a Ying-jeou, the former president of Taiwan (or to be more technically correct, the Republic of China), is in Singapore for a few days, and like any respectable tourist in the city-state, isn’t about to go home without first posing for an obligatory selfie with the Merlion.
On Friday, Ma was spotted posing for his customary tourist shot with the half-lion, half-fish statue, pretending to drink from its mouth. He posted the photos to his Facebook page later that day, saying, “Singapore, I am here! ✌🏼”, along with the hashtag #CheckingInIsNotEasy. The groan-inducing (some say cute) images drew close to 30,000 ‘likes’ and 1,000 mostly positive comments.
Ma was the center of attention when he made an appearance earlier that day at the Singapore Book Fair for a book-signing event for his recently-published memoir looking back on his eight years in the presidency from 2008 to 2016.
Asked by reporters if he had any comments on the ongoing Kuomintang presidential primary, Ma remained tight-lipped, saying he was watching the developments “closely”.
Front runners in the race currently include Foxconn boss Terry Gou who announced his candidacy in April, saying the sea godess Matsu appeared to him in a dream asking him to do something good for “people who are suffering” and to support peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Han Kuo-yu, the newly-elected mayor of Kaohsiung who scored a major landslide in what was up till then seen as a fortress for the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also threw his hat into the ring this week, attracting tens of thousands of mostly middle-aged and elderly supporters on Ketagalan Boulevard.
Eric Chu, the Kuomintang’s candidate in the 2016 presidential election was the first party bigwig to announce his candidacy for the top job when he stepped down as mayor of New Taipei City on Christmas.
Completing the crowded field of candidates areChung Ya-chung, a professor at the National Taiwan University;Chou Hsi-wei, a former magistrate of Taipei County, andWang Jin-pyng, a long-serving member of the Legislative Yuan.
Before Ma leaves Singapore on Friday, he will be making visits to the Sun Yat-sen Nanyang Memorial Hall as well as the United Chinese Library which was established by the Kuomintang founder in 1910 to disseminate revolutionary ideas among the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia and to generate support for the Chinese revolution.
Ma’s last two major visits to Singapore took place in 2015, for the state funeral of the city-state’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew in March, and for a landmark meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping which took place in November.