By Lee Chia-tung §õ®a¦P
International Biology Olympiad scandal involves allegations that teachers and
education officials demanded money from parents to pay for sexual services at
hostess bars on the basis that, in return, they would select the parents'
children to compete in the Olympiad.
most thought-provoking remarks regarding the scandal, came from Minister of
Education Huang Jung-tsun (¶Àºa§ø):
"A painful price eventually has to be paid for moral bankruptcy," he
remark at first appears to be directed at individuals. But then, society is made
up of individuals. So the remark could very well be rephrased to say: "The
entire society will eventually pay a painful price for moral bankruptcy."
teachers were allegedly involved in the Olympiad scandal. How could it be that a
teacher, of all people, would go to a hostess bar? The reason lies quite simply
in the rapid deterioration of moral standards in society at large, which is so
serious that even teachers are no longer able to resist temptation.
time when the scandal broke in Taiwan, an even bigger scandal involving the
Catholic clergy was breaking in the US. The Catholic clergy have always been
among the most respected people in society. How could it be that so many of
these carefully selected, rigorously trained US clergymen could become embroiled
in scandal? In my view, America's clergy are in fact the sacrificial goats of
moral bankruptcy in US society. In a society brimming with sex, even the clergy
find it difficult to resist temptation.
teachers and clerics -- people whom we normally hold up as exemplars of good
conduct -- fall victim to temptation, then the moral standards of the rest of
society are bound to deteriorate. The general environment corrupts them and
their corruption further poisons the social environment. What we should worry
about is the fact that lower sexual morality standards can generate a vicious
cycle. Today we are witnessing unprecedented depravity in Taiwan's education
circles. It may only be a matter of time before we see it in, say, the judiciary
as I know, Minister Huang was one of the few government officials to mention the
issue of morality. As a rule, when a scandal breaks, everyone thinks about
improving the system. But the reality of the problem is already perfectly clear:
Much of the current disarray in society has nothing to do with the system or the
government. It has everything to do with the corruption of public morality. Is
it because of a problem in the system that so many young people resort to
delinquency, or is it because we have too many dysfunctional families? Society
in the past also had kids who didn't want to study, but they didn't become
juvenile delinquents, mainly because their fathers acted like fathers and their
mothers acted like mothers. How can a child be normal if his father is drunk or
gambling day in and day out?
Taiwan has no patented claim to moral bankruptcy. It is a global phenomenon. The
British royal family has seen endless scandals. The former US president was the
center of a major sex scandal, but Congress allowed him to stay in office. All
this has shown repeatedly that people don't take morality seriously. Now, we see
a genuine case of the painful price being paid for moral bankruptcy. Do we hope
to see fewer scandals in the future? Do we hope to see no more corruption among
our government officials? Do we want our streets to be safer? Do you want your
children to be properly informed about sex? All these are basic but very
important wishes. The key to realizing these wishes lies not in improving the
system, but in the moral standards of our society.
Chia-tung is a professor at National Chinan University.
by Francis Huang