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National Taiwan University does not have to apologize

Yaung Chih-liang, a former health minister, incited controversy last month by posting on his Facebook homepage a commentary urging National Taiwan University to apologize to the people of Taiwan.

The reason why Yaung, who has a Ph.D in public health from the University of Michigan, wants an apology from Taiwan's top university is that all three popularly elected presidents of the Republic of China and most of their Cabinet ministers are graduates of the university and have worked together to put the nation into economic limbo, under which the Taiwanese people are suffering and harbor little hope of getting out.

Most graduates of NTU are egoists and egotists, according to Yaung. It's the professors who have failed to teach them to behave and acquire the ability to rule the country, he charged, and as he had also previously taught at the university, he apologized and urged his former colleagues to apologize as he did him for getting the government to pay a tremendous price to produce Presidents Lee Teng-hui, Chen Shui-bian and Ma Ying-jeou and all those top bureaucrats who doomed the country.

We know Yaung didn't teach them to be decent human beings. He taught public health, not morals and ethics. As a matter of fact, no such thing is taught at National Taiwan University, or at any other institutions of higher learning, for that matter, except at theological schools. So, there is no reason why the faculty of National Taiwan University should offer an apology for helping many of the school's graduates to descend into corruption after their graduation.

Yaung is right to say that National Taiwan University graduates, who have been pampered just as if they were especially gifted children, are likely to be egoists and egotists. But this is not necessarily so. Lee and Ma may be egoists but not egotists. Lee and Chen were not pampered, but the latter turned into a shrewd egotist who is doing time for corruption and graft as well as money laundering. Their Cabinet ministers, many of which are NTU graduates, are just like them, some less shrewd egotists than President Chen and others mediocre bureaucrats who think they are better than anybody else, when in fact they may be below mediocrity. Realistically speaking, they weren't taught to acquire the ability to help rule the country. None of the best universities in the world can guarantee their graduates are all men and women of superior ability. That's another reason for NTU professors not to apologize.

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