2014年12月31日 星期三

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 7 Oily noodles)

This is 切仔麵, noodle soup prepared with 油麵oily noodles:

"Oily" noodles are in fact neither oily nor greasy, not at all, so called because canola oil is used during noodle-making. Salt is the other main ingredient. As a result of the salt addition, the noodles can be kept for a long time without the need for refrigeration.

The best way of serving oily noodle soup is (1) put a handful of noodles in a oblong basket (weaved with bamboo strips, left) with a long handle, dip the whole thing in boiling water, and move the basket up and down a few times to ensure even cooking of the noodles, (2) at the same time, melt some lard in a wok, place a teaspoonful of the liquefied lard in a soup bowl, (3) drain cooked noodles and decant into the bowl without disturbing the form, (4) add soup, some bean sprouts, chopped green scallions, slices of lean pork, and (5) dig in.

This noodle soup was typically served on pushcarts, sometimes in a shop. There was one such shop diagonally across the street from 媽祖宮MaZu Temple on the storefront side of the old Fish Market. The Market is now demolished to make way for a public square that allows 媽祖 a direct view of Guan-yin Mountain. Local lore has always tied this divine visual access with the prosperity of Tamsui. Now it is a reality.

This legend was probably started during the Japanese colonial era when the Fish Market was built to revive the sagging town economy. It was an attempt to resuscitate Port Tamsui. Unfortunately, by the 1920s, Tamsui River was choked by the accumulating silts, large steam-engine ships could no longer enter the Port and went to dock in Keelung Harbor instead. Tamsui locals had a different priority, spiritually speaking, hence the legend.

During the Japanese rule, there was also a noodle shop serving udon/soba in Tamsui, operated by a Japanese immigrant. Much like other Taiwanese traditions that had remained intact, these Japanese noodles also had failed to overtake the local favorite, 切仔麵.

As a midnight snack, nothing beats the 油麵 soup, topped with small pieces of salty lean pork. In the winter cold, this is also the snack-meal to go for.

2014年12月30日 星期二

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 6 New Year's cake)

Fried sweet New Year's cake 甜稞
年糕, or New Year's Rice Cake, was traditionally home-made, Tamsui was no exception. It was a big deal that often required the efforts of women folks of the whole household. The final products came in two flavors, salty and sweet. Each slab measured 3x3 feet and 4 fingers thick. In the winter cold, they last a long long time. You could cut off a little slice and roast it over a hibachi. Ideal snack in the winter time.

To make the cakes, first, sweet/sticky rice was soaked in water overnight. Then came the most labor-intensive part, the grinding, using a 磨 or a two-piece round stone mill with one on top of the other. The larger one at the bottom had an open circular groove carved out with the inner diameter matching the diameter of the top one. For efficiency, usually a woman did the circular pushing and a girl ladled rice-water mixture into a hole at the top portion of the millstone, rice was then crushed between the two stones.

Photo by 礼荷莲 (Lilias Graham) taken in 1893 in 鼓浪屿, Amoy.
The rice slurry was collected through the circular groove and spouted into a flour sac (for its fine meshes), and the opening of the sac tied. It was then laid onto a long wooden bench and a long bamboo pole put on top with both ends tied down to squeeze out the water. The resulting rice-dough was further flavored with sugar or salt (plus other ingredients if desired). The mix was then loaded into a square mold and steamed in a huge wooden/bamboo steamer until done.

During Lunar New Year, not only rice cakes were made, a whole lot of dishes, of chicken, duck, fish, and pork, were also prepared for a New Year's Eve feast. And New Year's Day was, still is, when kids go around collecting red envelops (紅包, with real money inside!) from all family members.

2014年12月29日 星期一

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 5 Street vendors)

A variety of snack food was available only from traveling street vendors. The b&w photos shown below were taken in the early 1960s or in fact even earlier [photographer(s) unknown]:

(1) Candy plums: These bright red candy plums were made with crunchy 桃接李 (produced from plum twigs grafted onto peach trees), i.e., plums strung on a bamboo stick dipped in melted cane sugar with red dye No 2 added, and let cool to form a hard shell. These plums with orange-colored flesh were a bit on the sour side, usually eaten with grain sugar or after marination in 甘草licorice root flavored juice. Sugar coating similar to that of candy apples in the US was a wonderful idea (tooth decays aside) and certainly a huge hit among the children. Still available in Tamsui now except they are made with cherry tomatoes.

(2) Rice puffs: 爆米香 - This is a two-step process. First the rice-popping part (operated by man with a hat in photo below) and then the cake-making part (man in white at the rear of the cart). You were supposed to bring your own rice. Children with their own rice in a pot queued up to wait for their turns:

Rice-popping was done by using a iron sphere/cylinder with a one-way air-outlet valve. With the rice inside, the sphere was rotated slowly over charcoal fire to create a vacuum inside for the rice grains to pop. A remarkably loud boom was heard from opening the decompressed roaster when it is done. The popped rice would explode into a collecting net. It was then mixed with caramelized sugarcane sugar and molded into a slab. Little rectangles were then cut to make mouth-watering 米香 (pronounced Bi-Pang).
味香 in the making
(3) Little dough figurines:  Strictly speaking, this is more a street art than a snack food. Delicately crafted colorful 小麵人representing famous characters from folklore. The artist-vendors were usually equipped with a mixture of wheat flour and sweet rice, 9 or more different dyes, some bee's wax, and little tools to create life-like figurines. Even though edible, not many kids ate them at all.

A vendor usually peddled his masterpieces at the small Triangular Park in Tamsui
This folk art is still hanging around, not for too long, though (above).

2014年12月28日 星期日

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 4 Winter melon meat pie)

This delicious winter melon meat pie by 三協成餅舖 SanXieChen Bakeries has retain its popularity for over 70 years:
No 81 Chung Cheng Road
It is actually a wedding cake, Taiwanese style, customarily distributed in batches to friends and families of the bride and groom. Interestingly, it has a British origin. From a great post on the 三協成餅舖 website:

"古早淡水人有一句名諺「娶某不娶八里坌」,這句話提醒年輕人,八里人嫁女兒的風俗是要送喜餅給全村村民的,所以娶他們的女兒要自量其力;而李水清先生就從這句諺語中看到廣大的喜餅市場。為了攻佔喜餅市場,李水清先生首先透過前台大婦產科主任-歐陽培銓先生,認識了英國領事館的主廚-涂彩和先生,然後向他學做英國水果派(派皮較鬆脆)以為改進傳統水晶餅外皮軟趴趴的缺點。而其女婿-林銅洲先生也因為在英國領事館任職商務秘書,從而進口英國老牌子Bush Boake Allen香料,以為改進水晶餅內餡的香味(當時台灣還沒有奶粉、奶精等原料)自此中西合併,改良後的冬瓜肉餅一炮而紅,成為「三協成」維持七十年不墜的招牌餅。"

Translation: "There was a proverb in old Tamsui that went "Never marry a girl from Bali", a warning to the prospective groom on the heavy financial burden since expensive wedding cakes would be required to distribute to ALL the bride's fellow villagers (i.e., easily the whole Bali). The founder of SanXieChen Mr Li Shui-ching, realizing a vast potential market, had, through the introduction of NTU Ob-Gyn chairman Dr AuYang Pei-chuan, got to know and learn from the chief chef of the British Consulate Mr Tu Chai-he on how to make a better pie crust than the old soggy ones. And through his son-in-law, Mr Lin Tung-chou who was Commerce Secretary at the Consulate, Mr Li had imported the famed English Bush Boake Allen spices to improve the flavor of the fillings. Combining East and West, the winter melon meat pie became an instant hit which made SanXieChen Bakeries a well-known brand name since that had lasted for the past 70 years."

At some point in the 50s, winter melon in the cake was replaced with chocolate. For those who disliked the overly sweet, sugar-cured winter melon bits (left, bite-size chunks), Hallelujah! Too bad it was discontinued after a short while. Current owner Mr 李志仁 is too young to remember chocolate meat pie. We'll try to convince him for a revival. Incidentally, Mr Li's aunt was one of the Japanese immigrants who stayed behind in 1946 when everyone else was sent back to Japan. As kids, we were often puzzled by her heavily accented Taiwanese.

2014年12月27日 星期六

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 3 Fish crisps)

Teng-feng Fish Crisps

淡水魚酥 [Tamsui fish crisps] was invented in Tamsui by Mr 林水木 Lin Shui-Mu & Co of the fishball fame. They are made from fish harvested from Taiwan Strait, such as lizardfish, hairtail, and croaker. It is little known, however, that the choice of the ingredient fish in fact depends on catch of the season and the texture and flavor of the crisps therefore vary with each season.

Also, freshly ground whole fishes (with the heads and guts removed) are used in the manufacturing process. The paste is then mixed thoroughly with potato starch. Unlike cake-making, no baking soda or the like is added, since the fish flesh itself is a natural leavening agent. The fish pastes are mechanically extruded through a sieve to make short sticks which are then fried in palm oil and drained.

For decades, fish crisps have remained popular that have indeed withstood the test of times. Indeed, economically speaking, it was not always smooth sailing in Tamsui, and yet fish crisps have been on the market for nearly 50 years, Modernized by automated production, they are now even more widely available. For example, in addition to local sales and distribution in Taiwan, Mr Lin Shui-Mu's own Teng-feng Tamsui Fish Crisps are also available in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and the US.

