2010/06/05

Ma to Send More Military Instructors to Campus -- Elementary Schools Included


When I was educated decades ago back in Taiwan, military instructors (MIs) stationed in campus represented the potential terror of KMT's political persecution. They monitored not only the behaviors but also the thoughts and the words of students'. A summon by the MIs to their offices was the most fearful in the mind of many students. Some of us had the shocking experiences of realizing that MIs in the campus held your file of loyalty records -- records of loyalty not only to the country but also to the KMT, even if you were not KMT members.

As Taiwan went on to a speedy march toward democracy, during which the KMT government stepped down in 2000, the new government led by DPP worked hard to remove campus MIs with a policy "military instructors out of the campus" (軍訓教官退出校園). The plan was to stop adding new position and stop refilling opening ones, thus reduces the total amount of MIs gradually until there's none.

Unfortunately, after Ma Ying-jeou took power in 2008, Ma government turned that policy 180 degrees around. Not only the opening of old positions are re-filled, but also the number of positions will be largely increased.

Last year (2009) I talked about the intention of Ma Ying-jeou's regime in this regard (Ma Govt to Extend Thought Control to Elementary Schools):

in the name of "defense education," Ma Ying-jeou government's Ministry of Education's Department of Students' Military Training (DSMT, 軍訓處) is amending a "Plan of Improvement and Adjustment of Military Training Officers Missions in High Schools" (my translation of 高級中等學校軍訓教官工作精進與調整方案) to include junior high and elementary schools into the radar of their thought control ((員額不減 教官擬轉進國中小).

DSMT denied such a plan, despite it is clearly written in their web document, which was removed in 24 hrs after its announcement invited rage from the public (see my previous article mentioned above for links). But at the same time Minister of Education admitted that military instructors will be sent to elementary schools for nothing more than "teaching Taiwanese kids lessons" of "national defense."

The subject seems to quiet down since then. However, behind the spot light, the turned-around policy proceeds as planned. This year, Ma regime will station 303 more military instructors, increasing the total number by ~ 10% (全民國防教育將起跑 教官暴增).

If you think that Ma Ying-jeou is bringing Taiwan back to the era of white terror when Chiang KS was in power, take a deep breath --- in the Chiang KS era, the campus MIs didn't go to the elementary schools to bother kids. Only senior high schools and colleges were subjected to the monitor of MIs.

Thus, Ma Ying-jeou didn't stop at turning the policy of reducing campus MIs around. He took a step further to make sure that the military control on Taiwanese students starts from the elementary level.

7 comments:

Michael Turton [6/6/10 18:46] said...

Ugh! Will definitely link to this....

Carlos [7/6/10 02:24] said...

So what do the pan-blues say about this? The "national defense" claim is strange, because President Ma seems to be moving away from self-defense against China.

Anonymous [7/6/10 02:55] said...

This is 'moving away from self-defense against China' to "national defense" of China, what else?

Taiwan Echo [7/6/10 23:49] said...

@ Carlos,

I don't have time to check what pan-blues say. This news doesn't ring bell much when there are those other issues like gun fight in Taichung, ECFA, 5-city election, etc.

Below is a paragraph I wrote with the post but decided to comment out to shorten the article:

Knowing the notorious history of KMT, and the fact that Ma government is scheduling to shift Taiwan's military service system from the current obligatory system to a mercenary one (so in the future Taiwan can hire Chinese mercenary to defend herself if China does invade?), it is highly suspicious as why Ma government wants to put MIs in the schools in the name of teaching kids about national defense.

les [8/6/10 00:54] said...

Of course the MI's have to move into elementary schools. A chat with any Taiwanese of an age to remember the indoctrination they got in high school will tell you how ineffectual that was. I'm sure Ma's thinking is that the kids had too much capacity for reason or too much tendency to question authority at that age, and the only way to efficiently indoctrinate them is to start earlier. Replace 'indoctrinate' with 'intimidate' and it still makes sense.

Jade [8/6/10 19:28] said...

The best way to teach elementary schoolers national defense is to make sure they understand Taiwanese need to defend their democracy against China, including those who are still loyal to PRC but live in Taiwan. That would include Ma himself.

Anonymous [6/5/11 07:44] said...

For relevance to today, there are other choices as well such as Veblen's The Theory of Business Enterprise (1904), though I have a hard time imagining anything of his as a musical, play, etc. Here's a small part of chapter 10:


The direct cultural value of a warlike business policy is unequivocal. It makes for a conservative animus on the part of the populace. During war time, ... under martial law, civil rights are in abeyance; and the more warfare and armament the more abeyance.

Military training is a training in ceremonial precedence, arbitrary command, and unquestioning obedience. A military organization is essentially a servile organization. Insubordination is the deadly sin. The more consistent and the more comprehensive this military training, the more effectually will the members of the community be trained into habits of subordination and away from that growing propensity to make light of personal authority that is the chief infirmity of democracy. This applies first and most decidedly, of course, to the soldiery, but it applies only in a less degree to the rest of the population. They learn to think in warlike terms of rank, authority, and subordination, and so grow progressively more patient of encroachments upon their civil rights. ...