Ma Ying-jeou makes Mother's Day appearance

TAIPEI - President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday made his first public appearance since his mother passed away on May 2.

Attending a Buddhist ceremony to mark Mother's Day, Ma said that there are two things in the world that should never be delayed: expressing gratitude to parents and doing good deeds.

The Buddha's Light International Association of Taiwan and Fo Guang Shan Monastery yesterday jointly held a celebration of Mother's Day as well as the annual Buddha's Birthday Festival on Ketagalan Boulevard in front of the Presidential Office, attracting thousands of Buddhists from around the island to participate in the event.

Speaking at the event, Ma said he had participated in the ceremony over the past four years, noting that, however, this year was different to him as it was the first Mother's Day he celebrated without his mother in more than 64 years.

The president's mother, Chin Hou-hsiu, died at the age of 93 and was cremated on May 5. The first family held a private funeral attended by family members only.

Ma said at the beginning when he took office, he lived with his mother, noting that although he later moved to the official residence of the president for security reasons, he still visited his mother on weekends.

Now that his mother has passed away, Ma said he feels regretful that he could not have spent more time with her. "I should have spent more time listening to her, praising her, hugging her and letting her know how much I loved her," the president said.

Ma said he hopes all children in the world will treasure the time spent with their mothers. Ma also urged people to voice their love for their mothers.

Celebrations Across the Country

The annual Buddhist event is also known for its bathing Buddha ceremony - in which water is poured on a Buddha statue. The act symbolizes the purification of the mind and heart.

The Dharma Drum Mountain yesterday afternoon held an event to celebrate the Buddha's Birthday Festival and Mother's Day at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, inviting Buddhists to transcribe sutra and to engage in sitting meditation with a bowl of water in their hands.

Apart from the religious celebration, the Taipei City Government jointly held a marathon with Mizuno Taiwan Corporation, inviting mothers and daughters to mark the day by jogging in the city.

The Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) and the Taiwan High Speed Rail (THSR) yesterday held events separately to mark the celebration of Mother's Day.

The TRA invited an orchestra to perform at the Kaohsiung Station and gave away carnations for tourists as a reminder for them to go home earlier for Mother's Day.

The THSR on the other hand, at the Zouying Station sent cosmetic mirrors for all female passengers as a gift for Mother's Day.