The locals usually enjoy them over tea, with Taiwan Beer, or even at breakfast. Of course, one can simply munch on them out of a bag:

Teng-feng Tamsui Fish Crisps

2014年12月26日 星期五

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 2 Fishball)

魚丸Fishball is made from fish pastes. In the old days, the little white solid spheres were produced, one at a time, by squeezing a handful of fish pastes through the opening between the thumb and the fingers, then scooped off with a spoon and quickly dropped into boiling water. Usually a bucketful was made. Starting in Tamsui in about 60 years ago, fishball became machine-manufactured (see below), hence the ellipsoid shape complete with pork-fillings rarely seen before. [Incidentally, for the misguided few, it has always been 魚丸, not 魚圓, since the beginning of time.]

When the time comes, piping hot clear broth is added to a set of 4 in a shallow porcelain bowl, then sprinkled with chopped celery. In an instant, a satisfying bowl of fishball soup is created. 

Fishball is available throughout Taiwan. It is the ingredient-fish that gives rise to the distinct flavor of each locale.
Four different types of fishball in Taiwan (source: 東森新聞)
In fact, there are 4 major types of fishball in Taiwan, marlin fishball available in Kaohsiung高雄旗魚丸, milkfish in Tainan台南虱目魚丸, mahi mahi in Yi-lan南方澳鬼頭刀魚丸, and shark in Tamsui淡水鯊魚魚丸.

There is an old saying in Tamsui, "六月鯊,狗不拖 [rotten] sharks in June, even dogs spurn". This is a description of the once abundant shark harvests hauled back to port, ship after ship, ca 5-6 decades ago. Refrigeration at that time was reserved for high-value fishes only, not the lowly sharks. By the 6th month on the lunar calendar ("June"), in the summer heat, the surplus sharks began to smell, even hungry stray dogs found them unappetizing indeed.

A Tamsui native, 林水木先生Mr Lin Shui-Mu noticing the wasteful loss, came up with the idea of machine-producing fishball. It was at a time when hand-made fishball was still quite pricey. The machine was a Japanese contraption, originally designed for making 蒟蒻konjak jelly. Mr Lin converted the power supply from electricity to the much less expensive diesel, and a new fishball industry was born. In 1950, together with his business partner 許炳松 (aka 許義)先生Mr Shu Yi, they rented a storefront owned by MaZu Temple, christened it 味香魚丸店 Wei-shiang Fishball Shop and begin selling bagfuls of mass-produced Tamsui Shark Fishball.

Tamsui is no longer a major seaport and its fishing industry has long declined. Even fresh fish must now be imported from Tainan or Yi-lan. So, next time when you visit Tamsui, do enjoy fishball soup knowing that it is actually a symbol of Tamsui's rise and fall of its fishing industry past. Then, go visit Teng-feng Fishball Museum, across the street from MaZu Temple, that came on the scene in 2004. This is the first and only of its kind in Taiwan with central theme on the manufacturing evolution of fishball. The museum, open to the public free of charge, is also where visitors can participate in the do-it-yourself fishball making:

Exhibits at Teng-feng Fishball Museum

2014年12月25日 星期四

Traditional snack food in Tamsui (Part 1 Lard)

The mention of lard often conjures up an alarming image of clogged arteries leading up to cardiovascular catastrophes. Lard has also been unwitting involved in the recent food safety scandal in Taiwan where mass-produced lard was found to be adulterated with used oil, originally destined for industrial or animal use.

In simpler times prior to the 1960s, everyone consumed lard, freshly home-made from pork loin, not sold in wet markets anywhere. Lard preparation was in fact a requisite skill of all housewives. First, fatty pork was sliced into 1-inch cubes. A batch of them were then placed into an iron wok. Over a slow fire, oil was pressed out from the cubes. Eventually these cubes were fried in their own "juice" and more oil was extracted thus. The oil was then ladled into a ceramic jar, let cool and it would solidify into lard. The meaty residues were known as 豬油渣 (below):

豬油渣 was one of the two favorite snacks for children, e.g., EyeDoc and his cousins, who grew up in Tamsui. Sprinkled with sea salt, it was absolutely delicious, a real treat, as a matter of fact.

The other one was 豬油拌飯 or steamed white rice stirred in with a teaspoonful each of lard and soy sauce; simple after-school snack, yet it truly hit the spot:

Quality fatty pork was on the expensive side and lard was relatively time-consuming to make. So when cheap peanut oil came into being, largely through the 配給 ration system starting in the 50s, housewives began to switch. Now, just like its cousin butter, lard has more or less been banished from our menus. No one vouches for lard any more, even though we all know that traditional Chinese dishes prepared without lard simply taste wrong. Perhaps we need an advocate, someone like the famed TV chef and author, Julia Child (1912-2004) of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She had never shied away from liberal use of butter, the foundation of French cooking; a direct quote from Julia:.

