鐵拐武士——新科立委徐中雄

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1993 / 2月

文‧張瓊方 圖‧黃麗梨


在二屆立法委員選舉中,出現一位名不見經傳、雙手持柺杖的候選人。有人說他是「犧牲打」,開票結果,他竟以台中縣第一高票當選。

自稱「跛腳博士」的徐中雄——是首位進入國會殿堂的殘障人士,能高票當選,自有他引人之處。


選後第十天,徐中雄仍在馬不停蹄地謝票。除了宣傳車繞遍整個選區,他還親赴工廠、樁腳、鼎力支持者家中,登門致謝。

一路隨行,見徐中雄所到之處,有人感動、有人訝異、有人欣喜,大家紛紛煮水泡茶歡迎。十天下來,徐中雄雖「看到茶就怕」,卻欣然接受鄉人的好意。當人們衷心恭賀「徐立委」高票當選時,他總是一再地說:「在立法院我叫立法委員,在台中縣我叫阿雄!」

路是「走」出來的

主動義務來協助的台中縣「聲暉協進會」常務理事江俊明表示,徐中雄既無財團援助,也沒有派系支持,一切都是他手持鐵拐一步步「走」出來的。

一如他選舉文宣揭示的:「手撐鐵拐向前行,滿腔熱誠滿腔勤」,徐中雄走遍了台中縣廿一鄉鎮,連梨山都沒放過。因為長時間撐柺杖,腋下淤血,手磨破皮、流血、長繭……,還瘦了六公斤。

話說當初徐中雄是在「全家人都反對」的情況下,執意參選立委的。在家庭會議上,父親問「無財無勢怎麼競選?」;母親則質疑「何苦放棄安穩的工作,勞師動眾地投入複雜的選戰?」;連妻子都斷言他「個性率直、沒有心機,不利從政!」

然而,這位台灣少有的殘障福利哲學博士卻不為所動,「身為一個殘障者才知道健全的社會福利制度有多重要」,「弱勢團體需要專業的代言人」……,徐中雄以「捨我其誰」的決心,和絕不買票的保證,終於獲得家人的支持。

釣青蛙、偷木瓜

除了這次的立委參選,回首過往,從孩提時代的凡事嘗試、隻身出國留學到艱辛的結婚過程,都可以看到徐中雄那種「不服輸」的性格。

卅七歲的徐中雄是台中豐原人。兩歲那年,喪父,又不幸感染了小兒麻痺。六歲時,母親改嫁,然而繼父卻視他如己出,「若不是競選文宣寫出來,豐原街上沒有人知道他爸爸是繼父」,徐媽媽慶幸自己沒有看錯人,但遺憾的是,阿雄的小兒麻痺卻無法彌補。

為了幫助兒子早日能走路,徐媽媽毅然辭去了縣政府的公職,帶著阿雄四處求醫;還自己看書為阿雄做復健,每天馬殺雞,上、下午各兩小時。在葡萄棚下架兩枝竹竿,要阿雄穿著鐵鞋扶著一步步走……。原先像「美人魚」似在地上爬的阿雄,八歲那年終於可以拄柺杖走路。

在家人的照拂與儘量「以平常人待之」的教育方式下,雙腳殘障的阿雄雖然自知與別人不同,卻沒有什麼自卑感。徐媽媽笑說他從小好動,看到人家在玩,柺杖一丟就跟著玩,一天換洗五、六次衣服是常事。阿雄也沒有因為小兒麻痺就少惹些麻煩:釣青蛙、偷摘人家木瓜、掉進豬糞坑堙B偷偷跑去溪奡慦a、拿柺杖跟人打架……樣樣都來。

生性開朗、樂觀的徐中雄說,騎腳踏車、游泳、打乒乓球,都難不倒他。無法參加棒球隊,他就和左鄰右舍的孩子自組球隊,擔任捕手。「別人兩隻腳能走到的地方,我一樣能走到」,走得甚至比常人快的阿雄表示,他還可以撐柺杖在大甲溪的石頭上跳來跳去呢!

殘障的是我,還是社會?

