Last week President Ma Ying-jeon attended a ceremony at an air base in Ping-tung marking the beginning of the service of the Air Force’s first P-3C Orion anti-submarine warfare aircraft. This fleet of 12 P-3Cs cost Taiwan taxpayers NT$49 billion, about US$1.6 billion.
Two days ago the Navy held a launching ceremony for its new fuel and ammunition supply ship named “Pan-shi”, “the boulder” in English meaning “solid as a rock.” Constructed by local shipbuilder, this 20,000-ton combat support ship, due for formal service in 2014, would be the largest surface vessel the Navy owns.
Yes, it’s the Army’s turn now. Yesterday six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters arrived Kaohsiung Harbor. This was the first batch of a total of 30 Apache choppers, an arm deal of US$2 billion approved by former U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008.
It seems Taiwan is safer with all these new hardware joining our national defense forces.
At the same time, Professor Lee Jia-tung, a respected educator who has been devoting himself fully to helping underprivileged children of minority groups, pointed out that a number of elementary school children could not even recognize all the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet because their schools, all located in remote rural or mountainous regions, lacked full-time English teachers.
No one denies that it is a must to buy newer weapons to guard this island; however, President Ma and his cabinet should also pay more attention to work out viable means to arm the intellectual minds of our children.