Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A Reminder from Taiwan and the Relevancy of her Challenges to Singapore

A Reminder from Taiwan and the Relevancy of her Challenges to Singapore


ROC 14th-term President Tsai Ing-wen      www.taipei.org

(Under the Constitution of Republic of China, Taiwan new President Tsai Ing-wen gave her inaugural address last Friday.

She outlined many present and future problems and challenges in Taiwan, especially the youths.

As a Singaporean, these problems and challenges look familiar, perhaps, only different in degree and magnitude. The new Taiwanese government openly details their problems but is short of solutions.  Perhaps, they need time to seriously think about the challenges. Tsai’s address was criticised for her ‘emptiness’ (空洞) - problems without solutions.

On the China-Taiwan relationship, President Tsai only respects the historical fact (of 1992 mutual agreement). Beijing is not satisfied and considers this is an ‘incomplete answer’ (未完成的答卷). If we consider Chinese B standard in Singapore, ‘incomplete answer’ can still get a ‘technical’ pass.  But certainly, for the case of cross-strait relationship, it is too complicated.  To solve it, even with a technical pass, it will require the wisdom of collective learning and experience of the Chinese people.  Few Singaporeans can play the middleman role like Lee Kuan Yew.

Interestingly, President Tsai wants to promote a new kind of ‘democracy’ in Taiwan. Singapore has always wanted to differentiate our brand of ‘democracy’ from others. We stress a lot on pragmatism and efficiency. It is a surprise President Tsai even uses the terms ‘efficient democracy’ and ‘pragmatic democracy’ in her address. Is the Taiwanese democracy shifting gear?)

Here are the selected speech of President Tsai:   

[Problems]
The path forward is not a smooth one. Taiwan needs a new government that readily takes on each and every challenge. And it is my job to lead such a government.

Our pension system will go bankrupt without reform.

Our rigid educational system is increasingly out of touch with society. Our energy and resources are limited, and our economy lacks momentum, with the old model of OEM manufacturing facing a bottleneck. This country urgently needs a new model for economic development.

Our population is rapidly aging, while the long-term care system remains inadequate.

Our birthrate remains low, while a sound childcare system seems a distant prospect.

Our environment still suffers from severe pollution.

Our country's fiscal situation is far from optimistic.

Our judicial system has lost the trust of the people.

Our families are deeply disturbed by food safety scandals.

Our wealth disparities are still widening.

Our social safety net is full of holes.

Most importantly, and I must stress: our young people still suffer from low wages. Their lives are stuck, and they feel helpless and confused about the future.

[5 Key Challenges]

●1. Transforming Economic Structures
●2. Strengthening the Social Safety Net
●3. Social Fairness and Justice
●4. Regional Peace and Stability and Cross-Strait Relations
●5. Diplomatic and Global Issues

[On democracy]

To build a "united democracy" that is not hijacked by ideology; to build an "efficient democracy" that responds to the problems of society and economy; to build a "pragmatic democracy" that takes care of the people - this is the significance of the new era.

You can find the full address here:

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