2012年12月30日 星期日

Happy New Year

And a Prosperous 2013 to All! 
Sunset in Tamsui, courtesy of Christina. It is a toasty* 7.5C in Tamsui today. Please come and visit. 
*Relatively speaking of course, here is Boston, 30F now, by Thursday morning, 15F.

2012年12月6日 星期四

Hoklo in Western literature - 1843

The above is excerpted from The Baptist Missionary Magazine, vol 23, p 278, 1843, part of the journal of Rev Roberts who was then preaching in Hongkong

"16. Took my teacher, Wong, and went on a family visiting tour. The first family visited spoke the Hoklo dialect. The assistant not being with us, we could but partially understand each other..."

And in the next paragraph: "At a later hour, in company with the assistant, Mr. Young, and Wong, my teacher, visited Titam village, and a family there, who speak the Hoklo dialect; which is nearly the same as Tiéchiú, which the assistant speaks."

These appear the first mentions of Hoklo in the Western literature. Tiéchiú = 潮州話, which is indeed another form of Hoklo.

The entire volume can be found in Google Books here: https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=4gHPAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&output=reader&authuser=0&hl=en&pg=GBS.PP1

Hoklo [河洛話], officially the Min-Nan [閩南語], is the primary language of most Taiwanese. 閩南 refers to Southern Fujian where the ancestors of most Taiwanese migrated from. The term Min-Nan has been used as a reminder of its Chinese origin. Outside of Taiwan, Hoklo is also known as Hokkien [福建話], spoken by 華人 (residents of Chinese origin) predominantly in the Philippines and SE Asia that includes Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

A language becomes extinct only because of disuse and replacement, e.g., the Manchurian language, or simply because no one is left to speak it. There is a long list of dead languages, none through banning by decree, however. The latter has been tried in Taiwan, most recently in 1946. Today, Taiwanese speak not only Hoklo but also Taiwanized Mandarin Chinese, or 台灣國語, that borrows liberally from Pekingese and other dialects from China, English, and Japanese.

2012年11月30日 星期五

Vandalism in Keelung

[A memorial built in Oct 1909 in honor of the French war-dead during the Sino-French War - inscription in Kanji on the base reads: 西元一千八百八十四年及五年佛清之役,葬佛軍將卒戰死者於此。本年重修建立紀念碑以傳後世。西曆一千九百九年十月立]

  [ici reposent officiers soldats et marins Francais decedes a kelung 1884-1885 - "Here lie French officers, soldiers, and marines who perished in Keelung, 1884-1885"]

We are disturbed to see a recent news report [UDN 2012.11.29 11:20 pm]:

基隆市定古蹟「清法戰爭紀念園區」裡頭的6座墓碑20日遭破壞推倒。警方清查路口監視器及公車行車記錄器畫面,發現有毒品前科的38 歲江姓男子涉嫌重大。Six headstones in the Sino-French War Memorial Garden in Keelung [located at the intersection of Chung Cheng Road and Tung Hai Street基隆市中正區中正路與東海街交叉路口] were pushed over on the 20th. The police, after examining surveillance videos, have found that a 38-year-old Mr Jiang, with prior drug abuse records, the prime suspect.
The police arrested Mr Jiang in the afternoon of the 29th. He admitted vandalizing the headstones claiming that the long ignored lonely spirits made him do it and that he was simply trying to return everything to Nature. Mr Jiang was charged with violation of the heritage preservation law and transferred to Keelung DA office for further prosecution.

Another UDN report on 11/23/2012 stated that

Representatives of the French Association at Taiwan have visited the vandalized site to survey the damages. The Cultural Bureau plans to restore the headstones to their original state without erecting new ones. A contractor has been contacted. The cost is estimated to be under NT$100,000. And it is expected that the restoration will be completed post-haste.

只有懦夫才會找已往生的人麻煩. Repose en paix, messieurs.

Additional note: the same had happened in 1885 albeit under different circumstances, see a previous post: http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2011/05/fraters-report-on-july-1-1885.html

Briefly, British Consul Alexander Frater reported that "Shortly after the evacuation of Kelung by the French, their cemetery was attacked during the night, and the monuments and wooden crosses were thrown down. Happening to see Liu Ming-ch'uan on the 14th instant, I spoke to him about the outrage and said the French would be sure to be very angry if they heard of it. I advised that he should cause repairs to be made. He replied that he had been told of the occurrence, and had given orders for the cutting in stone of a protective proclamation, a copy of which he showed to me. He added that he had already ordered the tombstones to be put up again, and asked whether I had not heard that his orders had been carried out, to which I could only reply that I had not. The repairs were begun only on the 18th, soldiers being employed for the purpose; but the tombstones were thrown down again during the night. I was in Kelung on the 26th and 27th and visited the Cemetery. The proclamation cut in stone was not there, nor was it on the spot on paper. Two or three of the monuments had been fairly handsome ones and it was sad to see the top portions of them lying broken off. Many of the wooden crosses had been removed, and thin bamboo ones put in their place." 

2012年11月17日 星期六

Tamsui - 1975

Contributor ChoSan took these in 1975 when he re-visited Tamsui:

Whatever works when it rains - taken near MaZu Temple

A free ride home after school

Some time on Nov 3, 2012, the now 淡水區 (District of Tamsui) quietly reached a milestone. That is, its population has finally grown to 150,000. In the old days, this would have elevated Tamsui from a 鎮 (township) to a 市 (city), a cause for celebration. Tamsui has indeed come a long way. A census report on June 1, 1939, showed that the grand total of the population of Tamsui was a mere 9,517, a time when everybody literally knew everybody. Sadly or happily, depending on your perspective, now as one of the 29 Districts of 新北市 (New Taipei City), Tamsui's small-town identity is forever gone.

2012年11月9日 星期五

Coming home - Part 6 Meet-up

歸宗 - returning to the roots (Nov 6, 2012)

Update: A Koxinga 金身 will be sent from the Cheng Family Temple in Tainan to replace the one lost from the Jelutong Koxinga Temple in 1910-20:

2012年11月2日 星期五

Coming home - Part 6

This seemingly ordinary dragon table is actually 136 years old. The horizontal inscription 開山聖王 is a more formal title than 開山王 that again refers to Koxinga. The vertical inscription on the right side reads 光緒丁丑年 (i.e., 1876) - when it was dedicated, and the left side the donor's name, a Wang ? Shan (王?山, the middle name is not readable). The table was installed during a period when the Koxinga statue was the only deity in the temple.

After 192 years of being on its own, unguided yet never strayed from its origin, it is now time for the Koxinga Temple in Jelutong to link up with the original Koxinga Temple 鄭成功祖廟Cheng Family Temple in Tainan. Unlike 延平郡王祠, which was a Qing installation, the Cheng Family Temple was built by Koxinga's son and heir, 鄭經Cheng Jing.

Principal overseer Mr J Lim will travel from Penang, Malaysia, to Taiwan, and on Nov 6 to pay a courtesy visit to the Cheng Family Temple in Tainan. A delegation from Penenag is also being organized and its members will participate in the celebration of 鄭成功開台紀念日 on April 29, 2013.

His Highness will no doubt continue to look after those who tough it out and honor him throughout the ages, be they residents of Taiwan or the distant Malaysia, they are all members of the extended 東寧Tung-Ning Cheng Family.

