Soldier Boy Tell Em

In case anyone is missing 2009 you can revisit it here.

….So I wanted to do a little cultural spotlight ! Since 1949  Taiwan has mandated a year of service from all young adult males. That typically looks like military service, including a boot camp. This set up is pretty controversial and is purportedly on the way out, but I wanted to tell you a little bit about the “soldier boys” I know.

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Both of my schools have “soldier boys” (I found out recently it’s actually more P.C. to call them “subs”). Da Keng has two, pictured above, and Feng Jia has one.  They are fulfilling their year of service by volunteering at the elementary schools I work at. It seems that their jobs generally are a sort of handy-man-computer-technician-renaissance helper.

Even though they aren’t in the “military” per se, they have pretty strict rules they have to abide by. They have to be at our school during the day, they can only leave for 2 hours at night, and are required to be back by 9 pm during the week. They live in small quarters on the school grounds and they basically eat, live, and sleep at the school for a year.

Apparently if you test well enough you are put in better schools or in more advantageous areas. I was talking to a sub from another school who explained that even if living in small quarters with a curfew is trying, there are some subs in remote areas, for example,  who have to walk a few miles to have access to a shower. I think that the subs at my schools probably have it pretty good comparatively?

I find this to be so interesting- can you imagine if the U.S. had this sort of compulsory service?

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