此外,念書對徐中雄而言,也不構成太大負擔。雖然他不算用功、成績也平平,小學畢業後卻是自明道中學、豐原高中至東吳大學,升學途中一路順利。比別人幸運的是,徐中雄的父親是銀行經理,家中沒有經濟上的憂慮,他也因此在成長過程中,沒遭遇其他波折。但大學畢業那年,他碰到長大後第一個重挫,也是他這一生的轉捩點。

「像一般大學生一樣,畢業後我也想找個工作,然後娶妻、生子」,徐中雄表示,三、四個月後,當同學們都紛紛就業了,他仍坐在家堸挾菻獢C最後透過親戚介紹,竟只能到一家紙廠當黑手,學非所用地做了半年沖洗紙漿、撿破爛的工作。

「到底是我沒有能力工作、參與社會,還是這個社會沒有能力接納殘障者?」首次真正在社會上「碰壁」的徐中雄不斷地思考,想不出殘障者錯在那堙H百思不得其解,最後決定暫時放棄就業,赴美深造,看能不能走出一條較開闊的路。

「阿雄的外婆直罵我殘忍,但我為了他的將來,就算不放心,也不能阻止他」,徐媽媽感嘆地說,阿雄出國那天,他外婆躲在樓上哭不敢下樓,直到大夥兒送機回來,她還在哭……

出國找希望

應家人要求,徐中雄先念了半年「對將來求職較有利」的MBA,後因不符興趣,轉念特殊教育,專攻多重障礙和重度殘障。念了一年多,開始實習時卻遇到了麻煩,徐中雄的實習對象是兩個美籍的腦性麻痺患者。「他們一個十三歲、一個十四歲,個兒都比我高大。我每天要替他們餵飯、換尿布、擦屁股,抱他們上床,體力根本無法負荷。」徐中雄當時深受打擊,只覺得滿腔熱血,似乎又要化為烏有。

在指導教授的幫忙下,徐中雄勉強念完碩士,攻讀博士時則改念殘障福利。這時他才發現,一般人以為「殘障福利」就是「特殊教育」其實是錯誤的觀念。原來殘障福利包括了殘障人士的就學、就醫、就業和就養,實際上範圍很廣,特殊教育只是其中一小部分而已。

做朋友可以,丈夫不行!

在北科羅拉多大學修博士期間,徐中雄念書之外行有餘力,參加不少活動,還被選任中國同學會會長。他熱心地當司機、翻譯、接待、夥伕……,送往迎來,什麼都做。他的付出和熱情吸引了兩位校友的注意,一位是現任大陸委員會主委黃昆輝,另一位是貌美的邱秀月。前者在徐中雄畢業前就為他安排合意的工作;後者則在克服許多障礙後,成了他的妻子。

在邱秀月眼堙A徐中雄雖然生理上有缺陷,但心理上卻比一般人更健康。「他樂觀、熱心助人、體貼、有毅力,是一個可以信賴、依靠的人」,邱秀月說,她的父母原先也很喜歡他,但知道倆人的感情後,卻強烈反對。

朋友異樣的眼光,父母以死相逼的阻撓,並不能動搖邱秀月的心。然而,他們的感情卻很難獲得祝福,在不得已的情況下,向來得寵的邱秀月瞞著父母、親友,嫁給了徐中雄。直到婚後一年多,產下一子,才漸漸取得了父母諒解。

婚後幸福美滿,已經有三個兒子的徐中雄,回首這段坎坷的結婚過程,仍不免要感嘆:「一樣是情字這條路,別人走來輕鬆,我卻走得艱苦!」

跛腳博士學成歸國

為了發揮所學,留學七年二個月的徐中雄連畢業典禮都沒參加,博士論文口試的第二天,就收拾行囊回台灣。美國的社會福利機構以月薪六千美金的高薪聘他,他一心只想回台灣。理由是:美國殘障福利專家多得是,但台灣卻少有這方面的專才。

