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.
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.