Lighting Candles for the Next Generation

Vice President Siew, Presidents of the Five Yuan, Senior and National Policy Advisors, Senior Officials, Distinguished Guests, My Fellow Citizens, and Overseas Compatriots:

Happy New Year, Everyone!


Today is the first day of the 101st year of the Republic of China. A couple of hours ago, the first light of dawn in the ROC’s second century broke over the peak of Mt. Jade. During the past few days, at the juncture of these two centuries, a clear vision has taken shape in my mind. It is as if I were standing atop a historic watershed. On one side is a slope representing the past century. On the other side is a slope representing the next century. The course of past events is clearly in view, while the basic logic of what lies ahead can be seen in broad outline.



Looking back at what has gone before, I see our forebears struggling mightily to bring about today’s Republic of China. Looking ahead, I can imagine ROC citizens 100 years from now scrutinizing what we in this era created for the country, what we introduced, what we solved, and what we bequeathed to it.



Everything we do today decides what will happen in the future.



As president of the Republic of China, I am keenly aware of how heavy a responsibility this is. Will the ROC citizens a century from now think of this generation the same way we think of Lin Hsien-tang, Chiang Wei-shui, Hu Shih, Sun Yun-suan, and Li Kwoh-ting. At the mention of our names, will they think to themselves, “How lucky that Taiwan had you!”?



So, how do we want the next generation to remember us?


在此,我想引用严长寿先生写的《教育应该不一样》书中的一段话:「教育不是装满一壶水,而是点亮每个孩子心中的蜡烛,让他发光、发亮」;领导一个国家亦 复如此。一个民主国家总统的挑战,不只是如何去实现自己的理想,更是如何能丰富人民的选项,如何点燃下个世代人民心中的蜡烛,让他们发光、发亮。

In his book Education Should be Different, Stanley Yen wrote something that is very much worth quoting: “Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire in each child’s mind, so that it shines its light.” The same is true of leading a country. The challenge for the president of a democratic country is not only to realize his own ideals, but also to enrich the options of the public, and to light candles in the minds of the next generation, so that they shine their light.



A century ago when the Republic of China had just been founded, the New Culture Movement championed by Hu Shih brought the force of reason to bear upon the direction of national development. Since then, freedom, democracy, science, and tolerance have comprised the guiding spirit of the past one hundred years.


日据时期,林献堂曾经向梁启超请教日本统治下台湾反抗运动的方向。后来林献堂依循梁启超的建议,以非武力方式,提倡「台湾议会设置请愿运动」,历时14 年不辍,1921年并与蒋渭水等先贤成立「台湾文化协会」,以出版报刊、启蒙思想、教育民众、破除迷信等,推动进步观念。他们要求民主议会的愿望,延续至 台湾光复以后,成为台湾民主运动的源头。

During the Japanese colonial period, Lin Hsien-tang consulted with Liang Chi-chao about what direction the Taiwan resistance movement against Japanese colonial rule should take. Lin subsequently followed the advice he received from Liang, and used the non-violent approach of launching the Petition Movement for the Establishment of a Taiwanese Representative Assembly, which was sustained for 14 continuous years.


In 1921, Lin and Chiang Wei-shui founded the Taiwan Culture Association to promote progressive ideas by publishing newspapers and magazines, promoting enlightened thought, educating the public, and dispelling superstition. Even after the Petition Movement concluded, the desire for a democratic representative assembly remained alive, and became the source and inspiration of the democracy movement after Taiwan was recovered from Japan.


在上世纪五○年代,李万居、吴三连、郭雨新等人率先投入地方选举,雷震因倡议台湾成立反对党而 入狱10年。他们当时喊出「国会改革」、「解除戒严」、「解除报禁」、「确保言论、出版、集会结社的真正自由」等政见,他们的理想在九○年代终于实现。

During the 1950s, figures like Lee Wan-chu, Wu San-lien, and Kuo Yu-hsin led the way by running for local elective office. Lei Chen was imprisoned for 10 years after advocating that Taiwan should have opposition parties. During that period, they called for parliamentary reform; rescinding martial law; lifting the ban on establishing newspapers and magazines; as well as true freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly and association. Their ideals finally became reality in the 1990s.


六 ○年代,殷海光、柏杨即使遭到软禁或身陷囹圄,依旧笔耕不辍。我们也不会忘记不畏权势、敢说真话的陶百川,毕生为人权、法治呼号。所谓「大病文人医」,他 们身为文化人,对社会国家做出了如此积极的贡献。

In the 1960s, Yin Hai-kuang and Bo Yang never stopped writing even while imprisoned or kept under house arrest. And we will never forget Tao Pai-chuan, who spoke truth to power and spent his whole life calling courageously for human rights and the rule of law. The saying goes, “Great ills are cured by literati,” and these men of letters proactively contributed to society and the nation.


