Taipei mayor urges subordinates to stop using hierarchical terms

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday implored his subordinates to refrain from using outdated terminology to establish a difference in personal status between people.

Ko made the comment during the very first Taipei City Mayoral Camp, a leadership development camp held in the international meeting hall at Taipei City's Department of Civil Servant Development. The theme for the camp this year was "Creative Innovation: A New Taipei."

A master of ceremonies was hired to host the event, and following a brief opening, the host went on to "respectfully welcome" Ko onto the stage to deliver the opening speech.

The first thing the mayor said from behind the podium was that the Chinese phrase translated as "respectfully welcome" is an outdated term from the feudal era; he told the host "don't use it." Ko's response to the host's words reportedly made his subordinates burst into laughter.

Ko went on to say that the reason why he has decided to organise a leadership camp was to discuss and reflect on the current city government so as to further elevate Taipei.

The first step in doing so, Ko said, is the retirement of feudal-era lingos. Ko also said that on a related topic, he recalled attending a Kuomintang (KMT) meeting whereby individuals were referred to as "kung ," which is roughly the Chinese equivalent of the English titles "sir" or "lord."

Ko was quoted as saying that the terminology gave him goose bumps just hearing them.

Various Political Leaders also Advocate Removal of 'Feudal-era' Terminology

Various political leaders have also advocated the removal of outdated terminology that implies a hierarchy between individuals.

Reportedly, New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu had instructed his subordinates to lesson bureaucracy by refraining from using the terms "kung" and "tso," both commonly used in addressing people in a position of power.

During his administration, former Taichung Mayor Jason Hu also commented that there were too many bureaucratic terms in official documents, and that it should instead be clear and more appealing to citizens.

KMT Legislator Lee Ching-hua also said that the late President Chiang Ching-kuo had once written to Lee's father, the late Premier Lee Huan, to replace a written phrase from "respectfully awaits" to simply "awaits" in a meeting agenda.