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Tue, Jan 18, 2000 - Page 2 News List

OFF THE BEAT

From the mouths of young readers

You might not know it, but the year 2000 has been designated as "Children's Reading Year" by Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九). Last weekend, he presided over a brief press conference and photo opportunity to announce the program, along with 13 young "reading ambassadors" from across the city.

Said one young boy: "I've given up sleeping and eating since I started reading! Reading fills me with rapture!"

"I'm going to keep on reading until I'm LKK (老佝佝 -- Hokkien for old-fashioned or passe)," announced another young man. Mayor Ma also unveiled a Web site promoting reading for children: www.2000kids.com.tw.

The mayor himself can sometimes be an obstacle to children's willingness to read, however. First-grade children in a reading class that Ma visited yesterday morning jumped from their seats after seeing the mayor enter the room, falling over each other to shake his hand.

New look for underground mall

From now on, the MRT's underground commercial area, known as the "Easy Mall" -- will be exhibiting a new face. The mall, on the Tamsui line between Chungshan and Shuanglien stations, is becoming more colorful as the rolling iron shutters of the stores are painted with pictures in different artistic styles. Abstract, impressionistic, thrilling, cartoon and post-modern images will all be applied to represent the possible faces of future life in Taipei underground.

The Taipei Rapid Transit Corp organized the painting activity for the public, with 75 groups starting work at 8pm Sunday, and finishing 9am yesterday morning. At the end, all contestants looked somewhat tired and smelled heavily of paint.

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