Kevin Feng Chin Wen is a Taiwanese Youth Humanist Activist and Writer. Here we talk about the secular movement in Southeast Asia/East Asia.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: You have been actively involved in the secular movement in Southeast Asia/East Asia for several years. There have been social and political changes. What are ongoing issues in secular and scientific education in Taiwan?
Kevin Chin Wen Feng: Luckily, we have proper content in our textbook for education, no matter in the scientific or social field. The most serious issue is the unfair educational bureaucracy and the joint enrollment exam. Due to authoritarianism, our best college is always public, so that the rich people who can usually get better academic performance can enjoy better education at a cheaper price.
For entering the public schools, students struggle in the preparation for the joint enrollment exam, sacrificing their curiosity and personal development to practice the exam routinely. There are some jokes: “If the government wants to promulgate anything, just put it in the exam.” “I have returned my knowledge to my teachers after the exam.” This pathetic and inhumane education kills real science, seeking the truth about the world, and results in copying and pasting from the textbook onto the examination paper.
Jacobsen: Where are ongoing social issues for freethinkers in Taiwan?
Feng: We are the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. It shows our determination to have a deeper relationship with the West through humanistic values. However, the anti-gay religions mobilize in both political and educational fields. Rainbow mothers are the volunteers giving moral and ethical education from the Christian church. Their activities are against Education Basic Law and Gender Equity Education Act but not many politicians or officers dare to accuse them.
Another issue is the incense incinerator; the government wants to improve the air quality by limiting the locations to burn religious incense. However, the Daoist temples recognize burning the incense in that garbage incinerator as blasphemy and refuse to fund the specific incinerator on their own. The government compromises funding for religious incinerators to accomplish their environmental policy. We do accept this policy due to the political reality, but also ask for the specific noodle waste recycling for equality of religions. Putting the holy noodle into others’ kitchen waste recycling is insulation for FSM, hoping the government can accept our policy.
Jacobsen: What are ongoing political issues in Taiwan now?
Feng: Polarizing populism also happens here and even worse, which is manipulated by communist China. Our president Tsai Ing-wen tried to appease the political conflict between the mainlander and the locals by transitional justice. However, KMT refuses the deal and cooperate with CCP against the localization and demarcation of Taiwan. Conflict is inevitable. Her competitor in the 2020 election, Han Kuo-yu, manipulates populism and have the single highest support rate via the communist’s resources and media (Want Want China Times Media Group). Unlike the West’s populism, which won’t have a sovereign impact, once China controls Taiwan, it will be irreversible. The freedom of speech, human rights, and democracy will die at last, and the process must fill with violence like Hong Kong.
Jacobsen: For Canadians who may not know, what are recent flare-ups in Taiwan?
Feng: As similar to Canadians suffered from being arrested by China, there is a Taiwanese named Lee Ming-che. He texted some democratic Chinese for establishing a company in China to promote liberalism in Taiwan in 2014, but was kidnapped in Hong Kong in 2017. China imposes its inhumane law to force the world to accept their totalitarianism and the liberal world should unite and stop them.
Jacobsen: Why are these developments significant?
Feng: The current Taiwanese situation is the legacy of the Yalta System; KMT, the Leninist party from China, as the Mercenary of USA to manage Taiwan. Two contradictory ideologies cooperate with each other in this island for defending from communism, so that Taiwan can’t be a normal and independent country as other southeastern Asian countries after WWII. To normalize Taiwanese nationhood, our political strategy is embracing the West and leaving Asian influence. This strategy has a long history in Eastern Asia, starting from Japan, Fukuzawa Yukichi’s Datsu-A Ron, which promulgates Westernization of Asia in 1885. The ex-president of Taiwan Lee Teng-hui also claims “leaving tradition, reforming new,” supporting the democratization of Taiwan and normalizing the country from Chinese sectionalism. We hope to join the humanistic family, gaining support from it – against authoritarian and powerist legacy in Asia.
Jacobsen: How can the international humanist community help you?
Feng: Paying more attention to the most dangerous regime in Asia, China. Probably because the canon of the humanist community has a huge influence on multilateralism and socialism. Some of my liberal friends believe the world will be better when China competes for the world power with the USA, or just hate USA Imperialism too much. For example, the largest humanist international community, Humanists International, its FB only has 9 posts about China from 2009 to 2016. It is definitely less than their criticism to Pakistan or Russia. Most of the active humanist communities in Asia are in the Indo-Pacific region and the threat for us is definitely China. We already know how communists spread fake news, corrupts politicians, uses violence to export their totalitarianism into Indo-Pacific. Once we fail, Muslims will be arrested and placed into their concentration camps, Buddhists will march like the army and sing war songs as Shaolin monks, Daoists and Christians will force to worship Mao, and, of course, humanists will “accidentally” disappear, be kidnapped, or randomly jailed. These are threats to liberalism and human rights, which are definitely much more than Donald Trump’s presidency, at least for Indo-Pacific people.
Jacobsen: Thank you for the opportunity and your time, Chin Wen, be well, my friend.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott: Scott.D.Jacobsen@Gmail.com.
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