President Tsai Ing-wen (???) on Sunday did away with speaking on the morning of New Year’s Day and instead listened to the playing of music bands as part of the head of state’s public marking of the New Year.
At a New Year’s Day flag-hoisting ceremony that has now become a tradition observed by four presidents, Tsai and Vice President Chen Chien-jen (???) stepped out of the Presidential Office at 06:16 a.m. to join the hundreds of citizens already gathered on the open space in front of the building.
They sang the national anthem together with 45 model soldiers from various armed forces units recently commended for their distinguished performance over the course of 2016.
The flag-hoisting was followed by the performance of drummers of the Ministry of National Defense Symphony Orchestra and Fire Ex., a punk music band best known for writing a song for the student-led anti-government Sunflower Movement in 2014.
In addition to government officials and Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???), former President Ma Ying-jeou (???) also went to the outdoor ceremony despite having sprained his right ankle when exercising the previous day and having to wear a walking brace.
He sang the national anthem and saluted the flag with other citizens in a spot far way from where Tsai and other officials were standing.
Ma and his predecessors Chen Shui-bian (???) and Lee Teng-hui (???) regularly attended the New Year’s Day flag-hoisting ceremony when they were in office. The ceremony was always followed by an indoor gathering of top officials and a speech by the president.
This year, however, Tsai decided to streamline the proceedings and spoke of her policies and New Year wishes at a year-end press conference on New Year’s Eve. Tsai took office on May 20, 2016 and was celebrating her first New Year’s Day as president.
During Sunday morning’s ceremony, a small group of supporters of Taiwan independence tried to present their case to Tsai but was stopped by security personnel and eventually removed from the scene.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel