A pickup was stopped at a rally at the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall a couple of days ago.The driver said somebody began to beat him.So he tried to flee by stepping on the gas.His vehicle hit and wounded five press workers, one of them seriously.The TV cameraman who suffered broken ribs and liver injuries had been caught up under the small truck and dragged for some ten yards.Onlookers pulled him out from the overturned car.He had blood all over his body.Police arrested the driver and pressed attempted murder charges against him.
It shouldn’t be a particularly eye-catching, though deplorable, accident in this accident-prone metropolis of ours except that thepickup driver used to be a card-carrying member of the Kuomintang who might have gotten too close to the gathering of supporters for the removal of a name plaque on the main gate to the memorial.They demanded that the plaque bearing the title with two characters that correspond with the given name of Chiang Kai-shek be taken down and a new one titled Liberty Square be put up.Kuomintang supporters oppose the replacement of the plaque.As a result, the accident was considered a skirmish in the battle royal between Hau Lung-bin, the Kuomintang mayor of Taipei, and Tu Cheng-sheng, minister of education determined to rid the memorial of any mention of Chiang’s name.
Leaders of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the opposition Kuomintang condemned the gory accident as an act of politically motivated violence, albeit there isn’t proof that it was.
While the driver can be justifiably suspected of trying to get in the way of the rally, he may have an equally justifiable claim that he was merely doing what he could to get away from his assailants and caused the accident in a hurry to escape.Well, he may be one of countless men behind the wheel who know little about driving courtesy.He certainly isn’t one of the drivers whom a reader of ours urged in a letter to the editor last week to “stop being selfish and start thinking about the other people on the roads and how their actions impact them.”
But there are countless others among us who are selfish and never try to think how their actions would affect all of us.Aren’t those politicians who have condemned the selfish driver’s violence among these countless others?
Let’s start with President Chen Shui-bian.Has it ever occurred to him that his all-out de-Sinicization campaign with Chiang Kai-shek as a main target would or just might further polarize our society?The country is all but divided.Does he want a truly divided country which has to risk an invasion from China by calling a referendum on Taiwan’s admission to the United Nations as Taiwan?
We are more than certain that Mr. Tu knows full well the removal of the name plaque would hurt the feelings of those of us who consider Chiang Kai-shek had done much to save Taiwan from a Chinese communist takeover and get it on the way to prosperity.Why should the education minister carry out President Chen’s order to the letter? Officially, of course, he is doing his work of eradicating Chiang’s name on his own.The fact, however, is that he wouldn’t dare without Chen’s tacit decree.
If Hau would start thinking how his defiance of the president and his henchman would end up, he would stop resistance and let the name plaque go.The continued resistance would only continue social unrest not only in Taipei but across the country as well.He has to cop out from the confrontation with the education minister.Pride is a small price to pay to give the highly agitated public a respite – now matter how brief it may be – in the long, relentless campaign of 2008. Voters who have to go to the polls to elect a new Legislative Yuan on January 12 and a new president on March 22 are truly fed up with politician after self-profiting politician ready to do anything to get elected.
These politicians, we have no doubt, must have been taught one most important Confucian tenet in childhood or youth.Confucius teaches: “Do not do unto others what you do not want done unto you.”They have been taught but have never learnt.Or they have long forgotten.And they have forgotten the tenet has to be taught the younger generation ethically, competently and effectually.
It is the inescapable duty of Mr. Tu to see to it that ethical education is given our youngsters.However, he is too busy attending to other businesses like the renaming of the Chiang Kai-shek memorial to do that duty.Many Western-educated modern educators ignore teachings of Confucius as a totally useless historic relic of ancient China.They conveniently forget Judeo-Christianity and other religions of the world have the teachings of considerateness similar to, if not the same as, those in Confucianism.
Incidentally, aren’t these modern educators just as selfish as the pickup driver who never thought about how his action would impact other people?Have they ever tried to think about the omission of Confucian ethical teaching would turn out generation after generation of selfish ethnically and culturally Chinese men and women who seek only their own profit like almost all of our politicians?