To our brethrens in Penang: Welcome home!

2012年11月1日 星期四

Coming home - Part 5 哪吒

From the outside, the most prominent feature of the Jelutong Koxinga Temple is the five martial flags planted on the roof. This is a tradition held over from since the temple was built and yet no one knows what they meant.

Until now.

These 5 triangular banners each has a surname in the center:
These flags represent the five divine battalions led by the central battalion commander (Li) 哪吒NaZa. In other words, although never realized before, NaZa has always been present in the Koxinga Temple in Jelutong. The five battalions are 東營 (East Battalion); 南營 (South); 西營 (West); 北營 (North); and 中營 (Central), and the respective flag colors are 青 (green); 紅 (red); 白 (white); 黑 (black); and 黃 (yellow), and the commanders' names, 張(基清); 蕭(其明); 劉(武秀); 連(忠宮); and 李(哪吒).

This is in fact the 五營信仰 (the 5-batallion belief), still common in southern Taiwan. Even though it is not known when the belief first started, in view of the central role of NaZa, it appears to have been part of the NaZa worship by the Koxinga soldiers.

NaZa哪吒 is a Taoist god worshipped primarily in Taiwan as 三太子 [the Third Prince]. The statue of NaZa is seen in almost all Koxinga temples in Taiwan. This practice can be traced back to the Ming-Cheng soldiers. Where they had settled, working in the field tilling the land, small 三太子 temples were also built.

NaZa was a mischievous youth and one of his deeds eventually got him into big trouble with the East Sea Dragon King for accidentally killing the latter’s son. In order not to cause problems for his parents, he carved up himself and returned the muscles to his mother and bones to his father, thereby paying the debt of birth in full. He was subsequently given a second lease on life by Buddha. NaZa was mentioned in many ancient popular Chinese texts, often described as having unusual power in defeating evil forces. And because he rode on wheels of wind and fire, NaZa has been revered as a guardian angel for those in transportation businesses.

There was no historical account on why the Ming-Cheng soldiers had chosen NaZa as their guardian deity, perhaps as a sorrowful reminder that Koxinga, just like NaZa, was not only estranged from his father but also was no longer cared for by his parents. In any case, it is historically accurate to see NaZa in the Koxinga Temple in Jelutong.

2012年10月31日 星期三

Coming home - Part 5 大伯公

The worship of 大伯公, literally Granduncle, is unique to Chinese immigrant communities throughout SE Asia. There are a number of such temples in Penang alone. Below is the gateway to the oldest one, dating back to 1799, located in Tanjong Tokong珠海嶼:

The temple itself is maintained jointly by 5 Hakka clans as indicated by the sign atop the temple office:

And who was this Granduncle? A multiple-language memorial plaque clearly shows that the deity in residence is actually a trio, Zhang Li張理, Qiu Zhao-jing丘兆進, and Ma Fu-chun馬福春. They first settled in Tanjong Tokong in the mid-1700s,  and were honored as 大伯公 after their death. In other words, they were the ancestors of the Hakka immigrants to Penang. This is actually a clan memorial, rather than a Taoist, temple.

In contrast, the 大伯公 in the 開山王大伯公廟 is the Earth/Village God, known in Taiwan and China as 土地公, with a formal title of 福德正神. The banners inside the temple clearly indicates the true identity:

Combining the four characters from top down in the two banners, it reads: 開山王廟福德正神. The obvious conclusion is that this 大伯公 was not an ancestor as the others in Penang, but a more traditional 土地公. Normally, an earth god, only a minor deity, cannot share the same altar with a king. Why was the exception in the Jelutong temple?

Here the story gets a bit complicated and is in part somewhat supernatural.

In ca 1910-20, some businessman "from the north (probably Siam)", asked to "borrow" the Koxinga statue to be honored in wherever he came from. This was a common practice at that time. Not suspecting any malicious intents, the Jelutong temple overseers had generously agreed. And that was the last time they saw the statue. Since a temple cannot be without a deity, in semi-panic, the idea of inviting a 大伯公 in, emerged. And since there was no appropriate ancestors to choose from because Koxinga was the one, the earth god would have to be a stand-in. For the next several decades, the temple became known as the Koxinga-earth god temple. That is until 1991 when Koxinga, through a spiritual medium, had "asked" to return to the temple. And the followers immediately complied. His Highness had very specific description of a statue plus another of NaZa, both to be commissioned and fashioned in Hokkien, China. And amidst great fanfare, Koxinga finally came back to Jelutong.

2012年10月30日 星期二

Coming home - Part 5

[The main altar with Koxinga in the center. This statue resembles the one in the Cheng Family Temple in Tainan, both clean-shaven. The one in 延平郡王祠, also in Tainan, is based on a portrait with a black beard suggesting it was done during a mourning period. In Hokkien custom, sons do not shave when their parents passed. ]

The full name of Khye-Sian-Ong-Tua-Pek-Kong temple in Jelutong日落洞, Penang檳榔嶼, is 開山王大伯公廟. We already know who 開山王 is [Koxinga], but who is 大伯公 (the bearded one on the right), and why a third deity (the child on the left), apparently NaZa哪吒, is also on the altar?

Stay tuned.

2012年10月24日 星期三

Coming home - Part 4

[Above: Fu-Ling Tample in LuKang鹿港福靈宮]

Were there Taiwanese in Penang in the late 1700s? It appears so. Fung-yin provided one fairly prominent example:

"。。。居同安白礁(今属龙海县,早属泉州,清末民初属厦门)。元朝至正年间(公元1341年),十九世孙辜志明由白礁迁泉州打锡巷。志明九世孙辜旺于明崇祯(1628年)由泉州迁惠安洋埔,是为惠安辜氏一世公。旺之六世孙邦变(洋埔三房)于清乾隆初年移居惠安上坂(昔称象坂)东村,蕃衍生息:长子水英、次子尚、三子宗。辜宗于乾隆四十年(公元1775年)趁开海禁携眷赴台谋生,择居鹿港。辜宗四子之一辜礼欢又赴马来西亚槟榔屿拓展,为英属马来西亚首任甲必丹(地方首领)。辜礼欢生八子三女,其子之一辜安平自小送回国内读书。中进士后,为林则徐幕僚,后调任台湾并定居鹿港。安平之孙辜显荣为台湾巨富,被誉为“百年昌盛家族”。辜显荣即是辜振甫之父。安平胞兄弟龙池之孙为辜鸿铭,故辜振甫称辜鸿铭为“鸿铭伯”。上坂辜氏,历经坎坷, 以小手艺谋生,又属小姓,旧时怕受欺凌,曾一度恢复林姓。1952年又复辜姓。"

In short, a Gu family member, 辜宗, migrated to Taiwan in 1775 and settled in LuKang. One of 辜宗's four sons, 辜礼欢 then moved south to Penang to seek and in fact found more fortune. He became the first Kapitan of the British Malaya and raised a large family with 8 sons and 3 daughters. One of them 辜安平 was sent back to China to study who eventually returned to LuKang. And in 1895, one of his grandsons 辜顯榮 (1866-1937) invited the Japanese invading force to enter Taipei to keep peace as Taipei was then being looted by the retreating Qing soldiers. In return, the Japanese rewarded him with various trading rights. Gu became immensely wealthy as a result. And this branch continues on, active in Taiwan banking and commerce to this day. It is, however, unclear as to the fate of the branch in Penang, most likely as wealthy and influential as the Taiwan branch. In stark contrast, those who stayed behind in China did not fare so well.

