2009年9月28日 星期一

A small world after all

It is now clear, the internet is actually a time machine. It in fact does transcend time and space.

On this 1944/5 map, you can see the Danshui Public Hall - managed by Mr Hirokawa's grandma. A picture of this Hall, previously posted on the net, has led to the discovery that Mr Hirokawa's house was diagonally across the street from Eyedoc's house, which in turn was a stone's throw from Cho-san's house. And the Public Hall and the post office nearby were both built by Cho-san's dad.

All three are Tamsui-lang, born and raised, now residing away from Danshui. All have gone back to visit albeit at different times. And yet, through the net (and the net only), old pictures and/or common memories are exchanged and shared. We have even found that at least two older Danshui-ren were students of Mr Hirokawa's father at Danshui Public School, class of 1939.

Indeed, "it's a small world after all".

There is more: Mr Hirokawa also remembers being treated for stomach ailments by a local medical doctor. And a map, drawn from memory by his father, shows Japanese small shops dotting the whole length of the now Chung Cheng Road. Cho-san also recalls a very popular noodle shop.

2009年9月21日 星期一

Grumman Fighter

by Cho-San

The full-scale air raid on Formosa by the task force of the United States has begun in the morning of October 12, 1944. I was a 6th grader at the Showa elementary school昭和公学校. The first wave of the formations reached Karenkou花蓮港 just after we had finished our late breakfast; so it must be around 9:30 or 10:00AM. Hearing the strange engine sound, I knew immediately that they were here finally. We ran to the shelter at once. For the whole day, the air raid by the waves of Hellcats continued endlessly. Attacked by bombing and machine gun sweepings, the citizens had experienced the fears of the air raid for the first time and what they could do was nothing but to beg for the help from Buddha and kept chanting the prayer.

Around noontime, the impatient people were already hand carrying all they could and started escaping to the countryside by trains. The trains that ran between the gaps of raiding were attacked while stopping at the Keikou Station渓口駅. Many were killed and more were injured by the sweeps of the machine gun fire from the Hellcats. I was not aware of the incident neither had knowledge that my classmate, Chen陳 was in the trains until received an E-mail from other classmate recently. After the attack, Chen successfully escaped to Houlin鳳林 on foot and was saved by a stranger, so ended the unfortunate story happily.

Not knowing the attack on trains, we went to the station while the Americans had finished a day’s work and were enjoying their dinners with favorite steaks. The trains were all fully occupied and we had to climb in through the windows and standing on feet all night long to reach our destination.

We had no way of knowing then that it was the beginning of the long evacuation period that we had to bear through until the end of war, August 15, 1945. We have read many stories written by the authors who are on the victims’ side, but not too many or none at all from attackers’ side. It was a surprise when I read an article in the Air Classic magazine recently. The story was about a pilot who had participated in the campaign of attacking Taiwan. I thought it was a good idea to translate part of the story into Japanese (then to English later) for our classmates so that we can compare the different viewpoints of the participants on both sides.

“Hellcat Ace in a day”, November 2003 issue was the story describing how Charlie Mallory became an Ace in a day. When the Navy came to West Virginia University in order to recruit Aviation Cadets, just few days after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Mallory volunteered at once and finished his training successfully to become a Naval Aviator in January 1943. Mallory was then sent to light carrier USS Monterey as a dive-bomber pilot. He met Gerald Ford who later became the President of the United States. Luckily, he also met Cecil Harris who was a combat veteran with a total of 23 aerial victories. “I credit most of my success as a fighter pilot to the rigorous training of Harris,” Mallory said afterward, “he made me appreciate that I was part of the team.” Later, Mallory was transferred to USS Intrepid as a fighter pilot and left Hawaii on August 16, 1944. It was on September 21 that day Mallory had destroyed 5 Japanese enemy plans while on the mission for photo taking and became an “Ace-in-a-day.”

As one of the 24 high-speed aircraft carriers, Intrepid was commissioned in 1943. She suffered from the torpedo attack the next year and just has finished the repair works at San Francisco, and carrying a full load of Grumman Hellcat F6F-5 when Mallory boarded in Hawaii in August. Intrepid was also called the “untouchable” since she recovered and joined the battle again and again after many Japanese attacks. After serving in the navy for 31 years, she finally retired. Luckily, instead of being scrapped, she was converted as the Air and Sea Museum and now greeting the spectators at New York harbor.

The Grumman fighter F6F was nicknamed the Hellcat when unveiled to the world for the first time in August 1943, with a maximum speed of 380 MPH and equipped with six 13mm cannons. Created as the direct response to the Mitsubishi built Zero-fighter, Hellcat had established the highest kill ratio of 5156/270 at the end of war.

