2017年3月5日 星期日

In search of descendants of General Sun and Hunan Braves

A presentation entitled 台灣淡水在地看 清法戰爭 (a local perspective of the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf) was delivered by EyeDoc on March 2 at Harvard YenChing Library 燕京圖書館 to visiting scholars from China. It is hoped that the descendants from General Sun KaiHua孫開華提督 and/or Hunan Braves湖南勇 could be located, through publicity, so that their valiant efforts in defending Tamsui in the 1884 Sino-French War can be properly and officially honored.

2016年6月9日 星期四

Annual Clearwater Master procession

Beware of traffic control, bus lines will be re-routed or even canceled. If coming from Taipei, please do not drive, take the MRT instead. 

Have a great time in Tamsui!

2016年5月25日 星期三

Wrong mountain and river, 1938

A friend posted in facebook this 1938 postcard. Very nice photo indeed except it is not the mountain and river that we Tamsui-lang know of. Not only the mountain profile is entirely wrong, we have never seen corrosion of the mountain to this extent. Plus (1) on the far right, another mountain looms behind while no such mountain exists in Tamsui, (2) the river delta, a prominent landmark, is also gone, and (3) no small fishing sampans in Tamsui River were ever equipped with a sail (only transports with a mid-ship canopy and those from Foochow did).

Even though the caption reads Guyanyin Mountain and Tamsui River, this ain't it.

2016年1月3日 星期日

Tamsui 1960s

The three photos below were taken at the same location (source: Taipics.com) that must be viewed together. A close inspection reveals that they depict Chung-Jian Street 重建街of the 1960s:

Looking to the right with Guan-Yin Mountain looming in the background
Chung-Jian Street is on the left side, barely seen. In the middle of this photo is the Red Castle 紅樓with its flat roof.
Looking straight down Chung-Jian Street

Looking left
This is Chin-Shui Street 清水街, parallel to Chung-Jian Street. In the far background is the Guang-Du 關渡 Gorge, before construction of the Guang-Du Bridge that links Tamsui with Ba-li.

Chung-Jian means re-construction, even though this is the oldest street, once the center of commerce, of Tamsui.

2015年12月25日 星期五

Cheng Zhi-Long honored in Tainan

Source: here
Koxinga's father, Cheng Zhi-long 鄭芝龍 (1604-1661), finally is honored in 鎮門宮. This temple overlooks 鹿耳門 (Lakjemuyse), where Koxinga's fleet sailed through at high tide into Taibay and quickly surrounded Ft Provincia (1661). This tiny temple has two bare-footed Dutchmen as its gate keepers, or door-gods (see a previous post, here).

For almost four hundred years, 鄭芝龍 has been portrayed by historians as a pirate and a traitor, a one-sided erroneous description that has persisted to this day. Within the Cheng Clan, Koxinga's falling out with his father over the loyalty to Ming Emperor was also a factor. In fact, in Tainan, the seat of power of the Ming Cheng Kingdom, memorial to 鄭芝龍 is nowhere to be found.

We now know that 鄭芝龍 was forced to yield, not by the military might of the Qing, but by a great famine at that time when it was no longer possible to maintain a sizable force without confiscating foodstuff from the general public. Not wishing to do that and after a life-time of fighting enemies from within and without China, he was truly tired looking forward to a peaceful resolution. Only he himself was detained at a meeting with Qing officials. And three of his sons and daughter-in-laws were later ordered to Beijing. All were put to death in 1661. After learning the demise of his father and brothers, a crestfallen Koxinga passed away soon after.

In this temple in Tainan, the father finally took his rightful place with his son Konxiga and his wife Lady Weng.

2015年12月9日 星期三

Rennovation in Tamsui

MaZu Temple on Chung Cheng Road
Contributing reader ChoSun is wondering what the green cover over the MaZu Temple is for (above). Well, it is to prevent falling roof tiles from hitting the passersby. Behind the cover, a scaffolding has been erected for construction workers. The project involves resetting roof tiles and more important, straightening out the front part of the temple which is leaning towards the street, in danger of toppling over. This structural damage was from an unexploded 500-lb bomb dropped by an American F6F on Oct 12, 1944, and the impact had shifted the ground.

It also means MaZu herself has finally given the long-sought-for divine permission for the work to proceed.

2015年11月11日 星期三

Tamsui Aboriginals

Source: here
Our friend Dr Ken Hong shares this post 從「馬尼拉手稿」看16世紀的雞籠人與淡水人 by 陳宗仁. This「馬尼拉手稿(Manila Manuscript)」began by describing the journey from the Americas to Manila of Governor General of the Philippines, Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas and his son Luiz Pérez Dasmariñas. It also had a rich documentation of aborigines of East Asia. The stories of the manuscript ended in ca 1590.

The picture above, from the Manuscript, has a headline that reads Tamchuy 淡水. It is framed by local flora and fauna. And an aboriginal couple is depicted in astounding detail. Besides garments and weapon, the female is holding a golden skull, apparently her victim and prized possession, which, according to the Manuscript, commanded respect from tribesmen for her bravery.

Around 1630, Dominican Fr Jacinto Esquivel was preaching in Tamsui area, he noticed the continuing headhunting practice of a nearby tribe, the Kabalan 噶瑪蘭, even after other local tribes had made peace among themselves.

There is no surprise here as the Taiwanese are familiar with the aboriginal head hunting which last into early Japanese rule. What's interesting is the participation of females in beheading the enemies, apparently in battles.

Most intriguing is the town's name 淡水, pronounced Tamchuy in Hoklo. This tiny town of ours was apparently well-known to people in Hokkien even in ca 1590.