Sun, Jan 09, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Former president celebrates 84th birthday in style

JOYOUS OCCASION Former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday started having a ball to mark his birthday today and he expressed the wish to work for Taiwan for 10 more years

By Debby Wu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) said yesterday at his birthday party that Taiwan should quietly and step by step make its way in-ternationally, and take the necessary turns where applicable. He also said that the people of Taiwan need not "care about the rights that often would come with the obligations" at this point in time.

"I did not go to Japan for fun this time, but I kept very quiet. As long as a firm bond between Japan and Taiwan can be established, I have achieved success," he said.

Lee further used the relief efforts after the South Asian tsunami as an example: He said that despite Taiwan's donating a lot of money for relief, the nation was still denied a place in the summit discussing future relief actions.

"We really do not have to cry out loud about this. We do not have to care about the rights that often would come with the obligations," Lee said.

"It is a reality that no one would assist Taiwan, and we don't have to be angry about it. It is our fate, and we have to make our own way, step by step," he said.

Lee, who turns 84 today (according to the lunar Calendar), was treated to an evening party hosted by his Hong Shee Villa (鴻禧山莊) neighbors. The event was also attended by his wife, daughter and son-in-law.

He was in high spirits and delivered a robust and lively birthday address.

Besides his neighbors, most TSU party officials and lawmakers, including former chairman Huang Chu-wen (黃主文), acting chairman Huang Tsuan-yuan (黃宗源) and incoming chairman Su Chin-chiang (蘇進強), were present to celebrate the occasion.

Several Ministry of Education officials, including Minister Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝), were also present at the party under invitation by TSU Legislator Cheng Cheng-lung (程政隆), as Cheng was a member of the legislature's Education Committee.

Lee made a birthday wish that he could continue to work hard for Taiwan's future for another 10 years.

He said half-jokingly that Hong Shee Villa was actually the TSU's main base, because his neighbors in the development had sponsored and helped the TSU substantially.

Lee also, unavoidably, touched upon the subject of domestic politics.

"Someone says that I am a changeable person, but I am not. I have long hated the KMT -- you just have to look at the magnitude of the degree in which they had controlled Taiwan," he said.

Lee said that when the KMT lost the election in 2000, he thought he should step down and let President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) start building a democratic society.

"What is wrong with establishing a democratic, localized society with a native Taiwan awareness? Also, when we are talking about the "New Taiwanese," what then about the Old Taiwanese?" Lee asked.

Lee said that "be it Mainlanders or Taiwanese, everyone should be New Taiwanese" and help establish a polity with Taiwan as its sovereignty.

Lee said that now, after Taiwan's democracy had been established, Taiwan should "take a turn" when working to develop its people's sovereign awareness, otherwise the nation might "bump into a wall."

Various other birthday celebrations were slated to continue today. Lee was scheduled to attend a book launch press conference as well as a concert, and would meet with veteran pro-independence activists for another birthday party.

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