It should be noted that LuKang was the stronghold of 洪門天地會Hong-Men Heaven and Earth Society rebels led by Lin Shuang-Wen林爽文 (1756-1788). The 福靈宮 (pictured above) honors one of Lin's generals, Wang Shun平海大將軍“王勳”.

The activities of 洪門天地會 in Penang, reported by the British Admin in 1799, now appears a matter of course.

2012年10月17日 星期三

Coming home - Part 3

It is a time-honored tradition that when a temple is built, the names of the donors are literally etched in stone and stone tablets are erected on temple grounds in perpetual memory.  In fact, there are such tablets inside the Khye-Sian-Ong temple in Penang; although, curiously, the first one was dated 1864. The only memorial going back to the year 1820 is again the foundation stone:

A close examination of the inscription in Chinese reveals  something intriguing. Normally, any mention of the names of the Chinese emperors, strict rules known as 避諱 must be followed. In written documents, for example, an emperor's name wherever encountered must begin at the top of the page and the characters must not be in a complete form, usually one stroke less. These are to show the utmost respect to the emperor. Violate these rules, the consequences can be quite dire.

And yet, in this founding stone, the emperor's name was carved in a complete traditional character followed by a simplified character 嘉庆. Notice the 庆, instead of 大, has a 犬 inside the character. This is not a common form, and 犬 means dog, a lowly animal. In other words, this was a deliberate insult aimed at the Qing Emperor 嘉慶. The multiple mention of the year referring to 1820 also suggests a reluctance in accepting the Qing imperial calendar.

Who would have been so brazen as to create this ultimate anti-Qing expression? In that era, the Heaven and Earth secret society readily stood out.

Indeed, it is known that "早在1799年,英属槟榔屿政府就发现天地会活动的记载, i.e., as early as 1799, the British Penang Admin had discovered and recorded the activities of the Heaven and Earth Society". This statement is of immense importance. It provides the crucial extension from the past, since the 洪門天地会 or the Hong-Men branch of the 天地会 Heaven and Earth Society was linked directly to Koxinga.

Koxinga was honored as 萬雲龍 or 萬大哥 [Chief Big Brother Wan] of the society and Chen Yong-Hua [陳永華, 1634-1680 - Koxiga's political consultant and later the Prime Minister under Koxinga's son 鄭經Cheng Jing] further expanded the operation under the pseudonym 陳近南. These aliases were adopted later by the secret society to avoid detection of its anti-Qing restore-Ming activities by the Qing government and the consequential prosecution with severe punishments.

This may explain the reason why the original donors of the Jelutong temple had chosen to remain anonymous.

The Hong-Men itself was first started by Yin Hong-Seng 殷洪盛 during the rule of the last Ming Emperor of China 崇祯 Chung-zhen. After the fall of the Ming Dynasty, the fight of the Han people against the Qing invaders continued. Yin was eventually killed in action, and his son 洪旭Hong-Xu together with the remaining generals then joined Koxinga's force. And the character Hong洪 became a code word used by the members to greet one another.

To this day, branches of this now semi-secret society can still be found in Chinatowns all over the world.

2012年10月13日 星期六

Coming home - Part 2

開山 Kai-Shan or mountain-opening means trail-blazing, not unlike the first Europeans settling in the Midwest and the West Coast in the US, two centuries ago. In the Chinese tradition, ancestors are often memorialized in family temples. Sometimes, a prosperous enough clan may choose to build a large temple to worship the very first ancestor, elevated to the deity status through Taoism. For example, in Penang, Malaysia, the Chen clan worships 開漳聖王 who was the first ancestor to settle in 漳州Zhang-zhou in Hokkien. The sage-kingship was an honorary title in Taoism.

Sometimes, however, the use of  開山 in the temple title deviates from the norm. An example is the Khai-San Temple located in Bukit Merah in Singapore:

This one honors Jie Zi Tui (介子推, ?-636BC), born in the Spring-Autumn Period (春秋時代), in now 山西介休. His story is one of loyalty and piety. He sliced off a piece of his own flesh and prepared it into soup to serve his starving master, then escaping from the enemies. When his master finally became the King of 晉 Nation, Jie Zi Tui resigned quietly from his high post to be with his aging mother, and both of them then resided in 綿山Mian Mountain. The King's summons for Jie Zi Tui to return to his court to be honored went unheeded. In a half-brained attempt to force Jie out from hiding, the mountain was torched, only to find both Jie and his mother died in the fire, huddled together under a tree. Jie was honored posthumously by the king and the populace. The term Khai-San of the temple in Singapore, however, is only a tangential link to the Mian "Mountain". It has nothing to do with any pioneering activities.

Unlike Southeast Asia where Hokkinese en masse had also migrated to, in Taiwan, 開山 has retained its original meaning and 開山王 is still a true, not a Taoist, kingship title in reference to the one and only Koxinga. The only other temple that has 開山 in its name is the 開山宮Kai-Shan Palace in Tainan. It was erected by the Ming-Cheng Kingdom to honor 陳稜Chen Ling.

In 台灣通史 vol 22  (published in 1920), 連橫 wrote that, "開山宮: 在府治內新街。鄭氏時建,祀隋虎賁中郎將陳稜。乾隆五年修。而舊志以為吳真人,且謂臺多漳泉人,以其神醫,建廟獨盛。夫吳真人一醫者爾,何得當此開山之號?鄭氏之時,追溯往哲,以稜有開臺之功,故建此廟。而今又誤為開仙宮,更屬不通。" It is possible that, not realizing who Chen really was, other deities had been invited by the overseers to increase the temple attendance. A physician-deity, Dr Wu, would fit the bill well for those seeking medical miracles.

陳稜 (? - 619AD) was a general of the 隋Sui Dynasty (581-618AD). Records show that he had sailed from 潮州Tiochew to conquer 流求Liu-qiu in 610AD. Some, including the Ming-Cheng officials, argued that Liu-qiu was actually Taiwan while others thought it was Okinawa. This is still in debate even now; although this deed has already been cited by some in China as the historical evidence of Chinese ownership of Taiwan (or Ryukyu, for that matter).

Back to 開山王. Inside the Khye-Sian-Ong-Tua-Pek-Kong temple in Jelutong日落洞 in Penang檳榔嶼, these plaques, dating back to when the temple was built, are found:

Clearly a temple that honors Koxinga, the 開山王, at least in the Taiwanese definition. To our knowledge, this is also the only one in SE Asia. But who had built it, back in 1820?

2012年10月12日 星期五

Coming home - Part 1

Visitors to the Khye-Sian-Ong-Tua-Pek-Kong Temple in Jelutong, Penang, are often intrigued by a memorial stone. The inscription has both English and Chinese parts. The English part reads:

“This ground was given to the Chinese community to erect a temple by Ichik Jemal, The late penghulu of this district on Nov 1820” 

And the Chinese part (above, highlighted with water-soluble dyes), a mention of the year 1820 in multiple calendar forms:

庚辰1820年 龍年

In other words, this temple has a long history and in fact has just celebrated the 192nd anniversary of its founding.

Khye-Sian-Ong is the Hokkien pronunciation of 開山王, a title that refers specifically to Koxinga.  And this is also where the story begins.

