Monday, October 31, 2011

Nanny state watch - Taiwan

I lived in Taiwan from 1984 to 1992. I left for California in 1992 and not returned until 2004. I am surprised how Taiwan had changed. While for the most part Taiwan had changed for the better. Taiwan relaxed many dracan martial law policies and became more respectful to its citizens. Laws became more transparent. Land use laws that used to ban multi anchor mega mall complexes also had been relaxed and builders and developers are no longer bound to build cramped ugly concrete blocks and have more freedom to build expressive buildings. The compulsory military service regulations for males also becomes more transparent and visible to citizens and less of a scary mystery. There are now clear rules on returning overseas Chinese of in what conditions would they be drafted to serve reducing a lot of nightmare surprise drafting of returning overseas Chinese and allowing those who left much younger than military age to return for short periods without worrying about the draft.

Unfortunately not every change is positive or should I say for the better. Like a growing number of juristications in North America and around the world a growing number of socialist legislations going to the books that "crimalize" frivolous personal choices with penalty fines had proliferated especially since the year 2001.

2001 Hand held cell phone while driving or motorcycle riding ban citable infraction NT 500-1500 fine
2002 Seatbelts required on Front seat (This almost legislated to include the rear seats in 2010 but with no grandfathering clause as with cars manufactured prior to 1970 in the US quite an issue as many cars in Taiwan currently has no working seatbelts in rear seats)(fortunately it seems defeated)
2002 Mandatory recycling bag act quite difficult during garbage collection
2003 Plastic bag tax (please note repealed in 2006)
The children and youth protection act that stipulates that Children under 6 cannot be left unattended anywhere public or private including private homes and cars.
2008 ban on disposable chopsticks
2010 Just recently requirement for commercial indoor a/c to cool no lower than 26C. While it might not seem high but in commercial settings in a sultry climate and doors opened frequently to allow crowds to enter and exit it can really get sweaty. Taiwan buildings are already often under cooled for such sultry conditions.
Helmet legislation expanded from just covering motorcyclists now to include bicyclists as well.
2011 Engine idiling ban
There are more than I list though I cannot remember it at this time. Though I think there are better ways to achieve rather than increase punishments. While people in Taiwan has much greater civic pride and gives in from the former anarcho-capitalism rules are meant to be broken mentality. Apparently the drawback of this otherwise positive change is they are more vulnerable to socialist legislation. If one visits to Taiwan you would notice cameras on almost every street corner to signify big brother is always watching. Lets just hope the Taiwan people would team up protect their rights against excessive government intrusion to protect their democracy and the government would respect it and learn to work with citizens not just think of making new rules.