學成歸國,徐中雄清楚地知道,國外的東西不一定適用台灣,要避免成為象牙塔堛瑣ヰ戔M家,他選擇深入基層服務。擔任省政府社會處專員時,徐中雄負責殘障福利法修正案實施細則的評估研究。在一年期間堙A他自己開車跑了六萬四千公里,到全省五十多家立案的殘障機構,實際去視察和了解。

「國內的殘障機構水準良莠不齊」,徐中雄指出,其中不乏只會作宣傳,藉以營利的機構。加上經費審核、發放的標準不夠客觀,錢常常到不了真正需要的人手上。以桃園一家殘障機構為例,三、四百人獲得極差的照顧,但該機構獲得的補助款卻最多。而一些立意良善的機構,多半空有熱情,但是缺少專業知識,雖然他極力想幫助,卻又於法無據。徐中雄表示,由於權責有限 ,種種缺失和不合理的現象,他都只能「看在眼堙B記在心裡」,不太使得出力。

轉任台灣省中等學校教師研習會副研究員後,他也有機會接受內政部委託,參與法令的研擬。然而殘障福利卻歸屬不同部門:就學屬教育部門,就醫是衛生部門,就業是社政、勞政部門,就養是社政部門。

「各部門都只想解決自己今天的問題」,徐中雄直言,這種「分工不合作」的現象,嚴重影響殘障福利的推動。「今天就算有完備的法律,沒有跨部會的行政部門,依然無法做事」,他感嘆地說。

至此徐中雄才醒悟,唯有參與立法,才能將理念付諸實行,而不讓任何人從中打折扣。於是他心中有了參選立法委員的念頭。

不買票選不上?

然而選舉卻是一場智力、體力、財力的大競賽。

「原以為選舉是大碗喝酒、大口吃肉」,助選者江俊明說:「沒想到三個月下來,一滴酒沒沾到、天天吃便當。」而邱秀月則常忙到一整天「忘了吃東西」。

比起身體的辛勞,更令人難以招架的是惡意中傷和冷言嘲諷。有人嚷嚷:「徐中雄去國會幹嘛?撐著柺杖怎麼打架?恐怕性命都難保!」有人揚言:「不買票絕對選不上!」還有人乾脆說:「徐中雄跛腳是假的!」

所幸鼓勵還是比打擊多,許多殘障團體紛紛義務幫形象清新、訴求明確的他拉票。也有人主動來當義工,殘障團體的三輪摩托車遊行隊伍,光一天就跑了一百多公里;一位殘障者家長,跪地請求徐中雄一定要選上;甚至有人帶著房地契、身分證、印章,要他收下,當做競選經費,而那是那位熱心人士僅有的一棟房子……。

這些力量推著徐中雄不斷向前,「我不知道自己的票源在那堙A只是不斷地跑,慢慢的,人氣就旺了起來」,徐中雄表示。

雖然徐中雄身邊不乏協助者,但沒有一個有選舉經驗。競選總部亂成一團,連總幹事都沒有。當選後,江俊明送了一幅打趣的對聯給徐中雄,「亂到最高點,心中有秩序」橫批是——「第一高票」。

一張選票一份期許

選前不知票源在那堙A當選後更不知票從那堥荂C以潭子為例,當初預估可以拿三千多票,卻開出了七千多票。在派系分明的台中縣,既非紅派、也非黑派的徐中雄可以突破派系,打破金錢攻勢,真是有點「不可思議」。

徐中雄相信其中有些是同情票。但是,「柺杖不是要拐人同情」,徐中雄指出,自稱「跛腳博士」,一方面表示自己已坦然接受這個狀況,另一方面也希望能以專業知識帶給更多殘障者信心,走出自卑、走入社會。

徐中雄當選,對他抱以深切期望的人比他更興奮。而徐中雄除了欣慰不負眾望之外,最大的感觸是「肩頭的責任更重了」。「錢債易償,情債難還,選民投給我的每一票,都是一份情,一份期許」,徐中雄表示,未來他要用政績來償還,一天都不敢懈怠。

