Yang Shu-chun: An Authentic Beauty
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
November 25, 2010
Executive Summary: Yang Shu-chun is not merely an impressive taekwondo martial artist. She is also physically attractive, pure of mind, and kind of heart. She is "adroit with both the sword and the pen." She is beautiful inside and out. She has earned our admiration and deserves our respect. In speaking out, Yang Shu-chun has personified the values of civilization and humanity. Election season has coincided with the Asian Games. One might say that a gross injustice has become the occasion for a valuable moral lesson.
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Yang Shu-chun is not merely an impressive taekwondo martial artist. She is also physically attractive, pure of mind, and kind of heart. She is "skilled with both the sword and the pen." She is beautiful inside and out. She has earned our admiration and deserves our respect.
The entire nation is outraged at the injustice she suffered. Politicians and the media have demagogued the issue. Public anger is boiling over. She has become the object of public idolatry. Yet she remains clear-headed. Her reflections on the incident on the evening of her return were both touching and thought-provoking.
The incident provoked conflict between the ROC and the ROK. But Yang Shu-chun said "We must deal with the matter rationally. This is truly not the fault of the Korean people." The incident provoked frictions between Taiwan and the Mainland, and touched upon issues of national dignity. But Yang Shu-chun said "Politics is politics, sports is sports." The incident provoked electoral and partisan disputes between Blue and Green political parties. But Yang Shu-chun said "Do not demagogue the issue." The incident drew attention away from fellow Asian Games competitors. But Yang Shu-chun said "Other team members also took gold medals. My teammates performed brilliantly. They should be applauded."
Yang Shu-chun was confronted with fellow citizens caught up in the excitement. But she kept her head. She demands justice for herself and for her nation, of course. But she also knows that some people have become caught up in their emotions. They may express solidarity with her, but they lack a genuine understanding of what happened. She refused to take advantage of their human weaknesses to boost her own celebrity. Instead, she cited first-hand information and judgments from the athletes themselves, and helped people rise above hatred, misunderstanding, and confusion.
When Yang Shu-chun was victimized by an unjust referee, she sat on the floor and wept, eliciting public sympathy. When Yang Shu-chun returned home, she urged fellow citizens to remain clear-headed, eliciting public respect. She was, after all, concerned about the big picture. She had no desire to politicize the issue. She was concerned about human foibles. She did not want people to become victims of their own emotions. She considered this more important than the humiliation she suffered.
The black socks incident touched off a firestorm of controversy. It revealed public concern for justice and public feelings of patriotism. This is natural and normal. It also attracted international attention, bringing with it positive benefits. Therefore this sudden outpouring of public emotion should not be reprimanded, but cherished. But the primary goal remains the pursuit of truth and justice. Therefore, we must allow our emotions to settle. Only then can truth and justice emerge. Yang Shu-chun's remarks will contribute mightily to this pursuit of truth and justice.
Consider how the incident unfolded. From Day One, some alleged conspiracy. They screamed, "[Mainland] China and South Korea conspired to to do away with Yang Shu-chun!" They then blew the incident up totally out of proportion, alleging insults to our national sovereignty and our national dignity. Needless to say, it immediately became a Blue vs. Green political football. Today, Yang Shu-chun has told everyone she was indeed the victim of an unjust decision, but one unrelated to politics. She urged people "not to demagogue the issue," and "not to hurt innocent people."
Yang Shu-chun has earned our respect. She insists on the pursuit of truth and justice. But she is unwilling to pursue truth and justice by distorting the facts. Yang Shu-chun has unfortunately lost her chance to win a gold medal. But her commentary on the incident has enlightened the public on Taiwan. This is even more valuable and important than a gold medal.
Society on Taiwan suffers from cognitive dysfunction, especially during election season. The black socks incident has been distorted as a result of the elections. Yang Shu-chun pointed this out. Consider the water spinach incident, the Jiang Ping incident, the fictitious "30,000 NT subsidies for Mainland students" incident, and the "official persecution of Chen Chih-chung" incident. Which of these incidents was not an aberration? Which of them did not involve cognitive dysfunction? Which of them was not an ersatz "pursuit of truth?" Which one of them did not involve fabricating lies while trumpeting truth and justice?
On the 23rd this newspaper published an article in our editorial column "Black and White Chronicles." We said society on Taiwan is plagued by a number of blind spots. These include the exaggeration of Machiavellian trickery and the neglect of fundamental truths, the exaggeration of rumors and the neglect of facts, the exaggeration of defeats and the neglect of achievements, the exaggeration of the negative and the neglect of the positive, the exaggeration of the exceptional and the neglect of the normal, the exaggeration of pathos and the neglect of healing, the exaggeration of divisions and the neglect of integration. This determination to twist the truth has left our society spinning its wheels, wallowing in self-pity, incapable of bettering itself.
Yang Shu-chun has deftly pointed out these blind spots, these cognitive and emotional weaknesses. We deeply regret the fact that Yang Shu-chun lost her chance to win the gold medal. But we cherish the fact that Yang Shu-chun has used this opportunity to enlighten the public on Taiwan.
In speaking out, Yang Shu-chun has personified the values of civilization and humanity. Election season has coincided with the Asian Games. One might say that a gross injustice has become the occasion for a valuable moral lesson.