2012年9月27日 星期四

BK24 火車吃水

Locomotive BK24 of the Tamsui line (1901-54) can now be found on 光復Guang-fu Campus of National Cheng-Gung University in Tainan. It was putatively donated by the Railroad Bureau to the university, or more precisely to its mechanical engineering department, sometime after it was decommissioned. This gifting was done apparently without consulting the Tamsui Township or any of its folks. Part of its innards have been removed allegedly for educational purposes and the cylindrical body now sports two gaping holes. It also has gathered a thick layer of dust. Even so, it retains its original majasticity:

Accompanying the display, a plaque (below) shows the specs of the steam engine and the very last line mentions that it has served the Tamsui RR Line. The writer apparently had no idea what the Tamsui Line had played in the lives of Tamsui-lang. The folklore is replete with love stories at a time when boys and girls commuted one hour each way to attend the best high schools in Taipei and the sparks flew. This is no longer possible with the now always crowded Taipei MRT. 

The Township will now request that BK24 be returned to its rightful place. If everything goes well, it will be installed on the exact same spot where it re-loaded water and coal:
The above is a photo taken possibly in the early 1950s showing the water tower and next to it, the guzzling BK24. This was known fondly to Tamsui-lang as 火車吃水.

2012年9月5日 星期三

How to govern Taiwan - Part 3

Chen Yi 陳儀 (1883-1950) was the first post-war governor of Taiwan, appointed by Chiang Kai-Sek on Aug 29, 1945 and arrived in Taiwan with his entourage on Oct 24 to take up the office. On Oct 25, he presided over the surrender of the Japanese. And, as we all know, the 228 Incident of 1947 occurred under his failed governance.

Was he qualified to rule Taiwan? As it turned out, yes, at least on the surface:

(1) He was educated in Japan in 1902 and again in 1919 when he graduated from the Military Academy of Japan and also married a Japanese.
(2) In 1935, he visited Taiwan and was impressed by the rapid progress made under the Japanese rule. After more intelligence gathering, he published a report on Taiwan 台灣考查報告 in 1937.
(3) Also in 1937, he became the Provincial Chairman (Governor) of Fujian (Hokkien) and sought to reproduce the Japanese success of economic development in Taiwan.
(4) In anticipation of the return of Taiwan to China, in 1943, he chaired the Taiwan Survey Committee of the Nationalist Gov't and filed two reports, one an expansion of the previous survey and the other, the 台灣接管計劃綱要Outline of the plans for taking possession of Taiwan.

Similar to Goto Shinpei of the Japanese Colonial era, Chen Yi had also reached a number of conclusions from his exhaustive studies. Surprisingly and unfortunately, they were highly inaccurate and his strategy apparently based on China-centric views:

(1) Just like during the Qing rule, Taiwan was once again regarded as a conquered land. Chen et al had failed to realize that Taiwan was already on its way to becoming a modernized society with its people enjoying a much higher living standard than that in the war-torn China. The officials and the soldiers arriving from China in 1945-6, once again misbehaved as those during the Qing era. And the wealth and riches once again were looted by the governor's cronies.
(2) The gentry class, successfully used by the Japanese to help in the colonization of Taiwan was promptly labeled as traitors of the Han people and arrested and prosecuted. And those who had escaped persecution went silent. This class was replaced with a small group of Taiwanese who had fled the Japanese rule to reside in China, They, however, no longer enjoyed close kinship with the people of Taiwan. In fact, they were often ridiculed secretly as men of the Half-Mountain, a reference to their adaptation to the Chinese ways.
(3) The implementation of de-Japanization policies that suddenly inferiorized the Taiwanese intelligentsia and the emerging leadership, both consisting of physicians, lawyers, teachers, professors, writers, and artists [and most of them were wiped out during the 228 Incident in 1947].

The red flag above was the fatal flaw.

By 1942, 58% of the Taiwanese spoke and wrote Japanese. There were 1,019 elementary-junior high schools, 44 senior high schools, 117 vocational schools, 3 normal schools, and one full-fledged university (complete with a medical school). And among the young, by 1945, 80% had attended elementary school. This high literacy was, however, interpreted by Chen, not as a sign of modernization and an asset, but as that of slaverization and a black stain to be cleaned off. And to transform the Taiwanese back to Chinese, the language must be changed to Mandarin Chinese, the 國語official/national language of China, itself a dialect from Beijing (known to the Taiwanese as 北京話). On April 2, 1946, mandatory Chinese language education started. And all official businesses must be conducted in Chinese. In addition, as in April 1937 when the Japanese Colonial Gov't banned Chinese, on Oct 26, 1946, Chen prohibited the publication of all things written in Japanese. And writers and reporters who knew no Chinese lost their livelihood overnight.

Of course, it was never a simple language issue, Chen theorized that, "臺灣過去在日本帝國主義高壓統治之下,……在文化思想上更散播了無數的毒素,使臺灣同胞日日受其麻醉與薰陶,對祖國觀念模糊,逐漸離心,以遂「日本化」和「皇民化」的目的。……使臺灣同胞在不知不覺之中,自然而然的產生一種崇拜日本的自卑心理(in 《臺灣新生報‧1945年12月7日‧肅清思想毒素》)"
Translation: "In the past, Taiwan was under the tight control of Japanese imperialism, ...in order to achieve the goals of Japanization and imperial Japanification, [the Japanese] had spread numerous toxins to anesthetize and poison the cultural thinking on a daily basis, thereby gradually separating the Taiwanese from the idea of the motherland [i.e., China]. ...This has altered the mindset of the unsuspecting Taiwanese and changed it into one with an inferiority complex that worships Japan."

And how to "detoxify" the Taiwanese? Why, the Chinese language obviously must be re-introduced and through which, the Chinese culture as well, so that the Taiwanese could learn to discard the one that idolized Japan.

The disagreement was loud and clear, and immediate. Numerous rebuttals and editorials were published in contemporary newspapers. For example, an often quoted article by 王白淵 (1902-65) stated: "臺省在其各方面,既有具備近代民主社會建設的諸條件。許多外省人,開口就說臺胞受過日人奴化五十年之久,思想歪曲,似乎以為不能當權之口吻,我們以為這是鬼話,除去別有意圖,完全不對。……臺胞雖受五十年之奴化政策,但是臺胞並不奴化,可以說一百人中間九十九人絕對沒有奴化。只以為不能操漂亮的國語,不能寫十分流利的國文,就是奴化。那麼,其見解未免太過於淺薄,過於欺人。……現象與本質,應該要認清楚,不可以為一時的現象,例如臺胞慣用日文日語,或是帶著一點日人脾氣,或是不能說漂亮的國語,寫流利的國文,就說臺胞奴化變質或是沒有用。……臺胞雖是在日本高壓之下,但竟受過高度資本主義的洗禮,很少有封建的遺毒,在這一點我們以為台胞可以自慰(in 《政經報‧1946年1月25日‧告外省人諸公》.
Translation: "In every respect, Taiwan already is ready for modernization. Many Chinese declare that since the Taiwanese have been ruled as slaves for 50 years and are used to submissive thinking, they cannot be entrusted with power. We regard this as utter nonsense, rife with ulterior motive, and is totally wrong. ...The Taiwanese may have been ruled by slavery policies, but they are not slaverized. It is fair to say that out of 100, 99 absolutely have not been slaverized. If only because the Taiwanese cannot speak fluent Chinese and write in beautiful proses and therefore to mark them as having been slaverized is too superficial and a form of bullying. ...The manifestation and the reality must be distinguished. One must not regard a temporary phenomenon, for example, the Taiwanese are accustomed to using the Japanese language and at times exhibit Japanese behavior, and often they cannot handle spoken and written Chinese, it is not right to declare them warped and useless. ... Even though the Taiwanese have been ruled under high pressure by the Japanese, we have been exposed to high degrees of capitalism while retaining very little residual poison passed on from the old feudal system. We, the Taiwanese, surely can be proud of that".

