Daily Bloom is the shortform blog of New Bloom, covering breaking news events as they occur in real-time.
Yesterday was the day everybody was waiting for—the discussion to be held between the students and Wu Se-Hwa. The outcome was unsurprising. During the two hours long discussion, questions and answers were threw back and forth, making it seem like a discussion panel rather than a serious platform for negotiations. No consensus were reached, and ultimately, these students, set back by the death of their close friend Lin, broke down into tears.
Throughout the discussion, each side presented their concerns and arguments, but the Ministry of Education provided nothing close to a solution to the students. The students’ request were simple, that is to repeal the curriculum. There were hardly any mentioning of asking Wu to step down, showing the respect they tried to maintain until negotiations broke down. With a tearful face, Chu Chen, one of the student representatives, desperately pleaded with Wu Se-Hwa, saying that if he could not repeal the curriculum, could he at least postpone it to next year? Yet, Wu was unmoved, claiming that all could reach a compromise by allowing the institutions to decide on which textbooks that would want to use. Wu’s defense was if diversity and democratic values were of concern, them different perspective should be allowed. Wu’s rationale behind his insistence on keeping the curriculum was that unless you could deem the curriculum procedure to be illegal, then it cannot be repealed. Of course, the problem at hand is not a question of legality or illegality, but that it was done through untransparent, “black box” procedures. Wu notably refused to reveal the names of the committee members for the textbook revision.
It is bewildering to hear that forcing a Chinese identity on a nation like Taiwan that has and is still developing its own identity, is a form of “different” perspective. The ROC government’s insistence on keeping the Sino-centric curriculum only shows further how the current administration is alienated from the Taiwanese public, and are not sincere at all in building a stronger identity with the people of Taiwan. In their minds, Taiwan has never existed, and even more terrifying, should not exist.
However juicy this scene has served as tabloid for the media, it is hard to dismiss how deliberate the choice of refreshments during the discussion was. Notice the subtle message here: students had a big mac drink cup while the adults had the coffee. This stark contrast seems to be an attempt to downplay the capability of the students, as McDonald’s is often associated to be a “child’s” meal.
Yet this was not what made headlines today. An image of Wu rolling his eyes is circulating around social media, racking up criticism for his hypocrisy. Wu was caught on live television for rolling his eyes after one of the adult representatives made her speech with regards to her concern about the curriculum. In the millisecond after he rolled his eyes, he put out a fake smile, seemingly trying to compensate for having been caught rolling his eyes on camera. Unfortunately, nothing can pass by the public, and this only reveals the bitter truth even more. The link to the video can be seen here.
The talks did not end in a respectful manner. Students stormed out of the room sequentially, and the rest that stayed left a message for Wu, asking if what he wants to see was a next Dai Lin—referring the Lin Kuanhua, the student who committed suicide after he was arrested for storming into Wu’s office. However desperate and upset the students are, Taiwan really do not need to see another death. We will see what the future has to hold.
Photo Credit: Liberty Times, TBS, Focus News, Apple Daily,
Biography: Hoping to stay young and forever Taiwan.