Nose-picking lawmaker to shout his last good-bye
TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan's cabinet will soon lose one of its more colorful members who was notorious for sleeping in parliament, shouting at legislators, picking his nose in public and shoving a journalist.
Tu Cheng-sheng, education minister since 2004, will step down next month along with current President Chen Shui-bian.
"According to Eastern tradition and Taiwan culture, you could say that these actions were hard to accept," said Liu Chin-hsu, secretary-general of the National Teachers' Association.
The cabinet of President-elect Ma Ying-jeou is shaping up as a group of technocrats rather than political firebrands.
Tu, 63, a former National Palace Museum director, magazine editor and visiting Harvard University scholar, was filmed sleeping at an October 2007 parliament meeting.
He was filmed deliberately picking his nose in public as a reaction to criticism for dozing off.
Tu also racked up the highest absentee rate of any cabinet member since 2004, the parliament speaker's secretary said.
"He screamed at the legislators a lot," recalled former legislator Joanna Lei.
In August 2007, Tu, often photographed with a glare or a snarl, grabbed a reporter's microphone and pushed a cameraman into a wall, local media reported.