推動社會福利將是徐中雄的重點工作。他表示,進入立法院後的首要之務是,督促政府成立社會福利專責機構;其次是要全面地增加社會福利經費,並監督政府把錢用在刀口上。接著他還要將攸關人民福利的民生法案瀏覽過,加以研究……。

未來幾年,立法院將出現一位「鐵拐武士」。他要如何實現理想?會交出一張什麼樣的成績單?一切才剛開始。

〔圖片說明〕

P.44

選舉結束了,對徐中雄而言,一切才剛開始。

P.45

競選總部成立當天,殘障團體紛紛前來加油打氣,還有許多人自願擔任義工,讓徐中雄夫婦士氣為之一振。(徐中雄提供)

P.46

宣傳車謝票尚不足表達謝意,徐中雄以登門致謝來表達衷心的感激。

P.47

徐中雄經常到各殘障機構走動,圖為他到台中大雅鄉的信望愛啟能中心探視智障朋友。

P.48

徐中雄留美期間相當活躍,被選任為北科羅拉多大學中國同學會會長。(徐中雄提供)

P.49

重視家庭生活的徐中雄,自參選以來,每天早出晚歸,已經很久沒有時間享受天倫之樂了。

P.50

踽踽獨行的他並不寂寞,但他也不迷戀歡呼與掌聲。一旦後繼有人,徐中雄願意欣然引退。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

Crutched Crusader--New Legislator Eric Shyu

Chang Chung-fang /photos courtesy of Huang Li-li /tr. by Phil Newell

During the recent elections for the Legislative Yuan, there appeared one unknown candidate clutching crutches. Some people said that he was "cannon fodder." But when the ballots were counted, he had the highest number of votes in Taichung County.

Eric Shyu, who calls himself the "hobbled Ph.D.," is the first handicapped person ever to enter the Legislative Yuan. That he was able to win with the highest number of votes is even more intriguing.


Ten days after the election, and Eric Shyu is still running himself ragged thanking people for their votes. Besides making the rounds of the constituency in a sound truck, he even visited factories and the homes of neighborhood leaders and key supporters to express his gratitude in person.

All along the route, everywhere he went, some people were moved, others startled, and others delighted. Everyone rushed to make tea to make him feel welcome. After ten days, though Shyu confesses to now being "frightened at the sight of tea," he is very happy to accept the good will of the county residents. When people sincerely congratulated "Legislator Shyu" for winning with the highest number of votes, he would always reply, "I'm called Legislator Shyu in the Legislative Yuan, but in Taichung County my name is Eric."

Step by step:

Chiang Chun-ming, director of the Taichung County Sheng Hui Association, who stepped forward to work as a volunteer, states that since Shyu had no corporate backing, and no support from local factions, everything he got was achieved, crutches in hand, "step by step."

As his campaign brochure proclaimed, "Walking forward, crutches in hand, full of passion, full of dedication," Shyu walked his way through each one of Taichung County's 21 urban and rural townships, not even missing remote, mountainous Lishan. He held his crutches for so long that his armpits began to bleed, his hands blistered, ruptured, bled, and formed callouses, and he lost six kilograms as well.

The fact of the matter is that at first Shyu had to persist in running for parliament against the opposition of his entire family. At a family meeting, his father asked, "With no money and no influence, how can you run for office?" His mother wondered why he would "give up a safe and stable job to exhaust yourself getting involved in those shady elections." Even his wife pronounced that "having a straightforward personality and not being opportunistic are not advantages when it comes to politics."

Nevertheless, this man who holds a doctorate in the philosophy of social policy for the handicapped--a rarity in Taiwan--did not waver. "It is precisely because I am handicapped that I understand just how important a sound social welfare system is." "Disadvantaged groups need a specialist spokesperson." With a determination based on the idea "if I don't do it, who will?" and with a commitment not to engage in vote-buying, he finally won the support of his family.

Catching frogs, stealing papayas:

Going back even beyond the election, one can see Shyu's characteristic "unwillingness to admit defeat" from his efforts as a child to try everything, to his solo trip to study abroad to his challenging process of courtship and marriage.

