2012年4月29日 星期日

Compulsory public education

Graduation photo of the 14th Advanced Class (Class of 1939) of Tamsui Public School [front row, 4th from left was one of EyeDoc's cousins and 5th from left, husband of EyeDoc's aunt] (Courtesy of Mr N Hirokawa).

There were two reports prepared by the British Consul then stationed in Tamsui, dated 3/4/1940 and 6/17/1941, respectively, commenting on the public education reform in Taiwan. Quoted in part:

"The Japanese policy of assimilation demands as its ultimate aim that the Formosans shall not merely be loyal subjects of the Emperor, but that they should think, talk, dress and live in a manner indistinguishable from home-born Japanese. All Formosan students are expected to speak Japanese only, not merely in the classrooms, but in their private intercourse. By the use of such means it is hoped that Japanese will supplant Chinese as the language in daily use among the people; but obviously the aim cannot be achieved without universal compulsory education. This reform has been long delayed by financial stringency, and so recently as 1935 it was estimated that not more than 37 per cent of Formosan children went to school. The present figure [note: 1940] is unknown, but is still fall far short of the aim. Now, however, at least the intention has been declared of introducing the compulsory system as follows: --

"Primary" schools ("shogakko [note: 小學校]")--for Japanese children only--compulsion to be applied from the fiscal year 1941-42--period of attendance, 6 to 14 years of age.
"Public" schools ("kogakko [note: 公學校]")--for Formosans--compulsion to be applied from 1943--period of attendance, apparently from 6 to 12 years of age.

Children in the "savage" districts will not be included in the scheme. This, however, represents a very small leakage, since there are only some 150,000 aborigines in the island as against 5,400,000 Formosans of Chinese race. Mo doubt the details of the scheme may be mended later."

Kids in Tamsui belonged in the 37% that had attended elementary schools by 1935. There was one 小學校 and two 公學校, the latter for boys and girls, separately [known as 淡水國小 and 文化國小 after 1945]. They were taught by Japanese teachers. In 1941, all schools were superseded by the common title Kokumingakko [i.e., national school 國民學校] and by 1943, locals were also among the ranks of the teachers and the students were no longer segregated.

Supplanting the mother tongue even in private conversation never took place - with non-Japanese-speaking parents, it was mission impossible. The 8-year education had already been implemented at least in Tamsui, since after advanced class (高等科, equivalent to junior high) in elementary schools, kids who qualified went on to senior high schools in either Tamsui or Taipei. The elite high schools in Taipei, the First High was attended by almost all Japanese and the Second High, by Taiwanese only. Many then received even higher education in medical schools or universities in Taiwan or Japan, even in the Japan-controlled Manchuria and Korea.

The British Consul had also noted in his 1941 report that
"...With the initial hardship of being educated in an alien language, it is obvious that on a shorter educational course the Formosan child can never hope to succeed in open competition with the Japanese. Indeed, his educational facilities are expressly designed to ensure that he shall not."
"...since the island schools are used as an overflow of Japanese youths from Japan who cannot secure entry into schools in their own country, it is more likely that such new facilities as can be provided will benefit Japanese children rather than Formosan."

Again, the "shorter educational course" referred to the 6-year main student course [本科部]. While these observations might be factual, the Consul had not given Formosan children due credit for their ability to overcome any hardship, especially when the competition was with academic low-achievers from Japan.

2012年4月22日 星期日

Angels in white 白衣天使

This is a group photo of all nursing students of National Taiwan University (NTU) Hospital Nursing School, taken on the graduation day of the first class on March 31, 1952, on the front steps to the Hospital.

Nursing profession arrived in Taiwan with the Presbyterian mission in as early as 1865. Many missionaries were nurses themselves having previously been trained in England or Canada. They took on the clinical duties at missionary hospitals and at the same time taught nursing (among other subjects) to the Taiwanese. These dedicated ladies were usually unmarried and were therefore addressed respectfully as 姑娘 in Taiwanese. [Note: On Aletheia University campus in Tamsui, the building known as 姑娘樓 was where they resided when working for the northern branch of the Presbyterian Church. Most notable among them were 金仁理[Jane Kinney], 高哈拿[Hannah Connell], 李仁美[Geraldine Greer], 黎瑪美[Mable G Clazie], 安義理[Lily Adair], 杜道理[Dorothy Douglas], and 德明利[Isabel Taylor].]

When the Japanese invaded Taiwan in 1895, with the mounting casualties from illnesses, they brought in 10 physicians, 9 pharmacists, and 20 nurses to staff a field hospital in Taipei. In 1898, Japanese women only were admitted to the nurse training program. It was not until 10 years later in 1907, when the program was finally opened to the Taiwanese.

The two training tracks actually ran in parallel; although the indoctrination of the sense of duty was fundamentally different. The missionary way was to inspire a Nightingale-like self-sacrificial higher calling; whereas the Japanese way instilled obedience as part of the social hierarchy where nurses were subservient to [almost all male] physicians. The Japanese tradition is to last to this day even after the introduction of the American system.

The American style nursing education started in 1950 at NTU Hospital [see graduation photo above] which culminated in the establishment of a university-level Nursing School at NTU in 1956. These two levels of nurse education are now the common modes of training in Taiwan.

