The nation’s top politicians continued their round of temple visits yesterday, greeting temple-goers with red envelopes and wishing them a Happy Year of the Rabbit.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) began his day with a visit to Ma Village (馬家庄) in Miaoli County’s Tongsiao Township (通宵).
Ma Village’s residents are mostly surnamed Ma, but none of the Hong Kong-born president’s ancestors or relatives have ever lived there.
Ma distributed red envelopes to the lines of waiting people, who included members of the Changhua County Environmental Protection Alliance who oppose a petrochemical industrial park project proposed by Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co.
Ma was apparently caught off-guard when the alliance members presented him with an appeal to stop the Kuokuang Petrochemical project and postcards the group had collected from children nationwide stating their objection to the project. However, he quickly regained his composure and flashed an awkward smile, saying he had received their message and gave the members red envelopes.
Ma later visited Yimin Temple (義民廟) in Hsinchu County’s Sinpu Township (新埔) before wrapping up his public tour with a visit to the Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山) in Jhongli (中壢), Taoyuan County, accompanied by Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義).
Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) had an equally busy day yesterday, starting off by paying tribute to his family’s ancestors in his hometown in Chiayi before spending the rest of the day visiting several temples and handing out red envelopes to temple-goers.
Other political luminaries including Democratic Progressive Party Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) also attracted crowds of people lining up for red envelopes as they made separate visits to several temples and wished all a happy and prosperous new year.
Accompanied by former Tainan mayor Hsu Tain-tsair (許添財), Lu later yesterday also visited the mother of former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) at her home in Greater Tainan’s Guantian District (官田).