"In the 1960s, you could eat anything you wanted, and of course, people were smoking cigarettes and all kinds of things, and there was no talk about fat and anything like that, and butter and cream were rife. Those were lovely days for gastronomy, I must say."

Although, as a result of the present lard scandal, home-made lard seems to be making a comeback. There is hope.

2014年12月23日 星期二

Tamsui landmarks 1935

This was a bird's eye view map of Tamsui made in 1935, 2 years before the 2nd Sino-Japanese war (1937-45), when Tamsui was still a thriving seaport:
A pseudo-3D map of Tamsui looking from the mouth of Tamsui River

A cropped version is shown above. Major landmarks: from Sha-lun Beach (bottom left), going up and right to Hobe Gun Fort/Tamsui Golf course, and next to it, Ft San Domingo/British Consulate. And along the whole stretch of now Chung Cheng Road, various shipping companies, gov't agencies and town offices. All the schools, from elementary school to college, together with the Public Meeting Hall 公會堂 can also be seen. Notice the long-vanished delta was still there.

Also found on the map were rural areas where watermelon (most important summer crop at that time), rice (probably the native 在來 strain), and oranges (the famed bucket oranges 桶柑) were produced.

2014年12月18日 星期四

Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells, one of the most popular Christmas songs, also has a Taiwanese version. Since there is no White Christmas in Taiwan, ever, so the sleigh-ride-inspired lyrics have been reasonably changed to Santa Claus and his presents:

Not many in Taiwan knew who Santa was, not until the 1950s anyway. Then all of a sudden, pictures of a jolly Santa Claus appeared everywhere. In 1963, Christmas Day became a national holiday; although it was officially the Constitution Day. It was scrapped in 2001, now observed only in Protestant and Catholic schools.

According to Medford Historical Society (see photos below), the birthplace of Jingle Bells is Medford, Massachusetts, a tiny town 6 miles northwest of Boston, off I-93, and 7,694 miles from Tamsui:
A plaque seen on 19 High Street, Medford Square
Simpson Tavern ca 1884, now an empty brick storefront
James Pierpont composed the song at Simpson Tavern and first performed it in 1850. He later moved to Savannah, Georgia, and published the song in 1857 (hence the persistent misunderstanding that the song was first written there). He passed away in Savannah, although was buried back in his hometown, Medford.
Sleigh races on Salem St in East Medford, ca 1883
Temporal and spatial connection through a song? You bet. Merry Christmas, everyone!

2014年12月12日 星期五

The first expat in Tamsui - Pedro Florentino

Pedro Florentino (1815-1884) was a Spanish sailor of the Philippines nationality. Around 1856 when his ship was sailing by the coastline of Tamsui, he had carelessly fallen overboard. Rescued by fishermen from Tamsui, he had no other choice but to stay put in town. He actually soon married 黃春, daughter of another sailor from QuanChou, Hokkien, and their only son was born in 1858 (畢金桂Bi King-guei was his Taiwanese name, more later).

The arrival of Pedro Florentino in Tamsui actually predated that of Dr George Leslie Mackay (in 1872), he therefore can be regarded as the first ever foreign permanent resident of Tamsui, at least in the modern era. His family was also the first of the Catholic faith in Northern Tamsui. The family had purchased a house on 清水街崎仔頂 and converted it into a church (see photo above).

This family has kept Pedro as their surname (and the nationality as well), 畢Bi was a loose phonetic translation of Pedro, chosen and officialized when they were naturalized as Taiwan citizens in 1955.

During the Japanese colonial era, all foreigners including the Pedros must report their whereabouts as a matter of routine. The Pedros, for example, were required to apply for permission from the Foreign Ministry for any and all trips out of Tamsui. The daughter of the third son of 畢金桂 finally adopted her mother's maiden name 馮Feng, just so that at least some family members could move around freely. And 10 years after the war, the entire Pedro clan by then had already lived in Tamsui for 4-5 generations indistinguishable from the locals, finally elected to become Taiwanese. The Pedro/畢 family still reside on 新民街, near Tamsui Foreigners Cemetery, today.

It is unclear if Pedro Florentino had ever gone back to his home country for a visit. For a drifting Spaniard-Filipino, what better place than Tamsui to settle down in? And he indeed had found it.

[Source: 淡水鎮志 Sec 10, Ch 6, p 345, ed 周宗賢教授]

2014年12月7日 星期日

Tamsui Elementary School 2014

The annual celebration of the establishment of Tamsui Elementary School was held recently. This school was founded in 1895 soon after Taiwan was ceded to Japan. Initially it was a language school with only a handful of pupils. It was formalized as an elementary school in 1902 at the present site.

The festivities included demonstration of boat-rowing exercise 【漕艇体操】, a century-old tradition passed down from the Japanese colonial era. And this year, it was performed by 4th grade pupils:

2014年 淡水國小校慶
Courtesy of Mr N Hirokawa
In these 1939 photos, the top one shows the same occasion and the same exercise. The only difference is that before the 1950s, this school was for boys only.

