Taitung

The China Post - - FEATURE -

as­sis­tance to more lo­cal en­trepreneurs in town­ships and com­mu­ni­ties and “come up with the right prod­uct to sell” as well as “cre­ate more in­cen­tives for tourists to stay some ex­tra days by pret­ti­fy­ing the com­mu­ni­ties.”

Past Glory to Be Con­tin­ued

Many ac­com­plish­ments were over­seen by Huang dur­ing the last few years; they may not be no­tice­ably seen, but sta­tis­tics speak the truth. From 2009 to 2014, room oc­cu­pancy rates of lo­cal-reg­u­lated ho­tels and hos­tels grew from 32.28 per­cent to 63.3 per­cent while num­bers of tourists reached 6,227,000 peo­ple from 4,159,000 peo­ple a year.

Also, low-in­come fam­ily rates have ev­i­dently de­creased whereas house­hold in­come has in­creased. Another statis­tic pre­sented by the county gover­nor in­di­cates that de­posits re­al­ized in Taitung County’s fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions have grad­u­ally grown, and in­sti­tu­tions in­clud­ing the fish­ery’s as­so­ci­a­tion, farmer’s as­so­ci­a­tion, post of­fices and lo­cal banks have all shown progress in the re­cent years.

From Poor to Happy

Justin Huang aims to over­turn the poverty found in Taitung and of­fer a happy life for the lo­cals. A good and happy life, in Huang’s def­i­ni­tion, can be in­tor­duced in a place where the un­der­priv­i­leged are a small pro­por­tion of the pop­u­la­tion, av­er­age life­span is ex­tended and where the gap with big­ger cities is less­ened.

In achiev­ing this, the gover­nor be­lieves in a value that is for­got­ten by many, yet serves to mend many so­cial is­sues — fam­ily. He be­lieves that only a func­tional fam­ily can help com­plete the hap­pi­ness of the core units in the so­ci­ety. Mean­ing that if more job op­por­tu­ni­ties are cre­ated and enough in­cen­tives are pro­vided for the work­ing class in re­turn­ing to Taitung, fewer chil­dren with ed­u­ca­tional prob­lems would ap­pear.

Huang stressed that the truth is “job op­por­tu­ni­ties are there, com­pa­nies even need to host job fairs in other cities be­cause the lo­cals can­not sat­isfy the open­ings, but it is un­de­ni­able that some may want to es­cape from their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and are re­luc­tant to go back.” It is also why the county gov­ern­ment needs to pro­vide train­ing and con­sul­ta­tions for cer­tain peo­ple to get back into the la­bor mar­ket with­out stum­bling.

What’s ut­terly heart­warm­ing is the ar­range­ment Huang sug­gested for dis­abled peo­ple to work at the Taitung Abo­rig­i­nal Cul­ture Ho­tel (臺東縣原住民文化會館) as house­keep­ers. Not only does the ho­tel pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for visi­tors, but it es­tab­lishes con­fi­dence in dis­abled peo­ple and al­lows them to sup­port for them­selves.

The Key to De­vel­op­ment

It is said that to cre­ate, you must de­stroy. De­vel­op­ments of­ten re­quire changes, though not all are pre­pared or will­ing for it. The changes may range from tan­gi­ble in­fra­struc­ture to in­tan­gi­ble mind­sets such as moral be­liefs or eth­i­cal no­tions. “As we all know, it is dif­fi­cult to change adults. It is also why the key to the city’s de­vel­op­ment lies in our next gen­er­a­tion,” said Huang.

The gover­nor places em­pha­sis on two facets: English and prac­ti­cal skills. The for­mer broad­ens the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion’s vi­sion and the lat­ter solves the awk­ward sit­u­a­tion of ex­ces­sive num­bers of aca­demics through­out the coun­try. He con­sid­ers stim­u­la­tion an es­sen­tial fac­tor in English learn­ing, there­fore col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ful­bright Pro­gram (傅爾布萊特計畫) from the U.S. is de­liv­ered to pro­vide na­tive English teach­ers for around 20 lo­cal ele­men­tary schools.

The Global Ed­u­ca­tion As­so­ci­a­tion in Tai­wan (台灣全球化教育推廣協會), which con­cen­trates on glob­al­ized ed­u­ca­tion and English learn­ing, also co­op­er­ates closely with Taitung, while the Char­ac­ter & English In­sti­tute (臺東縣品格英語學院) founded by HTC Ed­u­ca­tion Foun­da­tion (財團法人宏達文教基金會) of­fers fourth graders a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence in English learn­ing.

“The cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem lim­its the pos­si­bil­ity of chil­dren re­ceiv­ing tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion at an ear­lier age. Our ob­jec­tive is to push it for ju­nior high school stu­dents and al­low them to se­lect the sub­jects that truly in­ter­est them,” said Huang.

He went on to ex­plain that Taitung needs pro­fes­sional man­power that pro­vides ser­vices and skills, not peo­ple with high aca­demic de­grees. The pro­mo­tion of tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion can also pre­vent chil­dren from wast­ing time or be­ing un­happy in a pile of school work they are not fas­ci­nated by.

As a vi­sion­ary leader, Huang tar­gets the bull’seye and heads to­ward it. Although some of the im­ple­mented mea­sures bring him neg­a­tive com­ments and misun­der­stand­ing, he in­sists on re­al­iz­ing them with­out try­ing to boost his per­sonal fame. A politi­cian is not needed in the coun­try, what the peo­ple needs is some­one with mo­rals, with heart and with vi­sion, to flour­ish in the county and the en­tire coun­try.

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Hot-air bal­lon-shaped lanterns that rep­re­sent Taitung’s new emerg­ing recre­ational ac­tiv­ity are found in Tiehua Vil­lage; they are uniquely de­signed by lo­cal stu­dents.

County Governer Justin Huang, cen­ter, poses with teach­ers from the Ful­bright English Teach­ing As­sis­tant Pro­gram and other staff. The teach­ers are con­sid­ered to re­in­force stu­dents’ English skills.

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