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June 24, 2017

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President Ma remembers late mother in rare emotional post

TAIPEI--In a rare public outpouring of his personal feelings, President Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday eulogized his mother, who died early this month, and held out the hope that he could be her son again in the next life.

The tribute, in the form of a Facebook post, came after Chin Hou-hsiu died May 2 of multiple organ failure in a hospital in Taipei at the age of 93. Her remains were cremated three days later following a private funeral.

In the 3,200-word eulogy, Ma lamented the fact that Sunday will be the first Mother's Day without Chin in the 64 years of his life.

Ma recalled the final moments at the hospital when he held her hand, kissed her face and whispered farewell.

She always taught him and his four sisters to work hard, lead a simple and honest life and be patriotic, the president said. His bedtime stories as a child were never about Robin Hood or Snow White, but about China's revolutionary heroes and fighters against Japanese invasion, he said.

She will be most remembered by the love and education she gave her children, Ma said.

The president described how Chin was also a model wife and daughter-in-law and showed him how happy it could be to help others.

Even during the last three weeks of her life, she kept her sense of humor and the hospital room "was often full of laughter and never any feeling of suffering," he recalled.

Chin was born to a well-educated family in Hunan Province and attended a prestigious school in Changsha, the provincial capital, before entering Central Political School, a college established in 1927 by the Chinese Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, Ma said in the tribute.

The school became National Chengchi University in 1946 and reopened in Taipei in 1954.

When she attended the college, which was relocated from Nanjing to Chongqing because of the war against the Japanese invasion, Chin met her future husband Ma Ho-ling, who was also from Hunan. He died in 2006.

"Mother was young, beautiful and well-educated. She was an A-student, her handwriting was great and she loved sports. Father was a student leader and a good athlete ... they fell in love shortly after," Ma recalled.

"Father called her the personification of what is genuine, good and beautiful," Ma said.

But life was not easy for the couple in those days, when much of China was devastated by the war against Japan and then torn apart in a civil war pitching the Kuomintang government against the communists.

The senior Ma, who joined the army in 1944, was fortunate enough to bring his family first to Hong Kong, where his only son Ma Ying-jeou was born, in 1950. The family moved to Taiwan the following year.

In addition to her day job as a civil servant, Chin used to work at home as a part-time tailor to help make ends meet.

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