2014年11月27日 星期四

Don't forget to vote

Update 11/29/2014: Congratulations to Mayor Tsai, now New Taipei City Councilman-elect.

Candidate No 5 Dr Tsai Yeh-Wei

2014年11月11日 星期二

Port of Tamsui

Source: 莊家維,〈近代淡水聚落的空間構成與變化〉,頁87,
To most Tamsui-lang, the Port of Tamsui 淡水港 refers to the stretch of shoreline in front of MaZu Temple on Chung Cheng Road. Where, junks from China came and went, local fishing fleets and numerous sampans congregated before the construction of the first fisherman's wharf in the 1950s. After that, motorized deep-sea fishing ships were directed to dock in this wharf to shield them from storms. The second fisherman's wharf with its famed Lovers' Bridge came in later, in ca 2003.

In its heyday, Tamsui Port actually had several active wharfs. The map of wharfs of 1885 (above) shows from top left, those belonging to (1) Customs Office, (2) British Consulate, (3) John Dodd & Co, (4) Douglas, Lapraik & Co, (5) Tan Ah-Sun, (6) John Dodd, and (7) the Han civilians.

The Customs Office area was opened for business during the Qing era and continued into the Japanese colonial rule to accommodate steam ships arriving from overseas (and also island-wide inter-port sea transports). It has been off-limits to Tamsui locals/civilians since 1945, occupied by various governmental units that included the navy, coast guard and marines, Keelung Customs Office, even a pocket-sized submarine building group. After 4 years of renovation, this area is now open to the tourists.

2014年11月9日 星期日

Good luck Mayor Tsai

To most Tamsui-lang, Tamsui will always remain a Township 鎮, never a District 區 of New Taipei City, and its chief administrator will always be our Mayor 鎮長, not a district director. Following the tradition of all mayors of Tamsui, Mayor Tsai Yeh-Wei 蔡葉偉 has done, in the past 9 years, the most in restoring Tamsui to its former glory and in fact much more. For which, we the present and past citizens are very grateful.

Mayor Tsai is now the No 5 senatorial candidate of the New Taipei City Council. When elected, he will no doubt continue to oversee the re-construction of not only Tamsui Township proper but also Ba-Li, San-Zi, and Shi-Men Districts. We look forward to his becoming the voice for the residents of these four major population centers.

Election day: Nov 29, 2014

2014年9月30日 星期二

Tamsui WELL

Source: https://www.facebook.com/2014awei
A message from Mayor of Tamsui, Dr Tsai Yeh-Wei, "淡海蔚城計畫,其實就是Well Town的概念,什麼是WELL town 即Work (新興產業,在地工作) Eco (環保生態社區) Leisure (休閒生活環境)及 Lrt (環保交通工具)"

Future city plans for Greater Tamsui will be based on WELL, i.e., Work, Ecology, Leisure, and Local environmentally friendly transport. 

Tamsui is the perpetual hometown to many, not only those born and bred here and those relocated elsewhere even overseas. It is open to newcomers as WELL.

2014年9月22日 星期一

Italians in Tamsui 1925

Of the 55,000-km route, 40,000 km was flown along the coastlines, 
8,000 was on the open sea and 7,000 over land 
Reader Yosh3 has called our attention to the map above. According to Mr 曾令毅 [here], it was an exploratory inter-continental flight piloted by Italian Air Force Commander Francesco de Pinedo and accompanying machinist NCO Ernesto Companelli. They arrived in Tamsui from the Philippines on September 18, 1925, on the Savoia S-16, and after re-fueling and some maintenance work, departed on the 21st for Shanghai and then Kagoshima. This 55,000-km journey started from Rome on April 21 that eventually covered India, Australia, China, and Japan.

The seaplane arriving in Sydney
For more on this epic flight, see Yosh3's comments here: http://danshuihistory.blogspot.com/2014/08/rising-sun-petroleum.html#comment-form

2014年9月9日 星期二

Sweetfish 香魚

Sweetfish 香魚 (aka 桀魚) may have a connection with Tamsui. Read on.

Once aplenty in 碧潭Bi-tan, the fish went extinct in 1980. Those available now are farmed from Japanese stock. The extinction has always been blamed on over-fishing, which is only partially true, because it was really owing to the disruption of the life cycle of sweetfish.

We now know, in the not too distant past, sweetfish traveled from the sea up to a special brook in 瑞芳 and went upstream to spawn at the very source of the water, 桀魚坑. Just like salmon, when the adult fish reached sexual maturity, they would return from the ocean to spawn in their ancestral fresh-water habitat. The ones in 碧潭 would have started their journey from Tamsui by entering through the mouth of Tamsui River from Taiwan Strait and went all the way up 新店溪XinDian River to 碧潭 and beyond. For a time, the fish was often caught in Tamsui River (see here) and appeared in 瑠公圳; the latter an aqueduct built in 1753, channeling water from 新店溪 to SongShan area before it became an open sewer in 1934 (now covered up, sandwiched between the in- and out-bound lanes of 新生南路). In 1922, small estuaries were actually constructed along 新店溪 to facilitate spawning of the fish; the efforts did not continue, however.

