Reading online 'degenerates' future generations

It’s young versus old again in Taiwan today, with the young generation born as digital natives and the older generation of academics and professors stuck in a mindset from the 1950s.

Witness scholar Chia-tung Lee, who recently scolded young Taiwanese for lacking logical thought and critical thinking skills, due, of course, to the internet.

Most writings on the internet are absent of logical thought, Lee recently told a public forum here, adding that if students continue to peruse such articles they may never learn to form adequate critical thinking skills. Score one for the old fogies.

But enter hip young author who writes under the pen name of Giddens Ko – real name: Jiu Ba-dao Jiu – who has published novels online and in print, and commands a massive college student following on Silicon Island.

In a recent blog post, Giddens said that young people today are merely eager to embrace the latest technological trend and should not be criticised by their elders for it.

He added that the older generation in Taiwan probably would never be able to understand young people who have the desire to ride the latest digital wave and that the old fogies here should be more open-minded, as it’s 2011 for God’s sake!

Giddens told Lee that he himself has had to adapt to the rapid pace of the online world, expressing himself on chat rooms, blogs,  Facebook and Plurk, Taiwan’s answer to Twitter. Ko said Lee was way behind the times and needed to give the new generation some respect.

At a recent conference at the Technology & Science Institute of Northern Taiwan, Lee criticised the limited literacy of Taiwan’s youth, and gave a scathing social commentary about what a lack of reading skills will do and how kids today can return to ”an age of literary appreciation.”

What’s Lee’s solution? He suggested reading court documents, judicial verdicts and rulings as a good way to learn proper arrangements in language and conclusions backed by fact and evidence.

He said he fears that constant exposure to simple language – and reading materials composed only of such – is degenerating the Taiwanese youth of today and will result in a ”dim-bulb future generation”.

Welcome to the generation gap, Taiwanese-style!