The line of people hoping to receive a gift bag from Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) was the longest in the five years they have been given out at Taipei’s Double Ten National Day flag-raising ceremony, organizers said yesterday.
The Buzz Backpacks were gone in about an hour, the fastest they have ever been given out, organizers said.
Ko has described himself as being as “busy as a bee, buzzing around,” which was used to name the bags this year.
The first time they were give out was on Double Ten National Day in 2015, the first after Ko became mayor.
The city government produced additional bags that year after hundreds of people said they had lined up, but the gifts ran out before they got one.
Lines opened at the plaza in front of Taipei City Hall at midnight on Wednesday, with Ko helping to hand them out after the ceremony ended.
Ko said that he was moved to see so many people attend the flag-raising ceremony this year and hoped everyone would continue to work together to help improve Taipei.
“This year was the fifth that the city government has given out the packs, with the volume this year the biggest so far,” he said.
The national flag was incorporated into the design of the word “Taipei” printed on the bags.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co founder Terry Gou (郭台銘) and People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) stood with the mayor during the ceremony.
Ko said Soong was invited by PFP Taipei City Councilor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), who Ko appointed a deputy mayor this month.
Although there are persistent rumors that Soong is upset with him, they still have a fine relationship, Ko said.
An anonymous source close to the PFP said that the party had been leaning toward cooperating with Ko in May last year, so Ko and Soong met at the party’s offices to discuss how to form a coalition of third-force parties to win more legislative seats, the Chinese-language Mirror Media magazine reported.
Media reports this month quoted a source as saying that Ko’s decision to form the Taiwan People’s Party in late July without informing Soong in advance caused Soong to say that he “might have been fooled by Ko.”
When asked if he had apologized to Soong, Ko said that there was no large issues to deal with and that everything would be fine once the details had been discussed.
Asked about Gou’s remarks that he would not cooperate with Soong in January’s legislative elections, Ko said he cannot make Gou’s decision for him.
As for myself, I would have to see what manner of cooperation it would be before considering it, Ko said.
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