|Q. How do you, or does your society, define young adult? ie. by age, marital status, or job status, etc.|
A. I would define young adults in the age range of 20 to 40 regardless their marital status and job status. This period is crucial for any person to develop their identity and status in the society.
Q. In South Korea, younger people (young adult or millennials) are frustrated by high cost of education, unaffordable rent, and unemployment. In Taiwan, what is the most discouraging social reality for young people?
A. In Taiwan, the growth of salary hasn't been able to catch up with the rate of inflation, which eventually slows down the economical growth. Our unemployment rate has been improving, but it is still considered higher among other countries in Asia. High real estate price and high living cost deter the younger generation to have their own family, result in low birth rate and aging population. Long working hours and unimproving working environment doesn't help either. This is seriously affecting the competitiveness of Taiwan in the global society. Regarding these chains of issues, New Power Party hopes to tackle it by raising minimum wage, improve working environment, and better distribution in wealth.
Q. Do you think Taiwanese government has adequate policies to aid young people? Are those policies profoundly improving their lives? Could you tell us an example of a (housing, education, or employment) policy that specifically aims to improve lives of young people in Taiwan and explain why the policy has been successful?
A. For question 3 and 4
Our government do have some policies designed particularly for young people, like the Youth Business Loans, Young Homebuyers Preferential Loans, and providing subsidy to youth in their training for employment. But I have to say that the outputs of these policies are not as expected. For example, it's difficult for most young people to be qualified to get the subsidy, or the extremely high housing prices paralyze the effect of lower loan interests.
Q. Do political parties in Taiwan have strategies or special programs in order to draw millennials into political career?
A. New Power Party's main direction and strategic goal of policy making is that young people should have the rights, access, and resources to determine their own future. At the same time, we strongly urge that younger generations should not be responsible to pay for the debts left by older generations. Therefore, pension policy reforms, tax justice, public childcare services, and home rental services are all the important guiding principles of policy objectives for our party.
After years of watching political battles between the two big parties, Taiwanese people, especially the youths, are tired of the feeling of frustration and helplessness. It's time to act, change, and seek for a brighter and fresher future. New Power Party, bearing these expectations, offers young people a clear, promising, and vigorous place to dedicate themselves in. Thus, not only the average age of our candidates are younger, but the percentage of youths in all staff members is also higher than those in other parties. Most importantly, if one cares about public affairs and is determined to participate in politics to make our country a better one, he or she is more than welcome to join us regardless of their age.
For other parties, as far as we know, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), for example, has a program encouraging youths to become candidates of the Chief of their village or Council Representatives. While youth politicians in Kuomintang (KMT), on the other hand, are mostly hereditary or designated successors, which seems to stuck the opportunity for other young aspirants out of the cycle to develop in the party.
Q. In Taiwan, what kind of efforts are there to properly represent the voice of young Taiwanese and to materialize their needs?
A. Internet and social medias are the main channel for the voice of young Taiwanese. There are more and more independent online news site, similar to Danbi news blooming in Taiwan. Other than these millennial ways of medias, there are also traditional magazines that are founded by younger generation to raise awareness on social issues and take further actions towards the issue. The younger generations have creative ways and undeniable power to approach the problems. Most importantly, the energy they generate do affect people around them slowly.
Many young Taiwanese starts their political participation through online forum. As I mentioned in the previous question, internet and social medias are great ways for everyone to voice their opinions, concerns, and comments. In Taiwan, Non-Government Organization is thriving almost in the all areas. Some may choose to be more active and play parts in NGOs as volunteer or even employee.
On the other hand, social movements can be seen as another entry door for youngs to participate in politics. For example, in 2013, there were anti-media monopoly movement, death of Hung Chung-chiu; in 2014, the Sunflower movement, Appendectomy Project. These are successful social movements that grabs attention from general public, make the issue present on the main stream media. Without a doubt, these movements involves supports from all generation, but the presence of younger generation definitely made a huge difference. Not to mention the booming of citizen journalist and independent journalist, they do not answer to any major new media but themselves. Their presence can be seen at almost every social movements, where they provide first hand live stream without any editing and directly upload to internet for others to follow. You probably guess it by now, these journalists are also composed of young Taiwanese.
Locally, we have places like local coworking place, independent farms, independent bookstores, cafe and restaurants, which hold discussion forum or talks, covering all sorts of issues and topics regularly. All of the methods above are trying to make politics closer to everyday life. Once people find the that personal connection between the issue and their life, participation will follow. I believe it is very important to have younger generation to participate in politics, because we can only fulfill our ideology and make necessary changes within the government system this way.
Q. Any last words for (politically indifferent and sometimes pessimistic) millennials in South Korea?
A. Many young people in Taiwan used to feel alienated and thought it had nothing to do with them when it came to politics. After years of ignoring political decisions that directly affected people's future, we've learned our lessons. I sincerely hope South Korean youths don't have to spend those years realizing this fact. Politics is not a power game holded by a few people, it is the making of public decisions that everyone in a democratic country should participate in.