Sun, Dec 08, 2002 - Page 4 News List

Premier consoled following mother's death

STAFF WRITER

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) and DPP Taipei mayoral candidate Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) expressed their condolences to Premier Yu Shyi-kun late Friday night after his mother died.

Chen and Lee went to National Taiwan University Hospital, where Yu's mother, Huang Shou-chu (黃秀菊), was admitted on Sept. 23, to visit the premier after a final mayoral campaign rally on Friday.

Cabinet spokesman Chuang Suo-hang (莊碩漢) said yesterday that the hospital informed the premier that the condition of his mother, who was suffering from lung cancer, had begun to deteriorate at 3:40pm on Friday.

"The premier canceled everything on his schedule and rushed to the hospital," Chuang said.

Huang died at 7:30pm. According to the hospital, the cancer had spread to her liver and she suffered complications including pneumonia and pleural effusion, which led to the failure of her heart and lungs. She was 78.

The president visited Huang at the hospital two weeks ago after the premier had offered to resign over the government's about-face on reform of farmers' and fishermen's associations.

Yu expressed his gratitude to the president and Vice President Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) for their condolences, adding that he wanted a simple and solemn funeral for his mother.

Yu's father died when he was 14 years old. Yu, as the oldest child, dropped out of school to help his mother earn enough money for the family.

The premier once recalled that he often studied on the back of a cow. He was 38 when he finally graduated from university.

Yu said that when he was campaigning as a provincial councilor candidate in 1981, his mother questioned whether he would remember his humble background if he were elected.

"Those who have the fortune to be provincial councilors all have their stars in heaven. What about you?" Huang asked him.

After becoming premier, Yu once said that without his mother's support, it would have been impossible for him to survive his years as a youth.

Yu said his interest in public affairs was largely nurtured by his mother.

"As a child, my mother often asked me to help with household chores and sent me to our neighbors' houses. As a result, I had a lot of opportunities to get involved in neighborhood affairs," Yu said.

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