It took the Japanese colonial gov't 50 years to reach an acceptable level of Japanese literacy. Even so, most Taiwanese still spoke their mother tongues at home. And yet, Chen boasted that the language reform could be accomplished within a short span of 4 years. To achieve this goal, he recruited a large number of Mandarin-speaking young men and women from China, to replace Japanese-speaking Taiwanese teachers. The latter must pass language exams in order to qualify for teaching again. Many did. However, the former frequently touted their 5,000 years of Chinese heritage and looked down on the Taiwanese as second-class cultural citizens, thus creating an instant disharmony.

[Above: Class of 1937/8 of 淡水女子公學校Tansui Girls' Public School, now 文化Wen-Hua Elementary School in Tamsui. In the front center, Taiwanese teacher 蘇淑姬. Courtesy of Fung-yin and the Cheng Family.]

In addition, the Chinese language requirement had other unpleasant consequences for the Taiwanese: (1) only Mandarin-speakers could become civil servants and (2) elections were limited to Mandarin-speaking candidates. In order to fill the vacant posts, the gov't imported mainland Chinese. And without candidates, the democracy process stopped dead in its tracks - long suspected as the ultimate motive of the new rulers of Taiwan that turned out to be true. To add insult to injury, the gov't claimed that Taiwan had no usable talents.

Yes, the Qing and the Japanese colonial rules all over again, and worse, this time, the governance was a combination of the two.

Chen Yi's governorship was terminated on March 22, 1947; although on Aug 6, 1948, he became the governor of ZeJiang Province, but was arrested in Feb, 1949 for plotting to defect to the Communists, a capital crime. He was sent to a prison in Taiwan in April, 1950, executed at 馬場町 in Wanhua on June 18 of the same year. Tens of thousands of Taiwanese gathered to witness the execution only to discover that it was already a done deal.

2012年9月1日 星期六

How to govern Taiwan - Part 2

In 1898, 児玉源太郎 Kodama Gentaro (1852-1906) assumed the post of the 4th Colonial Governor General of Taiwan. He invited his close friend and colleague 後藤新平 Goto Shinpei (1857-1929) [pictured above] to be the Chief Civil Administrator and jointly, they ruled Taiwan for 8 years. Although in reality, Goto was the true governor or the governor in residence and Kodama, the governor in absentia, since the latter was often busy elsewhere in the Japan Empire.

Goto's governance of Taiwan had both short- and long-term components. In the short term, a ruthless iron-fist rule was applied. In order to put down the resistance that had continued since 1895 when the Japanese occupation started, 1,023 rebels were executed in the year 1899 alone. By 1905, a total of 32,000 men were punished or killed. For long-range planning, Goto mobilized resources and manpower and conducted an extensive study of the old habit/custom of the Taiwanese. And from which a number of conclusions were drawn and strategies developed:

(1) The 生物学の原則 Biological Principle for the governance of Taiwan:

Goto was initially trained as a physician who had also done research in Germany (1890) and the results had earned him an MD degree in Japan. The utilization of the scientific method in his other duty as an administrator was therefore a matter of course. This biological principle was essentially to leave things as they were and not to go against Nature. Goto pointed out that it was not possible to, for example, change the eye position of a carp to that of a flounder "ヒラメの目をタイの目にすることは出来ない". To put this in practice, Goto advocated that any effective administering must adapt to, not to alter local circumstances, since people were the product of social customs and systems and were set in their ways.

[A side issue here: this biological principle has often been quoted out of context as evidence of the Taiwanese having been treated by the Japanese as "生物living things", i.e., animals, as opposed to "人humans".]

(2) The 3 traits of Taiwanese:

So what kind of Taiwanese did the society produce? People with 3 traits of weakness, it seemed: (1) fear of death (2) greed, and (3) vanity. These were actually universal human frailties, not necessarily specific to the Taiwanese [not to all Taiwanese anyway, more below]. Regardless, since each one could be easily dealt with in a specific manner, hence the formulation of Goto's 治台三策Three Policies for Governing Taiwan. A search of the original documents proves unproductive, thus the exact wording of the 3 traits remains unclear. The frequently cited version in Chinese appeared on page 14, Vol 145 of 台灣民報 published on Feb 20, 1927, in an article written by 菊仙 (real name: 黃旺成, 1888-1978):

「後藤新平氏在臺灣做民政長官的時候,從臺灣人的性質上發見了三條的弱點,因為要利用這弱點,所以定了治臺的三策:一、臺灣人怕死--要用高壓的手段威嚇的[1. Fear of death -- therefore the Taiwanese could be threatened with high-pressure tactics]。二、臺灣人愛錢--可以用小利誘惑的 [2. Greed or amorous love of money -- Taiwanese could be bribed with small favors]。三、臺灣人重面子--可以用虛名籠絡的 [3. Overly vain or obsession with face-saving -- Taiwanese could be plied with empty titles of renown]。」

The intent of this article was actually to refute the fear of death assertion citing as proof, the failed application of policy No 1 by 內田嘉吉 Uchida Kakichi (1866-1933). In Uchida's role as the Chief Civil Administrator (1910-15), the use of deadly force had not deterred Taiwanese rebels at all. Of the many rebellions under his watch, the most notorious, also the last of its kind, was the 噍吧哖事件 (1915-16) of Tainan, in which the Taiwanese fought unsuccessfully for religious freedom and 1,413 men were later arrested and charged, with 866 sentenced to death (95 executed) and 453 to terms in prison. After the Diet [國會, Ko-Kai, Japanese Parliament] expressed grave concern over the excessive severity of the punishment, the death sentences were commuted to life in prison. Uchida served less than one year (1923-24) as the 9th Governor General and was unceremoniously removed.

That the Taiwanese were not all the same was already known to Goto, however. To him, the Taiwanese could be separated into two camps, the well-to-do gentry [仕紳] upper-class and the rest, and the three human frailties were applicable to the more educated gentry minority, not the vast number of often rebellious common folks. Realizing that in what was really a Confucian society where the gentry class had always commanded respect from the common people, Goto then went to work. By applying Policies 1-3 judiciously, he was able to gather a group of collaborators to negotiate with the fearless rebels on behave of the Japanese. This first attempt was a trial run. It would not be as successful as advertised, at least not productive in the short run, and large revolts continued, well into 1915, after Goto's term ended in 1906.

To probe even further, Goto had also found that the origin of the facing-saving vanity was actually an extension of piety, a merit central to the centuries-old Confucianism.

This, however, seems a stretch. Perhaps the simplest interpretation is that when an authoritative figure (e.g., the Governor General) asked a Taiwanese of some prominence to perform a task, the latter would feel obligated to use all his connections and power to complete the mission, or risked losing face and worse his social standing.