Shyu, now 37, is from Fengyuan in Taichung. At two he lost his natural father, and also came down with poliomyelitis. When he was six, his mother remarried; fortunately his father accepted Eric as if he were his own son, so that "if it hadn't been brought up in the campaign material, nobody on Fengyuan Street would have ever known that he was his stepfather." Of course Mother Shyu was delighted at having picked the right guy, but, regrettably, this still couldn't improve little Eric's polio.

In order to help her son learn to walk as early as possible, Mother Shyu suddenly quit her job in the county government. She brought him everywhere for treatment, read up on her own about rehabilitation, and gave him two hours of massage every morning and every afternoon. She put two bamboo poles across a grapevine trellis, getting Eric to walk step by step with the help of steel leg braces. By eight, the child that had crawled along the floor like a "mermaid" was finally walking with the aid of crutches.

Given his family's assistance and their educational method of "treating him as much like a fully healthy person as possible," although the hobbled Shyu knew that he was different from the other kids, he had no sense of inferiority. Mother Shyu laughs that he has been restless ever since he was small. When he saw others playing he would grab his crutches and play along, and it was not unusual to have to change and wash his clothes five or six times in a day. Young Eric also didn't get into any less mischief because of his polio. He did everything: fishing for frogs, stealing papayas, falling into the pig trough, sneaking off to the river to swim, grabbing his crutches to scuffle with somebody . . .

The open and optimistic Shyu says that riding a bike, swimming, or playing ping pong were never too difficult to learn. Unable to join an organized baseball team, he got together the kids in the neighborhood to form a team of their own; he played catcher. "Anywhere someone with two legs could go, I could go too," says Shyu, who walks even faster than an ordinary person. He could even use his crutches to play on the rocks around Tachia River.

Is it me who's handicapped, or society?

Further, schoolwork never was much of a burden to Shyu. Although he could not have been considered studious, and his grades were only so-so, his passage from primary school to the Mingtao Middle School to Fengyuan High School to Soochow University was smooth sailing all the way. One thing that made him luckier than many others was that his stepfather was a banker, so the family had no financial worries, and thus he met no other major trials in the process of growing up. But the year he graduated from university was his first shock, and a turning point in his life.

"Like all college students, after graduation I wanted to find a job, get married, have a family," relates Shyu. But three or four months down the road, when his classmates had found employment, Shyu was stuck at home feeling increasingly anxious.

Finally, he could only find a job through relatives in a paper factory, working for half a year, completely divorced from what he had studied in school, washing pulp and picking out defective paper.

"Was it really that I didn't have the ability to work and fit into society, or that this society did not have the ability to accept the handicapped?" Having "run into a wall" for the first time in society, Shyu continually reflected, but couldn't figure out what it was that was supposed to be wrong with the disabled. Unable to find an explanation, he finally opted to give up finding a job for the time being, and go to the US for further study, to see whether or not he might be able to find a more open road.

"Eric's grandmother chastised me for being cruel, but I was worried about his future, and anyway couldn't stop him," sighs Mother Shyu. The day Eric left the country, his grandmother kept herself upstairs crying, and when his escort got back from sending him off at the airport, his grandma was still in tears . . . .

Looking for hope in a distant land:

Because his family had requested it, Shyu first spent half a year studying for an MBA, which "would be better for finding a job in the future." But because it didn't suit his interests, he switched to Special Education, specializing in the severely and multiple handicapped. After studying for a year, he ran into trouble after beginning his practical. The subjects of his practical were two American victims of cerebral palsy. "One was 13, one was 14, and both were taller than me. Every day I had to feed them, change their diapers, clean their behinds, and put them to bed. I didn't have enough physical strength to handle it." Shyu felt this was a serious blow, as his original enthusiasm was fast ebbing away.

With the help of his adviser, Shyu reluctantly completed his MA, but decided to switch to handicapped welfare for his Ph.D. It was only then that he discovered that the idea that most people have that "handicapped welfare" is just "special education" is in fact erroneous. Indeed, handicapped policy has always included education, medical care, employment, and special care for the disabled; special education is just a small part.