在学术界,台大校长傅斯年挺身捍卫学术自由,身影从未离开大学校园。北一女中校长江学 珠推动全人教育,以校为家,人格风范至今让人怀念。新竹中学校长辛志平生活简朴,退休后,将自己一生积蓄全部捐做奖学金;他用身教告诉学生,什么才是人格 的榜样。每天比学生早到校的高雄中学校长王家骥,总是亲身实践着自强不息、实事求是与精益求精。杨日松博士一生没有离开过法医的工作,用科学寻找正义,直 到病重期间,还要大家别来看他,继续坚守岗位。

In the academic community, National Taiwan University President Fu Ssu-nien stood up in defense of academic freedom during a long and distinguished career dedicated entirely to the school. Taipei First Girls’ High School Principal Chiang Hsueh-chu, who stressed a well-rounded education for her pupils, similarly showed singular devotion to her school, and is well remembered for her exemplary character. National Hsinchu Senior High School Principal Hsin Chih-ping lived simply all his life and, upon retiring, donated his lifelong savings to scholarships. He served as an exemplar of character to his students by the way he lived. Kaohsiung Municipal Senior High School Principal Wang Chia-chi, who always arrived at school before any of the students, lived out his principles of unstinting self-reliance and improvement, being fact-driven and striving for excellence. Dr. Yang Ri-song dedicated his entire career to forensic medicine, using science to seek justice. Even late in life when he was seriously ill, he insisted on everyone staying at their post instead of coming to see him.


我们要点燃下个世代人民心中文明的蜡烛,就像百年来赖和、杨逵、钟理和、邓雨贤、吕泉 生、钱穆、林怀民、侯孝贤等人,燃起台湾人民心中美丽的文明之火。

We must light candles of civilization in the minds of the next generation, just as Lai Ho, Yang Kui, Chung Li-ho, Teng Yu-hsien, Lu Chuan-sheng, Chien Mu, Lin Hwai-min, and Hou Hsiao-hsien have brought the light of civilization to the minds of the people of Taiwan over the past century.


钟理和记录在这片土地上踏实生活的勇者;林怀民的《薪传》让噙着中美断交眼泪的人们,重 拾唐山过台湾的勇气。我们跟着侯孝贤的《悲情城市》,省思台湾的过去,拂去历史的尘埃,走出悲情的阴影。

Chung Li-ho’s writings chronicled the down-to-earth life of the brave people of this land. And at a time when the people of Taiwan were shell-shocked by the severing of diplomatic relations between the ROC and United States, the dance called Legacy, choreographed by Lin Hwai-min, inspired audiences to rediscover the courage of forebears of centuries past who risked their lives to leave mainland China and cross the sea to settle in Taiwan.


Hou Hsiao-hsien’s motion picture, A City of Sadness, spurred us to examine Taiwan’s past, look with fresh eyes upon our history, and emerge from the shadow of woe.



Li Shuang-tze’s song, Beautiful Island, is a virtual sound track for life on this land. When we were small, we sang the folk song Diu Diu Dong Ah bequeathed to Taiwan by Lu Chuan-sheng. As adults, our hearts have been warmed by such songs as If I Open the Door to My Heart (also by Lu Chuan-sheng) and Longing for the Spring Breeze (by Teng Yu-hsien). Now, our children grow up surrounded by innovative new music, in an atmosphere full of energy and creativity.


我们也要点燃下个世代人民心中慈悲的蜡烛,一如一百年来北台湾的圣 严法师、东台湾的证严法师、南台湾的星云法师、兰大弼传教士、单国玺枢机主教、急公好义的身障英雄罗重盛、捐出毕生积蓄的荣民伯伯胡寿宏,以及法鼓山、中 台禅寺、一贯道与天主教、基督教等教会团体在救灾与济贫的长期贡献。他们的点点滴滴,唤起了台湾人民心中不灭的慈悲心。

In addition to all that, compassion is yet another candle that we must light in the hearts of the next generation, in the same manner as Buddhist Master Sheng Yen from northern Taiwan, Buddhist Master Cheng Yen from eastern Taiwan, Buddhist Master Hsing Yun from southern Taiwan, the Christian missionary Dr. David Landsborough IV, and Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi. There is also Luo Chung-sheng, a physically disabled hero who has worked tirelessly to help the poor, and military veteran Hu Shou-hung, who donated his life savings to charity. We must also draw inspiration from the long-term contributions to disaster relief and aid for the poor made by Dharma Drum Mountain, Chung Tai Chan Monastery, I Kuan Tao, and various Christian churches in Taiwan. Each in their own way has aroused an outpouring of compassion from the people of Taiwan.


在民国一百年的 最后三年,中华民国跟全球都遭遇了上世纪大萧条以来最大的金融海啸。下一个百年的初始,我们也得在欧债危机的威胁下颠簸上路。

During the final three years of our nation’s first century, the ROC, along with the rest of the world, suffered the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the last century. And now we head shakily into a new century under the threat posed by the European debt crisis.


