Taipei Discussion Transcript: Vonnegut

Participants: Maggie, Teresa, Fanny, Mary, Angela

If you were the president or the leader of Taiwan or the world or any territory or the universe or a solar system, or whatever, what do you think would be the most important things to take care of, and how would you do it? So: that’s a broad question, and it should engender some interesting answers, which I think in the form of an outline and some illuminating detail, might be a useful format.
Anyone? Anyone? … Bueller?

If I were a president in Taiwan, there are two things I would like to do first. The first one would be to establish public transport system around the whole Taiwan landscape. Because this policy can cause two helpful effects for Taiwan. The first one is to reduce the oil use, and the second one can develop the rural, the economy and rise the living standard of the small town in rural area. And my second policy is to improve our education. Focusing most on law and money education, among other things, to teach our children respecting themselves and others. I think education is the cornerstone of a country. That’s my policy if I were a president of Taiwan.

So how’s my—

Yeah, if you want , you can critique—

You say, you emphasize on education—


--especially on law?

Yes, in particular and respect children respect themselves a lot. In my opinion, most criminals in our society is because people don’t respect themselves and others. Don’t respect the value of their life.

Myself, I think that school is not going to do this as well as at home, but you have to start somewhere.

Fanny, why do you say law? Why law?

Because I think in Taiwan, Taiwan people seldom obey the law. And that cause a lot of criminals and problems. In addition, most people almost in the bottom of the society, they have no knowledge of law.

Of their rights, maybe?

Yes, and so they don’t know how to protect themselves. For instance when they have no idea in this case, they should or can do something to protect themselves. But rich people have money to hire lawyers, or people with higher levels of education have knowledge of laws, they often know how to protect themselves.

So you mean if you were president, then how would you do of the people, they obey the people—

How you would make people follow the laws?

You say, they don’t follow the law, so if you were president, what would you do to make this kind of people follow the law?

Massive adult education classes? Culture Class for all! About rights and responsibilities? Free? Compulsory? But you’d have to teach the teachers first.

Put heavy punishments.

Don’t we already have that?


The death penalty? That’s not heavy? The problem is, it’s tricky—like you said, people don’t know their rights? Then what do the punishments mean?

Okay, right, so we have to educate people first, the reason why they should obey the rule. Then the third step, if people don’t follow the rules, they will be punished very heavily. Then people will know they should comply.

Okay, so are there any more questions for candidate Fanny?

Just one more question. —

Hee! You sound like a reporter!

—Why do you say ‘law and money’?

Because in recent years, there are so many issues related to complex financial products, and many people, they borrow much more than they have earned, eventually ending up in bankruptcy, and also cause a lot of social problems. They have no choice but ending their lives, their children have no money to finish their education. I think it’s a big problem.

Okay, so are their any more questions for candidate Fanny?

You know I’m very nervous, it’s like I’m a real candidate.

You would be good president!

Does someone else want to be the candidate now? It’s a little bit boring, just one candidate?

We can’t have an election with just one!

Yeah, Taiwan need more candidates.

Okay, if I was the president of Taiwan, I think I have similar. Like economic issues, that people can find a way to earn money for them. Like, or they can find, they can have some organization help them to develop their, like, ability to support themselves, even though they are adult, and that would be a good thing to do.

So job training? Or more than that?

Actually help them to find what they are really good at. Education too. Not just focus on certain areas, but what they are interested in and can make money from. Give them more channel about things they can do, without worrying about ‘now’, not having a financial problem or something

So if you were president you would build a channel for everyone in Taiwan to do whatever they want to do, and without worrying financial problems.


So, how would you do?

I don’t know.

Well speculate, throw out some ideas, you’re not really a candidate here.

Okay, how about internet. Lots of people don't know how to use the internet. So free lesson, or free education for something, the gvt covers classes they need. But I don’t know where the money comes from!

Well, the Republicans in the US don’t seem to worry much about that either, so I don’t see why that’s a problem.

I just have one suggestion, you can establish a platform, a sharing platform, where people who want to learn certain skills can swap their own skills to others.

That is brilliant!

For instance, I’m good at analysis, you’re good at cooking, we can swap in the platform without paying fees. Because if you provide a totally free channel, that would increase the, that would need more tax, and tax coming from people, and that would be a big burden of the whole country.

But it’s better than paying for weapons?

Okay, are there any other questions for Candidate Mary?

How about a third candidate, Teresa?

I think the most important would be to let my people to have a healthy life, and health and happiness and safety life. Then how do I help them to get to the end? My action, my purpose, the first is, I will invite the other countries, the other foreigner private company to come to Taiwan to invest in Taiwan. The invested item is no, no…

No limit?

No…every industry is okay, if they want to invest in Taiwan. If they want to invest, then they will hire our people. When they hire the Taiwanese, then we can get more salary. If the people get more salary, then they can have a good life than before. Then the gvt has the…can get some tax. So the circle is the …the first things will let our people have a good life.
And the second action is, I will reduce the foreign labor come to Taiwan.


Yes, restrict the foreign laborers, like the southeastern countries, like the Philippine, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia. These kind of countries people, they come to Taiwan to work. I know their salary is cheaper than our people, but they will rob our people ‘s job. I know why the company, they like to hire the foreign laborers. But if we can restrict the foreign laborers, then maybe our peoples can get more job than before. This is if I were a president, these are the first two actions I would take. I wish I were the president right now. But it’s difficult, especially restrict the foreign laborers.

