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President Ma moves to new residence

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou, the first lady and their adopted pet dog moved yesterday into the official residence his predecessor Chen Shui-bian has long vacated, an official from the Presidential Office announced in the morning.

Following five months of intensive remodeling that cost NT$7.67 million, not counting the price of furniture that totaled NT$870,000, the first couple moved into the residential complex exclusively for the president by reasoning that the safety of the head of state is tantamount to national security.

Starting at 7:00 a.m., Ma passed furniture and boxes to movers, who swiftly loaded them into two moving vans stationed in front of Ma’s current residence in Taipei City’s Wenshan District, where he has lived for almost 30 years.

In less than an hour, all the president’s belongings were heading to his new residence in downtown Taipei, dubbed “Chunghsin Yusuo” or “Restoration Residence,” a name he personally selected.

During the presidencies of Chen Shui-bian and Lee Tung-hui, the same property was nicknamed “Yushan Guandi” or “Yushan Official Residence,” based on the name of the highest peak in Taiwan: the Yushan or Jade Mountain (3,952 m).

During former president Chen’s first term in office, the remolding of the Yushan Official Residence reportedly cost NT$9.87 million.

Though people in Taiwan use the western calendar for most practical matters of daily life, the lunar calendar still serves today as the basis for determining numerous festivals, harvesting and moving house. Accordingly, Sept. 28 was said to be auspicious for matrimony and moving.

Yet Presidential Office Spokesperson Wang Yu-chi pointed out that the president decided the appropriate date based on other considerations, such as his tight work schedule and the recent end of renovation work.

But since taking office as new president of Taiwan, the Special Service Center of the National Security Bureau (NSB), which is in charge of safeguarding the president and his family members, has been insisting that Ma move into the presidential residence.

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 President Ma moves to new residence 
A moving company truck is parked in front of Ma’s private residence in Muzha, Taipei, yesterday, waiting to get Ma and the first lady’s belongings to their official residence. (CNA)

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