Sun, Feb 18, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Chen focuses on rice, recovery in New Year's speech

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) avoided making any provocative comments about Taiwan's status or cross-strait relations yesterday in his televised annual Lunar New Year's address.

Chen instead chose to focus on a theme of rice and recovery.

The address, with a total running time of about two minutes, began with footage of children playing tennis with a professional. The kids came from one of the smallest elementary schools in the country -- the Kuohsi Elementary School in Chushan (竹山), Nantou County.

This school was damaged but re-built after the 921 Earthquake.

In his voiceover, the president said that there are only 43 students at the school, but they won more than 40 tennis awards in the past year.

Next, customers at a restaurant were shown. Chen said that the footage was shot in Houbi Township (後壁), Tainan County. Customers were depicted eating an award-winning rice that is grown in Houbi.

"I talked to a rice farmer. I told him it is a difficult job, but he told me he saw it as a challenge, which amused me," Chen said. "I am also a person who insists on doing the right thing. I will share my feelings toward the soil with my fellow Taiwanese as well."

After the restaurant, footage of Hsuehshan Tunnel was shown.

"I sometimes thought that [the tunnel] took so much hard work to complete. But it has really made our lives easier and better, so it was worth it," Chen said.

After the tunnel, a montage of all the footage began to rotate. Chen urged the public to continue the hard work of the past year.

"The rice will definitely taste better if you sweat during the process of growing it. We did many things to make ourselves proud last year. I believe that we will be able to achieve a lot this year as well," Chen said.

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