Wed, Mar 14, 2012 - Page 2 News List

New legislative session opens with series of gaffes

By Tseng Wei-chen  /  Staff Reporter

Democratic Progressive Party, Taiwan Solidarity Union and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers hold banners as the legislature commences its new session on Feb. 24.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

The opening of the eighth legislative session on Feb. 24 gave rise to a number of memorable gaffes by newly elected lawmakers and their assistants, who were still unfamiliar with their surroundings.

One incident occurred when lawmakers on Friday submitted proposals on the ractopamine controversy and pushed for an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法), the first time the new legislature voted on a resolution.

Regulations stipulate that following an announcement by the legislative speaker that voting would begin, a bell must be rung for as long as seven minutes to give lawmakers in their offices enough time to arrive at the assembly hall for the vote.

However, the seven-minute ring came as a shock to many first-timers, who thought it was a fire alarm.

On the same day, a newly recruited assistant complained in a Facebook entry about the bell.

“How can I possibly be doing my work with such an annoying noise?” she wrote, to the amusement of more seasoned legislators, who knew what the bell meant.

Some unusual names of legislators were also the cause of laughter.

Newly elected Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yu Mei-nu (尤美女), whose name can be translated as “beautiful woman,” was hastening to collect signatures from other legislators for her proposals and her office was packed with assistants.

In a telephone call to another lawmaker, one of Yu’s assistants identified herself by saying: “Hello, this is Legislator Mei-nu’s office.”

However, the person on the other end of the line did not know any legislator by that name and, believing it was a prank, retorted: “If you’re Legislator mei nu, then I’m ‘pretty baby,’” leaving Yu’s assistant stunned.

On Thursday, the legislature’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee held its first assembly.

According to custom, the convener of the meeting, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Lu Hsueh-chang (呂學樟) first introduced all the officials in attendance, followed by introductions of the lawmakers on the committee.

After brief introductions of a few lawmakers, Lu paused as he laid eyes on newly elected KMT Legislator Lee Guei-min (李貴敏) and said: “This is Legislator Wu Yi-chen (吳宜臻).”

Lu soon realized a mistake had likely been made, as he did not receive any response from the attendees.

In an attempt to avoid embarrassment, he pretended that nothing had occurred and continued with introductions of officials from the Ministry of Justice who had joined the assembly.

“No wonder Lee flashed a grin the minute I joined the committee,” Wu said after learning of the awkward incident.

Translated by Stacy Hsu, Staff Writer

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