Part of this long nursing history remains hidden, however. Not known at all was the fact that nurses in Taiwan were drafted, starting in 1942, to serve in the Pacific War. They were 17-18 year-olds, appointed as 特別志願陸軍看護助手 (or 特志看護婦 in short) as members of the IJA. The only surviving evidence is probably the Nursing Assistant's Song, 看護助手の歌. Its lyrics were by 越山正三 and melody by 呂泉生, composed in 1943, and in part:
父母離れ  はるばると 南支那海  乗り越えて 皇軍(みいくさ)進みし  島山に ゆかしく 咲ける  小百合花
乙女と いえど  軍律の きびしき 中に  起き伏して 幾層楼の  病棟に 輝く 愛の  赤十字
Translation: 離開父母,到中南海遙遠的戰地去照顧戰士們,就像是山裡盛開的百合花 [Leaving Mom and Dad behind to take care of soldiers in the far away South China Sea, just like lilies in full bloom on the hills]
雖是小小姑娘,但是在病房裡,就像是充滿輝光的紅十字小護士 [Even though we are little girls, in the wards, we brighten up the whole place, we are the little red-cross nurses]

Sadly, many perished in the battle fields and some starved to death in, e.g., the Philippines, in the waning days of the war. Most survivors, however, still remain silent, not wishing to be confused with the notoriously maltreated comfort women.

More recently, there appears an acute nursing shortage in all hospitals in Taiwan. The average working span for a nurse is now a mere 7 years. The high turnover and even higher attrition, owing to the combination of extremely low pay and absurdly high workloads, are bound to alter the current health care system in a big way.

Angels working in sweatshops? Somehow, this picture does not look right.

2012年4月18日 星期三

Kang Young Woo, PhD (1944-2012)

People who made any difference at all are those who had made the lives of others better. Kang Young Woo, PhD was one.

Grown up in the tumultuous Korean War years and blinded by retinal detachment from a soccer accident while in high school, he had overcome all odds and become the first ever blind Korean to have received a PhD degree in the US. This was at a time when the blind had little choice except to become a masseur or a fortunate teller. His lifetime work as the founder of the EREF International was to champion the cause of the visually disabled. Among other endeavors, he had organized low vision conferences in Seoul and founded a school for the blind, called Angels' Heaven, also in Seoul.

For his achievement, Dr Kang had received commendations from presidents of both Korea and the US. Among his friends were university presidents, professors, ambassadors, gov't ministers, and Korea's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who was a polio victim himself. Korea does take very good care of her disabled citizens allowing them to advance as far as they could - this should be an example for other nations to emulate.

Dr Kang's ability to travel to different places/countries without any help was also legendary. He had always refused offers of rides to/from airports - even on a trip to Taiwan - seeking no special treatment. His cheerful nature was also infectious as if he had no worries in the world. Perhaps that was true for this deeply religious man.

He was only 68 when he passed leaving behind Mrs Kang who volunteered to read lessons to him when they were both still in high school, and two sons, both successful in their respective profession as eye surgeon and public-service lawyer.

Dr Kang's was a full life, much too short, however.

Rest in peace, Dr Kang.

2012年4月13日 星期五

Charles Mallory

Excerpts from CHARLES MALLORY: WWII Navy Fighter Ace [publisher unknown]:

We now know from LC that this was one of the 13 F6F Hellcat fighter pilots who attacked Tamsui on 10/12/1944. Mr Mallory of VF-18 Squadron should be 91 years old by now. They dropped 3 bombs, two hit the target, one did not explode. On this day, 20 residents of Tamsui, including a little boy, were killed. In all,124 aircrafts defending Taiwan were shot down by the Americans.

2012年4月1日 星期日

Map of Tamsui 1937-1946

This is a map drawn from memory by Mr K Hirokawa (1912-1998), a teacher at Tamsui Public (Elementary) School before the Pacific War. It depicts where the Japanese immigrants lived and worked:

All Japanese were repatriated in March, 1946.

This map is provided by Mr Hirokawa's son. Marked in red, No 7 is where Kinoshita Seigai resided. Also, marked No 3, near MaZu Temple, was the Kurokawa salt and tobacco store [Mr Hirokawa and his bride actually lived above it after their wedding on May 20, 1939] which was at the now Chung Cheng Road No 125-7. And No 5 the Toda Stationery Store had been mislabeled on the map; it should have been at the now No 123. [All addresses identified by Mr Hong and his daughter Christina].

For a then and now comparison, below is a photo showing another tobacco store on Chung Cheng Road - the first house on the right - looking in the direction of the Triangular Park三角窗 [we have previously mistaken it as the Kurokawa store], taken not too long after the war:

Thanks to Mr Hong and Christina, the location of this store has also been identified: the now Chung Cheng Road No 148, 許明祥命相館.

Some locals still remember this grocery store. Also, there is a newly constructed memorial garden in honor of Kinoshita right in front of his old house. And the old fish market, initially built on the 街役場 (see map above), has been demolished recently to provide 媽祖MaZu a clear view of GuanYin Mountain (1), and an underground shopping center built in its place (2).
(1): For generations, the legend has always been: Tamsui will become truly prosperous only if MaZu can look out from her temple to the Mountain unobstructed. It is finally a reality, at least the view part:

[Looking out from MaZu temple at GuanYing Mountain. This square was originally the 街役場, later occupied by the Fish Market building. Courtesy of Christina Hong.]

(2): On March 26, newspapers report that, much to the chagrin of the locals, 6 portable johns are placed in front of the MaZu Temple. The explanation is that this is a temporary measure before the underground shopping center facilities become ready. Whoever instituted this has, unfortunately, failed to realize that it is not only a disrespect to the all-seeing MaZu but also an eyesore for a town renowned for its beautiful view of GuanYin Mountain. Some divine punishment maybe in order.