Aussie festival starts today
Dream Community (夢想社區) in Taipei's Hsichih (汐止) district is scheduled to launch a cultural event, entitled Australian Community Culture Festival, at the community center this afternoon. According to the community's spokesperson, Pika Chiu (邱坤定), the event is held to introduce the spirit of "bushcraft" -- or outdoor skills. The community hopes to better the Taiwanese people's understanding of wildness survival skills, so as to improve their creativity and interaction society. It also hopes to show the nation's vitality to international society through such cross-cultural exchanges. The event officially begins at 3pm today. An Australian-style barbecue is also scheduled to be held at 6:30pm. For more information, please contact the community at (02) 2695-9393.
■ Mask shortage
Lien gives masks to hospital
KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) yesterday donated 7,000 surgical masks to National Taiwan University Hospital to help physicians and nurses there combating SARS. Lee Cheng-chung (李正宗), head of the KMT's social department said the masks were donated to the hospital because of the grave situation it faces in fighting the disease as well as the mask shortage faced by its frontline medical staff. On Thursday, Lien's wife, Lien Fang-yu (連方瑀), accused the government of acting like "bandits" when she went to the CKS Airport to pick up 2,000 surgical masks donated by overseas Chinese. She was asked on the spot to pay a tax of NT$23,000 for them. Upset by the tax, Lien Fang-yu called on the government to issue an emergency decree lifting steep duties on the masks.
■ Happy meals
Workers get free lunch
To cheer up medical staff from Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital (和平醫院) who are currently under SARS quarantine at Taipei's Keeho Public Housing Complex (基河國宅), McDonald's Taiwan is scheduled to deliver free meals to staffers at noon. According to the Taiwan branch of the fast-food giant, the company is scheduled to deliver special toys and hot meals to the housing complex, so as to show its support to those medical workers. In related news, the Eurasian Publishing Group (圓神) also announced that the company is willing to donate one free book to each of the SARS quarantinees in order to help them undergo the quarantine.
Kaohsiung doctor dies
Lin Yung-hsiang (林永祥), a resident doctor at Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in southern Taiwan, died of SARS yesterday, becoming the second doctor in Taiwan to succumb to the atypical pneumonia. Lin's death came a day after Lin Chung-wei (林重威), a resident at the sealed off Taipei Municipal Hoping Hospital, fell victim to the highly contagious disease at a Taipei hospital. Chang Gung Memorial Hospital President Chen Chao-lung (陳肇隆) said Lin contracted the virus while caring for a patient from Taipei's Jenchi Hospital -- the second Taiwan medical facility to have been sealed off due to a SARS outbreak. Lin began to show SARS symptoms May 4, Chen said, adding that the hospital had formed an expert team to treat Lin. "We made every possible effort, but to no avail," he said regretfully. Chen praised Lin as a "warrior in white" in the nation's current campaign against SARS. Lin, 28, graduated from Kaohsiung Medical College. He got married less than a year ago.