Commanded by John McCain Sr., the grandfather of the defeated presidential candidate, the attack on Formosa continued for 3 days, starting on October 12, 1944. The allocated area for Intrepid was northern Taiwan, the targets were Shinchiku新竹 air base, and the seaplane base located in Tamsui淡水, which happened to be my hometown. I wonder where Mr. Iwamoto 岩本was when Charlie was attacking the seaplane base. I met Mr. Iwamoto in the States years later, and he claimed that he was a Japanese Zero fighter pilot stationed at Tamsui air base.

The followings are condensed from Mallory’s diary: As expected the anti-aircraft fires were heavy. Suddenly, 4 Tojos東條 showed up and started coming behind us. After shaking the Tojos loose, I saw 3 attacking Beatley and Picken. I shot down the one chasing Beatley. Then together we shot the one chasing Picken until Beatley killed it. When we started home, the third one showed up, we chased it all over the northern part of island and finally I got it with the only remaining gun. We met the fourth one on the way home at 10 miles off Karenkou at the sea. We realized he was the best one at once. He flow low from sea to land and escaped to a valley. Beatley and I shot alternatively at the enemy plan until Beatley run out of ammunitions. While I was leading, I knew that he would come up sooner or later and followed him tightly. As expected at the end of valley he did pulling up and exposed in front, and I finished the enemy plane with my last round of ammunition.

A 12 year-old boy who ran for his life from the air raid and a pilot who flew the Hellcat at age 24 have crossed at the same spot once in their life times. It is strange that 64 years later, the boy is retired in California, and so is the Ace who seemed to have retreated to the other side of the States - at least I thought so, but was not sure.

Did not hear from Mr. Mallory since I wrote him on April 15, 2004, I started wondering what appended to him or I might have made a mistake by sending the letter to a wrong address. My question was not answered until last week when I received a voice mail, left by Mr. Mark Pieschke, the chairperson of the AFAA. To my surprise, Mark said that Charlie was invited as a guest speaker for the American Fighter Aces Association Convention 2008 in Moffett federal field in Sunnyvale, CA near S.F. on Veterans Day weekend. He asked if I was interested to participate, and also mentioned that my phone number was from Charlie.

Indeed, Charlie Mallory, the Ace is still very alive and full of zip at his age, and my letter was mailed to the right address. After so many years, my questions were finally answered.

2009年9月13日 星期日

Danshui Golf Club 淡水球埔

This striking picture, showing the entry way to Danshui Golf Club 淡水球埔, is from the "VS de Beausset Collection", donated by the de Beaussets to the Library of National Taiwan University in 2006. Mr de Beausset was a leading figure in US Aid to Taiwan between 1950 and 1957. (See also here.)

The fate of the two ishidoro (石灯籠 stone lanterns) in front of the torii is unclear. They might have been removed and preserved in Danshui 行忠堂 (not 行忠廟) [left, 行忠堂 in the background] - together with other lanterns relocated from Tansui Jinja. The torii had also disappeared.

Danshui Golf Club was established in 1919 on the very site where the barracks of the Hobe (Huwei) Fort were originally located. It was the first golfing facility in Taiwan starting with 六洞球道 with more added later.

[Right: Bank of Taiwan Danshui Branch, opened on Oct 2, 1899.]

The Golf Club was first proposed by the President of the Bank of Taiwan 櫻井欽太郎 and the Chief of Danshui Customs Office 原鶴次郎 with the enthusiastic support of the then Vice Governor General 下村宏. They were able to raise funds, lease the land from the Japanese Army and start construction in Aug, 1918. On June 1 of the following year, 下村 hit the first ball and declared the Club open for business. The opening ceremony, amidst great fanfare, was attended by 10 high officials from the Governor General's Office and 30+ due-paying members. The latter included locals 黃東茂 (五舍), 許丙 and 洪以南.

Needless to say it was an ultra exclusive club catering to the rich and the powerful. Most locals kept a healthy distance except the curious kids. Some kids went there to retrieve wayward golf balls. While others, e.g., 陳清水 and 陳金獅, actually went on to become the first professional golf players during the 1920-30s.

[Left: a view of the Course circa 1920.]

In 1945, near the end of the Pacific War, to stave off a potential invasion by the US, anti-tank trenches were dug all over the Club which rendered the courses totally useless. After the war, at the suggestion of the US Military Assistance Advisory Group, re-building of 18 holes was started in 1952 and the Club gradually returned to its pre-war grandeur. In the further expansion of 1979, 27 holes were planned and construction finished in 1982. It has been one of the 50 premier golf courses in the World ever since.

Today, one can play 18 holes on discount Mondays for a greens fee of NT$ 2,730. The regular club membership fee is still stratospheric, however.

