Kinmen Tops County/City Sense of Pride List
Are you proud of the county or city you are living in? In 2009, among the 25 counties and cities in Taiwan, Kinmen is the hometown to be most proud of. The county/city sense of pride reflects the residents' identification with the local culture as well as their recognition of the administration of the magistrate or mayor. According to a survey conducted by Global Views Monthly, the county/city sense of pride of the people in Kinmen and Mazu had increased drastically(1) as a result of the Mini-Three Link. Kinmen County soared(2) from the 11th place last year to become No.1 in 2009, to the surprise of every one.
The survey by Global Views was conducted, for the first time, with open-ended questions to find out what people thought of the overall administration in their county/city in the past three and a half years. During the eight years under Magistrate Li Zhufeng's leadership, Kinmen's financial revenue growth in 2008 was the largest among the 23 counties and cities (not including the Taipei and Kaohsiung), while its annual expenditure increase ranked No.3. The social welfare in Kinmen was the best in the country, making it a genuine(3) "welfare county."
The factors that made Magistrate Li the "Magistrate/mayor with the most satisfactory administration" included the annual business income of more than 10 billions of the Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc.(KKL), promotion of the Mini-Three Link, and conservation of traditional buildings and historical monuments. The government expanded the applicable scope of the Mini-Three Link on Jun. 19 last year and lifted the restriction on tourist visits by people from the Chinese Mainland in January this year. As a consequence, the number of people traveling through Kinmen has grown to an average around 3,500 per day, and there are 32 Mini-Three Link liners each day.
The survey by Global Views Monthly rated satisfaction with the administration of the magistrate/mayor by giving a number of stars-five stars maximum, then four stars, and so on. Satisfaction with Magistrate Li's administration went up from two stars in his last term to three stars this year, indicating the residents' recognition of the improvements under his administration over the years. The "Three Most Satisfactory Policies" respectively were Mini-Three Link and transportation construction at 4.7%, social welfare at 3.3%, and issuing of Commemorative Vouchers at 3.0%.
Magistrate Li was given three stars this year. The increase of Chinese tourists, growth of international travelers, and business opportunities due to Kinmen's proximity(4) to mainland China and the Mini-Three Link, all these elements contributed to Magistrate Li's improved rating. Despite that the central government failed to upgrade the harbor and airport facilities for Mini-Three Link and Kinmen's development was limited, Magistrate Li's administration still received affirmation(5) from the people in Kinmen.
In fact, the residents in Kinmen gave Magistrate Li three stars chiefly because of the social welfare policies during about eight years of his administration, which included the monthly NT$3,000 pension for senior citizens over 65 years of age, the NT$3,000 allowance for non-working mothers, free lunches for junior high, elementary school and kindergarten students, exemption of tuitions, maternity(6) subsidies, free bus rides, and even free cervical(7) cancer vaccination(8) for senior and vocational high school girls.
Special mention should be made of those new welfare policies initiated this year. They include minor benefits like free fresh milk for junior high and elementary school and kindergarten students. And major funding items include NT$10,000 tuition subsidy and NT$4,000 transportation vouchers for high school and university students. Even students from Taiwan studying in Kinmen were included, in the hope of attracting more of them. All of these policies are innovations in Taiwan's education system.
There is also the allocation(9) of kaoliang liquor to Kinmen residents at the cost price for the three major traditional festivals-Chinese New Year, Duanwu and Mid-Autumn, and this policy has been practiced for years. All qualified residents over the age of twenty are eligible(10) to purchase a specific kaoliang liquor set which they can easily resell and make a profit of NT$2,000 to NT$3,000, like a bonus for each of the said festivals from the county government. Without doubt, such benefits can only make Kinmen's residents feel taken care of and happy.
The year of 2009 happens to be the 60th anniversary of the Guningtou Battle. Encouraged by the central government's issuance of the NT$3,600 consumption vouchers, Kinmen County Government also handed out the NT$3,600 KKL Commemorative Vouchers for each of the major traditional festivals. The vouchers worthy of NT$10,800 in total can be exchanged for Kinmen kaoliang. The people were overjoyed. To the envy of the rest of the people in the Taiwan, Kinmen County Government, amidst the global economic downturn, not only did not reduce the benefits for the residents but also raise them instead. The residents knew well that they should thank the "Golden Goose"-the county-government-owned Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc-for the benefits. It grossed over NT$12 billion last year and "donated" NT$4.7 billion to the county government, and the county residents became the biggest beneficiary.
The survey by Global Views was conducted on 13,268 people over 20 years old in the 25 counties and cities between the middle of March and the middle of April. About 600 people were surveyed in most counties and cities. Under 95% confidence level, the sampling error percentage was ±4%.
■4. proximity-(n)鄰近，接近。通常用法是one's ～ to ～。
■10. eligible-(adj)法律上有資格的。通常用法是be ～ to＋V；或be ～ for＋N。資料來源：金門縣政府