Tue, Jan 09, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan Quick Take

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Society
What's in a name?

The Tu (毒) family in Chiayi County's Taipao City shares its unusual last name with just two other households in Taiwan. Their surname, read in Mandarin with the second tone, means "poison." The word is also slang for recreational drugs. Tu Chin-kun (毒錦坤), a service station owner and the family's eldest son, said that everyone calls him "drug addict" (毒仔), punning on the double meaning of his last name, TVBS reported online yesterday. When he was in the military, officers would stop in shock when they read his name on their roll sheet. Tu said that his great-great-grandfather was an official interpreter for Qing officials in Puli (埔里). The family wasn't sure, however, if his last name was really Tu or if someone wrote the wrong character. There was no way to check since the family did not have any genealogical records except for a photo of their great-great-grandfather wearing the robes of an official. Although people often suggest that they change their name, the Tus have other ideas, TVBS said. They hope that someday they can meet the two other Tu families in Taiwan and hold a family reunion.

■ Visa

AIT announces lunar break

The American Institute in Taiwan's (AIT) consular office will be closed from Feb. 17 to Feb. 25 for the Lunar New Year holidays. The office urges all who plan to visit the US in the near future to apply for visas as soon as possible. The AIT also called on applicants for student visas to apply as far in advance of their school's starting date as the law permits, which is about 120 days. Appointments can be made by visiting the office's data entry and appointment service Web site, www.visaagent.com.tw, it said. Additional information on US visas can be found on its Web site at www.ait.org.tw.

■ Politics

Liberian speaker under fire

A political crisis was in the making in Liberia on Sunday as legislators in the lower house of parliament begin signing a resolution to remove the speaker of the house "for acts incompatible with his status." The legislators have cited Edwin Melvin Snowe's attempt early last year to violate the government's "one China" policy by making contacts with Taiwanese leaders over re-establishing diplomatic relations. The house members also accused Snowe of cronyism involving a Lebanese merchant and a former commerce minister. Snowe, the third most important person in Liberian politics after the president and vice president, has accused President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of convening secret meetings with legislators in a bid to remove him, claims the president has denied.

■ Society

Slippery floors a hazard

Slippery floors were listed as one of many household hazards in a report released yesterday by the Taipei City Department of Health after an investigation carried out last year to determine the causes of life-threatening accidents at home. The department dispatched home safety experts to 4,264 households around the city to conduct spot checks based on its list of 198 household hazards. Places inspected included living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, balconies and front doors. The report said that the most frequent household hazards were glossy and slippery floors, a lack of smoke detectors, no facilities for the elderly to contact help and expired fire extinguishers.

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