Nonetheless, on a more fundamental level, the Confucius teachings had long been exploited by the ruling class in China, and people were taught since childhood to be respectful of Heaven, Earth, emperors/rulers, parents, and teachers, in that order. And indeed throughout Chinese history, many had chosen to die before betraying their emperors/leaders and their heroic deeds popularized and the heroes honored as martyrs. This ultimate sacrifice was not incompatible with and might have even spawned the Japanese Bushido. Goto decided that the early attempt of erasing Chinese culture, complete with the demolition of the Confucius Temple in Taipei (built in 1882) was a monumental mistake. Confucianism was therefore re-instated and propaganda-worthy cultural events such as honoring the elders and poet gatherings were held, thereby earning the trust of the Taiwanese gentry. The long-term strategy envisioned by Goto essentially formed the core principle of the governance of Taiwan, i.e., by controlling the gentry class first and the commoners would automatically follow. This strategy had proved successful starting at when the revolts finally stopped in 1916 and Taiwan entered a peaceful period until almost the end of the colonial rule in 1945. [Note: One of the richest men of Tamsui and a prominent member of 台北仕紳 (Taipei Gentry), 許丙 (1891-1963), was even elected to the Diet in 1945 as a representative in the Upper House.]

Led by the rich and famous propped up by the Japanese, Taipei Confucius Temple was re-built in 1925 much to the delight of the general public. And for the next 2 decades, a whole generation of Taiwanese was educated, beginning with the compulsory elementary schooling, to be loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor. In the end, however, the assimilation [皇民化 or Japanificaton] was never completed. It is still unclear if this process would ever be successful, it having been interrupted by the surrender of Japan at the end of the Pacific War. Although, in preparing for the war in 1942-45, the governance of Taiwan had shifted away from the Goto Confucianism approach to unadulterated Japanese militarism. This, compounded with the exposure to western democratic ideas and more important, a discontent simmering in the background - stemming from the subtle yet real racial differences between Taiwanese and Japanese, the overt favoritism of the Japanese on all levels, and the forced abandonment of Taiwanese language and religion - had raised the awareness of the Taiwanese identity, however ill-defined at that time.

Unfortunately, an incomplete Taiwanese identity, often confused with Chinese nationalism even among the Taiwanese themselves, rendered it open to character assassination.

During the 1945 Nationalist take-over of Taiwan (above, the welcoming and celebratory banners displayed in Taipei), the Taiwanese law-abiding citizenship was derided as the result of the Japanese slaverizing education [奴化教育], based on a fear of the law rather than the healthy respect of it as that shown by other civilized peoples in the world. The orderly society during the transient absence of law-and-order authorities between Aug and Dec, 1945 was deemed an exhibition of Taiwanese meekness. And the proud work ethic? Well, simply a sign of total submission to their Japanese masters. These dismissive assessments plus the mis-reading of Goto's study proved hugely incorrect. And the long-dormant rebellious Taiwanese character of the Qing era was finally awaken in 1947, in the 228 Incident.

2012年8月29日 星期三

How to govern Taiwan - Part 1

藍鼎元 (Lan Ding-Yuan, 1680-1733)

All students of Taiwan history know this phrase "三年一小反,五年一大反", a description of the difficulty in governing this beautiful island Taiwan, "an uprising every 3 years, a revolt every 5 years". This is not a Taiwan proverb as commonly believed. It was coined by Tao-tai (governor) Xu Zhong-gan徐宗幹道臺 (1796-1866, as Taiwan Tao-tai in 1848), originally "三年小反, 五年大反" published in the 治臺必告錄 [The Essential of Governing Taiwan, edited by Xu] and his personal journal 斯未信齋文集.

Indeed, from 1696 to 1892, there had been 138 anti-Qing incidents in all, involving mostly the Han people and in some cases, the Aborigines. Was Taiwan a land of lawlessness full of ruffians, pirates, criminals, and murderers? Or was it the common Taiwanese folks simply trying to send a message? Why did the rebellions and uprisings take place at all and so frequently too?

We'll now provide some explanation:

Needless to say, people move to another land to seek a better life. This has always been true throughout the ages in Taiwan. The Hokkienese and others migrated to Taiwan, starting in the Dutch rule, through the Ming-Cheng era, indeed to leave behind a life of extreme hardship in China. Despite the ban during the early Qing rule, this migration continued unabated.

After the sacking of the Ming-Cheng Kingdom by Shi Lang in 1683, the Qing regarded Taiwan merely as a piece of conquered land, to be stripped of its wealth and riches and the spoils be shipped back to China. In essence, a colonial governance was imposed. The ruling principles therefore did not include economic development of the land or the construction of defendable cities/towns. Instead, the Qing expanded the taxation system based on that from the Dutch and Ming-Cheng periods, i.e., the land and head taxes, while at the same time, levied an additional mind-boggling number of new taxes. As a small example, not only land farming, all manners of fish farming were also taxed. Plus, exorbitant licensing fees were charged to all commercial and fishing ships, even tiny ferry boats. Where applicable, the tax rates were much higher, from 10% to 3 times more, than those back in Mainland China.

These days, one can e-file income tax and pay land taxes at 7-11 without ever seeing the face of a tax collector. Not so during the Qing rule. The extortionary taxation implemented by a corrupt officialdom was aided and abetted by thuggish enforcer-taxmen and soldier-turned loan sharks. In other words, the encounters were quite personal: either pay up or risk bodily harm, imprisonment, confiscation of properties, and loss of female family members.

The officials posted to Taiwan were often of questionable character. Their sole mission was to get rich by extracting as much as possible from the populace whose welfare be damned. Worse, each official was assisted by a contingent of law enforcers known as Li吏. The Li's were in fact Mafia enforcers on steroid (no offense). This was a well-recognized festering sore of the Qing rule (more below). Then there were the soldiers of the garrison force or loan sharks from hell, who often lent money, gained from illegitimate means, to a good number of Taiwanese who could not afford to pay off the taxes. The rate was quite high, for example, at 0.5% compounded daily. Missing one payment and the paid interest was nullified only to start all over again. This was known as the 五虎利 [five-tiger interest]. "Tiger" was mentioned together with the gov't in the Confucius fable of 苛政猛於虎 [living under a despotic gov't is worse than living with a (man-eating) tiger]. Five tigers was an euphemism which does not even begin to tell what the Taiwanese had to endure.

The presence of the thuggish enforcers persisted to the end of Qing rule of Taiwan. The Royal Commissioner to Taiwan 沈葆楨 (Shen Bao-zen, 1820-1879) in his report to the Qing Court "請移駐巡撫摺" opined that "始由官以吏胥為爪牙, 吏胥以民為魚肉 (the officials enable the Li as their claws and fangs to abuse and extort the common people)". This was during the Mu-Dan-She Incident in 1874, a mere 20 years before the 1st Sino-Japanese war.

Lured by the rumor 台灣錢淹腳目 [Taiwan is ankle-deep in money], the migrants continued to come. However, realizing that life was no better or even worse than the one they had left behind, the suppressed got organized, again and again, and attacked the suppressors in the vain hope of gaining self-rule or independence. This was the history of the 213 years of Qing rule of Taiwan. It is fair to say that a residual visceral distrust of the central government continues to this day - a sentiment apparently still unknown to the Chinese of today.