英九不愿粉饰太平,而选择诚 实面对人民,民国101年将是关键的一年,我们必须加倍努力。40年前,在台湾经济正值转型之际,孙运璇与李国鼎为我们打下了厚实的基础。今天,在金融风 暴后、世界经济重整之时,我们当然也要效法前贤,替下一代强化他们的实力。

Instead of downplaying it, I choose to be honest with the people: 2012 will be a difficult and critical year. We’ve got a lot of hard work ahead of us. Four decades ago, as Taiwan’s economy was undergoing transformation, Sun Yun-suan and Li Kwoh-ting built a solid foundation on behalf of our generation. Today, as the global economy reconfigures following the outbreak of financial crisis, we must take a page out of their playbook and lay a solid foundation for the next generation.


尽管外在环境严峻,但英九还是对台湾人民有信心,对我们应变 调整的能力有信心,对中华民国的经济实力与文化深度有信心。过去一百年,我们经历了漫长的战乱与动荡,在承平时期则努力追赶。在台湾人民的努力下,不论在科技研发、艺术文化、体育竞赛、设计创新、人道援助等各方面,台湾的表现都令全世界刮目相看。

Despite daunting challenges in the external environment, I have faith in the people of Taiwan and in our ability to adapt. I have faith in the strength of our economy and in the profound depth of our culture. During the past hundred years, we endured a long period of war and upheaval, and then worked hard to catch up in peaceful times. The industriousness of Taiwan’s people has earned admiration worldwide in such areas as research and development, art, culture, sports, design, innovation, and humanitarian assistance.


各位先生女士,我们的运动员、发明家、设计师、艺术家、科学 家、国际志工,甚至于大学、专科与高中、高职的学生,最近几年在国际舞台上,都拿出了亮丽的成绩。不知不觉中,我们已经从学习者蜕变成创新者;由风潮的跟 随者转变为文化的领航者;由爱心的输入者变成援助的输出者;从拼命追求效率,走向灵活运用创新。这些转变与成熟,值得国人欢喜骄傲,也是我们走向下个一百 年最好的凭借。

Over the recent years, our athletes, inventors, designers, artists, scientists, international volunteers, and even students from universities, high schools, and vocational colleges and schools have performed outstandingly on the world stage. Without realizing it, we have already transformed ourselves from learners to innovators; from trend followers to cultural trendsetters; from importers of compassion to exporters of it, and from all-out pursuers of efficiency, to adroit managers and innovators. The citizens of our country should feel pride and joy at the achievement of this transition and maturity. This is our best source of strength as we head into the ROC’s next century.



In the more than three years since I assumed office, national development and social justice have been foremost in my mind. All of my thoughts and aspirations have focused on the security and peace of this land, and the happiness and well-being of its people. Over these several years, my administration may have fallen short or moved too slowly in some areas.


为了点亮下世代人民心中的蜡烛,不够好的,我们要更加努力;不够快的,我们将加速脚步。过去一百年,先人为中 华民国奠定坚实的民主基础;展望未来,我们能不能为下个世代,奠定和平、繁荣、和谐、进步的基础呢?

Where we have fallen short, we intend to redouble our efforts, so as to light candles in the minds of the next generation. Where we have moved too slowly, we shall pick up the pace. During the past century, our forebears laid a solid foundation for democracy in the Republic of China. As we look to the future, can we build a foundation for the peace, prosperity, harmony, and progress of the next generation?



The people of Taiwan in the next century have a right to look forward to an era of peace rather than war, of prosperity rather than recession, of harmony rather than conflict, and of progress rather than regression. We should strive to fulfill their expectations, so that at the next ROC centenary, they can celebrate and look back with the same festive mood we have today.


站在百年与百年的分水岭上,我深深体认到一己的微小、 短暂,只愿更谦卑地面对下个一百年。在历史的长河里,每个人、每一代都是沧海一粟,都是感念的后辈,都是谦虚的学生。

Straddling this watershed between two centuries inspires a keen awareness of just how miniscule and transient I am, and makes me all the more humble as I face the next century. Each of us, and each generation, is but a drop of water in the long river of history. We are all grateful descendants and humble students.


我们要让一百年来中华民国自由、民 主、正义、文明、慈悲的烛火,持续在下一代心中发光、发亮。

We must make sure that the candles of freedom, democracy, righteousness, civilization, and compassion from the past century of the Republic of China will continue to burn brightly in the minds of the next generation.


我们有信心,将来,下一代提及亚洲崛起、中国大陆崛起的惊叹,也必然感受台湾崛起、中华民国崛 起的光荣。再一百年后,当那时的国人回想起我们,如果能说一句「曾经有你们,真好」,那该有多好!

We are confident that when the next generation speaks of the marvel of Asia’s and mainland China’s rise, it will certainly also feel pride in the rise of Taiwan and the rise of the ROC. A century from now when ROC citizens think back on us, it will be wonderful if they can say, “How lucky that Taiwan had you!”



At this first dawn of the ROC’s 101st year, let me join the people of Taiwan all across this land in a pledge to work together and light the candles for the ROC’s next generation.



I wish you all a happy New Year! Thank you.

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