Many young Taiwanese recently changed their name to “salmon” (guiyu, 鮭魚) at household registration offices across the country to get free sushi at a restaurant chain.
No matter how much free salmon people with this kind of personality eat, it will not cure their spinelessness.
If one or two people behaved like this, it could be laughed off as a joke, but, amazingly, 332 people went through the process to take advantage of the promotion, implying that this is a serious problem.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
I commented on the matter on Facebook, where I wrote:
“To Salmon Chang, Salmon Lee, Salmon Lin, Salmon Chen, Salmon Kuo, Salmon Tsai and all the salmons out there: You all share the same characteristics — you are shallow pleasure-seekers lacking ambition and looking for short-term profit. As I have mentioned your names in public, you can now file a joint lawsuit against me for public insult.”
Soon after I posted my comment, replies started to pour in.
“Professor Lee, do not take this so seriously. They did not steal anything or rob anyone. They simply changed their name in accordance with government regulations,” one wrote.
“Why should you say such profundities to these young kids? There are all kinds of people in our society. Some might be crazy, while others might be foolish, wild, virtuous or wise. Life is just a show, but how can it go on without all these roles? You should understand this, as you are a professor yourself,” another wrote.
Some even wrote: “Why should a professor bother to argue with these brats?”
These responses have caused me even more frustration.
Do they not know that international media coverage about the “salmon chaos” has turned Taiwan into an international laughing stock?
UP FOR SALE
I will stop arguing with these brats and instead propose a few questions:
Extrapolating from the character of those who changed their name to “Salmon” to get free sushi, what would happen if a candidate in an election offered to buy their vote, offering NT$1,000 or NT$2,000? Would they sell?
If someone of that character is lured by greater financial gain someday after they have entered the workplace, would they sell that company’s confidential information to a competitor?
If they are such opportunists that they will change their name just to get some free salmon, would they sell out Taiwan if China were to attack and offer them a few benefits?
My answer to these questions is “yes.”
On the contrary, my answer to the questions below is “no.”
Would all these Salmons really think about the future of Taiwan’s democracy? Would they show concern for the world and its people? Would they show any sympathy for those in need?
Would they be touched by charitable acts such as donations by hard-working vegetable vendor Chen Shu-chu (陳樹菊), who donated most of her money to charity?
Would they help poor workers like late philanthropist Chuang Chu Yu-nu (莊朱玉女), who for years sold boxed lunches for charitable purposes at NT$10 each?
One person wrote online: “Do not link everything to politics,” to which I replied: “Your comment is also very political.”
Lee Hsiao-feng is an honorary professor at National Taipei University of Education.
Translated by Eddy Chang
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