LDP Students Take Action, Appealing to Government to Save the“Bomb Generation”

By Ko, Yun-Ching, LDP Cycle 3, senior, Dept. of Politics 

Each year’s Labor Day, many non-governmental organizations walk onto the streets to express dissatisfaction for the laboring environment and salary status. Among the crowd on Ketagalan Boulevard this year, there is a new group of youngsters, along with the other protesting crowd, standing under the glazing sun, beckoning the government to take actions about the labor problems which Taiwan faces. These young people taking actions to make a difference were students of the NTU Leadership Development Program.

The May Day Games: The Collapsing Generation’s Self-Saving Endeavor

Taiwan is facing the problem of unbelievably high housing prices in urban areas. With the heavy pressure of housing prices and the common phenomenon of low salary, the youngsters in Taiwan are now becoming what is described by Taiwan Labor Front as the “Bomb Generation.” They are witnessing the collapse of their generation, but being poor and angry, there is nothing else they can do. To avoid the disaster, Taiwan Labor Front together with many non-governmental organizations held a“Bomb Generation Sports Day” on Ketagalan Boulevard May 1st Labor Day. The Games included ironical but realistic contest categories like “Chasing-After-Salary Race”, ”Commodity Price High Jump”, etc,  seeking to arouse governmental and people’s attention on the threats that the generation is facing.

Led by Prof. Shiuh-Shen Chien, students of the LDP Advanced Leadership Seminar class, have been co-operating with Organizations of Urban Re-S, OURs since the beginning of this semester. They have also done research and discussion over the much emphasized”Residential Justice” issue. Therefore under the leadership of OURs members Mr. Shang-Shu Chiang and Ms. Yu-Ting Lin, the students personally participated this large event held by Taiwan Labor Front.

Residential Issue: The Unbearable Load for the Bomb Generation

OURs and the students of the program prepared a 5-minute-long drama, presenting the unjust housing price competition between the investors and the bomb generation. The feather-light barbell that the investors hold is a great contrast to the heavy one the bomb generation carries. The construction representatives cheering along and the president turning a blind eye on the unfair rules also cast a grieved atmosphere over the competition.

The purpose of this short drama was to show that skyrocketing housing prices, unjust tax system and empty housing market regulations were making residential injustice the only prize that the bomb generation would get for participating in this competition. Yun-Ching Ko, student of Department of Politics and LDP Cycle 4, said, “The residential issue is closely connected with other social systems. It is broadly and deeply related to other issues and it is not a problem that we can personally solve. It is an issue that the Taiwan government definitely must face and solve. After all, the enormous pressure is on the youth generation in the country as the unreasonable housing price is apparently unaffordable for them even without eating and drinking for a lifetime.

Initiating, Acting and Voicing for the Underprivileged

The students were not initially familiar with residential issues. A senior of the Economics Department, Po-Lung Wang said, “Actually none of us has had the experience of going out into the street.” Yet with the help of Prof. Chien and OURs, the students have gained a better understanding for Taiwan residential problems, including social housing, urban-renewal. Sze-Han Lee, junior from the Department of Electrical Engineering, said, “In fact, I never really cared about these issues in the past, but now I start to pay attention to relevant information. I even hope to see more people involved so that we can solve the problems together.”

Unlike other courses focusing on critical thinking, the Advanced Leadership Seminar emphasizes on taking social initiatives and direct actions. By working in conjunction with the important “Residential Justice” issue and non-profit organizations, the purpose was for students to walk out of the campus and broaden their horizons through the interactions with organizations and even start to stand up for notions that have long been ignored.

Prof. Chien emphasized that it is important not just to fight against the mainstream thinking; leaders should be able to stand in line with the underprivileged and know how to fight for them and the public opinion. These are precious skills that the students can only gain by walking into the streets, sweating under the sun and shouting out their passion.