Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time.
Saturday afternoon, with the protest seemingly transitioning into a dormant state waiting on the government response to demands, Lin Kua- Hua’s mother finally broke her silence. The public has been waiting on her to respond to Lin’s death, because too many questions and doubts exists. It taps on the minds and hearts of the public, how could a family react so solemnly to their son, who died for a cause that will seek to change Taiwan’s education?
On the Facebook account of Lin’s mother, hours after his death, her silence and conservative response drew concern, leading to the circulation of the rumors that negotiations has been done between the MOE and the family themselves—with Wu Se-Hua showing up at their footsteps before almost anyone else did to send his condolences. There were even doubts that as to why Lin’s will or suicide note did not emerge. These questions still exist, and debunking and finding the truth no longer matters in some sense, because Lin Kuan-Hua’s spirit lives on. However, it leads us to contemplate upon a underlying social problem in Taiwan’s society. What roles do parents play in student movements?
Not long ago, a video of a family fight at the student protest circulated around social media. A family by the name of Chou, visited the protest to persuade their two boys to come home. Yet, the boys were reluctant, and in an outrage, one of them screamed: “We are working hard for Taiwan’s future, what have you contributed to Taiwan?!” Opponents of the movement quickly jumped on the notion that the boys were unfilial to their parents, and defied their parents to join the protests. Public discourse followed, with each sides claiming the moral upper ground. Casting the political conspiracy aside, this video is the epitome of the Confucianism ethos deeply rooted in Taiwan’s society. The struggle between the generations us real and oftentimes, Taiwan is quick to dismiss the efforts of the youth in trying to challenge the status quo. An interesting juxtaposition is the Sunflower Movement and the Umbrella Revolution. The response elicited from the parents were vastly different. During the Sunflower Movement, parents were critical and harsh, and those that were concerned were hardly willing to voice out their support openly—even after the violence that occurred at the Executive Yuan, Taiwanese parents were quiet. On the contrary, though there was also intergenerational conflict, the tear gas incident at the Umbrella Revolution mobilized Hong Kong parents and they were not afraid to take to the streets and support their child in challenging the status quo.
A possible explanation to the differences in attitudes of the parents stems from education itself. Parents in Taiwan received education during the Martial Law Era which indoctrinated Confucianism values and conformity, unsurprisingly given that the leader in Taiwan was a man of a military background. Hong Kong, on the contrary, given that their education originated from Protestant and Catholic missionaries, the idea of free will and individual decision is strongly inculcated in the general public of Hong Kong. The difference thus hinges on thing—parents’ responses to these student movements exemplifies what their education has turned them into. Therefore, to those parents that are concerned, if you allow such curriculum and education to continue, what will future generations turn out to be like?
The death of Lin does highlight the apathy and irresponsibility of parents in Taiwan. How can parents put themselves so far from education, if they serve as the role of the first teacher a child will have in his life? How is it comprehendible at all, that parents in Taiwan prefer to let “others” education their child, at the expense of truth, values, and an identity they both share?
Photo Credit: Brian Hioe
Biography: Hoping to stay young and forever taiwan.