This photo (and the map below, both) kindly provided by 洪惠文 shows her father Dr Hong Tsu-Pei imitating the Aboriginal spear-fishing the sweetfish in 碧潭, taken during an outing in 1946. This indicates that the fish was still plentiful at that time:

In fact, the 1951 map (above) also shows 桀魚 (fish symbol below pink 台北市 among noted product of Taiwan. Around 1955, to maintain the water level of 碧潭 so the water supply to surrounding areas and boating activities for tourists could be sustained, a low-tech stone-dam using 竹蛇籠 (grapefruit-sized stones packed into long cylindrical bamboo cages) was built downstream from the suspension bridge (below). Without any fish ladders in place, this dam effectively cut off the home-coming path of sweetfish. Worse, the fish upstream were trapped and every single last one was caught and eaten (hence the urban legend of over-fishing).

Source: http://taipics.com/taipei_bitan.php

Google maps show a newer dam immediately downstream from Route 110 Bridge (秀朗堰, built in year 2000). Also, 直潭壩 upstreams constructed in 1973-78 as a drinking-water reservoir for the Greater Taipei. Fish ladders were never in the plans. Even if any, it'll no longer be relevant as the original red-finned 桀魚 is long gone.

2014年9月5日 星期五

John Dodd 陶德

Finally, more information on John Dodd, father of oolong tea and long-time resident of Tamsui, provided by Niki JP Alsford, author of "The Witnessed Account of British Resident John Dodd at Tamsui" (2010) in a discussion thread in Katy Biggs's facebook posts.
終於找到有關陶德,台灣烏龍茶之父和長期的淡水住民,的訊息了。資料是轉載自Katy Biggs 【洪惠文 - 淡水第一任街長洪以南曾孫女】臉書的相關評論線,主要是基於Niki JP Alsford所詮釋的陶德原著【Journal of a blockaded resident in North Formosa during the Franco-Chinese War, 1884-5】,以及Asford本人的意見和看法。

(1) First, was John Dodd a Scot or an Englishman?

The answer seems to be an Englishman if his birthplace is taken into account. Following Alsford's lead, Biggs has found the baptism record of John Dodd:
以出生地來說,他應該是英格蘭人,由Asford的資料,Biggs 找到陶德的受洗記錄

Baptism: 11 Nov 1838 St John, Preston, Lancashire, England
John Dodd - [Child] of John Dodd & Nanny
Abode: Shambles
Occupation: Butcher
Baptised by: Charles Wagstaff Curate
Register: Baptisms 1838 - 1840, Page 56, Entry 444

Dodd's parents were therefore John Dodd (the senior) and Nanny Dodd* (*Or Nancy Dodd - see Alsford's book, footnote on p 5).
所以陶德是出生在英格蘭的藍卡郡,他的父親也叫John Dodd,母親是Nanny Dodd (或Nancy Dodd - Asford 著作第5頁註腳).

However, in the book by 陳政三 "泡茶走西仔反: 清法戰爭台灣外記" page 001, first phrase: "陶德 英國蘇格蘭人 [i.e., a Scot]".  The Tamsui Township History has only one sentence mentioning 陶德 as 英人 which can be either British or English.
不過陳政三編譯陶德原著【泡茶走西仔反: 清法戰爭台灣外記】的第一頁第一句就說了,“陶德  英國蘇格蘭人”. 【淡水鎮志】則僅提“英人"陶德成立寶順洋行“,沒有注明是不列顛(包括蘇格蘭)還是英格蘭英人.

Alsford is of the opinion that (1) it is through John Dodd’s mother’s family (nee Atkinson) that a Scottish heritage exists. At present this is an educated guess based on his family connections and (2) I honestly believe that the Scots had (as in many ways they still do) a reputation as being men of valour – see Grant Simpson’s, 1992 book on The Scottish Soldier Abroad. It is not over-fanciful to imagine that both Dodd and Pickering [Pickering was born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire on 9 June 1840 – and again is not Scottish] wanted to adopt such mannerism and may well have identified themselves as Scottish – alternatively, particularly in the case of Dodd, when asked where he was from he probably would have said close to ‘Scotland’ and this later stuck.
Alsford 認為陶德是蘇格蘭人的記錄或傳說的源由有兩個可能,(1) 他從研究結果推測陶德的蘇格蘭血統來自母親的娘家Atkinson家族,(2) 蘇格蘭人一向被認為是驍勇善戰的男子漢 (可參考Grant Simpson的1992 著作【The Scottish Soldier Abroad】)。所以像陶德及同時代的Pickering(註: William Pickering, 1840-1907,是英格蘭人,香港海關官員,來過台灣,著【Pioneering in Formosa】,後任新加坡華人保護官),很可能都自稱蘇格蘭人,連行為習俗都也悉仿蘇格蘭人。也許當年有人問起陶德原籍,他的回答是蘇格蘭人,可能就是如此,沿傳迄今。

(2) Did John Dodd have a family while in Taiwan since it is believed that Dodd fathered two children Valentine and Elaine? 