2009年9月9日 星期三

A sliver of Japanese life in Danshui

This is or was the 淡水神社Tansui Jinja built in 1939. Which was dismantled in 1951 as were most of the 420 jinjas in Taiwan. This site was rebuilt as 台北縣忠烈祠 in 1968. The original gate 鳥居torii was torn down and a Chinese style monument-gate牌樓 erected in its place in 1990. And the stone lanterns (around 20 of them) were salvaged and relocated to 淡水鎮行忠堂.

[Left: 昭和14年6月2日台灣日日新報 reporting the celebration of Tansui Jinja dedication. Click to enlarge.]

At the last stage of the Pacific War, 淡水神社 was the site for many public rallies. It was also used to instill patriotism and to prepare high school students (and others) for Japanization. The history of Tam-Kang High School records the following (quoted from here):

"...新的淡水神社位於油車口,供奉天照大神 (日本的黃帝)、明治天皇以及征台的軍神能久親王。海軍墓地在今第一公墓上方,是紀念1895年在淡水港殉國的九名日本海軍,他們的事蹟被視為日本軍魂的象徵,除了例行隆重的祭祀外,並鼓舞學生平時自願去打掃環境。無數次往祭海軍墓地,當全校師生的行列通過淡水街頭時,這支軍容壯盛,訓練有素,精神煥發的隊伍,都讓民眾留下深刻的印象。"

"到 了太乎洋戰爭後,隨著戰況的發展,學校更加強使學生做皇民的信念和決心,每週有板[一世]校長親自主持「必勝鍊成會」,學生也組成「奉公隊」到校外協助民防,救災 演習。到了寒暑假學生還得下鄉參與「勤勞奉仕」,常時的中學生大都前往宜蘭建機場,部份到台北附近築路和煤礦礦坑工作。而淡中較特別的是被分派往水硯頭建 「電探」(雷達) 基地,白日做工,夜宿今水源國小,極為辛苦。到了戰爭末期,日人更將學年由五年縮為四年,以便學生及早投入戰場。隨著戰線的逼近,1945年8月15日,有板校長和學生在淡中聽到昭和天皇的「玉音放送」,得知日本已戰敗無條件投降,此舉也等於宣佈淡江中學日人治校的時代結束。"

The other older jinja in Danshui, 淡水稻荷社 would have been destroyed around the same time as the others, i.e., 1951, leaving only the foundation. Next to it, the 淡水公會堂, occupied by Air Force personnel after 1949, was burned down soon after (but probably not before the destruction of 稻荷社). This explains what had happened to these two buildings.

There were at least two very well-known Japanese artists associated with Danshui: 木下靜涯 (1889-1988) who became a long-time resident, 24 years at 三層厝26番地 (left: a 日盛 by Mr Kinoshita). He specialized in traditional brush-painting and had accepted quite a number of Taiwanese students. And 大久保作次郎 (1890-1973) of Osaka, an oil-painter who spent a few months working out of the 公會堂 and elsewhere in Taiwan (right: 庭の木蔭 by Mr Ookubo).

These sites plus Danshui Golf Course, the Danshui Beach, the Residence of the Customs chief, and the public schools constituted the centers of activities of the Japanese residents of Danshui. After their repatriation in 1945/6, their lives in Danshui did not leave much behind, almost a total blank, in the history books. People's memories, for better or for worse, have survived, but they are gradually fading as well.

There are still some very rare physical reminders in Danshui. The house of one of the mayors of Danshui 多田榮吉, located on 馬偕街19號, is now being preserved (right). It is across the street from the old 淡水公會堂, on the way up to 文化國小Wen-Hua Public School.

Many Danshui-ren still remember this type of Japanese wooden houses, seen mostly in 砲臺埔 area. Another, located near 油車口 (left) was the residence of the then branch manger of the Bank of Taiwan.

Still others also remember their Japanese elementary and high school teachers. The 和楽園 at the 海水浴場 was owned and operated by a very nice Japanese lady. There was also a Japanese midwife who delivered Japanese and local babies alike. These were the known interactions between the Japanese and the locals. It was stand-offish on both sides with a bit of live-and-let-live mixed in, unless enforcement of laws or decrees were involved.

Some who went back to Japan seem to also remember Danshui. A blog worth visiting is 紺碧の海, posted by a Japanese gentleman born in Danshui (in 1940), in which life in Danshui in the 40s is described.

2009年9月6日 星期日

客家人 Hakka in Danshui

Officially, this is 鄞山寺 (left). To the locals, it is simply the 鄧公廟. The deity in residence is actually 定光佛. 定光 and 鄧公 are pronounced the same in Hoklo. So there was no Mr Deng but who's counting. Hakka's own guardian 定光佛 was a high-priest-monk during the Song Dynasty. His original name was 鄭自嚴, a Hoklo who had spent a life-time ministering the 汀州 Hakkas.

