Fri, Aug 09, 2019 - Page 4 News List

DPP legislator shows off lighter side in his office

BEETLEMANIA:Cheng Yun-peng kept beetles at work after his son’s interest outgrew the constraints of their home and has created a commemorative collection

By Wu Shu-wei and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Yun-peng displays two rhinoceros beetle specimens in his office at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei on Wednesday.

Photo: Chen Yu-chia, Taipei Times

A visit to Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Cheng Yun-peng’s (鄭運鵬) office in the Legislative Yuan gives a glimpse of a different side to the politician.

Inside Cheng’s office are shelves lined with various figurines and models. On one wall hangs a sketch of Joe Yabuki, the main character from Japanese comic Tomorrow’s Joe, which Cheng, who represents Taoyuan’s first constituency, drew during an all-night session at the legislature.

He said that he previously kept beetles in his office — a classic case of parents taking care of the pets that their children wanted.

His son, influenced by Japanese arcade game Mushiking: King of the Beetles and the animated movies it spawned, as well as his classmates, started raising rhinoceros beetles, Cheng said.

His son did not stop there and started raising other kinds of beetles, but soon there was not enough space at home for all of them, so he started keeping them in his office, he said.

Cheng said that his children are younger than those of his colleagues, and that he had not met anyone who was also interested in raising beetles.

However, he said that he had learned that pan-blue commentator Tang Hsiang-lung (唐湘龍) has children of the same age and was considering raising beetles when they met on a talk show, so he gifted Tang a whole set of equipment and some larvae.

“It was a while before we met again and I fully expected the larvae to have grown into adult beetles,” Cheng said, but added that Tang told him the larvae had all died before entering the chrysalis stage.

Beetle larvae are not difficult to raise and only require that attention be paid to the temperature and moisture of the humus they are in to survive, he said, adding that he surmised that Tang had not paid attention and allowed the humus to dry out.

“Tang can talk up a storm, but boy he cannot raise beetles! I can attest to that!” Cheng said.

The life expectancy of a beetle after emerging from the chrysalis is about three months, he said, adding that he has collected the dead beetles to remind himself and his son about the time they raised the insects.

His son has moved on from beetles after the last one died and is now looking to raise hamsters, Cheng said, adding that he has been researching how to look after the animals.

Cheng urged people not to capture wild beetles, as doing so could upset the ecological balance.

People interested in raising beetles should instead buy larvae or adult beetles from specialty shops, Cheng said.

Beetle enthusiasts would find it worthwhile to visit the Yangchou Path in Taoyuan’s Lujhu District (蘆竹), as there are many beetles in the area, he added.

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