Womany, a Taiwanese online media platform, held the first female workforce conference at the International Conference Center at National Taiwan University Hospital on August 26. DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen shared her thoughts through the title, “Taiwan from my perspective".

Tsai opened the talk through sharing her life experience and said, “I never thought about running for president. But it’s my second time running now, and I actually have a chance of winning!" The audience burst into laughter and applause.

Storm Media reports, Tsai says that Taiwan is a big trading power, but a small country in terms of politics. The island lacks bargaining chips and often needs to accept harsh conditions. Under these circumstances, the country should come together but Taiwan is doing the exact opposite. Tsai says there was once a US diplomatic officer that said he didn’t understand the Taiwanese because an island like Taiwan should stick together and face the outside world instead of fighting internally.

Regarding this, Tsai points out that Taiwan is an immigrant community. With every one having different historical backgrounds and experiences, what this kind of country needs most is finding a common ground and a mechanism to unlock the conflicts between people. The best mechanism now is democracy.

1. Issues with Taiwan’s industrial structure

Tsai made note of the transformation of the capital market.

She said, “The industries of the next generation all have high risks. Making a movie requires a huge budget, which you might lose after one failure. The Internet industry is also one with high risks."

She says that Taiwan’s capital market in the past was accustomed to relatively low risks, but with industrial models with lower gross profits. The traditional capital market is not yet ready to accept industries with higher risks, such as the Internet or film and television industries.

Moreover, according to traditional civil service thinking, both legislation and practice are still pondering in the mindset of the older generation. This is why the laws and civil system in Taiwan are unable to keep up with the industries of the new generation. Guiding Taiwan’s capital market to invest and cultivate these new industries is the transformation needed now.

2. Taiwan was politically isolated in the past; now is economically isolated.

Tsai points out, Taiwanese people should not count on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Taiwan but go beyond the island. Europeans know where Thailand is, the intersection of Europe and Asia, but have not heard of Taiwan.

Furthermore, Tsai also mentioned the concept of establishing an international NGO village. “No one will isolate Taiwan in an NGO world,” she said.

She believes Taiwan is suitable for developing a non-profit organization because of the large retired population and high willingness to volunteer. Tsai said many people retired at an early age and contribute to volunteering. Why not encourage them to volunteer instead of asking them why they retired so early? It’s a good way to let foreign countries notice us.

3. The Taiwanese Civil Service is always a stumbling block of a new industry.

It is like the third party payment problem that jammed the Taiwan Network.

Tsai also brought up opinions regarding the Civil Service problem. She believes there are Civil Servants with high quality services, but the Taiwanese bureaucracy is quite unfavorable to cultivate and tolerate the young people and is out of touch with the society.

She said agricultural policies might be enacted by the few officials from the Council of Agriculture with doctoral degrees when the Farmers’ Alliance should best understand grass-roots farmers. She is concerned about how to correct the rules to allow the man power from both civil service and ordinary people to circulate with each other, as well as the central and local government.

When asked about the 228 Incident…

Tsai said, “Saying happy 228 incident is horrifying… I think it’s because they didn’t study well in history. Let the historians sit down and figure out a version that everyone can accept. The worst is the politicians impart their own opinions into the textbooks and generate opposition because the people cannot correctly understand the history."

She said at the end of the conference, “There was a Japanese governor that said Taiwanese people are difficult to control because they are rebellious. It’s time for us to save our country from the current predicament based on this rebellious determination.”

The young generation, compared to ours, is a liberated one. We had the Sunflower Movement last year and textbook protest this year. I can see most of the heroes are youths.

Tsai also said according to scientific surveys, the ratio of people against women being president counts for five to ten percent.

Translated by June and Olivia Yang
Edited by Olivia Yang