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Published: Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 22, 2013 MYT 7:17:17 AM

Dear Santa, all we want for Christmas is ...

TAIPEH: Ho ho ho! It’s that time of the year again when children around the world start thinking about writing their letter to Santa Claus and wondering when Rudolph and Santa will land at their home with all their gifts.

If you haven’t sent your letter yet, we would remind you that it is always a good idea to write a Christmas wish list that will make Santa and his elves smile – they have been busy with Christmas preparations over the past few weeks – and maybe even lead to some amazing Christmas gifts.

With 2013 coming to a close, it is also a time for us to look back, cheer and reflect on Taiwan’s 2013. At the same time, we should look ahead and plan what we wish for Taiwan over the forthcoming 12 months in an open letter to Santa. We are not too greedy, so we only have a few requests!

Dear Santa, we know that you are extremely busy at the North Pole at the moment, making sure all your presents, including ours, are ready and wrapped for Christmas Eve. If you are planning to give away any Made-in-Taiwan foodstuff, however, we need to remind you to be extremely careful with local products due to several ongoing food scandals across the island. The food scares have been going on from the start of this year and while the government said it is doing everything it can to prevent similar cases, we have lost our confidence in Taiwanese food manufacturers. From cooking oil to milk and rice, nothing is safe here any more, so our first wish would be that the government continually updates its inspection techniques and puts more efforts into prevention.

“Caution is the eldest son of wisdom,” said Victor Hugo, meaning that we must fight against impulse and whim to give more consideration into our decisions. In the meantime, Santa, please help us make our food safer by bringing more of Hugo’s books to our decision makers.

We wish this advice would also apply to leaders from our former diplomatic ally, The Gambia, which cut official diplomatic ties with Taiwan on Nov 14 without prior notice. After 18 years of partnership, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh terminated our relationship for some vague reasons related to his (people’s) strategic interest.

Although it is perhaps time to pause and give more considerations to the country’s “flexible diplomacy” policy, we also hope that you (Santa) can remind us in the future of this diplomatic fiasco when the next generation of leaders from both countries asks us to endorse their plans for a new “strategic partnership”.

As you might already notice, politicians have a very bad memory, in that they only remember what is in their interest, so our third wish this year is that nobody ever forgets the Ma-Wang conflict of September 2013. After prosecutors claimed that Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng used his influence to persuade Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu in a court case, President Ma Ying-jeou stated that Wang’s act of influence-peddling was the most “shameful day” in the history of democracy and rule of law in Taiwan. Yet, if you haven’t noticed, everything is back to normal at the Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s parliament) where they recently celebrated Christmas with some nice Christmas carols.

“Back to normal” also summarises the situation at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), where they have been crafting a new “China Policy” for the last eight years. The latest promises were made by leaders of the opposition party on Nov 9, when they announced their willingness to enter into political talks with mainland China and said they would finalise their preliminary conclusion in January 2014. The party hopes to convince the public that they can deal with cross-strait relations better than the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), but we believe that they might need a little help with drafting their conclusions.

Last but not least, our last wish goes to the family of the Army Corporal Hung Chung-Chiu who suddenly passed away on July 4. Hung was only three days away from completing his military service when he tragically died of organ failure brought on by heatstroke. He was sent to military detention for carrying a camera phone, and subjected to arduous punishment exercises, which led to his death. We wish that you can bring some comfort to his family and hope that you can help prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. Taiwan’s military should seriously consider further reforms to the management of military detention.

To this end, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and thank you for reading and sharing some thoughts with The China Post this year.

Tags / Keywords: World, Taiwan; government; Seasons Greetings

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