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Li Kwoh-ting residence now a museum

Li put two single beds together to make a double bed in his bedroom.Taiwan's father of technological development, the late Dr. Kwoh-ting Li’s residence opened to the public yesterday. Located amid the quiet alleys on Taian Street in Taipei, the typical 1930s Japanese style house brings visitors a sense of nostalgia.

Better known as Dr. T. K., Li, Li and his family lived in the house for 3 decades, since he assumed the post of finance minister in 1972, until he past away in 2001. The following year, the house was listed as a municipal historical site.

“Dr. Li wrote a significant page in our history, especially in terms of technological development, economic growth, and foreign affairs,” said Vice President Vincent Siew yesterday at the opening ceremony of the residence.

“He was full of insights. I personally consulted him on the issue of intellectual property when I worked at the Bureau of Foreign Trade in the 1970s, and he guided me to make a decision that proved positive for the nation,” he added.

Siew was among many who were enlightened by Li. Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin also had a close relationship with Li because he was classmate of Li’s son, Li Yung-chang, who also attended the ceremony.

“I used to talk to uncle Li in his office or at his residence, here, every two months. I was so impressed by its furnishings,” said Hau. “They showed how prudent he was, and he read plenty of books and periodicals.”

“He shared his life principles with me, and this influenced my outlook on life. Even now, I would recall his face and intuition whenever I had to make important decisions.”

An anecdote

Li’s residence spreads over an area of 136 square meters, with a living room, a dining room, a bedroom, and two studies. Li used to walk nearly 10,000 steps a day for exercise. Even when his health deteriorated, he made up to 3,000 steps daily.

He lived in an era when the pedometer wasn’t yet invented. So he created his own way of counting the steps, with 10 Chinese chess pieces and three walnuts.

“He started in the bedroom, walked to the doorway, came back, and grabbed a chess piece. When he had taken all ten pieces, he would take a walnut. The exercise ended when he had taken all three walnuts,” said Li’s granddaughter, Margaret Li when she gave a tour of the residence. Now in her twenties, Margaret recalled that Li was a loving grandfather.

“My mom used to make beef stew for grandpa, and he always picked out the beef in the soup and gave them to me,” said Margaret, “he also helped me out with math when I struggled with multiplication.”

“He was an impeccable grandfather.”

Kwoh-ting Li’s Residence is located at No.3, lane 2, Taian Street, Taipei. Visitors get free entry before June 15. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.