President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday paid a visit to Ma Village (馬家庄) in Miaoli County, where he expressed his gratitude for support for his re-election bid by the Hakka constituency and promised to continue efforts to promote Hakka culture and local development.
Accompanied by Commission of Hakka Affairs Director Huang Yu-cheng (黃玉振) and Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hong (劉政鴻), Ma worshiped ancestors in the village before distributing hongbao (red envelopes) as a New Year’s gift.
Speaking in Hakka, Ma stressed his Hakka origins and detailed the government’s efforts to promote Hakka affairs and preserve Hakka culture.
“I am a Hakka, not a visitor … Taiwan has the best-preserved Hakka culture of any Chinese society and, as a country of ethnic varieties, we hope all the ethnic groups can learn to appreciate and respect each other,” he said.
More than 1,000 residents lined up in front of the village to receive red envelopes from the president, and they burst into cheers when he arrived.
Ma’s visit to Ma village marked his 14th trip there, part of an effort to build relations with the Hakka community. However, while most of the village’s residents are surnamed Ma, none of the Hong Kong-born president’s relatives have ever lived there.
There are large populations of Hakka people in Miaoli, Hsinchu and Taoyuan counties and those areas are traditionally considered pan-blue strongholds where the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) enjoys solid support. Ma won more than 63 percent of votes in Miaoli County in the Jan. 14 presidential election.
Ma used yesterday’s visit to say thank you for the continuous support he has received from Hakka communities and pledged to spend the next four years reviving the economy, building a clean government and promoting cross-strait development while maintaining the cross-strait “status quo.”
“The result of this presidential election provides reassurance that my administration is leading the country on the right track and more than half of the people support our reform efforts … I will use the next four years to help Taiwan achieve greatness,” he said later yesterday during a visit to a temple in Maioli.
Meanwhile, Premier and vice president-elect Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) prayed for the country’s great fortune and distributed hongbao at Taipei’s Chihnan Temple.
However, he once again declined to comment on who his successor as premier might be or when the Cabinet might be reshuffled.