Mon, Jul 23, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Yu shares his life story with a group of college students

RECALLING A CAREER Yu Shyi-kun has led a fairly successful political career, serving as a provincial councilor, as Ilan County commissioner and premier

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Yu Shyi-kun yesterday shared his life story with young students at a summer camp, encouraging them to hold on to their beliefs while pursuing their dreams.

Yu was invited to speak to college students participating in a two-day summer camp in Taipei organized by the party's Taipei City chapter.

The summer camp aims to provide a platform for interaction between the DPP and college students and to recruit potential future party leaders, chapter chief executive Moda May (梅仕杰) said.

"It's you who decides what you become later in your life," Yu told the young participants. "You have to hold on to your beliefs, think and judge independently."

Although he did not have any background in politics and lived in an age in which the authoritarian regime of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) tightly controlled society, Yu said he still decided to join the movement for democracy because he "believed in something."

Yu grew up in a farming family in a small village in Ilan County, as a child and a teenager he often needed to work on the farm, even though it meant discontinuing his schooling, Yu said.

"As a result, I only finished my university degree at the age of 37, after changing schools three times," Yu said.

Before going into politics, Yu had worked as a farmer, in a bank and as a sales person. However he never forgot something he had known since childhood.

"A lot of democracy activists at the time were from Ilan, such as Kuo Yu-hsin (郭雨新), so I grew up hearing adults telling their stories and I admired their courage," Yu said.

Despite having no political connections or experience, Yu ran for and was elected a Taiwan provincial councilor at the age of 33, "because I believed in democracy, and I didn't care if they [the KMT] arrested me," he said.

After that, Yu led a considerably successful political career, serving two terms as a provincial councilor, another two terms as Ilan County commissioner and later as premier.

"Your success is in your hands," Yu said.

To Yu, the same attitude applies to making Taiwan a normal country.

The DPP's ideas may meet strong opposition and come under attack, but "if we hold on to our values until the end, success will be in our hands," Yu said.

The youngsters appeared happy to have met with Yu.

"I'm very excited, I've enjoyed the interaction [with Yu]," Yang Fung-kuang (楊豐光) said.

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