This temple, first proposed by 張鳴岡, was built in 1822-23 by the Hakka residents of Danshui (with contribution from other Hakkas in northern Taiwan, particularly 三芝 and 石門), on a parcel of land donated by two Luo羅 brothers, also Hakka. Inside the complex, there was accommodation, known as 汀州會館 (Ting-Chow Meeting Place), for visiting Hakkas.

These Hakkas migrated from Western Fujian, 汀州鄞江. Presumably the Hakkas in Danshui spoke 汀州客家話. Dr George Leslie Mackay must have met and preached to some, yet after 20 years he had never mastered the Hakka language. In fact, he had decided not to learn it because he was convinced that the Hakkas would be assimilated into the general population and the language lost. He might have been right, but only in Danshui. No one seems to recall Hakka being spoken in town in recent years. Of course, when it comes to the mother tongue, all bets are off. The Hakka language elsewhere has survived more or less intact and is enjoying the same Peh-oe-ji revival as the Hoklo these days.

There also have been transient Hakkas. The 500 Hakka Hillmen who arrived in Danshui in September, 1884, did take a very active part in the battle of Fisherman's Wharf. Oddly, no casualties were ever reported. And whether the same 500 men later went on to fight the French in Keelung also remains unclear. It seems that the ones fighting in Danshui were recruited from San-shia area, whereas those in Keelung, from Hsin-Chu. There were probably free to join up in each other's camp anyway.

The Hakkas of course had settled in different parts of Taiwan. On the left is a map made by early Swiss missionaries (date unknown) showing where the Hakkas were (click to enlarge). Danshui was not among the major settlements, however.

It is unknown when the 汀州 Hakkas arrived in Danshui and in what number. Although, like most Hoklo families, the info would have been recorded in Hakka family and clan histories which are usually still accessible. Generically, all Hakkas were from 汀州. Most, however, moved on to other settlements in, e.g., Canton. 汀州 Hakkas were those who had chosen to stay.

In 1688, a Hakka infantry battalion (about 100 men) was dispatched from Guangdong to fight the last of the 明鄭Ming-Cheng (東寧王朝 - Koxinga et al) army in Taiwan. These soldiers stayed on after 4 years of service, who latter moved to Pintung and intermarried with the Pinpuhuan there. In 1721-2, the Hakkas sided with the Qing and had put down a large-scale revolt by the Hoklos. That had precipitated the lasting distrust and animosity. In 1737, large numbers of Hakkas from Guangdong arrived and settled in Miaoli. This was 50 years after the ban on Cantonese migration instituted after the Qing defeated the Ming-Cheng Dynasty. The victorious Qing general cum Ming-Cheng turncoat Shi-Lang施琅 deemed the Cantonese too rebellious to be allowed in. This ban also applied to the Hakkas.

Danshui had its share of ethnic (more accurately gang-related) conflicts during the Qing rule, but all amongst the Hoklo people themselves. The Hakkas had wisely stayed out and become invisible. The French invasion of Danshui actually put a stop to these bloody conflicts when the Hoklos suddenly realized that unity equaled survival.

2009年9月3日 星期四

Pe̍h-ōe-jī 白話字

白話字 (pronounced Peh-oe-ji in Hoklo) is the script of vernacular speech, in contrast to the formal, stylized and far more condensed WenYen Wen 文言文 in Chinese writing. Because the Hoklo spoken language often lacks corresponding Han characters 漢字, one of the ways of writing it is to use phonetics, for example, the Roman alphabet. This, however, never really gained wide acceptance in Taiwan except in the churches.

The Bible used in Danshui Presbyterian Church is printed in Romanized Hoklo, for example.

[Top left]: This is the first church monthly and the first ever newspaper written in Peh-oe-ji published by Rev Thomas Barclay (1849-1935). Barclay, the 5th missionary from the Presbyterian Church of England, arrived in Tainan in 1875 from Glasgow. He oversaw the translation of the Bible into Hoklo using the Poe-oe-ji alphabet - first the New Testament in 1916 and then the Old Testament in 1932. Both are still in use today.

The news monthly headings read as follows:

Taiwan Prefecture-City Church Newspaper
GuanXu Year 17, the 3rd Month
Page 71
and the article title Siau-sit = news or 消息.

The use of Taiwanese dialects方言was discouraged during the Japanese colonial rule, a policy that ironically had continued after Taiwan was returned to China in 1945. In 1957, the government decreed that all preaching must be conducted in Mandarin Chinese. Sin Iok新約, the Romanized Hoklo New Testament was even seized at one point. Political reforms have since reversed the mono-linguistic policy.

Over the years, while the national language policy was quite effectively enforced through the education systems, the ban on the mother tongue was never successful. The Presbyterian Church in Danshui in fact has an uninterrupted history of Hoklo Bible use, for instance.