On Tuesday night, about 12 hours after defending his actions, Examination Yuan President John Kuan (關中) apologized for going for a massage during work hours, saying he felt sorry for not submitting the necessary paperwork required for taking personal leave.
Approached by media before he went to his office yesterday morning, Kuan said people “failed to take my meaning” in his first response to the incident when he said that he was “open to public scrutiny” and would “humbly reflect on and improve my behavior.”
“I felt that people were not satisfied with that, so I thought I should heed public opinion. People think I should apologize, so I did,” Kuan said about the midnight statement.
In the statement, Kuan said he “felt deeply uneasy” about the negative public reaction to him going for “physical therapy” during work hours and apologized for failing to submit an application to take leave.
However, Kuan insisted in the statement that being a politically appointed official allows him to have flexible working hours, rather than the fixed working schedule of non-politically appointed staff and civil servants.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor Tung Chung-yen (童仲彥) accused Kuan of “skipping work” by going for a massage over the past six months.
Kuan said he went to the massage parlor to receive physical therapy treatment, not for a massage.
“I heard of the physical therapist a long time ago and when I started to feel ill in the second half of last year, I decided to go see her. I couldn’t sleep, and was physically and mentally exhausted. The therapeutic treatments helped me sleep,” he said yesterday when asked why he went to the practitioner.
DPP lawmakers yesterday continued to assail Kuan for his behavior.
“He seemed to offer the apology rather reluctantly. If he thought he did wrong, he should apologize for the wrongdoing, rather than saying that he apologized because he ‘felt uneasy,’” DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.
DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) urged Kuan to call a press conference to bow down and apologize to the people and to all civil servants for failing to be an exemplary role model for all public servants.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) called for leniency for Kuan because he had been mourning the loss of his daughter.
KMT Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) urged the DPP not to make a fuss over such a trivial matter, saying: “Was it that serious? There is no point in pursuing it any further.”