A book of photographs showing what the publishers claim to be President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) efforts to strengthen Taiwanese democracy and reach out to the world was released yesterday.
The album, entitled Taiwan: A Progressive Ocean Nation, was launched by Chen, who also invited a number of guests who have made long-term contributions to Taiwanese society to take part in the occasion.
Chosen with an eye to the nation's diversity, the guests included Doris Brougham (彭蒙惠), who arrived in Taiwan in 1951 and has promoted English-language education ever since; Chen Shih-hsin (陳詩欣), who won a gold medal at the Athens Olympics last year; and Sung Mao-chang (宋茂璋), president of the Indigenous TV channel.
"The main figure in the album is not me but all vigorous people of Taiwan, who all are rowers of Taiwan, a ship which launched its maiden voyage into the new century in the raging Pacific Ocean five years ago," Chen said.
The album attempts to portray Chen's efforts to "strengthen the nation's democracy, consolidate economic development, reach out globally, promote sustainable development and maintain cultural diversity."
Sung, who is also a senior journalist, told the Taipei Times that the launch of the Indigenous TV channel in July was one of the government's "remarkable achievements."
"At least we Aboriginal people are seeing some action from the government," Sung said.
Some photos in the album have never been released before. One depicts Chen being presented with a saxophone by former US president Bill Clinton in February when Clinton was in Taipei to promote his autobiography.
"In the last five years, I've visited 319 townships in our nation ... and I've never gotten tired of visiting friendly countries overseas. Being persistent is one of the distinguishing characteristics of Taiwanese people," Chen said.
After returning from Central America next month, Chen plans to visit Taiwan's remotest territory, Taiping Island (
On cross-strait issues, Chen said that the relationship between Taiwan and China was not as bad as it was five years ago when he took over the presidency.
Photos depicting Chen and his family joining street demonstrations against Beijing's "Anti-Secession" Law in March are also featured in the album.