Education minister needs a vacation

The China Post news staff

Our outspoken Education Minister Tu Cheng-sheng has once again landed at the center of national controversy.

But this time, Minister Tu has not come under fire for making his usual controversial remarks or shameless propaganda for the government of President Chen Shui-bian.

Instead, images have been broadcast over and over on local television depicting the country’s education chief dozing away while he was supposed to be listening to a briefing on efforts to cope with the fierce winds and rain brought by Typhoon Krosa. Seated with other officials behind President Chen Shui-bian, who himself dozed off a few times during the briefing, Tu adjusted his position several times before eventually falling asleep.

Unlike the president, who clearly was fighting off the urge to fall asleep and eventually got himself a beverage to stay awake, Tu made no effort to restrain himself from dozing off during the briefing and even snored a few times while news cameras rolled.

With such a busy schedule, we can understand why a high-ranking government official such as Minister Tu might be so tired that at times he cannot stay awake. This is a common phenomenon for people of Tu’s age and we don’t see much point in berating Tu merely for being tired.

Indeed, there really was no good reason for Tu and other government officials to be present for the briefing in the first place, since this occupied the valuable time of police and fire officials who otherwise would be working to coordinate damage control and rescue efforts around the country.

What we cannot understand is why our education minister was apparently still so exhausted the next day when he attended a question-and-answer session at the Legislative Yuan.

While legislators took turns criticizing Tu for dozing off during the briefing, Tu once again started yawning loudly and adjusting his seat to make himself more comfortable in preparation for a nap.

Even worse was the fact that cameras caught Tu aggressively picking his nose during the session, jamming his finger in and out numerous times and repeatedly inspecting what he had scraped out of his orifice.

Amazingly, Tu then went ahead and snoozed again, right during the legislative session where he was being blasted for sleeping in the first place. Apparently the education minister is in dire need of a vacation because he can barely keep himself awake, even when lawmakers are shouting at him for purportedly being too sleepy.