New Taipei free meal program should be adopted nationwide
The China Post news staffThe ubiquitous convenience stores in Taiwan are now an integral part of its residents' daily life. While there probably is one convenience store near you wherever you are, there is also a good chance a hungry, underfed kid is just as close in this affluent society.
January 4, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
New Taipei should be lauded for bringing these two groups — the convenience stores and the hungry ones — together, with the former providing the latter free meals in a newly kicked off government-funded assistance program.
The program has had its critics and skeptics. Some question New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu's motives, alleging that it is a political gimmick paving the way for the premier post or even the presidency.
Others question how the program can solve the fundamental problems of poverty and how it can be implemented to prevent misuse by those not really in need of help.
But these critics and skeptics have totally missed the point — or they are intentionally missing the point simply to discredit Chu and the beauty of the program.
It is unfair to judge a government policy by speculating on the political motives behind it, as any policy may necessarily lead to some political consequences in one way or another. A good policy may boost a mayor's re-election campaign, while a bad one may dampen it.
So there is no point discussing the free meal program's political implications and motivations. To do so actually shows how everything tends to be politicized in this country, where politicians are usually heartless and jealous of opponents doing good deeds.
For skepticism about cheating free meals out of the program, the New Taipei City Government has rightly pointed out that if it can offer timely help to one needy child out of every 10 free meals given out, then it will be worth the effort.