Sun, Dec 19, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Singapore minister sends condolences to the Chiangs


Singaporean Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀) has sent a private letter expressing his condolence to the family of former Republic of China first lady Faina Chiang (蔣方良), who died of pulmonary and cardiac failure Wednesday at the age of 88, Lee's press secretary said yesterday.

Lee wrote the letter of condolence in his private capacity, the secretary said, adding that the letter was addressed to Chiang Hsu Nai-chin (蔣徐乃錦), the eldest daughter-in-law of Faina Chiang, widow of the late President Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國).

In the letter, Lee said he was a good friend of the late ROC president. He also recalled how during his previous visits to Taiwan, he had taken lunch with the Chiangs at their official residence in suburban Taipei on several occasions.

simple taste

Russian-born Faina Chiang met her husband while he was in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. A woman of simple taste with a technical school education, Faina Chiang left her homeland in 1936 when she joined her husband to return to China.

She had to adjust to joining one of China's most powerful families at the time. China was ruled by her father-in-law, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石), and the Chinese Nationalist Party during the period.

She fled to Taiwan along with her family in 1949. Her husband became president in 1978 and ended 38 years of martial law just months before he died in 1988. He also oversaw the island's spectacular economic development in the 1980s.

Faina Chiang avoided the spotlight and was known as Taiwan's most low-key first lady.

The couple had three sons and one daughter together.

The three sons have all died, while the daughter, Chiang Hsiao-chang, presently lives in the US with her family.

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