“Stop fooling around, can’t we just have a normal meeting?” The press conference for the nation’s first set of congressional debate board game – Zhongshan South Road No.1 – Congress in Taiwan
發布時間 2022.09.12, AT 01:45 PM
“Stop fooling around, can’t we just have a normal meeting?”
The press conference for the nation’s first set of congressional debate board game – Zhongshan South Road No.1 – Congress in Taiwan
Democratic Literacy is the Key, it is Up to Us to Improve Parliamentary Affairs!
The nation’s highest court Legislative Yuan has recently become a farce as a result of its persistent conflict ranging from boycotts to physical protests, which has halted major policy deliberation and degraded its reputation. With the development of democracy, citizens will demand higher performance of congress and legislators, although an external evaluator such as the citizens themselves will have a different point of view to internal decision makers. However, the objective of the Legislative Yuan is in line with the people’s expectations in terms of delivering justice, and professionalism by using dialectic tactics in policy making along with effective communication and coordination, resulting in the country being able to continue to develop without idle. Therefore, Congress in Taiwan boardgame adapts this principle and legitimacy in order to acquire support from the public. CCW understood that the most fundamental issue in Taiwanese society is the lack of democratic literacy, in addition, CCW believes that only by continuing to deepen the public’s awareness and understanding of the Legislative Yuan operation as well as its democratic system, the congress can reach its full capacity and select the most optimal outcome, aimed to be efficient, not sufficient.
Taiwan's First Congressional Board Game, Legislators Call it Hyper-Real
“No.1 Zhongshan South Road – Congress in Taiwan” was officially launched by CCW becoming the first boardgame in Taiwan that uses the Legislative Yuan’s deliberation as its theme. In this game, players act as a legislator in different political parties and replicate the process of passing a bill, from congressional debate to achieving the party’s goal and obtaining social prestige. Not only could Congress in Taiwan allow the public to have a better understanding of the bill-making process, but also deepen their knowledge of each political party’s goal, congressional debate as well as the meaning behind each outcome by putting themselves in situations. In addition, the board game has received positive feedback in terms of its educational purposes, as Taiwanese legislators who played the game were impressed by how realistic the board game is and were planning to use it as a tool for internal education and training.
In 2020, Commissioner Qiu Xian-zhi, who has previously played the Majority Whip in the board game has mentioned that the game is “very interesting”, as he gets to rule over his colleagues during the game as well as experience different roles and responsibilities. Commissioner Quin pointed out, “It is important to allow our next generation to have more familiarity in how the congress operates. From the parliamentary system which began in the British Megan Carta to the democratic development in other countries, the blood, sweat and tears that people have shed are what crystallized the civilization we have today. Essentially, the congressional debate is influenced by the function of a court debate. In the Legislative Yuan, the lack of basic procedural regulations is the most disappointing, as there have been lots of issues regarding either the sound of the microphone or insufficient number of microphones, which goes to show that there’s still room for improvement in Taiwan’s congressional system.”
Three professionals cooperated to acquire educational purpose in the boardgame
With board games having its fun and relaxing purpose allowed CCW to indirectly deliver knowledge and awareness by using it as an educational tool. In recent years, there has been an increasing market demand for board games in Taiwan, with 80% of the segment being between the age of 20 to 39, and nearly 60% of people have played board games within the past six months. Therefore, in this digital communication dominant contemporary society, boardgame has proven its advantage in interpersonal communication and interactions. In addition, the idea of Zhongshan South Road No.1 – Congress in Taiwan boardgame is to make up for the lack of democratic education in terms of parliamentary proceedings and legislative procedures. Establishing the fundamental knowledge of the congressional system through the board game.
The Dean of School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Soochow University, Huan Xiu-duan explained that the board game is originally developed from the Congressional Assistant Workshop of Soochow University, Dean Huan mentioned she once design a lecture material like the boardgame Monopoly. After taking the position of the chairman in CCW, she realized the importance of understanding how congress operates and how to choose a good public representative, therefore, the essence of these was further developed into the board game. The design of this board game is very complicated, so we joined the team from the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology in Design, Dr Hou Huei-tse to adjust and trail back and forth many times hoping to cover every aspect of congressional debates. Additionally, the development of this board game has been a challenging and hard process.
Congress in Taiwan boardgame is developed by three professionals’ cooperation, including,
Soochow Congress Research Centre, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology Network Learning Research Centre Mini Educational Game Design Team, and Citizen Congress Watch. Under the teamwork of these three parties, the board game combines the fun element of a board game and the learning aspects in terms of political science. More importantly, the board game provides more flexibility in the citizenship curriculum, effectively delivering the core concept of congress knowledge and democratic literacy during the gameplay.
