Sun, Sep 03, 2017 - Page 1 News List

PFP’s James Soong reaches out to Ko Wen-je

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People First Party Chairman James Soong, right, in Taipei yesterday presents Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je with a piece of calligraphy he prepared.

Photo: Chien Jung-fong, Taipei Times

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) yesterday said he would like to cooperate with independent Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) to establish a “league of practical democracy,” but Ko responded by joking about the idea.

Ko attended the PFP’s two-day youth summer camp as a lecturer yesterday morning, talking about his life experience and political ideals with young people.

Soong praised Ko for leading the Taipei City Government in presenting a successful Taipei Summer Universiade last month.

He also presented Ko with a phrase he rewrote from a piece by calligraphy master Yu You-ren (于右任) and encouraged the mayor to be patient, keep his temper when angry and deal with difficulties calmly.

Ko said in his lecture that the most meaningful aspect of organizing the Universiade was to help Taiwanese regain confidence.

He encouraged young people to travel the country to really get to see and understand the nation.

“If you want to work according to the one fixed day off and one flexible rest day policy, you will never be great,” Ko said, referring to the government’s labor policy that was promulgated in January, but has drawn criticism from the public.

Ko said his younger brother once complained about “working eight hours a day, but still not getting things done.”

Ko said he told him: “You have to work very hard. I have never worked less than eight hours since I started at National Taiwan University Hospital.”

“To maintain my status as one of the world’s top experts in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, I had to read for five or six hours a day, and spend long hours instructing students and treating patients, which meant I was almost always working more than 10 hours a day,” said Ko, who was director of the hospital’s Department of Traumatology before being elected Taipei mayor in 2014.

Ko said that to succeed, young people should be diligent and persistent in pursuing their goals.

Soong also criticized the labor policy.

“Can the policy work when different vocations are asked to meet the same standard?” he asked.

“I’m not saying that no rest should be the norm, but if people are just clocking in and clocking out, they should not complain about their salaries,” Soong said.

Soong answered questions about rumors that the PFP intends to cooperate with Ko.

“We want to cooperate with Mayor Ko and with people of all political parties to establish a league of practical democracy,” he said.

Ko said jokingly: “I see it more as an afternoon tea league, where people with different views can sit down and discuss issues with each other.”

“Political parties do not need to fight to the death and people with different opinions should be able to work together,” he said, adding that Taiwan is a democratic, free, diverse and open society.

That diversity means people can cooperate while also criticizing each other, Ko said.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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