Fri, Feb 08, 2019 - Page 2 News List

FEATURE: Politicians raise funds with special New Year products

By Su Fun-her, Lin Liang-sheng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Shopping bags illustrated with a pig and calligraphy reading “welcoming prosperity” being sold by Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Tsai Shih-ying are pictured in Taipei on Tuesday last week.

Photo: Su Fun-her, Taipei Times

Distributing or selling Lunar New Year holiday items to raise campaign funds is a time-honored tradition for Taiwanese politicians, but this year several lawmakers said their products are designed to highlight special causes.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Frida Tsai (蔡培慧) chose teabags filled with Taiwan-grown Assam tea to highlight her rural roots and farm-worker activism.

The type of leaf she chose is Tea Research and Extension Station No. 8, which is grown in her native Nantou County, she said.

“Growing up in a village, I served tea to friends and guests, and it was a very important social ritual,” she said, adding that promoting agriculture from her home county is never far from her thoughts.

She became executive secretary of the Executive Yuan’s 921 Earthquake Relief Foundation to help rebuild the county, and during her tenure, she worked closely with foundation executive director Hsieh Chih-cheng (謝志誠) to create a farmer’s market, held the following Lunar New Year, she said.

She served a lot of tea to the farmers taking part in the market, she added.

A vibrant and sustainable local economy is crucial and rebuilding Nantou’s agriculture is part of that process, she added.

DPP Legislator Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟), who represents a district in Kaohsiung, is selling specially designed spring couplets (春聯) with the chance of winning chicken eggs, as high-quality chicken eggs are in high demand over the holiday.

Donors who buy a couplet set would be eligible for a lottery for eggs from Agriculture Certified Agricultural Standards-approved farms, he said.

However, they would have to take a photograph of the couplets pasted on their doorways and upload the photos to his official Facebook page, then visit his office and tag their visit on Facebook, he said.

DPP Legislator Tsai Shih-ying (蔡適應), who represents a Keelung district, said a poll he conducted found that politicians’ spring couplets are not really that popular with the public.

For his supporters, he decided on a red shopping bag illustrated with a pig and a sample of his calligraphy that reads zhao cai (招財, “welcoming prosperity”), he said.

The bag has been a success with homemakers, he said.

Many Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers sought to make connections to Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) with their items, such as Kaohsiung-born KMT Legislator Arthur Chen (陳宜民), who represents a Taipei district.

His couplets bear Han’s campaign slogan, “Kaohsiung Will Get Rich” (高雄發大財).

KMT Legislator Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said her office was conducting an online lottery to give away 3,000 bags of “lucky money” blessed by the Temple of the Gods of Wealth in New Taipei City’s Jinshan District (金山).

KMT Legislator Lee Yen-hsiu (李彥秀), who represents a Taipei district, said she wanted to avoid cliches so her office prepared chocolate gold coins that donors could use as lucky charms or eat.

KMT Legislator Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華), whose constituency is also in Nantou County, is selling calendars featuring photographs of herself, at NT$500 apiece, with the money to go to children’s welfare.

Hsu was Miss Republic of China in 1996.

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