Mon, Jan 10, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Lee Teng-hui's photo album to hit bookshelves

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former president Lee Teng-huei, second left, accompanied by his wife, Tseng Wen-hui, second right, Academia Historica President Chang Yen-hsien, right, and Lee's daughter Annie Lee, left, yesterday attend the launch of Lee Teng-hui's book of photos.

PHOTO: SOONG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

As part of celebrations of former president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) 84th birthday (according to the lunar calendar) yesterday, Academia Historica and Asian Culture Publishing House yesterday jointly published a book of 1,338 photos taken from about 300,000 file photos and Lee's family album.

The book, President Lee's Photo Collection, is published in four volumes -- Family Album, Road to Politics, Pilot of State Policy, and Navigator of Taiwan -- offering a panorama of the former president's life, as well as Taiwan's development over the past 80 years.

At the book's launch yesterday, Lee thanked his family and spent much time talking about his recent cultural journey to Japan. He said that Japan is a good model for Taiwan to develop as a progressive and normal country.

"Japanese society doesn't forsake its traditions as it progresses," Lee said. "I think Japan learned valuable lessons and reflected deeply after it was defeated [in World War II,] which is something from which Taiwan can learn."

Lee also responded to criticism that he was "capricious."

"Those who criticized me as `capricious' are people who lack critical thinking," Lee said. "If you think about Taiwan from the perspective of a Taiwanese, you would know that people change their destiny with the environment. But the belief is the only thing that stays the same," Lee said.

Lee's wife, Tseng Wen-hui (曾文惠), and his youngest daughter, Annie Lee (李安妮), also attended the book launch and talked about their experiences as members of the former first family.

Both Tseng and Annie Lee sobbed when talking about Lee Hsien-wen (李憲文), the Lees' only son, who died young.

Lee Hsien-wen died of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in 1982 at the age of 32 while Lee Teng-hui was Taiwan's provincial governor. The loss of his only son is an issue the former president and his wife rarely touch on in public.

But at yesterday's launch, Tseng talked about their son, who also features in the album.

Tseng said that her husband always worried about Taiwanese people's lives when he was president, and that she had thought he would be all hers after he stepped down.

"He still doesn't belong to me. He still belongs to Taiwan," Tseng said.

"Although my dad is representative of sense, he also has his tenderness in many ways," Annie Lee said.

"I've seen him weeping several times. Once over the death of my elder bother, once at my wedding and another time after a subordinate's death," she said.

"In my opinion, he is a man who values love and relationships highly," Annie Lee said.

She also praised her mother's perseverance and bravery.

Former members of Lee Teng-hui's staff and acquaintances also shared what they knew about the former president.

Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝), secretary-general of Taiwan Advocates (群策會), who has worked with Lee Teng-hui for more than 30 years, said the former president has a strong sense of responsibility and is always concerned about people's lives.

"I have a profound feeling that `love' is the driving force for former president Lee to push his state policies. He always kept people's pain and desire in mind," Huang said. "For 19 days out of one month after the 921 Earthquake in 1999, Lee visited victims and disaster areas without rest."

Huang said Lee values action and honesty and is scrupulous in separating his private interests from those of the public.

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