Thursday, 29 May 2008
What is news? 什麼才是新聞？
Former President Chen Shui-bian's daughter, Chen Hsing-yu was all over the news again today. Paparazzi love to follow and provoke her, because she easily loses control and will curse people, shout in high octaves or both. She did both today. I thought she was going to pop a blood vessel in her head today. Whew. Imagine having to listen to this once every hour all day today...
Yesterday, gas prices went up again. Today, I went to my boss and asked her, with oil prices on the up and up, shrinking everyone's disposable income and making life very difficult for many, many people, shouldn't the government be doing more than temporarily subsidizing taxis and buses? For example, import taxes on hybrid cars are ridiculously high. A Toyota Prius in the US starts at USD 21.500, but in Taiwan, it starts at USD 38.66. Shouldn't that tax be lowered or abolished so that more people can will cars less dependent on gas and therefore save money? There are no bicycles lanes in the cities. Shouldn't they be effectively made so that people can safely commute via bicycles? The Taipei metro does not allow bicycles on their trains except during weekends in certain stations and in certain trains. Folding bikes are required to be put into carrying bags if they want to be let in the station. Shouldn't these rules be changed so more people will use the metro and their bikes to commute? The Kaohsiung metro just introduced a TWD 5.000 (USD 164) folding bike that can be taken into the station at any time. Shouldn't the same policy be implemented elsewhere, and bicycle purchases be subsidized? Right now, the government is only giving temporary solutions to a long-term problem. I pointed this out to my boss, but she was uninterested.
Cancer has been the number one cause of death in Taiwan for the past 27 years. More and more young people are getting cancer. Last week, high school entrance exams were held. We're seeing increasing numbers of kids with cancer and rare diseases at these exams. Before, patients at cancer centers were mostly old people. Now the proportion is changing. National Taiwan University's hospital is opening a pediatric cancer center. These signs are alarming. People in Taiwan are getting sick. The government boasts that more and more cancer patients are getting better because cancer treatment in Taiwan is getting more and more advanced. Why are they only treating the sick and not preventing the healthy from getting sick? Six thousand Taiwanese women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. That's just first diagnosis and breast cancer. Kevin half joked that people don't need to worry about missiles flying into Taiwan, we're going to kill ourselves with cancer and other diseases first. There is a deathly serious problem with preventative medicine policy in Taiwan. I told this to my boss, but she was uninterested.
Is this not news? Is it not the responsibility of media to keep the government in check? Apparently not. I guess news is Chen Hsing-yu cursing in octaves at reporters, and our responsibility is bringing the former president's first daughter's cursing to the public.