Thu, Jan 25, 2001 - Page 1 News List

Thousands line up to get red envelopes from Chen

NEW YEAR TREAT The president handed out a total of NT$2 million at his hometown to wish people prosperity and good fortune during the year to come

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

A mother and her child are among the lucky ones to receive red envelopes from President Chen Shui-bian in his hometown yesterday. Despite having lined up overnight, some people still went away empty-handed.

PHOTO: CHANG CHUNG-I, TAIPEI TIMES

Celebrating the first day of the Chinese New Year, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday personally handed out 15,000 "lucky" red envelopes, each containing two crisp NT$100 bills, to thousands of people who came from around the country, lining up the whole night in front of Chen's old house in his hometown in Tainan County.

Thousands of neighbors and visitors yesterday descended on Hsichuan village (西庄村), Kuantien township (官田鄉) in southern Taiwan, where the president was born.

A line extended for over 6km, as people waited to receive the red envelopes from Chen's own hands.

Many people drove down from northern Taiwan, hoping that the president's envelopes would bring them good fortune in the new year. A young mother even flew in from the offshore island of Kinmen with her children to line up for the red envelopes.

Chen Hsin-yu (陳欣禹), a 16-year-old native of the president's hometown, received the first red envelope after lining up for more than 21 hours.

"I have been standing here since Tuesday noon waiting for the first red envelope," the young man said, "and I believe that it will bring me good luck for the whole Year of the Snake." Chen received the red envelope, which had printed on the front "Chen Shui-bian and Wu Shu-chen (吳淑珍) wish you good fortune for the new year."

A man surnamed Tu, who lives in Taipei County, also joined the line on Tuesday afternoon with his family, and got five envelopes.

"We will keep these envelopes and the money as a memento," Tu said during an interview with a TV reporter.

Lunar Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday in the Chinese-speaking world.

Parents have to give their children red envelopes with money inside, which are to reward children for their good behavior over the past year.

Chen returned home by helicopter at around 9:25am and then stood for over three hours passing out envelopes to everyone who came.

All 15,000 red envelopes were distributed by around 1:00pm, causing some people to return home empty-handed.

In total, the president gave away NT$2 million.

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