Congressional literacy education is under its urgency in an era of democracy
20 million people have registered to vote in Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election, within these voters, 3 million people are between the age of 20 to 29 and 600 thousand are between the age of 18 to 20, which means there are nearly 4 million young voters. Facing the trend of lowering the eligible age to vote threshold in other democratic countries, Taiwan’s ruling and opposition caucus has shown a positive attitude towards this, meaning young adults will gradually gain more significant and substantial influence in democratic societies. Therefore, the importance of democratic literacy education will become more apparent. Taking an 18-year-old young adult as an example, according to the statistics of the Taiwanese population, with the average life expectancy being 80 years old, on average a person will have 15 opportunities to participate in the presidential and congressional elections. CCW saw this as a sign and aim to invest in spreading parliamentary awareness and education through boardgames, allowing people to have a deeper understanding in terms of congress function and democracy, achieving efficiency and diversity in the era of democracy.
Commissioner Zhang Liao-wan believes that due to the media’s disinformation, many young people may receive inaccurate and unreliable information and this misled could lead to disappointment in politics.
The establishment of a country’s parliamentary culture is a very long journey. Democracy requires a certain time for citizens to accumulate their quantities. Therefore, by being creative, CCW designed a board game on the topic of congressional debate, which is a great way to deliver education while being fun. From monitoring congress to social education, not only did commissioner Zhang support CCW’s action in promoting social education but also plan to make every effort to promote civic education with educational units and associations in more regions.
Regarding the significant of establishing the foundation of democratic literacy, legislator Qiu Chen-yuan shared his experience in interacting with his daughter, he believes that in order to allow the next generation to become more familiar with the democratic politics and congress’ function, Congress in Taiwan boardgame can be an effective tool to deliver this purpose. Legislator Qiu also mentioned that “it is a shame that that how chaotic the political situation is in terms of boycotting and protesting in the congress recently.” He mentioned that Legislative Yuan’s performance hasn’t shown progression since he was little, as public affairs are unable and unwilling to be rational when communicating, instead it has always been stalled discussions, which both ruling and opposition parties are responsible, CCW also needs to take social responsibility in maintaining a stable operation. With the information becoming transparent and open, legislator Qiu gave a special thanks to CCW, as this is an important step in democratic education and development.
The president of CCW Zeng Jian-yuan pointed out that this set of board game is to push and promote the basics of democracy. Taiwanese citizens start learning the fundamental of democracy in terms of the basics of civil rights, rules of procedures and even elected autonomous mayors from when they were in elementary schools, however, many legislators in the Legislative Yuan have set a lot of bad examples which sends a negative message. President Zeng believes that democratic education should starts from an early age in terms of learning how to conduct congressional debate in a reasonable and legal manner. Legislators need to learn how to follow democratic rules, instead of getting aggressive and provocative over a disagreement. The relationship between the ruling and opposition parties should not be seen as enemy or blockage of progress, but a healthy competition based on its own values and goals. That is the spirit of democracy.
Combine with current courses timetable to promote, partner with campus to held Congress in Taiwan boardgame competition
As an NGO, CCW has to actively seek support from different suppliers due to its lack of internal resources. From general private fundraising to crowd fundraising platforms, CCW was able to generate efforts to successfully launched the “No. 1 Zhongshan South Road – Congress in Taiwan” board game. CCW aim to launch the “No. 1 Zhongshan South Road – Court Scene” in the near future as teaching material and implemented in colleges, universities, and high schools’ syllabus to promote democratic literacy. Furthermore, professional development for new teachers such as lesson plans and videos to hopefully expand the scope of teachers’ influence and enhance student’s awareness in regards to parliamentary issues as well as strengthen democratic participation. CCW had also plan to invite educational units to cooperate in planning lecture materials, hoping to seek resources from all over the world to support education in rural regions. Right now, CCW is planning and promoting board game contests with colleges and universities that are willing to cooperate. Through inter-course and inter-school deliberation and congressional debate, allow our next generation to obtain deeper understanding of Legislative Yuan operations.
The executive of CCW Zhang Hong-lin concluded that the British parliamentary system could turn hooligans into gentlemen, while Taiwanese congressional system being the opposite. The purpose of congressional debate in political world is to allow different parties to have opportunities to govern and acquire more seats. If political parties’ actions do not have the public’s support and understanding, it will only become idle, and they will be seen as unreasonable. From the perspective of achieving goals from premeditation and deliberation, most people believe the premise is to have the support from the majority rather than cater to the echo chamber, which is the problem of Taiwanese democracy. Although the Congress in Taiwan boardgame cannot be as meticulous as what actually occurs in the Legislative Yuan. However, it enables people to be more informed and be less fearful of politics, as when the public is afraid to become involved in politics, it will lower the job requirement due to lack of competition, which will result in many incompetent and unsuitable legislators entering the congress and make important decisions that affect the entire nation. It is important to deepen democracy in Taiwan, as voters’ degree of knowledge will result in the kind of politicians being selected. Therefore, civic education is crucial and needs to start today.