Tue, Aug 13, 2019 - Page 1 News List

‘Sleepovers’ at Presidential Office

By Su Yung-yao and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

General Association of Chinese Culture deputy secretary-general Lee Hou-ching announces the “Spend a Night at Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building” program at a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The Presidential Office Building is at the center of a new tourism development program, with foreigners being offered a chance to spend the night in the building’s compound and become an “ambassador for Taiwan.”

The “Spend a Night at Taiwan’s Presidential Office Building” program is aimed at changing the building’s image as a former symbol of authoritarianism to mark its 100th anniversary and promoting Taiwan as “one of the friendliest nations in the world, the General Association of Chinese Culture (GACC), which is organizing the program, said in a statement.

The program “is the first of its kind in the world and demonstrates Taiwan’s democracy, freedom and openness,” Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said.

Applicants must be older than 20 and must make a video explaining why they want to visit Taiwan, what it is about Taiwan that attracts them and why they should be selected, Chang said.

The association said it plans to accept 10 groups of up to two people each in the first phase of the program, with one sleepover scheduled per week.

Guests would stay in a 14 ping (46.3m2) space in the Lixing Building with a view of the Presidential Office Building, which GACC described as a “true presidential suite.”

A personal housekeeper and breakfast would be provided, as well as an opportunity to attend the daily flag-raising ceremony and tour the Presidential Office Building, it said.

The stay would also include a customized itinerary, GACC deputy secretary-general Lee Hou-ching (李厚慶) said.

The first visitors would be welcomed in October, Chang said.

Those selected for the program would have to arrive before 10pm and leave no earlier than 5am the following day, for security reasons, the Presidential Office said.

A three-member panel would review the applications and select the winners: comedian and TV host Ugur Rifat Karlova, better known as Wu Feng (吳鳳); cultural commentator Chan Wei-hsiung (詹偉雄); and travel blogger Alston Hsu (許傑).

The reach of an applicant’s influence would be an important factor in the decision, Karlova said.

Hsu told reporters that applicants’ online visibility would be very important.

The application period began yesterday and will be open through the end of the month.

Applications can be submitted through the English-language Web site: www.nightattaiwan.tw/en.

Asked if Chinese nationals would be eligible to apply, Chang said the contest was open to all non-Republic of China (ROC) passport holders who meet the qualifications.

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