According to Alsford, "John did father two children – though recent research (namely from family photos) seems to confirm that Taihee (wife of his children) was actually from Hong Kong. So Dodd was probably not a ‘father’ in the traditional sense whilst in Taiwan. General Victorian sensibilities towards cross-cultural marriage are well documented particularly the transnational histories of Eurasian children (of which both John Valentine and Elaine Dodd; as well as MacKay’s children were considered)."

(3) What happened after Dodd left Tamsui?

Again, Alsford: "Finally on his return to England he married Mary on 7 August 1893 in Atcham in Shropshire (a border country with Wales). Mary’s father was a cabinet maker from a town (Porthmadoc) not too far from where Dodd finally settles (Trefriw) in a house he names Glen Mair (or Mary’s Valley). As the census confirms Dodd was a man of independent means (‘retired merchant from China’) he more than likely decided to move closer to Mary’s ancestral home."
根據Alsford, 陶德返英後,在1893年8月7日與Mary結婚,地點是靠近與威爾士邊界相近的Shropshire郡Atcham鎮。Mary的父親是製作櫥櫃的木匠,來自Porthmadoc,和陶德最後定居的Trefriw鎮不遠。陶德命名他的住宅為Glen Mair (意為Mary's Valley瑪麗山谷)。當地的戶口調查列陶德為富人(“從中國退休的商人”)。陶德大約是最後決定定居在Mary的老家,沒有再回原籍。

Niki Alsford is currently at School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London,  
email: na29@soas.ac.uk 
We also wish to thank Jerome F Keating for pointing the way

2014年9月3日 星期三

Minnie Mackay (Part 2)

Outside of Tamsui, the life of Mrs George Leslie Mackay (Minnie Mackay, 1860-1925) remains relatively obscure. Here is a brief biography based on information gleaned from Tamsui Presbyterian Church publications and University of Aletheia archives:

Minnie Mackay
Source: http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/08/36/a6.html
The Chinese name of Minnie Mackay was 張聰明, pronounced Tiu Chhang-min in Taiwanese. She was the first born of 張忠 (wife: 愛氏) of 五股坑 and was "adopted" by 陳烏 (wife: 張氏) to be the future wife of the latter's son. It was the 送做堆 custom at that time. This son unfortunately passed away from an illness when Minnie was 12 years old. The adoptive mother blamed Minne for bringing in bad luck that had caused her son's demise and proceeded to mistreat Minnie. Luckily, Minnie's adoptive grandmother 陳塔 was a kind-hearted woman who had shielded Minnie, whenever she could, from the verbal and physical abuses.

In 1873, Macky established a church in 五股坑 (now 五股, a town upstream from Tamsui), 陳塔 became the first Christian convert and brought in many more new converts including Minnie. The latter practically grew up in the church and was baptized on Feb 3, 1878. Mackay gave her a new name 聰明 replacing the original peasant name 蔥仔 [scallion] (聰 and 蔥 pronounced the same in Taiwanese). She had attracted Mackay's attention because of her demonstrated proficiency in learning Roman alphabets to read the Bible, even earning the first place and an award in her Bible class. Grandma 陳塔, realizing Mackay's life was as incomplete as Adam without Eve, had decided to arrange for Minne to marry Mackay. In the Taiwanese tradition, the match-making was done first, this through Mackay's student 陳雲騰. Mackay had accepted the proposition. To prepare for the wedding, the Chen family finally treated Minne well, like a daughter, for 6 months she remained indoors out from the sun, no more field duties. Apparently Mackay himself was pleased to be betrothed to a healthy and presentable Minnie. Plus, Minnie was also without bound feet, as she had refused to submit to this barbaric practice since childhood thus fulfilling Makay's absolute prerequisite. And both birth- and adoptive parents gave permission for her to marry Mackay, in writing and witnessed by a third party. These "contracts" are shown below:
Consent from the adoptive mother (adoptive father by then had already deceased)
Source: http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/08/36/7b.html
Consent from birth parents
Source: http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/08/36/7a.html
Most important, Minne herself willingly entered this marriage and declared in writing: "I, 張聰明, in the presence of all, solemnly announce that I am willing to marry Rev George Leslie Mackay to be united as a married couple. This is from my own free will, unhindered in any way. I wish you all now bear witness that I, 張聰明, marry George Leslie Mackay under the law for him to be my husband forever.":
This was a blessed marriage. Minne Mackay went on to becoming a mother and a preacher in her own right who was able to reach the female population previously inaccessible to George Leslie Mackay. And because she was local, the messages of the Bible could be conveyed in full. Minnie continued to learn English and became the only female among the 6 teachers when Oxford College in Tamsui opened it doors to a new generation of students.

