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Tue, May 23, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet brings fresh style, cheer to first day on job

NEW OFFICE Little real work was accomplished as workers acquainted themselves with their new bosses

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

After months of preparations and anticipation, the newly formed government had its first day at the office yesterday. As fresh public officials assumed their posts, welcoming events brought light-hearted cheer and warm episodes.

After enjoying a series of banquets over the inauguration weekend, president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) stayed true to his promise to be the "people's president" (全民總統) and had a common lunch of dumplings and egg-drop soup at DPP headquarters with Party Chairman Lin I-hsiung (林義雄) and other party members.

Chen expressed his gratitude to his campaign staffers during his stay and apologized for having neglected them recently due to his hectic schedule.

Tsai Ying-wen (蔡英文), chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council, had an awkward experience yesterday when she was asked by the guard at her office to register her name as a guest would. Taking the guard's gaffe in stride, Tsai followed the command and got a temporary visitor's pass.

Cognitive scientist-turned Minister of Education Ovid Tzeng (曾志朗) caught attention by showing up to work yesterday at the education ministry without suit and tie.

His aide said he had originally brought formal clothes but had rushed out of his car upon arrival, leaving his suit behind on the car seat.

Tzeng confided he was unaccustomed to the formal attire. "I think I work more efficiently wearing casual clothes, but [in the future] I will try to adjust according to different times and occasions," said Tzeng.

Minister of Justice Chen Ting-nan (陳定南) exhibited his unabashed nature on his first day by declining any flowers offered to congratulate him on his new position. During lunch, Chen's appearance in the queue at the cafeteria immediately attracted a lot of attention. Chen waited patiently in line and ordered a NT$40 lunch box. One faculty member said it was the first time in years that the minister had eaten in the cafeteria.

Former Academia Sinica historian and new National Palace Museum Director Tu Cheng-sheng (杜正勝) talked to his staff yesterday, sharing with them his visions of the road ahead in running the new government, but was quick to stress that he was not a bureaucrat.

"I feel more comfortable being a scholar. Please just call me Mr Tu," he said.

"I am a dreamer. But my dreams can only be realized through hard work on the part of the entire team," Tu said.

He continued to say that in the future there would be no differences in status, but only in duties, at the National Palace Museum. "I welcome different opinions and suggestions because I know only by accepting criticism with an open mind can progress be made," added Tu.

After a tour her new office building, Chairperson of the Council of Labor Affairs Chen Chu (陳菊) promised her staff that their working space would hopefully be expanded within half a year. "I know the current space is much too small. Please bear with it until we move to a more spacious building by the end of this year," said Chen.

New Minister of Foreign Affairs Tien Hung-mao (田弘茂) said yesterday that the layout of his office was not yet finalized, but he would soon settle the issue.

"It is the same as diplomacy. No drastic changes will be made if there is no need for them," Tien said.

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