TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Taiwan's Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head has become something of a rock star in Taiwan for his exemplary handling of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, GQ Taiwan is featuring him on the cover of the latest issue of its magazine.
Health minister and CECC chief Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) has become a household name, as residents of Taiwan have been tuning in to watch his weekly (previously daily) 2 p.m. report on the latest number of coronavirus cases ever since the start of the pandemic. On Tuesday (Sept. 1), GQ Taiwan published an interview with Chen titled "Exclusive interview with the Minister of Steel Chen Shih-chung: It's really hard for me to admit defeat."
In the interview, Chen said that epidemic prevention is a long-term war of resistance, and he was reluctant to speak in absolute terms about the notion that having a female president always equates with success in battling outbreaks. Nevertheless, he said he does believe that women are more cautious and patient than men and that female leaders tend to have these characteristics.
After making a decision, women have a firm attitude and are willing to implement their plans thoroughly, said Chen. He lamented that in many countries, there is chaos, and leaders have failed to carry through with their plans.
Observing the situation in other countries, Chen said he has found that the key to controlling epidemics is to keep policies from wavering or becoming chaotic. Many approaches can, in fact, be successful; the question is whether policymakers are steadfast enough, said Chen.
Chen also mentioned his family life. He said he had sacrificed a lot of time with his family but has no regrets because his wife supports him. He said the reason their relationship has endured is that they recognize each other's needs and understand one another.
When it comes to contemporary gender relations, Chen said that the biggest difference between the older and younger generations is the way men treat women and how they get along with each other. Chen asserted that men should show more respect to women from the heart — not just care for them but "respect her as an individual with ideas."
Chen shared that his wife was a cellist and has had a great influence on him. His invitation letter to Taiwan's National Day celebration was addressed to the "Minister and Minister's Wife." In response, he told the relevant personnel to properly list her name in the future.
He has also observed from his two sons that the new generation of men behaves very differently toward women. The health minister said his eldest son is a doctor who loves his wife and children.
Chen said that his son is willing to spend a lot of time with his children. Although he thinks he did a pretty good job with his own, Chen says his son pays more attention to communicating with his kids than he did.
The CECC head told the magazine that his second son studied design. Chen said he feels his second son is more enthusiastic than he was and more willing to think about others, which Chen believes to be good qualities.
"In fact, I've always wanted to do more and participate in public affairs to influence Taiwan," said Chen. At the same time, he stressed that he is the kind of person who is willing to amend his own decisions.
"It's not that you have to push when you give an order. It's more flexible than the traditional method. When you find that you've made a mistake, you can immediately adjust it, and you might find that you can get better results," he explained.