Sun, Apr 06, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Chen promises to invest in kids' education

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

To commemorate the annual Ching Ming Festival , or "Tomb-Sweeping Festival," yesterday, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) promised that the government would allocate more resources for creating a better education system for future generations.

During his weekly televised talk A-bian Portrait, Chen yesterday talked about the meaning of the traditional Ching Ming Festival, -- a national holiday during which families sweep their ancestors' tombs -- saying that investing in improving the education system is the best policy during periods of economic recession.

"It was very wise for our forefathers to designate the day preceding the Tomb-Sweeping Festival as Children's Day because we can first think about our responsibility toward the younger generation and then teach them to express gratitude to our ancestors," Chen said.

The president recalled the experiences of his family during the Ching Ming Festival. As the head of state, Chen said that now he realized the importance of devising a good system within which children could be educated.

"Owing to their experiences with both war and poverty, the generation before us worked hard to bring stability and to give us adequate clothing and food," Chen said. "Now, what can we give to the next generation?"

"The only thing that we can help instill in them is the lifelong ability to learn," the president said. "Therefore, we must develop an excellent learning environment as well as provide high-quality learning materials."

Noting that we live in a globalized era and are suffering from an economic recession, Chen said that the appropriate investment for parents would be to spend money on their children's education, instead of simply saving their earnings in private bank accounts.

"Not only the government, but also every family should allocate resources to help the next generation advance their learning skills," Chen said, "This is a promise that we must make as we commemorate our ancestors."

Meanwhile, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) also returned to his hometown in southern Taiwan's Tainan County to say prayers and sweep his ancestral tomb.

Accompanied by many relatives and by KMT Secretary-General Lin Feng-Cheng (林豐正), Lien arrived at the Nanshan Public Cemetery, where the Lien family's ancestors of six generations were laid to rest.

Many of the townspeople expressed their support and their hope that Lien would win next year's presidential election.

Lien, who was nominated the KMT's presidential candidate last month, told the media that his family immigrated to Taiwan in the 17th century and all his ancestors had shown loyalty to the country.

"There has been no experience of surrendering in my family's history," Lien said, adding that his ancestors had once joined the military to fight foreign aggression near the end of the Ming and Ching dynasties.

Lien's remark was made in direct response to Chen's comments last week, during which Chen described Lien's campaign promise about visiting China once he wins the presidential election as a "voyage of surrender."

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