The limits of belief
I have served as a registered nurse for 29 years. In 2003, I was invited to help take care of the former first lady, Mrs Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍).
I soon learned that then-president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) was trying very hard to give up his practice of getting up twice in the night to take his wife to the restroom. It was the third year of his presidency.
I often heard from contacts in the president’s family that he was content with small servings of food and living in a small house. He often stayed in his study for up to two hours after bedtime, paying particular attention to news of vulnerable persons and volunteer issues.
As the red-shirt protests clogged Taipei, Mrs Wu’s condition deteriorated to semi-comatose, and she was unable to recognize her son when he rushed back from the US. The president was terribly sorrowful that night and cried out, asking how his lifelong efforts could have resulted in each of his family members suffering these kinds of hardships.
At the time, a group of Christians went to National Taiwan University Hospital and asked the president to kneel down and pray together for Mrs Wu. Every day he prayed from Micah 6:8: “He has showed you. O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
He often cried to the Lord to ask for strength to forgive others and the wisdom to lead Taiwan. He said that if Jesus saved his wife and helped relieve the red-shirt crisis, he would be honored by God’s pardon.
In the last two years, Mrs Wu has grown weaker than ever. Recently, she has been losing consciousness because of low blood pressure. But she has frequently urged her husband and her family to work as volunteers to help vulnerable persons, and has asked me to collect relevant information for them. Unfortunately, the president’s family has been trapped by incredible legal challenges since May.
Why is it so difficult for me to believe that the president’s family would commit such a crime as corruption?
‘Pan-pan’ and ‘Tu-tu’
It is time to revisit the issue of China’s gift of Trojan pandas to Taiwan given their imminent arrival in Taipei.
For years, the Democratic Progressive Party resisted prodding by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to accept the pandas because doing so could compromise Taiwan’s sovereignty.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and his KMT government have no such concerns, possibly because they are not concerned about the sovereignty of Taiwan.
Many people view the pandas simply as cute animals to see in a zoo, and are unconcerned about the controversy. This is understandable. If you have ever seen a panda — which I have on several occasions in the US — it is a little like watching grass grow because most of the time, it hides or sleeps.
Waiting in line for hours to see grass grow is a colossal waste of time.
China, as usual, has attached intolerable conditions to the pandas that former KMT chairman Lien Chan (連戰) arranged for Taiwan to receive. One is that they not be renamed; the names selected by the “Chinese compatriots” are Tuan-tuan and Yuan-yuan, which together mean “unification.”
For this reason, and whether the Taipei Zoo agrees or not, we should call these pandas by their true names, that is, the names that reflect the nature of the agreement that will bring them to Taiwan.