Ask anyone from North America or Europe for a name or term that is, to them, sure to generate a lot of heated hate from as many different people from as many places on both continents, and most likely the answers would be “Hitler” or “Nazi”. It just so easy to feel hostile animosity for all things Nazi considering all the crap they’ve been proven doing back in World War II. The topic remains a very sore one for reminiscing over in Germany (Nazi heartland) and Austria (Hitler’s birthplace), and attempts to evoke the imagery or sounds of the Nazi ideal is sure to get a multitude outraged at the affront. But such reactions could only be expected in Europe and North America. Not much in Asia.
To prove that point, there was a recent incident in Taiwan involving the students of a high school performing a parade to celebrate the Holidays – by dressing up in mockup Nazi uniforms, clutching Nazi regalia, and belting out the Nazi salute of “Heil Hitler!” For them it really was just all fun and games. After all, the Nazis never menaced Asia at all; the demonized imagery of choice in these parts would be the Imperial Japanese Army that was Germany’s Axis ally on the Pacific Theater of Operations. But not Nazis, which is why when pictures and video of that surreal parade hit the internet, there was indeed a lot of outrage from international folks who would be angered by it.
TIME reports that Cheng Hsiao-Ming, principal of Kuangfu High School in Hsinchu City, claimed full responsibility for the parade held by his students. It all started, he explained, when he held a poll in the school for a chosen theme during their Holiday parade. Ultimately, Cheng’s proposal of an Arabic theme was overruled by his students who voted for the Nazi theme. He respected the turnout of the vote but warned his students of international backlash if images of their event went online.
He wasn’t kidding. Although the students were upfront in describing their Nazi march as pure cosplay, other Taiwanese educators were upset when word got out. In addition, the Israel Economic and Cultural Office, the country’s de facto diplomatic office in Taipei, described the parade as “deplorable and shocking”. Realizing that Asia not being directly affected by Nazi atrocities has led to this, the ISECO called on Taiwan’s education ministry to add more educational programs to explain the World War II Holocaust, its history and universal meaning.
Principal Cheng has resigned from his post, and the Kuangfu High School staff has invited speakers from ISECO to speak with their students, as well as screen films like “Schindler’s List” and “Life is Beautiful” to raise awareness of Nazi war crimes in the Holocaust.
Photo Credit to http://citizen.co.za/