Wed, Feb 21, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Ma shrugs off fortune tellers' advice on 2008

AP AND CNA , TAIPEI

Former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has brushed off geomancers' suggestions of giving the cremated remains of his late father a grand burial to improve his chances in next year's presidential election, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday.

Ma resigned as KMT chairman as last week after prosecutors accused him of diverting money from a public fund to his private account while he served as mayor of Taipei.

Insisting on his innocence, Ma declared his candidacy for next year's race.

Political analysts say if the court does not acquit him, Ma's road to the presidency could be bumpy.

Nonetheless, Ma is well liked because of his handsome looks and otherwise clean image and has remained a key presidential favorite despite the indictment, recent opinion polls have shown.

Prominent geomancers have advised Ma to turn his recent bad luck around by giving his late father a formal burial.

Ma's father died last year and his cremated remains are kept in a pagoda to comply with a city ban on burial.

Until burials were banned in crowded cities over the past decade, Taiwanese traditionally consulted fortunetellers before having their parents buried.

The ancestors, if properly buried at locations with good feng shui, are believed to be able to bring good fortune to their offspring, or bad luck if otherwise.

When a politician formally brought up the burial suggestion this week in a local community gathering, Ma brushed it off as ``pure superstition,'' the Apple Daily reported.

The paper quoted feng shui expert Chang Ching-yuan as advising Ma to reconsider and find a way to skirt the ban on burials so his father's ashes and bones "could receive auspicious elements from the air and land"' to bless his offspring.

"The year 2008 doesn't look to be such a good year for Ma, so he must pay more attention to feng shui to improve his luck," Chang was quoted as saying.

PREMIER

Meanwhile, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) remained tight-lipped yesterday about when he will formally throw his hat in the ring and declare his candidacy for the Democratic Progressive Party's nomination for the presidential election.

Su was asked about his intentions by reporters while he toured a tropical agricultural park in Pingtung County, where he once served as commissioner, with his wife and mother.

During his visit Su was often surrounded by crowds of local residents asking to have their photos taken with him and cheering him to "go for the presidency." Some even addressed him as "President Su."

The premier was all smiles while greeting his supporters, but he refrained from giving any response to queries concerning his interest in the presidency.

Su instead knelt on the ground and spent 10 minutes carving the words "praying for a better future for Taiwan, wishing everyone a happy new year" on a big pumpkin.

Su also dispensed "red envelopes" containing a NT$10 coin before leaving the park.

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