Against the backdrop of a banner with a giant character an (安, meaning “peace” or “safe”) made with more than 3,000 small red talismans, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) — who is seeking re--election — at a campaign rally yesterday said he has made Taiwan a safer place during his first term as president and vowed to continue doing so.
“In the past three years, I’ve considered peace and security the most important objective of my presidency. I worked hard to improve cross-strait relations so that the Taiwan Strait may remain at peace, so that Taiwan would be safer and we would have less chance of war, while having a higher chance of remaining at peace,” Ma told the crowd of several hundred at Baoan Temple in Taipei.
He went on to say that besides his efforts to maintain peaceful cross-strait relations, he also implemented policies to reduce suicides, fatal traffic accidents and crime rates.
Citing statistics, Ma said the total number of deaths from traffic accidents from 2008 to last year has gone down by about 3,000 compared with the last three years of the former Democratic Progressive Party government. In addition, the suicide rate has gone down from more than 5,000 to more than 3,000 over the same period, Ma said.
“With the crime rate and accidental deaths declining, I feel that I’ve made Taiwan a safer place,” Ma said.
He also placed a talisman at the top of the an character to complete it and the crowd of supporters cheered and applauded.
After completing the character, the giant banner was then hung outside the temple to deliver good wishes to passers-by.
Ma also distributed talismans after they were passed through the smoke above a censer with burning incense — a traditional ceremony for blessing — to the crowd.