Sun, Jan 04, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Internet love story draws attention to ex-legislative aide

DETERMINED When Hsu Chia-hua planned her trip to Iraq to meet a Kurdish social worker, her friends tried to talk her out of it, but Hsu was undeterred


A woman has become the envy of many lonely hearts after media reported that she flew halfway around the world to Iraq to meet a man she met on the Internet.

Hsu Chia-hua (許家華), 32, a former assistant to former Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), flew to Iraq to meet Zanst, a 28-year-old Kurd, in August, media reported, adding that Zanst, a social worker in the Kurdistan autonomous region, would come to Taiwan to marry Hsu in April.


Hsu returned to Taipei in October, but her adventure was not reported by media until Hsiao recently wrote about it on her blog.

Hundreds of readers left messages on Hsiao’s blog expressing admiration for Hsu.

Hsu and Zanst got to know each other through the Internet over a period of several months, chatting on Skype every day.

In August, when Hsu decided to go to Iraq, her friends tried to talk her out of it, warning that the trip was too long and expensive and that the man could be a fraud, but Hsu was undeterred.

“If it does not work out, at least I won’t have regrets,” media quoted Hsu as saying.


Hsu took US$3,000 with her and flew 11,779km, changing flights in Bangkok, Cairo, Damascus and Amman to fly to the Kurdistan region.

She was forced to wait in Damascus for 20 days for an entry permit from the regional government of Kurdistan.

Hsu said she stayed at Zanst’s home for 40 days and got along well with him and his parents. On the day of her departure, Zanst wept all the way to the airport, Hsu said.

“His tears got to me in my heart ... He told me he had never cried that hard before, not even when his brother was killed by [former Iraqi president] Saddam Hussein,” Hsu wrote on her own blog.

Hsu said she and Zanst were making arrangements for their wedding in Taiwan in April.

Zanst plans to teach Arabic in Taiwan.

Hsu conceded that she had taken a risk in going to Iraq to meet Zanst.

“Not everyone can find true love. If you have a love, please treasure your moments together. If you have not found true love, then look for it,” Hsu said.

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