A leg-breaking relationship

I found this story in today’s Taipei Times quite disturbing.

Dating can sometimes be heart-breaking, but a college girl at Chung Yuan Christian University recently learned it can be leg-breaking as well.

Hua Yu-tien (花有田), an instructor at the university, told reporters yesterday that the girl, a freshman in the Department of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language, broke her dormitory’s 11pm curfew to go on a date with a fellow student on Oct. 20.

The girl jumped out of a window on the second floor of the dormitory, 5m above the ground, but her date failed to catch her and she ended up breaking both legs, the instructor said.

The article might seem like one of those strange and weird things that happen, but it raises the question why are adults at a university locked up at night? For many Taiwanese living in on-campus dormitories, enforced curfews might seem normal and something they would not think to challenge. However, when I lived in a residential college at The University of Melbourne in Australia it was co-ed. Boys and girls even shared the same bathrooms!

They are students at a university, not inmates in a prison. If they want to leave their dormitory late at night to meet a friend, eat a snack or whatever, the university should have no power to limit their freedom. Universities are a place where students should be expanding their horizons and enjoying the freedom of life as a young adult. These curfews are an obvious hangover of the authoritarian era and have no place in modern day Taiwan.

12 thoughts on “A leg-breaking relationship

  1. “Boys and girls even shared the same bathrooms!” – Single-person bathrooms, one after the other, right?

  2. I read about that once in our Studentenwerk (cf. dict.leo) magazine: I an interview a Chinese student said that he likes that everyone has his own room and that you can come home when and stay up as long as you like.

  3. A, one further point: In Karlsruhe, the local chapter has just identified the “problem” that we might have more underage university students soon, due to secondary education shortened to 12 years and more flexible approaches for gifted students who might then finish school before their 18th birthday.

    How old are Taiwanese typically when starting tertiary education?

  4. Jens, I don’t know about David’s school, but I know that there are schools with unisex bathrooms…they exist. With this in mind, it is completely ridiculous, as you agree, that there are curfews in college.

    The Taiwanese at my university here in Pennsylvania say one of their favorite things is the freedom to do whatever, whenever they want…no curfews or anything!

  5. Jens, there may be some students who are 17 years old when they start university and this could create some issues. However, I still don’t think it justifies a curfew.

  6. I started college at 16/17 (16 for just one month, it hardly counts) and didn’t have a curfew. If you’re smart enough to get into college at 16 or 17, you’re smart enough to handle yourself without a curfew. The younger students are usually the more hardworking (and dorkier, let’s face it, I was one) students, as well. Not the party rats for whom the curfew was invented.

    It is ridiculous, I agree…though seeing as this is a Christian school there would be that conservatism on top of the usual “this is Asia” conservatism, so I understand the context.

    I had a co-ed dorm, as well, when I attended university in the USA. We didn’t share bathrooms though.

  7. Jens, I was just making the point that it isn’t a big deal. Young men and women can live together without any problems. Locking them up in a desperate effort to separate them is the problem.

  8. “the university should have no power to limit their freedom.”

    In fact, if a Studentenwerk or any other operator of a dormitory would try that here, they probably would get sued.

  9. “Jens, I was just making the point that it isn’t a big deal.” – well, you wrote “Boys and girls even shared the same bathrooms!” – well, that doesn’t go further than boys and girls in the same corridor, right?

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