But how about security? You mentioned you want to develop a healthy and happy and …

Safety…yes…security? I’m not sure.

What do you mean by security? You mean int’l security or do you mean reduce the crime rates?

Um, maybe when I invited the private company to invest to Taiwan, maybe there has some security problem. But I think I can control it, because what’s kind of industry come to Taiwan, we can evaluate it before, so if it is a good industry for Taiwan, then I will let them come to here. If it is violate the environment, or pollute our air or water, then I will not let them come to Taiwan to invest, even it can give my people has a good life and get more job. But it will hurt people’s life, so I think the gvt will not let it come. For the security, as you just said, I think after the gvt gets the tax, then we have enough money to hire people to come to be a policeman or they would like to be army, to protect our society. So, and the other action is, security, we need to teach our people, just like you say, give them more education, but I know right now, most Taiwanese people, we have a good level of education. But why some people, they violate the law, because our, we can’t enforce the law. If we can do it like Singapore, I think most of the people, they will follow the law. They will not disobey it. I saw some of Taiwanese people, they go to America. They follow the traffic rule. They know how to drive. Even though no person cross the street, they follow the traffic rule. But in Taiwan they cross the street where they like. But compared to Taiwan and America, they have different rules to follow. Because the American criminal system quickly to punish the people. But in Taiwan, sometimes we didn’t do it.

But America also has more than 1 percent of their population in jail, too, so I’m not certain that’s the best solution.

I think I prefer the Singapore system. Because I think Taiwan’s law is not very strict, so I think maybe we could create more hard and more heavy law to apply.

You know, everyone in Taiwan talks about it, but they don’t really want it. Would you personally want to live in Singapore?

No, it’s too heavy.

See? You don’t want it!

Yeah, but it’s effective!

But it’s important to take the law to important things. Even they see someone violating the law, someone in Taiwan will not say anything about it.

But that’s what’s nice about Taiwan, it’s live and let live, it’s what’s makes here such a nice place to live. Nobody interferes with what you want to do. Let me give you an example. I don’t know if I read this story on the internet, or if someone told me, but this is the story. A guy moved to Singapore, and got an apartment. He put plants on the walkway outside his front door, as you do, and put dishes under each plant to catch the water so that it wouldn’t run all over the place when he watered them, as you do, right? Okay, so a few days later, he gets a knock on the door. It’s a policeman, who told him its illegal in Singapore to put dishes under your plants, or to have any standing water, because it potentially breeds mosquitos. So he got a notice from the police, or maybe even a fine, I don’t remember. The notice or the fine is not really the point. The guy was really pissed off, and why? He was pissed off because he was like, his apartment was on like the 5th or 6th floor. The police wouldn’t have known about his plants without one of the neighbors telling him about it. He was pissed, because he was like, “Why didn’t my neighbors just come to me directly, or put a polite note on my door to let me know the situation? Why did they instead call the police? That’s so unfriendly!” What he felt betrayed about, I think, is that ‘authority’ was brought in to deal with a situation that just needed a little communication. It was like killing a mosquito with a brick, so to speak. It was un-neighborly and unfriendly, and left him angry with all the people who lived near him. That’s not the way to build community, but it is the way you build ruthless dictatorship—break people into vertical relationships with authority, instead of the horizontal relationships of community.
So there’s a lot that’s nice about Taiwan. I’m not saying that it’s always good, but everything good comes with some bad things, and some bad things come with good. But you have to be careful not to lose the important things. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Angela, what would you do?

Well, I totally support the Vonnegut platform, and I would incorporate a lot of the fanny platform and some of the Mary. I really love the idea of educating everybody at once, including all the adults, into understanding, thinking about and applying their rights and responsibilities as citizens. I don’t support the Singapore platform at all, I’m sorry.

1 則留言:

  1. Dear Angela
    Thank you so much for today's class which is the problem of age levels. I enjoy and learn so much from the class by simply listen to you and what Maggie and Fanny siad.
    It make me think a lot.
    for ex when asking be grouped by age or ability, I was wondering what is the school for ?and what's the perpose of going to school and who decide what subject should we learn and how does it affect our life or the relationship of go to school and finding a job,
    With all the thing we learn in class , do they make a better person? Are they interested in the well being of oneself or it just a place for making more opptunity for finding a good paid job.
    Does the school teach us the thing we need to know?
    To what standard make a school good school and who to decide meauring leaarning well or not?
    Osho said he feel that the eduation in school only interest and produce more staff or worker. In his point of view , the school should teach the art of living , meditation, the art of love. dear Angela by listening to you and Fanny and Maggie, I think today's topic is so fasnating and I wish we has more time to disscuss this topic cause there are so many content in this topic are so great and wonderful. Dear Angela thank you so much for today's topic and your teaching. thank you for sharing your experence in teaching Kindergarden children , you are such a great teacher even the system of kindergrden have so much limitatin but you try your best to give the kid what is best for them.
    dear Angela you are such a great teacher that everytime you explain something or share your experence with us , you make it such a enjoyment to listen to or inspire us in so many way. Thank you for such a wonderful class even when you are tired and feel unwell. You are amzing. Thank you so much for everthing.


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