Had the problem been addressed before? Yes. And this brings up the story of 藍鼎元 (Lan Ding-Yuan, see portrait above). Lan accompanied his older cousin to Taiwan, the latter was charged with putting down the large-scale revolt of 朱一貴 (1721) and the subsequent popular unrests. Lan was a learned scholar who offered these observations, "臺民喜亂,如撲燈之蛾.死者在前,投者不已 (The Taiwanese love to rebel, just like moths attracted to the flames, dying one after another)" and "方慶削平,又圖復起 (Just getting ready to celebrate a mission completed, the insurgence starts up again)" - kind of blaming the victims. Although, Lan did study everything Taiwan, including its society, politics, economy, military, and the geography, custom, religion, and education. He then proposed the 19 rules of how to govern Taiwan. In his 平台紀略說 [A Synopsis of Governing Taiwan, 1731], they were listed as "信賞罰 (institute credible reward and punishment), 懲訟師 (penalize the lawyers), 除草竊 (weed out petty thefts), 治客民 (reign in the Hakka), 禁惡欲 (ban evil greed), 儆吏胥[punish the Li], 革規例 (reduce regulations), 崇節儉 (encourage thrift and savings), 正婚嫁 (normalize marriages), 興學校 (build schools), 修武備 (re-build military), 嚴守御 (restrict the garrison), 教樹畜 (teach husbandry), 寬租賦 [cut taxes], 行墾日 (till undeveloped land), 復官庄 (restore official fields), 恤澎民 (help the people of Peng-hu), 撫士番 (compensate the Aborigines), 招生番 (civilize the Aborigines)". Did any of these work or even implemented in the first place? From the number of armed revolts after 1731, a no across the board. In fact, even if only two [high-lighted in red] had been instituted, Taiwan would have become a much different/better place, possibly even the proverbial jewel on the Qing crown. Instead, Taiwan was handled as a hot potato, to be tossed at the first opportunity. That became true in 1895.

Lan had at least succeeded in petitioning the Qing Court to relax the ban on the officials' bringing family members to Taiwan. The Lan family and followers stayed in Taiwan and settled in 阿里港 in Pintung [now 屏東縣里港鄉] where their descendants still reside.

2012年8月27日 星期一

Consul Fukushima 1875

This is one of the rare pre-colonial Japanese official documents that had mentioned Tamsui. It was for the appointment of IJA Major 福島九成Fukushima Kyusei, the Consul of Port Amoy to an additional post of the Consul of Port Tamsui. This order, effective May 10, 1875, was issued on May 2 by the Foreign Minister on behalf of Emperor Meiji:

For easy reading, the text is transcribed below:

台湾淡水両口事務兼務被 仰付候事 翌10日陸軍省ヘ 心溥通達ス 外務 領事陸軍少佐福島九成ヘ御委任状
朕清国廈門在留領事陸軍少佐福島九成ヲ以テ台湾淡水二口ノ領事ヲ兼任セシメ即両国ノ條約ニ従ヒ其両口ニ到ル我国臣民ノ権理及商舶貨財貿易等ヲ保護シ且我国臣民ノ訴訟アルニ遭ハ律例ヲ照シテ判決スルノ権ヲ授典ス宜ク朕カ旨ヲ體シ前ニ掲クルニロノ地ニ到レル我国民ニ諭告シテ此命令ヲ遭奉セシムヘキヲ命ス故ニ清国皇帝及宰官等福島九成ノ領事タル ヲ承允シ至当ノ需ヲ為サハ之ニ補助ヲ興ヘラレン ヲ冀望ス
神武天皇即位紀元2535年 明治08年05月02日東京宮中ニ於テ親ラ名ヲ署シ璽ヲ鈐ス 05月02日

For historical reference, 1875 was the year when the then 3-year-old 光緒Guangxu assumed the Qing throne. Throughout his reign (1875-1908), he was under the close watch of 慈禧太后Dowager CiXi, the de factor ruler of China. This was a period marked by the foreign invasions of Imperial China. In 1895, after the humiliating defeat in the 1st Sino-Japanese war, the Qing ceded Taiwan and its islands to Japan [Shimonoseki Treaty Article 2, item 2: 台湾全島及其ノ附属諸島嶼].

In the appointment letter, Major/Consul Fukushima was charged with the duty of protecting the rights of Japanese citizens including shipping, merchandizing and property, as well as to represent their legal interests and related judiciary matters. Curiously, in the accompanying directive, he was asked specifically to tend to the needs of Japanese nationals of the 琉球藩Ryukyu clan.

First, it appears that Tamsui was chosen as the consulate site, not because of a large Japanese contingent in town, but because Amoy was the traditional trade partner of Tamsui. Unlike the British, however, there was no known Japanese consulate office in Tamsui. As the Brits did in the early days, the consulate business might have been conducted on board a ship. Second, the Japanese who visited Taiwan at that time were not from mainland Japan, they were actually sailors from Ryukyu visiting by accident. They were the hapless victims of the Mu-Dan-Sha Incident 牡丹社事件. In Dec, 1871, 66 Ryukyu sailors were ship-wrecked and stranded in Taiwan; they were ambushed by 排灣 Paiwan Tribesmen leaving only 12 survivors. The Japanese used this Incident as the pretext to mount a retaliatory attack that took place in 1874. Major Fukushima had in fact participated in the intelligence gathering in Taiwan in the year before. And on April 27, 1874, Fukushima as the Japanese Consul at Amoy officially notified Governor General Lee He-Nian of Min-Jer Province閩浙總督李鶴年 the Japanese intent of a military action [while the attack was already underway]. The Qing Court lodged a protest and ordered Lee et al to prepare for war. The latter, however, cited inadequate military strength with no possibility of a victory. Realizing this, the Qing Court, to the amazement of the international community, paid compensation to placate the Japanese. Fukushima's Tamsui appointment would come after the whole affair had concluded, possibly as a reward/promotion. This Mu-dan-she episode can be regarded as a test of the Qing resolve and the prelude to the Japanese take-over of Taiwan in 1895.

Since the 16th century, Ryukyu Kingdom had been a client state of China. In 1871, Japan subjugated this tiny Kingdom, and in 1872, it was renamed 琉球藩. The invasion of Taiwan in 1874 had finally legitimized the Japanese control of Ryukyu Islands because it was done in the name of protecting the safety of Ryukyuites. In 1879, Ryukyu became a permanent part of the Okinawa Prefecture.

On June 7, 1895, another Fukushima, 福島安正(Fukushima Yasumasa) of the Japanese invasion force came to call on Tamsui and administered the town for an important 14 days. His experience, the 淡水新政記 [Chronology of the New Governance of Tamsui], became the official guide on how to rule Taiwan and other conquered lands.

2012年8月18日 星期六

Life in Tamsui 1867

Collingwood (1868) [the sulfur springs are still aplenty in 大屯山 area]

Dr FLS Collingwood published this article "A Boat Journey across the Northern End of Formosa, from Tam-suy, on the West, to Kee-lung, on the East; with Notices of Hoo-wei, Mangka, and Kelung." in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society 11 (1867): 167-73.

