Thanks for “Discriminating Against” Me
20th August, 2014
On the way from Taipei to Taichung together with my friends including a 78-year-old man, we went to purchase the train tickets at the station, “is there any offer for the elders?” The lady at the ticket office said, “yes, please provide your identity document to show that you’re Taiwanese.” My elder friend said, “I am not Taiwanese. We come from Hong Kong.”
Explained with an embarrassed smile on her face, the ticket officer said, “I am sorry, but we have changed our policy, so only locals are eligible for elderly discount.”
My elder friend and I looked at each other and smiled. Then he happily took out his wallet and purchased a full price ticket. We were being “discriminated against”, but we were happy to hear about this policy. None of us had benefited from the elderly offers in Taiwan, except for some of us getting the priority seats on trains. Therefore, we are not sure how long this policy which only offers discount to locals has been implemented and we do not know when the policy has changed. However, we think that this new policy makes sense.
Across the world, any jurisdiction should always have policies that give priorities to the local citizens, in other words: locals first – this is just and reasonable. The locals work, live, spend and pay tax locally, contributing to the society and weathers the ups and downs with it. The connections local share with the society is undebatable, locals are the only people who benefit from and suffer with the society directly. “Locals first” is not a policy that discriminates against non-locals, but not having policies that gives priorities to the locals is discriminating against the locals. Only in an anti-intellectual society like Hong Kong, an anti-intellectual government like the Hong Kong SAR Government would lead the way to bully the locals.
I often visit Taiwan, and sometimes stay in the country side for over a month. I don’t see myself a tourist per se, and I love Taiwan to bits. This is exactly why I am so very pleased to see her defending her local people. A nation with a democratic election system is no doubt more civilised than Hong Kong, and such nation is certainly more energetic than Hong Kong.
By Ko Wai-yin