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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

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Open Letter to GIO Minister Hsieh

Dear Minister Hsieh,

First, please accept my congratulations for your effective work in building support for Taiwan's UN bid in New York last weekend.

I am writing, however, to express my disappointment in the form and content of an ad that your Office has run both on one of your English-language websites and the local English-language media.

My first objection is to the requirement that the applicant be a "Citizen of the Republic of China". Why is it impossible for your Office to use the far more natural 'Taiwanese citizen' or 'Citizen of Taiwan'? Or, since you are after all a government office, why not at least use the same formulations as used by the Presidential office and on Taiwanese passports--"Citizen of the Republic of China (Taiwan)"?

My second objection is to the nationality requirement itself. Surely your Office no longer seriously believes in the essentialist dogma that one must be 'Chinese' or 'Taiwanese' to to understand and write about Taiwan. This obnoxious myth is not at all consistent with Taiwan's commitment to being a pluralist and open society. The best way to present Taiwan to the world is to have informed native speakers of both languages work together to produce high quality work about Taiwan that neither could produce by themselves.

Why not open this position to the many foreigners with work rights in Taiwan either by marriage or through permanent residence? Many of the qualified 'ROC citizens' who will apply for this position will hold passports from other countries and have spent less time in Taiwan than some long-term residents. They are not excluded by this nationality requirement.

I urge you to reconsider this ad and also to undertake a serious review of your English language website. Much of the content there undermines the work you are doing for Taiwan. Little things matter.

Best regards,
Feiren

[This letter has also been submitted to the GIO's official mail box]

3 Comments:

At 12:03 PM, Anonymous The Taipei Kid said...

They want an "ROC" citizen so they don't have to pay them as much as they would a foreigner.

Believe me, you wouldn't want to work at that place anyway!

 
At 3:12 PM, Blogger Feiren said...

Well, working there isn't the point although I can see how my letter might be read that way.

I think they should pay whatever the market will bear, and that as long as the job does not explicitly discriminate without a valid basis on the basis of nationality, I have no problem with equally low pay for equally bad work.

 
At 4:09 AM, Blogger Sean Su said...

Feiren,

I don't understand why the Taiwanese government has these biases. They seem to forget that Taiwan desperately needs the help of friends like you. Its one of the other things that makes my blood broil because every-time I see the utterly crappy advertisements from the GIO, I feel sad that there was obviously not one Taiwan friend taken into consideration when making them.

 

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