We have added some notes and also place names in Chinese for easy reference. This article is otherwise a succinct and possibly accurate account of life in Tamsui, 145 years ago:

[P. 167] Tam-suy [淡水] is situated on the north-western coast of Formosa, and possesses an excellent harbour, over the bar of which H.M.S. Serpent, drawing 12 1/2 feet water, passed easily at high water. The entrance is unmistakably marked by two lofty and picturesque hills; that on the left, termed the Kwang-yin Hill [觀音山], having two prominent peaks, of 1720 and 1240 feet respectively; and that on the right, the Tai-tun Hills [大屯山], forming an imposing ridge, of which the summit is 2800 feet high. From land to land, at the entrance of the harbour, is just half a mile; but a considerable spit of sand diminishes it more than one-half. Within the harbour, however, it rapidly increases to three-quarters of a mile and even a mile in width, affording good anchorage for larger vessels. Immediately on the left hand, on entering, is a small Chinese fort [Note: possibly the 白砲臺White Fort, destroyed by the French during the Sino-French war in 1884]; and half a mile higher are the ruins of an old Dutch fort, a square, red-brick, casemated building [Ft San Domingo - 紅毛城], once, no doubt, of great strength, and elevated 50 or 60 feet above the water's edge. The long rambling town of Tam-suy, or Hoo-wei [滬尾], as it is more properly called, commences a little higher; and consists, for the most part, of a narrow street of shops of a poor description, paved with great cobblestones or not at all, and in which pigs of all sizes and barking dogs dispute the passage, which in some places scarcely admits of two passengers passing one another. The Vice-Consul (Mr. Gregory) resides here, as well as three or four other Europeans, engaged in mercantile affairs or employed in the Chinese customs. The consulate, however, is but a poor building for the representative of Great Britain; for the inhabitants, who are mostly coolies, and upon occasion are a turbulent set of rascals, have a prejudice, forsooth, against building houses more than one story high, and no such dwelling exists in Hoo-wei. [Note: These coolies/rascals were actually hard-working men who knew how to enjoy life and how to avoid natural disasters such as typhoon and, at times, earthquakes.]

[Map of Tamsui of ca 1920 - many landmarks such as the sand-bar and Ft San Domingo, were in existence in 1867, also seen and recorded by Collingwood]

There is a very pretentious joss-house in the town [媽祖宮], of which the stone pillars, elaborately carved, represent, with considerable cleverness, fantastic dragons encircling the columns in high relief; workmen being yet engaged in the task. The immediate neighbourhood is hilly [the 重建街 area], having numerous scattered houses; and a large amphitheatre, just outside the town, forms an immense and well-filled burial-ground [Note: this was, still is, the First Public Cemetery], upon which grows abundance of the rice-paper plant (Aralia papyrifera), which is largely exported from this neighbourhood. The soil is very fertile, consisting of a considerable depth of alluvium, in which are numerous angular and rounded blocks of stone, some of very great size.

The inhabitants of Hoo-wei (Tam-suy), as of the other towns in the route, are mostly poor and meanly clad; the males wearing usually nothing more than a pair of short drawers, or some substitute for them; some of the younger children going entirely naked [Note: in the summertime, a fully clothed child playing outdoors = 痱子heat prickles all over his body]. The women and girls, however, are always decently clothed, very few of the female children being even naked to the waist. Bandaged feet are universal among them [Note: Women and girls in Tamsui have always been well-dressed, even now, and the practice of foot-binding was mercifully outlawed during the Japanese Colonial era].

Rice is abundantly produced in the neighbourhood; but its exportation is forbidden by the Government, on pretence that there is not more produced than is required for home consumption; but by a roundabout method, a considerable trade is, notwithstanding, carried on, to the advantage of the Mandarins. Bullocks, goats, and poultry are difficult to obtain; but pigs are [p. 168] abundant, though few who could witness their disgusting habits and foul feeding would care to eat them. Ducks are also plentiful [Note: not ducks, they were red-faced Muscovy].

Collinwood apparently did not have the opportunity to witness this: A sacrificial pig at MaZu Temple - one of many during 大拜拜 - to be prepared after the celebration into appetizing dishes and served in banquets shared by many

An inferior Mandarin resides here, named Lim-ching-fang [林清芳?], but he is subordinate to the Mandarin of the Tam-suy District, of which Hoo-wei is but an inferior town; the chief town being Mangka, or Bangka [艋舺 or 萬華] [Note: Tam-suy Township is now Tamsui District, headed by Dr Tsai Yeh-Wei [蔡葉偉區長], part of the New Taipei City 新北市].

2012年8月8日 星期三

Guan-du Station and Tunnel 1988

A reader has expressed interest in seeing pictures of Guan-du Station and Tunnel. Railroad enthusiasts in Taiwan noting the passing of an era, i.e., the end of the Tamsui Line, have actually recorded the last scheduled train ride from Tamsui [July 15, 1988]. And the photos can be seen here. A couple of them are re-posted below:

This was the Guan-du Station and the Tunnel immediately beyond it. The slope into the Tunnel was real, not an optical illusion.
Guan-du Tunnel with Diesel Engine No R123 emerging from it. This diesel model replaced the original steam engine, the BK24.

2012年7月29日 星期日

Bombing of Taiwan 1944-45

US Naval F6F Hellcats began attacking Taiwan on Oct 12, 1944. The bombing continued into 1945. On May 31, 1945, Governor General Ando Rikichi's Office in Taipei was bombed and part of the building destroyed [the building was later repaired and became the Presidential Palace after 1949].

The pictures below are a record of the bombing of Takao [Kaohsiung] Harbor by a US plane on Nov 17, 1944:

The following show the "parafrag" (parachute-retarded fragmentation bombs) being dropped onto 豐原Toyohara Airbase by a Mitchell B-25, in one of the 1945 raids. The parachutes slowed the descent of the bombs allowing time for the low-flying bombers to escape before the detonation. The bombs exploded right above the ground, spraying fragments in every direction:

These bombings had caused an untold number of civilian casualties, totally forgotten to this day.


There is always the question of whether the civilians were targeted. Here are two photos, taken on Feb 20, 1945, when 潮州Choshu Township [Pin-tung] was bombed:

The intended target might have been the train station (top), the actual area bombed was clearly residential (bottom).

The same occurred to Tainan, in the chronology of the US Army Air Force, it was recorded thus:

"On March 1, 1945: SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA [SWPA, Far East Air Force (FEAF)]: In Formosa, B-24s bomb the Takao aluminum plant, Tainan Airfield and nearby satellite field and fighters hit buildings at Keishu and storage tanks, railroad yards, and targets of opportunity."

Tainan Airfield was the main intended target. It was the "targets of opportunity" that had caused immense damage to the downtown area. The fire burned for three days. And "事後統計,那天被炸燒毀的建物多達一五二○戶,死亡九十人,傷者一四六人." - up to 1,520 buildings were destroyed with 90 dead and 146 wounded. In this case, it was a large-scale fire-bombing which might have been directed at the headquarters of the 2nd United Infantry Division (the garrison army of Taiwan); instead, most bombs ended up in the commercial district.

US Airmen were allowed to use on-the-spot judgment in picking targets. In many instances, pilots of the low-flying F6Fs and B-24s made eye contact with civilians on the ground (even smiling at each other as one elderly Taiwanese recalls). In the heat of the battle, some pilots might have gotten carried away and attacked anything that looked suspicious. However, some civilians were killed while running for cover and even more died inside bomb shelters that were deliberately hit. These were malicious acts.