Many Taiwanese can't handle democracy


#1

Being here for a while it’s my opinion that many Taiwanese can’t handle democratic freedom.

Especially Taiwanese media!

It’s like letting children roam free in a candy store. Some will behave, others won’t.


#2

So how are you supposed to “handle” democracy ? How well does any country’s media “handle” democracy ?


#3

The American media refuse to temporarily halt polling results during Presidential and congressional elections. The result, given the time differences between the east and west coast is that that voters in California often know who has won before they even get to the polls. Canadian media and citizens, on the other hand, willingly accept a temporary blackout, believing that is fairer and more democratic. In fact many of us look at our southern cousins as being unable to make the fine distinctions that create for a truly democratic and fair nation. But I’m baiting here.

The point is, all nations differ in their response to media freedom. Taiwan, as a developing democracy is going through some intense growing pains. Give the people here some time and credit. Remember too, that the term “yellow journalism” comes from the States. Remember too that to some Matt Drudge is a muckracker, to others a beacon of truth.


#4

[quote=“Mucha (Muzha) Man”]The American media refuse to temporarily halt polling results during Presidential and congressional elections. The result, given the time differences between the east and west coast is that that voters in California often know who has won before they even get to the polls. Canadian media and citizens, on the other hand, willingly accept a temporary blackout, believing that is fairer and more democratic. In fact many of us look at our southern cousins as being unable to make the fine distinctions that create for a truly democratic and fair nation. But I’m baiting here.
[/quote]

Why should the media halt polling results? … like people can’t just get updates on their cell phones or log onto local websites. In my mind, democracy is about the FREEDOM of information. Voting is a priviledge and a responsibility. If someone’s too lazy to cast a vote because they think it’s useless, then they don’t deserve to help decide who gets elected anyway. I have my own complaints about the media, but in this instance, I’d blame the lazy voters and not the media.

Hey, if Canadians want basic information wilthheld from them for their own good, more power to you. Make sure you avoid all radio broadcasts and stay off the web during election days as well. DEFINITELY don’t come onto internet message boards where you might be exposed to some information about the results. But I wouldn’t hold that up as an example of what a democracy SHOULD be.


#5

Shocking news! Some Taiwanese cannot handle democracy!!!

Taiwan is a very young democracy operating under some very peculiar political and ethnic conditions. I’d opine that warts and all they are handling it quite well. Consider that democracy wasn’t served up on a silver platter, people fought for it for years. Consider that only ten years ago the majority of officials were not elected by the people. Consider the massive turnout for elections. Consider the recent peacful transition of power, the freedom of the press… I could go on.

Be specific Nox! Where do your complaints lie?


#6

Takes time. And of course the democracy here is much different than say in the U.S. Give it some time.


#7

Define “democracy”…


#8

Hexuan,

Also good point!


#9

It’s not a complaint, Daltongang, it’s just a fact. People think that democracy means that anything is allowed. But even in a democracy there are rules. There are no free meals.

[quote]The information and so-called “discussions” offered by the news media during this affair exposed disregard for journalistic integrity. It also drew both criticism and concern from the general public.

Some members of the media were particularly enthusiastic about exaggerating the news. But even after the matter was cleared up, they did not provide the public with an explanation for their exaggerated and often false reports.

On the contrary, they made it a point to emphasized that “there is no need to suppress the reporting of complaints brought by legislators,” and that “asymmetrical information increases collateral damage while investigating the truth.” While this line of argumentation may appear to make sense, it is incorrect and fully is indicative of arrogance and lack of self-discipline and self-reflection.

[/quote]

Self-discipline, that’s what it’s about. And in Taiwan many people are not able to do do that. BTW, it’s not only the press but also legislators. How many times didn’t they end up fighting. When people see this on TV, what are the chances that they think it’s OK to do so? Is this democracy?


#10

nox - your original post seems to imply that Taiwanese should not be permitted to run a democracy. Is that what you are saying?

Or do you mean that democracy should be tightly controlled in the intial stages? I am only guessing your meaning here. Are u suggesting that a fake democracy like the one set up in singapore would be more suitable for taiwanese?

Could you elaborate for us? What exactly are you implying? Thanks.


#11

“it’s just a fact.” how democratic of an opinion is that? how about a little give-and-take, a little compromise, some open debate in good faith? :slight_smile::):slight_smile:

let me say up front that I would like to spit on 99% of the news media and liwei here.

however you are merely describing the surface of the democracy here, and it admittedly is a pock-marked, blighted surface. However, the root of democracy is with the people. and these are people who are very enthusiastic about their democratic rights. after only a number of years as anything like a modern nation and less with a democratic government, and because of the political economic and social conditions here, it is not surprising that democracy in Taiwan does not function like democracy in Sweden. however i am optimistic, but i’ve been here for a while and have seen many changes for the better. i find your statement much too negative and arrogant, it completely dismisses the changes that have come here in a short time.


#12

[quote="daltonganglet me say up front that I would like to spit on 99% of the news media and liwei here.[/quote]

much too harsh. just the ones pulling that bullshit on the cockroach channels.


#13

Look at the history of the American congress when it was first set up . I’m sure there were many fist fights in it’s halls.

A peaceful transition from dictatorship to democracy is not to be sneezed at. Look at the government of the Phillipines for example. Arroyo was recently in an advertisement as the ‘Men in Black’-- how crass.

Indonesia where the government is riven by army and muslim factions.

Malaysia vice president is in jail on sodomy?? charges.

Singapore has no free speech

Hong Kong has no freewill and what is left is being given away

Japan has been ruled by the same party for almost 50 years.

When you put it in context with the region and history Taiwan is truly remarkable at the moment

That the media is crass or that the lawmakers are often described as PIGS is beside the point. You can always watch CCTV and look at how many miles of extra roads were built in the last year. That the media is uncontrolled is basically a reaction to the previous restrictions. It takes time to find a medium, maybe they never will at least if the media is not too controlled the chances for corruption are lessened.


#14

has anyone actually been beaten to death in the taiwanese legislature yet? the american congress in its early days was not always the civil place it is now. :slight_smile:


#15

and the violence didn’t stop until it convulsed the country as a whole.

maybe they should just let the fists fly!


#16

I don’t see the link with the media and nascent democracy. I should, as I’ve certainly done my homework in this regard. I think the irresponsibility posed by Taiwan’s media is clearly correlated to the number of outlets.

As for slogging it out in the legislature? Ugly, but what does it actually mean?

I think Taiwanese democracy is incredibly alive and extremely well.
In fact I’d put the political environment - range of issues openly on the table and level of participation - way ahead of Australia (my other country). What was Bush’s vote relative to the population?..Ah Bian?
Both countries have voluntary voting.

HG


#17

[quote=“Huang Guang Chen”]I think Taiwanese democracy is incredibly alive and extremely well.
In fact I’d put the political environment - range of issues openly on the table and level of participation - way ahead of Australia (my other country). What was Bush’s vote relative to the population?..Ah Bian?
Both countries have voluntary voting.[/quote]

Sorry, just checking facts here, no challenge. I recall that it was once compulsory for all eligable voters to do so in Oz. When did that change?

Taiwan-style democracy in a way reminds me of that of India’s. The legislature, because of wide media attention, only has time to debate those topics which the media itself deems important, or it seems to be behind the eight-ball by discussing anything else. Therefore, the media effectively runs the legislature, and by extension, the country…


#18

I’ll probably get flamed for this … but … is a Western-style democracy either appropriate or possible in a Chinese/Taiwanese social context? 5,000 years (or 2,500 years, depending on which historians you agree with) of harsh autocratic history makes it difficult for a democracy to take root. Furthermore, many, many Taiwanese I’ve spoken with a) agree that a Western-style democracy is not possible here, or b) are too apathetic towards democracy to care. A previous poster mentioned that the Taiwanese are very enthusiastic about democracy, but I’ve seen exactly the opposite … the people aren’t educated about democracy … democractic philosophy isn’t a major part of the education system here like it is in many Western countries, so the people don’t really understand what it’s all about … and many people, I think, just don’t care. Change is a very slow process in Chinese culture/history … systems take thousands of years to progress here … I’ve heard the idiom 一灘死水 used many times in relation to this.

I’m a big supporter of democracy, but at the same time, I don’t think it’s appropriate in every circumstance. Granted, the Taiwanese democracy is still very young, but it has many obstacles standing in its path. American democracy was born out of societies/cultures that had been preparing for democracy for many years … democracy in Asia has no such foundation. It’s surprised me how many Taiwanese themselves have told me that they are not mature enough for such a “free” and “democratic” society. IMHO, there was no foundation here whatsoever for a free, fair, and succesful democracy to be built upon here before the concept was just suddenly thrust upon the people.

At any rate, if the people were educated in democratic philosophy, and people were taught to understand the democratic process and respect the law, then perhaps it could work … but I don’t see the Ministry of Education doing anything proactive on this front. They seem more concerned right now with “localization” rather than “democratization.”


#19

A sensitive post and I agree with much of the above poster’s comments. Democracy is certainly not a one-size-fits-all form of government. As you say, there are numerous other principles, standards, behaviours etc., which must first be established in the public conscience before a successful western-style democracy can be implemented.


#20

I agree with LittleBuddha. I had this exact conversation with a well travelled and well-read relative of mine last weekend and this is exactly the conclusion we came to.