Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Assignment #6

Military's `hug-hug' policy suspended

Minister of National Defense Lee Tien-yu [was criticized] in the legislature yesterday over the military's "hug-hug" policy.

"It was initially thought that the policy would help new recruits feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. However, I also understand that many of them do not like it. So we will cancel the policy immediately," Lee said.

Lee made the remarks during yesterday morning's National Defense Committee at the legislature where the "hug-hug" policy was ridiculed and criticized by legislators.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lin Yu-fang said that the policy was written down in black and white.

The "manual" also "teaches" new recruits "how to hug each other closely."

"Here, it says that `when you hug a person, your body shall stick to his or her body closely.' Things like this will only make [new soldiers] tense. It is not going to improve anything," Lin said.

Another KMT Legislator and retired general, Shuai Hua-min, poked fun at the policy and said it would create a bunch of sissies.

"What is this all about? This is the military, not Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain" Shuai said.

Lee explained that the idea actually came from the "give me five" gesture.

"We hope that everybody would treat each other like family," Lee said.

Lin then asked Lee to perform a demonstration "hug" with General Political Warfare Bureau Chief Chen Kuo-hsiang, but Lee refused.

"We are old friends already so we do not need to do that," Lee said.

The minister was then criticized for forcing soldiers to do something that he would not do himself.

Lee promised to suspend the "hug-hug" policy immediately.

1. Do you hug your friends? Your family?
2. Do you think Taiwan's army soldiers should be encouraged to hug each other?
3. Why do you think this policy was started?

Real article:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Assignment #5

Students protest `invasion of privacy'

The new student ID card is an invasion of privacy and should be banned from all high schools, a group of student activists said yesterday in Taipei. This started a campaign to protest the mandatory use of the radio frequency identification student cards required by Taipei City's Bureau of Education.

"The system is useless except to keep students under strict surveillance like convicts or animals," said Wang Hao-zheng.

Last month, the bureau began asking all high schools in the city to replace their traditional student ID cards with the new RFID system. A simple swipe of the RFID card can record a student's attendance as well as his or her spending habits. For a fee, the system can even send text messages to alert parents if their child is absent or tardy.

Parents and teachers can also download the student's recent activities, including what they bought at the cafeteria and what time they arrive at school.

The idea, the bureau said, was to reduce student's burden of having to carry a variety cards since the new card can be used as a library card, electronic wallet and a metro card.

Rebecca Lee said the new system, which cost NT$50 million to set up, is an extravagant waste of money. The money could be better spent elsewhere, such as on classroom lighting, rather than on a "useless system," she said.

A recent high school graduate surnamed Teng complained the system often makes mistakes and that he had received demerits for being tardy or absent even though he had been on time and was in class. Sometimes he ran late to class because he had to wait in line to swipe the card as there are not enough machines at the school. The new card is also more expensive than the old student ID, he said.


1. What do you think about this new system?

2. Would you want a similar card at your school?

3. What do you think is the real reason for the card?

The real article:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Assignment #4

Taiwanese supportive as Wang falters in playoffs

The nation's baseball fans were all frowns yesterday after a second straight disastrous performance by national hero Wang Chien-Ming.

The starting ace was chased from the do-or-die game against the Cleveland Indians after just three outs -- when he had already [allowed] the Indians to a 4-0 lead. They won 6-4 to bring New York's season to an end.

"I think Wang faltered today because he was under enormous pressure and he probably didn't have enough rest after a three-day break," said Richard Lin of the Chinese Taipei Amateur Baseball Association.

"There is no more hope for the Yankees," one fan wrote in an online forum, calling for Wang to quit the Major Leagues and return to pro baseball back in his homeland. "Let's welcome Wang home and give him a hug."

Yesterday's outing was the shortest start of Wang's US career.

"I feel so sad for Wang but I hope he can learn from his failures and better cope with pressure to become a great pitcher," another fan said in the online forum.

Despite his performance, some fans had encouraging words for the 27-year-old.

"You will always be the glory of Taiwan no matter how poorly you played this time," one of his online supporters wrote. "You just have to play harder next year."

1. What do you think of Wang Chien-Ming?
2. Is Wang's performance important to Taiwan?
3. Do you think he is a hero? What makes a hero?