. Injustice needs to be confronted and its makings need to be reflected on so that history can be used to understand what is going on in today’s world.
The controversy over same-sex marriage has a group of people with resources and political influence invoking fear and manipulating the public with lies to dehumanize a minority.
It might require gradual steps to achieve fully fledged legislation, but there is no “consensus” to be reached when it is not facts that the opposing groups bring to the debate.
“Conciliation” and “social harmony” should not be used as pretexts to tolerate discrimination and falsehood.
It is a plot that could have come straight from the pages of a John le Carre novel. The head of a nation’s secret intelligence service is caught in a honeytrap: captured on camera with a mysterious younger woman at Bangkok International Airport and covertly followed to their hotel. A secret liaison in an exotic location, used to blackmail the spymaster of an adversary, who misappropriated public funds to pay for the clandestine affaire d’amour. This is what the Chinese Ministry of State Security wants people to believe after it used a Thai-language “cutout” Twitter account to release a “leaked” photograph
In a China-US war over Taiwan, paradoxically the greatest loss of life could be inflicted on the Muslim Uighurs. Uighurs constitute 45 percent of the Xinjiang population of 25 million people, with over 1 million incarcerated in internment camps in accordance with a policy initiated under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平). Another half-million children have been placed in state-run boarding schools. Forced sterilization has led to a 24 to 60 percent drop in the birthrate, leading officials from many countries to describe the mass detention as genocide. Estimated annual death rates in the camps of between 5 and 10 percent could
Starting from November, and in line with recent amendments to the Compulsory Automobile Liability Insurance Act (強制汽車責任保險法), electric bicycles (e-bikes) and other small electric two-wheeled vehicles must be licensed with mounted license plates before they can be ridden on the road. This change should resolve some existing problems, such as the difficulty that e-bike owners have faced in receiving help to find their bikes if they are stolen, and the difficulty that road users have in holding anyone accountable when an accident occurs. It would also allow the more than 600,000 e-bikes that are currently being ridden on Taiwan’s roads to
The United States may soon find it somewhere between difficult and near impossible to maintain a sufficiently favorable balance of power against the People’s Republic of China in the Western Pacific. That is, unless our leaders in Washington can evaluate past policy decisions with a critical eye and begin to integrate Taiwan into an overarching plan to maintain regional stability. For its part, Taiwan simply cannot ensure its long-term survival unless it is able to obtain a greater degree of support from America. War and peace in the Taiwan Strait will likely turn on whether or not Washington and Taipei