TAIPEI - Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je yesterday admitted to making an improper remark about a gift from the United Kingdom's Minister of State for Transport Baroness Kramer the day before.
Kramer presented Ko with a pocket watch from the House of Lords during her visit with the mayor as part of the British Railway Mission. As giving clocks as a gift is traditionally a taboo in Chinese culture, a local reporter questioned the mayor on his thoughts regarding the appropriateness of the gift.
Ko jokingly responded that he had no idea what he would do with the watch, and that he is considering re-gifting the watch or selling it as "scrap metal."
The mayor's response has been widely criticised as improper and impolite, prompting the mayor to admit his mistake during his routine post municipal meeting press conference.
Ko said that the he had misspoken and must learn from his mistakes. The mayor also said that he must pay attention to diplomatic etiquette, and that he and his aides will soon enroll into classes on the subject.
However, while concluding the subject with local media, Ko was quoted as saying: "When receiving a gift that is not liked, one should still give the other person his or her gratitude."
Farglory Takes Out Half Page Ads in Local Newspapers
In related news, local construction consortium Farglory Group took out half-page ads in major Taiwanese newspapers yesterday, publishing a statement to the effect that the company aims to create a three-way win for the general public, the company and for Taipei Mayor Ko.
The entire statement, entitled "The Truth Behind Taipei Dome Report 4", was published from the first person perspective of company Chairman Chao Teng-hsiung.
Chao began the statement with a description of Farglory's initial involvement with the construction of the dome, stating that the company was invited to bid for the project by architect Liu Pei-sen .
The statement then addressed investigations from Control Yuan members, claiming that the case was sparked by the Control Yuan's failure to understanding the details of build-operate-transfer projects. However, Chao said, the case was already resolved as of July last year.
The chairman later thanked Ko for tasking the Taipei City Government to lend a helping hand so that Farglory may deliver the dome by the end of the year.
In conclusion, Chao said that another reason why he has decided to take out ad space in newspapers is to simply reveal the truth behind the dome and its conflicts, as he does not wish for the name of Farglory to be tarnished.
As it has been noticed that local media publish articles based upon fragmented information, the company would like to once and for all tell the truth behind the entire project to the mayor and the general public, said the Farglory representative.