Student movement reveals elders' democratic hypocrisy
The China Post news staff
April 12, 2014, 12:16 am TWN
In Taiwan, society allows no one to stay in limbo, at least when it comes to political preference. You are either for unification with the mainland, or you are for independence; pro-Kuomintang or pro-DPP.
The labeling starts from a young age. Children usually side with their family's political leanings and begin to engage in political arguments that gradually become more heated as they develop a more complete — yet biased — knowledge of Taiwan's political scene.
Taiwan's history lies forgotten in the course of these developments. Before 1986, students were schooled in the history of China. Taiwan's history was only introduced after Martial Law was lifted and taught by teachers who seemed uncertain of the content they were suddenly expected to explain.
Deeply rooted political preferences aside, Taiwan's next generation of leaders were born at a time when "traditional thought" was crumbling. Democracy was a raw concept that was first introduced to students by the same teachers who enforced the outlandish rules of holding a "class conference" that allowed students to propose and vote for their class officials and other issues. Respect for different voices was the first rule seared into their minds. Grown-up democracy is also fledgling; our current president is only the third to be elected directly by the people. Many find it unbelievable that our democracy is as young as it is — something taken for granted by the younger generation.
Educated to think independently, yet to retain the slavishness that is found in so much of Chinese society, we are also taught to cower before the elders who feed, clothe and enlighten us. Having the audacity to question authority is unthinkable. Fortunate as they are to have missed once-legal corporal punishment in school, today's students are destined to grow up as the "strawberry generation" — crushed at the slightest hint of pressure.
And as they charge into the nation's — if Taiwan is one — parliament, oblivious to laws that democracy was structured on, the older generation roared its disapproval. Who do these students think they are? Who are they to claim they represent the people's opinions? Their arrogance should be stamped out of them.