After Circling Around Taiwan Twice


That day, as I got to my doorsteps, it was already between dusk and evening, I rang the doorbell, and heard my family’s call, “Who is it?”, in after almost circling around Taiwan completely, hearing my family member’s voice for the very time, I’d not, felt anything.

“I’m home!”, I’d called out to them through the front door. This sort of a conversation was, nothing abnormal, like how I’d just, come home from school.

The following days, aren’t much different either, like nothing was changed. The thought, an instinct that came to mind was—I’d not left home far enough yet! Like that last trip around the island on motorcycle, after I’d passed through eastern Taiwan, I’d gotten that mirage of “I’m going towards home”, so, for my two, three weeks’ adventures, only during the first week, did I feel, “I’m embarking on a brand new adventure”, and after that, came “I’m going home now”.

someone circling around Taiwan by bicycle…not my photo.

“Taiwan is way too small”, that, was what I’d gained, after two trips around the island. In the clockwise or counter-clockwise trips, it’s really hard, to travel, with NO purpose at all.

“Taiwan is way too small,” the conclusion I came to, after trekking around the island, almost two complete times, and, this thought had, haunted me ever since.

Yeah, Taiwan IS, way too small, so, a lot of people are, fighting, on the island, fighting to get that head start, worried about losing at the starting point, or that there’s no future here, so, they’d focused on the gains that are, right in front of them. For instance, the education in Taiwan, we’d spent too much time on “formal education”, and wanted the educators to repeatedly, practice everything they’d already known how to do. The kids are warned again and again: that the information on the textbooks are not enough, that they’d needed to, produce the correct answers on the exams, in the shortest time possible too. So, the same problems, once, twice, god knows how many number of times, for the purpose of it, being etched, into the minds, until writing down the answers to the question became a sort of a reflex.

Although, learning is a life-long process, but, we’d spent too much time, in “training for speed”, instead of really understand what is being taught, only to get that extra point or two on the exams, so we can, score ahead of other people on the standardized examinations, to show how important we are. What’s more interesting was, when most educators had, accepted this sort of a competitive logic, those in charge of how education is going can use this “formal education” claim, to use it as the means to promote one’s own policies.

Clearly, the countless competitions in Taiwan, are for the placements on the surfaces, instead of seeing who learns the most. In this tiny island, when there’s a conflict of the splitting of resources, the most widely used method to resolve the problems, is to see who is worthy of gaining more of the assets, and the resources too? So, the students fight over the placements, the schools fight over the national standings, the colleges and universities, fight over the placements of the outstanding scholars’ lists…………

something you see trekking across the island, not my photo here.

The resources in education is so, the government’s use of resources too, along with the assignments of resources in the society. When the gains on the surfaces outweighs what’s on the inside, it would be easy for us to understand, why there are, so many bad people producing bad products to sell, and, we can also gain a better understanding, of how messed up the politics, and the society had become in Taiwan from the past decade’s time too.

So, this, is the big picture, and it only took this person, to travel around the island TWICE, to understand all of this, and, he is right, on the fact, that people are too narrow-minded, unwilling to change, even IF it’s for the better, and, if we don’t start changing individually, then, how can we expect our country to function better as a whole, as, we’re all, small parts of a larger machine, and when one of us refused to or stopped working, the entire machine falls apart!


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