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Taiwan Church News
3195 Edition
May 20-26, 2013

Editorial: Enough with the tantrums!

Translated by Lydia Ma

As the dispute between the Philippines and Taiwan concerning the fatal shooting of the fisherman aboard the ship Kuang Ta Hsing No.28 in disputed waters heightens in intensity, more and more Taiwanese are surprised to discover that the Philippine government could be so savage and proud. Many Taiwanese find the Philippine government’s attitude to be a stark contrast to the friendly and honest Filipino workers that we are accustomed to seeing in our parks or in our homes helping our elderly people.

People who are well acquainted with the Philippines say that this country has been riddled with corruption at the government level and poverty among its citizenry in the past 20 years and such a phenomenon has become a vicious cycle. People who travel often to the Philippines can attest to the fact that shoving a wad of bank notes at customs can clear up questionable x-rays in no time because poverty, corruption, crime, and internal disarray is a prevalent problem in the Philippines. Despite such circumstances, we did not expect that our seemingly friendly and Catholic neighbor would pull the trigger and then turn its back on its religious roots and Christian convictions this time around.

The Philippines, which for now has an advantage over Taiwan in the opinion of the international media, has decided to obstruct justice and fool the world this time around. However, as this dispute becomes more and more heated, past wrongdoings committed by the Philippine government against Taiwanese fishermen are coming to light one by one. Many of these past wrongdoings have resulted in loss of life and exorbitant amounts of extortion. The Taiwanese people are determined to address these past wrongdoings in the light of day once and for all. It should be clear by now that lies can only take a country so far before they are exposed in broad daylight and bring shame to a country.

As for Taiwan, many government representatives and entertainment stars have gone on the offensive, eager to show-off their patriotism by proposing war with the Philippines. Frankly, their efforts would be better spent toward reforming our government and making it a clean, honest, and capable institution. As it stands now, their war rhetoric only makes us nervous because if a real war between Taiwan and the Philippines were the only way out, having such a “brilliant” commander-in-chief directing our armed forces is definitely something we should worry about!

The Hong family understands that they must revere providence and nature and they most likely will remain in the fishing industry as it’s their only way to make a living. However, who can vouch that this is the last time that such a tragedy will ever happen to Taiwanese fishermen? As long as Taiwan’s international status, national sovereignty, and lack of formal independence cannot be firmly established, the Philippines will have plenty of opportunities to do whatever it likes. Taiwanese fishermen who leave our ports are not going to be safe wherever they are.

There have been hundreds of incidents in the past 10 years where Philippine authorities have stolen from or taken advantage of Taiwanese fishermen. These problems have been perpetuated over and over again because Taiwanese don’t want to stir up trouble and accept their lot and bad luck with resignation too easily. Such a soft stance on our part has emboldened the Philippine government to impound more Taiwanese vessels and even to consider such actions as means to make a fast buck.

The Philippine government has just recently expressed confidence in its ability to deal with the freezing of Philippine worker applications by the Taiwanese government. But if that were the case, it would make no sense for the Philippine government to at the same time pretend to be the victim in front of foreign media and to blacken Taiwan’s image by claiming that Taiwanese are unreasonable and rude toward Filipinos. Our response to such rhetoric is to ask this government how it would describe people who shoot and steal other people and their boats.

Forgiveness without justice is called a “cover-up” and such a strategy is Satan’s prime tool used to expand its kingdom. However, responding to such an injustice with military force or war is neither rational nor intelligent. As Taiwanese, we have tolerated our government’s weakness and incompetence for so long that we have lost many opportunities to right wrongs and impose sanctions and address problems as they arise. We must examine our own past record of indifference.

As Christians in Philippines and in Taiwan celebrate the Pentecost, we are reminded of the fact that Christian principles are our ultimate and best arbitrators in this dispute. Exhortations from churches around the world shouldn’t be brushed off as unimportant because they can pressure the Philippine government to be more open and to give an account. But after all is said and done, an honest apology from the Philippines can win back respect, but before then, the breaking of diplomatic ties and the imposition of sanctions are only reasonable courses of action.


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Taiwan Church News
3194 Edition
May 13-19, 2013
Church Ministry News

Hakka church renovates its exterior to boost community outreach and community acclaim

Reported by Chen Wei-chien

Written by Lydia Ma

Hakka Presbytery’s Tungluo Presbyterian Church located in Miaoli County may be a small church with very little resources, but with God’s provision and the help of foreign volunteers, it has managed to overhaul its exterior and further endear itself to the town to which it belongs at the same time.

