As the nation prepares for the Lunar New Year holiday next month, the Presidential Office and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday said that they would not hold year-end banquets this year amid calls to economize and reduce expenditures.
The Executive Yuan, the Control Yuan, the Examination Yuan and the Judicial Yuan will also cancel their year-end banquets — or weiya (尾牙) in Mandarin — that are traditionally held before the Lunar New Year holiday.
Presidential Office spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi (范姜泰基) said the annual activity has been canceled to reduce government financial spending as the economy has not yet fully recovered.
“President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will express his appreciation to the staff for their hard work in an appropriate way,” Fan Chiang said.
The Presidential Office has also cut the number of red envelopes and spring couplets (春聯) that it will distribute to the public to 180,000 and 280,000 respectively this year to save on expenses.
The red envelopes and couplets will bear auspicious greetings written by Ma.
An image of a hundred-pacer viper — a symbol of honor among Paiwan Aborgines — will also be featured on Lunar New Year’s souvenirs to pray for peace and prosperity in the Year of the Snake, Fan Chiang said.
The red envelopes and couplets will be given to people visiting the Presidential Office for tours starting today.
Ma and Vice President Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) will also hand them out during their visits to other cities and counties, he said.
While the Presidential Office has canceled its year-end banquet, it said that other government bodies were free to decide whether they should also do so.
KMT spokesman Yin Wei (殷瑋) said that Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, instructed the party not to hold a year-end banquet this year, and the party has canceled reservations for the activity at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club in Taipei.
Meanwhile, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said the city government would still hold a year-end banquet this year to thank entry-level staff for their hard work over the past year.
The gathering will be held in one of the restaurants at city hall. It will be economical with no performances or expensive gifts, he said.
Cabinet spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said the Executive Yuan also decided not to hold a year-end banquet for its staff because of “budget concerns,” but added that it would not require all Cabinet agencies to follow suit.
Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan