Hundreds of people braved the cold and lined up at Dalongdong Bao-an Temple in Taipei yesterday morning, hoping to receive “lucky envelopes” from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
The Presidential Office prepared 410,000 lucky envelopes to be distributed to the public this year. Each envelope contains a brand new NT$1 coin, which are guarded by two golden dragons. It also bears Chinese calligraphy wishing people a lucky and bountiful year of dragon, signed jointly by Ma and Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長).
Wearing a red jacket, Ma thanked the people, which he referred to as “his boss,” for giving him four more years to work hard for the nation.
“I will do whatever I can and use my life to guard the sovereignty of the Republic of China, to ensure a safe Taiwan and to protect the rights of the people,” Ma said.
“We need to take care of the weak ones and revitalize the economy. The most important thing is to maintain peaceful cross-strait relations and to earn the friendship of the international community,” he added.
Ma also thanked the god of the temple, Baoshengdadi (保生大帝), meaning “the emperor that preserves life,” for giving the nation a most peaceful year last year and urged people to pray for a better one this year.
Those eager to receive the lucky envelopes were instructed to use their right hand to shake hands with the president and take the envelopes in their left hand. While Ma distributed the lucky envelopes, a female supporter suggested that Ma’s wife, Chow Mei-ching (周美青), run for president in 2016 so that his vision of a “golden decade” could be fulfilled.
Ma also visited temples in New Taipei City (新北市) and in Greater Taichung to distribute lucky envelopes there.
The president also visited former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰). Ma later told reporters that he visits Lien — his former supervisor and his teacher — every year.
Ma said he thanked Lien for his assistance during the presidential campaign and for helping him get re-elected.
Premier and vice president-electe Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) also returned to his hometown in Nantou County, where he distributed NT$1 lucky envelopes.
Siew and Taiwan Solidarity Union Chairman Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) visited former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) separately yesterday. Lee is recovering from colorectal cancer surgery he underwent last year.