Stanley Yen: Ma Ying-jeou needs to experience being fired
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-08-27 04:38 PM
Stanley Yen, chairman of The Alliance Cultural Foundation, told a group of Taitung County school principals Tuesday that President Ma Ying-jeou needs to be fired a couple of times. Yen said that if Ma had gone through the experience of tasting adversity in his younger days instead of returning from the US to a cushy job as English secretary to the president, he might have a better grasp of how people at the bottom live than he does now.

Speaking to a gathering of Taitung County school principals on the subject of public literacy, Yen said legislators who openly seek to humiliate public officials should not be tolerated. He said if they are allowed to do so, no one will want to serve in public office. He said that when legislators go out of their way to make government officials look bad and citizens do not hold them accountable for their actions, it only makes the legislators even more arrogant and bold. He said the people "should tell these legislators, we don’t like it when you do things like this."

Yen said that if the present situation is allowed to continue, people will find it hard to judge what is right and what is wrong and will be easily led astray by politicians. If this happens, this will become more than just a problem of poor leadership: in five or six years, he said, it could lead to political instability in Taiwan.

Yen told the school principals he feels that today’s students enjoy varying degrees of privilege and are overly protected both at home and on the outside. Looking at former President Chen Shui-bian, Yen noted that Chen came from a low-income household, yet because he did well in school he was coddled at home. "When it was time to wash the dishes at home, did anyone call the good student Chen Shui-bian to wash them?” he asked. “No, they called his sister to wash the dishes and told Ah-bian to go study!"

As for President Ma Ying-jeou, said Yen, he said it might have been better if Ma had spent a decade or so in the US experiencing life and working at “the bottom” there rather than coming back to Taiwan and taking advantage of his connections. Yen said if Ma knew what it was like to be fired a couple of times, he might have a better feel for how people away from the upper rungs of society in Taiwan are suffering now.

Yen added that too many college students these days are only learning about freedom and protests, and not enough about discipline and how to think. He said they go abroad to study but they do not take the trouble to acquire an international perspective, and when they come back to the community they may not even be as useful as students who acquired a solid technical vocational school education. He told the school principals, "Your responsibility in this is critical."

Yen said many university professors have complained to him that they often have sixty students in a class, and in each group he may get to know only twenty or so individuals. By the end of the semester he still does not know who most of the students really are. In class, students fiddle with their cell phones and chat with each other or even sleep, and it is impossible to really teach them anything.

Moreover, this is not just an isolated phenomenon, said Yen, it is an everyday occurrence. He said that when the education system produces students like Taipei MRT mass killer Cheng Chieh, it is time to take a long, hard look at the system and handle its problems. Otherwise, said Yen, these problem students will only become problem citizens.

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