Tuesday, May 08, 2012

China Times: Nostalgia for the Non-Existent Good Old Days

The bizarre case of the drunk who hit an old man on a scooter and then returned to the scene, apparently to finish him off:
The incident happened early on Friday morning in Caotun Township (草屯), Nantou County.

According to police investigations, Hung Jung-hsiang (洪榮祥) was driving under the influence of alcohol when he crashed into Liao Chin-chuan’s (廖金川) scooter from behind on a road in Caotun. Liao was knocked off the scooter and the driver drove away without stopping.

Three young men in a car later drove by, and stopped to help the injured Liao. They set up obstacles in the road around Liao to prevent other cars from hitting him. Not long after, a nurse, Lu Wan-chen (呂婉禎), who at the time was going home by scooter, also stopped to help Liao, police records showed.

However, while the four were attending to Liao, they saw a car approaching. It ran directly over the obstacles in the road and crushed Liao’s legs and head, killing him on the spot.
It is an article of faith among Deep Blues that the nation is going to the dogs. Indeed, if you meet a random person and they start lecturing you on what a mess things are in Taiwan, they are more than likely to be Blue. The political import of this stance should be obvious.

The pro-KMT China Times editorialized on this case:
Over 30 years ago, a psychology professor, Wu Ching-chi, published a best-selling book titled "Young People's Four Dreams" in which he encouraged youngsters to "search for the true meaning of life," "find good teachers and good friends," "pursue a worthy career" and "seek love."

Are these four dreams still in store for today's young people? Given the current reality, the answer may be a saddening no, as a majority of them have lost their sense of direction and even their hope. Some of their problems are personal, but others are directly related to society as a whole.

Take a few major social news stories for example and it becomes plain how our younger generation is confronted with chaotic values and even destruction.
The editorial, meant to give the audience the sense that the nation is hurtling toward moral and social destruction, then goes on to give three instances of this shocking moral decline: the case above, a girl who gave birth to her grandfather's child, and the case of a drunk driver who killed a woman. Her husband then died, leaving their eight year old.

The incest case is terrible, but such cases are common in insular communities all over the world. Does the China Times mean to suggest that there were no such cases in the good old days?

It's not difficult to spot the real moral failure: completely ineffective drunk driving campaigns mean that the roads are crowded with drunks on the weekends. This is underpinned by a self-destructive drinking culture in which alcohol is consumed to get drunk, not merely to put a soft edge on the evening. I am sure many expats have experienced disbelief when they tell a father in law or friends that they are finished drinking after a couple of drinks. The government won't seriously address the issue of drunk driving and it has done nothing to change the alcohol culture. The result is carnage.

Nor is this an issue of the young: most young people drive scooters, not cars, and the drink-til-unconscious drinking culture is not ordinarily practiced among the young either. If these issues represent moral and social decline, they illustrate the decline of the middle aged and above generation....

The paper should also have noted: in the case in which the drunk driver apparently returned to kill the injured man, three young people stopped immediately to protect the victim. A nurse also stopped. The selfless actions of four people apparently tell us nothing about the state of the nation, but a single drunk can represent the "majority".

I am fortunate to work at a university with many dedicated students. Many of them do volunteer work -- I have one brilliant student headed to Ethiopia this summer for a stint as a medical volunteer, and others on their way to Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Thailand. At universities all over Taiwan there are social work clubs. Many universities also mandate a 2 credit hour volunteer work class.

It's the China Times, not the nation, that is moving backwards.
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Lorenzo said...

We could do an interesting experiment: 50 people read only China Times and watch only CTITV; another 50 read and watch all Taiwan medias.

After 3 months, the first group will think that Taiwanese (non-Chinese) are the lowest people and KMT-Chinese are the smartest and noblest people on the earth.

As for the second group, they will get schizophrenia.

Anonymous said...

I see two issues in this blog. Firstly, a lot (or the majority) of media, for their rating, focus on bad news instead of good new. This happens every where, including the US. One local tv news station in DC claimed that they wanted to bring more good news to their audience and set up a special session for good news only. They ended up cancelling that session. Making you wondering why.

The second issue is that the law enforcement in Taiwan has been a joke since the ancient time, especially, the enhancement of the drunk driving law. Nothing new about that.

However, I do notice once thing, the younger generation in Taiwan holds higher moral standards than the older generation did. If you ever lived in Taiwan 30 or even 20 years ago, you would see the difference. More volunteers as well as more friendly and polite people in Taiwan now.

Cary said...

The fact that three people stopped to help is indicative of moral and social progress, not decline. Not so long ago, the odds were against someone stopping, for fear of being saddled with responsibility and blame if things did not turn out well.

Lorenzo said...

Baby Boomers are an morally-corruptive generation - spoiled by their parents who suffer hardship during WWII. This is a common phenomenon all over the democratic world. Unfortunately, they are the ones that occupy most important political and economical positions and also the ones that younger generations will have to feed - they are gradually retiring and will live for a long time.

vin said...

Anonymous and Micahel have it right: it's glaringly obvious that younger people in Taiwan are on average far better human beings than their elders.