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Economic Daily News: Learn from Apollo 13 story
Central News Agency
2014-08-15 11:21 AM
The recent gas explosions in Kaohsiung exposed the government's weak ability to deal with crises, as evidenced by the chaotic rescue efforts and the blame game among politicians. After an incident that killed 30 people, disrupted the lives of 100,000 residents and threatened the future of the petrochemical industry in Kaohsiung, the problems cannot be resolved simply by replacing or indicting some government officials. Taiwan should learn from the true story of the American spacecraft Apollo 13, which was crippled by an explosion in one of its oxygen tanks during a flight to the moon in 1970. When such a crisis erupts, the leader must first identify the primary goal and put aside anything that would distract from that. In the case of Apollo 13, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration decided within minutes after the onboard explosion that the priority was to get the three astronauts safely back to Earth, and all resources were thus concentrated on that goal. Second, the leader should get everyone to do their assigned work as an organized team. Third, a bold yet cautious attitude is important. "I don't care what anything was designed to do, I care about what it can do" was the most famous quote by Eugene Kranz, the flight director of Apollo 13, who instructed the use of all available resources on the spacecraft to deal with the accident. As long as the leader makes the right decision, he or she can turn around a crisis. If all departments selflessly carry out their duties, find bold but cautious solutions and fix all mistakes, the Kaohsiung explosions will not be just an industrial accident but also Taiwan's version of Apollo 13. (Editorial abstract -- Aug. 15, 2014) (By Y.F. Low)
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