Friends, OK, but not for a husband!

While studying for his doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado, Shyu was highly active outside his studies. He participated in many activities, and was even elected president of the Chinese Students' Association. He enthusiastically served as chauffeur, interpreter, host, kitchen helper. . . running all over, a hand in everything. His commitment and enthusiasm attracted the attention of two alumni. One was Huang Kun-huei, currently director of the Mainland Affairs Council, the other was the lovely Sherry Chiu. The former helped Shyu arrange for a suitable post even before his graduation, while the latter, after overcoming many obstacles, became his wife.

In Sherry Chiu's eyes, although Shyu has certain physical problems, psychologically he is much healthier than most people. "He is optimistic, always ready to help others, thoughtful, and determined. He is a person you can trust, you can rely on," says Chiu. Her parents also liked him at first. But when they found out about the emotional tie between the two, they were intensely opposed.

Strange looks from friends and the bitter-end resistance of her parents by no means caused Chiu's heart to waver. But still it was hard for them to win approval for their love. With no other choice, Chiu, who had always been pampered at home, went behind her parents and friends and married Eric. It was only after they had been married a year, and had a son, that they began to slowly win the understanding of the bride's family.

For Shyu, whose married life has been blissful and who now has three sons, looking back over the process of getting married he can't help but sigh, "Other people get to walk this road so easily, but it's been very arduous for me."

The hobbled Ph.D. returns home:

In order to put what he learned to good use, Shyu, after studying overseas for seven years and two months, didn't even hang around for the graduation ceremony, but packed his bags the day after his dissertation defense and headed off to Taiwan. A US social welfare agency offered to hire him at US$72,000 a year, but his heart was set on Taiwan. The reason: There are lots of specialists in handicapped social policy in the US, but Taiwan really lacks talent in this area.

Returning home after completing his studies, Shyu clearly understood that foreign ideas are not necessarily suitable for Taiwan. In order to avoid being stuck in the ivory tower, he chose to enter base level service. As a staff person in the Department of Social Affairs of the provincial government, Shyu was responsible for studying and evaluating the specific implementation of welfare laws for the disabled. In his year there, he drove his car 64,000 kilometers, visiting the more than 50 licensed handicapped organizations on the island to understand the situation on the ground.

"Standards are very mixed at domestic agencies for the handicapped," he points out. Among them are some that only know how to advertise, that are run for profit. The supervision of their finances is less than independent, so that the money often doesn't go to those who really need it. Taking one such organization in Taoyuan as an example, its 300-400 patients receive extremely poor treatment, but it receives the most in subsidies. Some well-intended groups have nothing but enthusiasm, and lack specialized knowledge. Although Shyu really wants to help, there is no legal basis for him to do so. As he tells it, because his responsibilities and powers are limited, he can only "observe with my eyes and remember with my heart" all kinds of oversights and unreasonable conditions, but can't really do anything about them.

After switching professions to become an associate researcher at the Taiwan Province Middle School Teachers' Research Association, he had an opportunity to accept a commission from the Ministry of the Interior to participate in the research and drafting of laws and regulations. However, it turns out that welfare for the disabled comes under the jurisdiction of many different agencies: education under the school authorities, medical care under the health agencies, employment under labor bureaucracies, and special care under social welfare agencies.

"Each department only thinks of resolving the problems they face today," says Shyu. This "uncooperative division of labor" severely affects implementation of welfare for the disabled. "Even if today there were a complete set of laws on the books, without some overarching administrative agency, it would be just as impossible to do anything as it is now," he laments.

It was only at this point that Shyu realized that he could only put his ideals into effect by participating in the legislative process, without allowing anyone to short-circuit things. Thus he came up with the idea of running for legislator.

You can't win if you don't buy votes?

But an election is a contest of intelligence, physical durability, and finances.

"I always thought an election would mean big glasses of champagne and banquets," recalls campaign assistant Chiang Chun-ming. "I never expected that over three months I wouldn't touch a drop, and would be eating take-out boxed lunches every day." And Sherry Chiu was often so busy that "I would forget to eat for a whole day."

