42. Dr. Richard R. Vuylsteke’s recent comments on the impoverished state of political leadership in Taiwan, made on his departure from the executive of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei, are, in my humble opinion, much needed and provide essential feedback to those who have been elected to govern Taiwan.  

Taiwan is a small island country, and like all such places around the globe – especially those in Asia – its leaders exhibit more than their own fair share of imbred myopia and shortsightedness. We should not be at all surprised at the reaction of alarm and dismay with which the Taiwanese politicians greeted Vuylsteke’s remarks. Regrettably, they seem to lack all honesty of the intellectual sort or the kind of critical self-awareness which asks: ‘What is Vuylsteke saying? What really happened?’

Instead, the past seven years have witnessed cross-party and cross-faction rhetorical vendattas, flying kitchen appliances as hurled projectiles in the Legislative Yuan, and a deep pettiness of personal interaction. The public image of the Taiwan politician has turned sour, very sour indeed. One sincerely hopes that this fallow soil may yet still produce the kind of political genius able to strengthen the political, economic and social status of Taiwan by the year 2020. But it is unlikely.

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