This story began a while back when Tungluo Church in Tungluo Township discovered had its iron gate had been damaged. Church staff said it was possibly due to the church’s bathroom being accessible to the public, which meant it had no control over who came in and out of the church. Faced with this problem, the church had originally merely made plans to replace the gate, but foreign volunteers from the renowned Christian ship Logos Hope who happened to be church guests at the time suggested it consider redesigning and rebuilding its whole outer wall so as to give its exterior a better overall appearance. With the help of these foreign volunteers and the participation of enthusiastic parishioners, the church’s outer wall was completed at the beginning of May.

The church’s new outer wall now resembles a 20-meter wide mural. The new wall has a big river stream, a big rainbow, and many Tung blossoms all decorated throughout it. There are also many Tung blossoms decorated on the new gate. The rainbow symbolizes God’s covenant, the river stream symbolizes living water, and the Tung blossoms happen to be unique to Tungluo Township. The new wall is made with mosaic tiles and ceramic tiles and parishioners helped to make and fire these tiles.

Tungluo Presbyterian Church’s pastor, Evangelist Hsueh Hsin-che, said that his church had been able to partner with Logos Hope in recent years because one of his parishioners worked as a full-time staff aboard the boat. This connection had enabled many volunteers from all over the world to come to the church and volunteer. It was God’s provision that some of the volunteers who came this year were gifted artists who were also very willing to help redesign the church’s exterior. Furthermore, his parishioners were very supportive and devoted to this new project. They gave financial donations and they also showed up at the church to help.

“As we were building the church wall and the church iron gate, we realized that this project had attracted some attention from many townspeople,” Hsueh said. He added that he hoped the inclusion of Tung blossoms on the wall and the gate would please the local folks. He also noted that many local residents had come forward to assist the church during the construction process and they had praised the church for selecting Tung blossoms as part of its exterior design and using it to express its support for the local Hakka culture.

Church members work together to finish the new mural-like wall. Photo provided by Tungluo Presbyterian Church.

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Taiwan Church News
3194 Edition
May 13-19, 2013
Church Ministry News

Washington State Senate resolution praises missionary Doris Brougham for her dedication to Taiwan

Reported by Chiou Kuo-rong

Written by Lydia Ma

Washington State Senate recently passed a resolution to affirm and praise the efforts of one of its native residents in the discipline of English pedagogy in Taiwan. Doris Brougham, a missionary to Taiwan, is also being praised for her instrumental role in promoting a close partnership between Taiwan and Washington State. She is best known for being the founder of Studio Classroom, which has taught English to hundreds of thousands of native Chinese speakers throughout the world.

This resolution, passed on April 24 without any dissenting votes, was supported by 48 state senators and the Lieutenant-Governor Brad Owen. According to information from the Overseas Radio and Television Inc., the bill was first proposed by state legislator Doug Ericksen. It was Ericksen who brought Brougham’s selfless dedication and citizen diplomacy to the attention of his fellow senators. He said that people like Brougham have been instrumental in bringing the State of Washington and Taiwan into close partnership through cultural initiatives that help Taiwan and the State of Washington to better understand each other.

Born in Seattle in 1926, Brougham came to Taiwan in 1951 at the young age of 25, after being forced to leave China due to the Chinese Civil War. She resolved at the time to devote her entire life to Taiwan and to raise the living standard of Taiwanese. She founded Studio Classroom in 1962 and her teaching program was soon published in magazines and aired on radio. It eventually also aired on television. The program’s goal is to increase the English ability of Taiwanese. Brougham later created a scholarship to encourage Taiwanese high school and graduate students to learn English.

The gist of the resolution passed by the State of Washington praises Doris Brougham’s commitment to Taiwan. After recognizing Brougham for her efforts, the resolution states: “Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Washington State Senate, in unison with our friends from Taiwan, honor and congratulate Doris M. Brougham for her unselfish and lifelong achievements and dedication to the well-being, education, and progress of all students young and old in Taiwan and offer their best wishes for a continued happy and fulfilling career and deepest respect and gratitude to Doris M. Brougham.”

The document then adds, “be it resolved, that a copy of this resolution be immediately transmitted by the Secretary of the Senate to Doris M. Brougham; Ma Ying-jeou, President of Taiwan; Barack Obama, President of the United States; Jay Inslee, Governor of the State of Washington….”

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle’s Director General Andy Chin and the Overseas Taiwanese Affairs Commissioner Sun Le-yu were both invited to be present at the state legislature when the resolution was passed so that they could witness this historic moment. Sun, who is a Catholic, praised Brougham for her contributions to English pedagogy in Taiwan. He underscored that her contributions in both English teaching and Christian evangelism in Taiwan are laudable.


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