(Photo Above: The sea of people that gathered in front of a temple that day)

I was stunned and questioned a bit when I arrived at another temple in Lukang town filled with flags, loudspeakers, and people chanting slogans. No, it was not a religious celebration. Rather it was a media feast for a local politician (and to hype things up, the President of Taiwan was visiting the temple that day).

While Japanese believes in the Sun as the divine power and past rulers have blood lineage to the Sun, Chinese believes in the mandate of heaven, and emperors are born with rights of heaven. With history that spreads the message of faith in the power of the divine ruler, it is not a surprise when politicians in Taiwan wants to be associated with a religion during election times. Often if a politician can get a good fortune reading (Omikuji) from the temples, it can change how the public & news media perceive him/her.

By the time I finished looking around the temple and wanted to leave (due to overcrowding), I realized the police and military has blocked all the roads leading to the temple. No one could get in and out at all!! My stomach started growling, and I really needed to go to bathroom. I tried to find a bathroom, but nope, there was no hope due to the police and crowd. When the President of Taiwan arrived, it was like a gush of strong wind hit the area. Swarms of reporters, supporters, photographers, and police rush towards the temple. I, unwillingly, did get “sucked” into the swirl pool of moving people . Before I realize it, I was pushed by the crowd all the way back inside the temple till a security guy pushed against me saying no one is allowed at the inner altar.

(Photo Above: Police there that day directing traffic)

As soon as the president was inside though, suddenly people started dispersing outside. I hurried my way out of the area, passing by the supporters, the opposition demonstrators, and finally, with a sign of relieve I went to the bathroom (phew~) . My 2 extra hour at the temple was kind of unforgettable I guess.

I understand the historical linkage and the importance of religion it is to the politics in Asia. However, I was questioning whether it was respectful to be loud and shouting at a religious location. I guess this is something I am not use to…