Even more trying than the physical exhaustion were the malicious, hurtful comments and cold hearted ridicule. One person shouted, "What do you think you're going to do in the Legislative Yuan? How are you going to be able to fight it out with crutches? It'll be hard to even protect your own life!" Others said, "You'll never get elected if you don't pay for your votes." Some even went so far as "Shyu is faking those bad legs!"

Fortunately, there were more people who were encouraging than abusive. Many organizations for the disabled rushed to help this candidate with the clean image and the clear principles. Some people came forward to volunteer; the three-wheeled motorcycle brigade of handicapped groups covered more than 100 kilometers in a single day; and one father of a handicapped child knelt on the ground, appealing to passers-by that Shyu just had to win. One person even brought the title to their home, their ID, and their name chop, and wanted to turn them over to Shyu so he could use the house to cover campaign expenses--and that was the only place that that person has.

With this kind of support pushing Shyu forward, "I didn't know where my voting base was supposed to be, but just kept moving, and slowly people's enthusiasm began to grow," he says.

Although Shyu did not lack for helpers at all sides, none of them had election experience. The campaign headquarters was chaotic, without even a director. After the victory, Chiang Chun-ming presented Shyu with a humorous couplet: "Chaos to the highest point, order in the heart." The matching calligraphy across the top read, "Highest number of votes."

Each vote another expectation:

They didn't know where the votes were supposed to come from before the election, and knew even less about where they came from afterwards. Taking Tantzu for example, it was estimated that Shyu could hope for about 3,000 votes there, but when the slips were counted there were 7,000-plus. In Taichung County, where local political factions are clear-cut and strong, it was really incredible that Shyu, belonging to neither the "Red Faction" nor the "Black Faction," could break through the factions and resist the onslaught of financially well-off candidates.

Shyu is convinced that some of these were "sympathy votes." But "crutches aren't for propping up others' sympathy," he points out. Calling himself the "hobbled Ph.D." shows that he had already accepted his situation, but also shows that he hopes to use his specialized knowledge to give even more disabled people hope, so they can escape from a sense of inferiority and assimilate into society.

Shyu's victory made those who placed their hopes in him even more excited than Shyu himself. Besides being happy that he did not let people down, Shyu's most significant feeling was, "the responsibility on my shoulders is even greater." "It's easy to repay a debt of money, hard to repay a debt of gratitude. With each vote the people gave me, they gave me one part sentiment and one part expectation," explains Shyu. In the future, he wants to repay them with legislative achievements, and he doesn't dare rest for a day.

Promoting social welfare is Shyu's central task. He says that the first thing he wants to do after entering the Legislative Yuan is to see to it that the government sets up a specialized agency for social policy. The second is to promote a comprehensive increase in spending on social welfare, and to oversee the government so that it puts the money where it is needed most. After that he wants to review and study the laws on the people's livelihood. . . .

Over the next several years, there's going to be a "warrior on crutches" in the Legislative Yuan. How will he get his ideals into practice? What kind of report card will he bring home to his constituents? It's all just beginning.

[Picture Caption]

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For Shyu, the end of the election marks just the beginning.

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The day the campaign headquarters was set up, advocacy groups for the handicapped came to cheer Shyu on. Many people also volunteered to work, give Shyu and his wife a big morale boost. (photo courtesy Eric Shyu)

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Just having a truck circulating to broadcast "Thank You" to supporters was not enough; Shyu personally visited homes to express thanks to show the sincerity of his gratitude.

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Shyu often goes to agencies for the disabled to walk around. The photo shows a recent visit to mentally handicapped firends at a center in Taya Rural Township in Taichung.

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Shyu was very active as a student in the US, even being elected head of the Chineses students' association at the University of Northern Colorado. (photo courtesy of Eric Shyu)

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Shyu, who places great emphasis on his family life, has been out the door early and home late ever since the election, and hasn't had the chance to enjoy his family in a long time.

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He's by no means lonely, but neither is he entranced by popularity and applause. When someone comes along to take his place, Shyu will readily step back.

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