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An educational official’s uneducational behavior

A high-level educational official recently did something that was highly uneducational, and the development may have a huge negative impact on social values.

Chuang Kuo-jung, chief secretary to Minister of Education Tu Cheng-sheng, became a household name after making a spate of verbal attacks on Ma Ying-jeou, the opposition Kuomintang’s candidate in the upcoming presidential elections. The bad-mouthing has cost Chuang his job at the ministry.

Chuang, who was an assistant professor before he was given his position at the Ministry of Education, first made headlines during the renovation of National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall (formerly Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall) last December, when he spoke disparagingly of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin as well as Ma.

His abusive words were so sharp as to prompt a controversy, which is considered to have been a crucial factor in the humiliating defeat that the DPP suffered in the January legislative elections. But Chuang, as well as his boss Minister Tu Cheng-sheng, stayed put following the Cabinet shakeup after the new legislature was formed.

Last Sunday, when he was participating in a campaign rally for Frank Hsieh, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Chuang not only hurled abuse at Ma but also made crass remarks about Ma’s deceased father, claiming that the senior Ma lived a loose life. Some of the words Chuang used during the attacks were so offensive as to provoke a strong backlash and strong impact on the DPP’s presidential campaign.

Aware of the gravity of this development, Hsieh offered an apology to the public. Chuang himself initially kept silent despite the widespread criticism he came under. Then he tendered his resignation, which was accepted instantly by Tu. The minister, who had previously praised Chuang on many occasions, also offered his apologies to Ma. Later, in a statement, Chuang also apologized to Ma and his family.

However, it is said the statement supposedly made by Chuang was either made under pressure from Hsieh or actually written by someone else.

It is deplorable that such a high-level educational official as Chuang has behaved so dishonorably. The bad language he used against the opponent of those for whom he worked proves that he is a man with warped morals. Minister Tu should not have hired such a man as his chief aide.

Chuang’s employment as a high-level educational official reflects badly on the ruling DPP.

Chuang became a target of public criticism when he first made highly offensive comments about Ma last year. Even Vice President Annette Lu once said such individuals should be eliminated in the Cabinet shakeup. However, Chuang seemed to remain popular with most DPP officials and members. Otherwise he would not have been left in the Cabinet, and would not have been invited to a campaign rally of the party’s presidential candidates.

Chuang holds a Ph.D degree from a prestigious German university. But despite his remarkable academic credentials, his actions are morally questionable. According to news reports, National Chengchi University (NCCU), after what he did recently, may reject his application for rejoining the university’s faculty. We believe that, judging by the infamous way he behaved as an educational official, he is no longer fit to be an educator. And in our view, the Chen administration should apologize to the nation for the fact that a man like Chuang was once a university teacher and educational official.

It is a tradition in this country that an educator should be a role model of decency and uprightness. Over recent years, moral standards have been declining sharply because people in high places of the government never attached any importance to moral integrity. As a result, lawbreaking and corruption have been prevalent at every level and in all walks of life.

A country where moral values are increasingly ignored can never hope to have a strong economy nor social stability.

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