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President praises temple for ban on burning ghost money

President praises temple for ban on burning ghost money

Kaohsiung, Nov. 7 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou praised a local temple Monday for its environmentally friendly policy of not allowing the burning of ghost money within its environs. Ma gave his praise while visiting the temple -- known as the General's Residence -- located in Kaohsiung's Nanzih District. The temple is reputed to be the first temple in southern Taiwan to prohibit people from burning sacrificial money in offerings to the gods. Despite managing to grab only a few hours of sleep on his hectic election campaign schedule, he got up early to make the visit to the 350-year-old temple. Late the previous evening, Ma met with a group of students from the National University of Kaohsiung (NUK), also located in Nanzih District. The meeting and ensuing chat, which took place at a NUK dormitory, was part of his "homestay" election campaign gambit in the run-up to the Jan. 14 presidential poll, in which he is spending his nights in the homes of various carefully selected individuals and groups in an effort to appeal to the grassroots. During the talks with students, Ma said he experienced one of his most trying times during the 2008-2009 global economic meltdown that battered Taiwan's economy. During that period, he said, he told himself that as head of state, he had no right to be timid or feel down, but instead had to try harder. "My only option was to go forward," he told the students. Among the deities enshrined at the General's Residence are General Xie An, a 10th-century warrior who Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) revolutionary Koxinga esteemed as a role model for a national recovery movement, and Matsu, the goddess of the sea, who, according to legend, was a girl from the Ming Dynasty who was deified posthumously in honor of the assistance she offered to Chinese seafarers. (By Wang Shwu-fen, Chen Wei-ting and Deborah Kuo)