The high cost of a dental education—hundreds of thousands of dollars—is no secret. It’s one of the reasons why so many newly minted dentists are joining DSOs that offer guaranteed income, financial security, and even tuition reimbursement.
Here in the U.S., those fortunate enough to have parents who can foot the bill typically aren’t expected to reimburse their tuition fees later.
In Taiwan, things are different. Filial piety to parents plays a more important role. The concept is even enshrined in a law that prohibits children from abandoning their parents in old age. Taiwanese parents who funded a child’s education can expect financial support from that child later in life.
The New York Times recently highlighted a case decided by the Taiwanese Supreme Court that took this concept to the extreme. The case was brought by a mother who had her son sign a contract granting her 60% of his net profits as a practicing dentist (up to the amount of $1.7 million) in exchange for putting him through dental school.
According to the mother, the son later reneged on their contract after paying only $1 million. The son argued that he had signed the contract when he was only 20, and that he had already given enough.
The Taiwanese Supreme Court sided with the mother, ordering her son to pay an additional $967,000 as an “upbringing fee.” In response to the story, which caught the public’s attention in Taiwan, a Facebook commenter wrote that “unfilial people are beneath pigs and dogs.”
What do you think about the verdict? No matter where you stand, what’s certain is that this dentist and his mother have a very unique relationship.