Audrey Tang (唐鳳), at 35 already a retired entrepreneur and self-taught computer programmer who is considered one of Taiwan’s brightest, is set to add another line of code to her resume: In October, she is to join the Cabinet as a minister without portfolio.
Tang, who will be the Executive Yuan’s first transgender official, founded her own company at the age of 16 despite dropping out of junior-high school.
Tang — who reportedly has an IQ of 180 — is a prominent member of groups using the Haskell and Perl programming languages and has contributed to the designs of systems such as Kwiki, Windows RT and Slash.
Her parents said that she was reading classic literature in a variety of languages and solving simultaneous equations by the time she was in first grade.
Unable to find her way in mainstream education, Tang is mainly self-taught and, having a knack for computers, she was able to harness the exponential growth of new technologies to advance her education.
Although some commentators have attributed Tang’s successful effort to educate herself to her high IQ, improving Internet speeds and search engine software from 2000 onward played a great part in her achievements, said Tang’s father, Tang Kuang-hua (唐光華).
The Internet has bridged the gap between the levels of education offered in urban and rural areas, Tang Kuang-hua said, adding proudly that Audrey did not travel abroad for her education, so she is 100 percent “made in Taiwan.”
Audrey’s experience should inspire children from less well-off families, he said.
However, Tang Kuang-hua said he and his wife, Lee Ya-ching (李雅卿), recognized the importance of an effective learning environment, critical thinking and the ability to state one’s opinions and so they trained her in such areas by holding topical family discussions when she was young.
This, as well as her own contributions to online forums, have enabled Audrey Tang to develop her eloquence and persuasiveness, Tang Kuang-hua said.
When Audrey Tang was eight, her family were camping in a forest when she saw a boy tormenting insects, and she began to cry, her father said.
It was this incident that made the family realize that Audrey was kind and “very sensitive to pain in life,” he said, adding that many of her most recent activities were influenced by this characteristic.
Having founded her own business at 16, Audrey Tang announced her “retirement” at the age of 33 and devoted her time to Internet public welfare projects, such as the g0v.tw platform, and the promotion of the vTaiwan platform.
That the government is asking Audrey Tang to take a position in the Cabinet means that it has noticed the “differences” between the older and the younger generation, her father said.
Using the development of computer software as an example, Tang Kuang-hua said the world has departed from the era when Microsoft dominated the market, and now more “freeware” is available, which demonstrates that the younger generation values the “shared economy.”
The sentiment was echoed by former National Development Council (NDC) minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔), who said that the appointment of Audrey Tang to the Cabinet is proof that President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) administration has astutely grasped the difference between generation Y and earlier generations and wishes to embrace the changes.
The government’s decision to invite Audrey Tang to join the government is a game-changing decision in light of the rapid changes in the IT industry, Kuan said.
However, he added that he hoped the government is not asking his daughter to take the position for the wrong reasons.
Her appointment is a landmark in gender equality, as she underwent gender reassignment surgery in 2005.
Audrey Tang has said she always identified as female and when she was 25, she changed her name from Autrijus Tang (唐宗漢) to Audrey Tang.
Tang Kuang-hua said he and his wife were initially surprised when they heard of Audrey’s decision to undergo surgery, but have backed her unconditionally.
In light of the increasing debate over gender issues in Taiwan, citing her own experiences, Audrey Tang has suggested that parents be more open to the gender identification of their children, adding that they should listen more, as it would help parents and children to understand each other better.
Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fang
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
The Supreme Court on Tuesday found four men guilty of attempted murder in the 2017 stabbing of Spanish surfer Ignacio Prio on a Pingtung County beach in the final ruling in the case, sentencing them to three-and-a-half to six years in prison. The defendants had appealed their convictions for attempted murder in the first and second rulings, which had also led to prison sentences ranging from three-and-a-half years to six years. The then-42-year-old Prio went to Jialeshui Beach (佳樂水) near Kenting (墾丁) on March 31, 2017, was attacked after he asked four men to remove their fishing lines from an area
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu