In Chinese or in English, “coffin” is usually considered a taboo word which we avoid using it. However, in today’s newspaper, this word appeared in two military-related reports.
The first report was about two air force AT-3 jet trainers colliding in midair during a training mission yesterday in Kaohsiung resulting in the crash of one of the planes and the death of a senior pilot officer. The other plane and its pilot returned to the base safe. The AT-3s, locally made trainers originally designed to serve only 15 years, first went into service in 1984. Due to the difficulty to procure newer aircraft, Air Force overhauled all its AT-3s and extended the service length to 30 years. Opposition lawmakers questioned Premier Chiang at the Legislature Yuan, asking him if there is any plan for another extension of this “flying coffins”.
The other one was about the Navy. In a conference about Taiwan’s defense industry, experts of Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington D.C.-based think tank, questioned our ability to build our own submarines. One of the researchers said in plain language, “Let’s be straight, friends. There is nothing more wasteful in this world than building second-class submarines. These boats are virtually coffins for sailors.” Participants in this seminar agreed that underwater warfare was of vital importance to Taiwan but questioned the way Taiwan had handled this matter. They did not think it a good idea for us to invest huge amount of money to make big diesel-powered submarines. For defense purposes, midget subs or unmanned subs were suggested.
Whenever I read about our officials talking about buying arms, the first question pops out in my mind is “what for”. How long are we going to resist Communist China’s invasion, if any? Three days, three months, or three years? I say the same thing in this blog again and again. Do not have the illusion that Americans would come in for the rescue once China is to “liberate” us. The best weapon we can use to defend ourselves and maintain our way of living is through political dialogues with Beijing. We are all Chinese and there is no sense for brothers and sisters to fight against each other. Instead of buying weapons, the leader and legislators of Taiwan would be more sensible to come out some good ideas to make sure that people on this island could have safer cooking oil to use.