2014年9月1日 星期一

Minnie Mackay (Part 1)

As all expats in Taiwan who have married a Taiwanese, the upbringing of the offspring is influenced by two different cultures, often not equally. The George and Minnie Mackay marriage was no exception.

The Mackays were married on May 27, 1878. The wedding ceremony was officiated by British Consul Alexander Frater, conducted at the consulate. In attendance were Mr and Mrs Frater, Mr John Dodd (owner of Dodd & Co寶順洋行), Dr LE Ringer (a physician serving foreign-companies洋行 who often assisted Mackay in medical missions), and Mr and Mrs Lay.

The Scottish side of the Mackay family is recorded on this site: "George Leslie Mackay was born on March 21, 1884 in Zorra township near Woodstock, Oxford county, 100 miles west of Toronto, Canada. Mackay's father (also named George) and mother immigrated from Scotland to Canada in the 1830's. They were among the tenant farmers driven from the Scottish highlands to make way for large estates. Dispossessed of land in Scotland, they crossed the Atlantic to begin a new life county in the rich agricultural plains of SW Ontario."

Dressed in Victorian fashion with George William in traditional Scottish kilt
Minne, in addition to being a wife, had proven to be an important partner in George Leslie Mackay's missionary work. From another site: "Another example of Mackay’s “going native” was his marriage to a Pe-po-hoan, which caused considerable controversy in Canada and in the foreign community on Formosa. Noting that few native women attended mission services, Mackay hoped his marriage would open their hearts and homes. He never thought about marrying a Canadian, he wrote in defence of his actions, “I am thinking how I can do most for Jesus.” Minnie Mackay, as she was prosaically called, proved to be a power in the mission."

And indeed a power she was, except Minnie Mackay was not a Pe-po-hoan平埔番 (Plains Aborigine) but a Hokkien-Han. This family photo (above) with everyone dressed up in Qing clothing is a good illustration of their more accustomed daily lives. The Mackay children did speak both Taiwanese and English; they were later educated in a English language school in Japan and eventually back home in Canada as Canadian citizens.

2014年8月29日 星期五

Rising Sun Petroleum

Warehouse of Douglas, Cass & Co
Very few people, not even the locals pay much attention to 鼻仔頭Pi-a-tou east of Tamsui MRT Station, largely because this site, the now defunct Seaplane Port, has always been off-limits to civilians. Through the historical preservation efforts of Taipei County, 鼻仔頭史蹟生態區 that includes the original Shell property finally was created in 2007.

As early as 1870, Pi-a-tou was already home to Jardine Matheson & Co, followed by Milisch & Co and Dodd & Co. Records show that a Mr Hankard leased from 紀化三 in 1894 the whole area complete with paddy fields, orchards, and cottages at an annual rent of 2,400 yuan.

Douglas Lapraik & Co was established in 1884 and re-organized as Lapraik, Cass & Co in 1893. In 1897, it became the agent for Shell Transport & Trading Co (established in 1902). On Sep 1, 1909, Shell leased the land in perpetuity from the gov't and joined force with Rising Sun Petroleum Co, the latter was established in Japan in 1900 with a branch office in Taiwan opened in 1910. The Shell - Rising Sun Petroleum Co started operation in Tamsui in 1911, and on May 27, 1912, the company leased its company site also in perpetuity.

The Rising Sun Petroleum Co transported its oil by train to other cities in Taiwan. There were three tanks, a 60-ton sedimentation tank, a 1,200-ton kerosene storage tank, and a 2,500-ton oil storage tank. On the company campus, there were oil pumps, warehouses, and a residence for the caretakers. Oil arrived in Tamsui via possibly oil tankers and then pumped into the tanks through steel pipelines. The operation was halted by the Japanese Colonial Gov't in April 1944 in preparation for the war then rapidly advancing from the Philippines. And on Oct 12, the site was in fact attacked by F6F Hellcats based on carrier USS Intrepid.

Source: Chih-yuan Chang, The historic preservation and rebirth of the Shell Oil Company storage in Tamsui, Taiwan. PhD Thesis, Graduate School of Design, National Yunlin Univ of Sci and Tech, 2007

2014年8月23日 星期六

Hobe Gun Fort 滬尾砲台

Caption: The distant view of Mt Kanon from the ex-battery of Tansui, the suburb of Taihoku
Marc of Taipics.com sends this rare photo of Hobe Gun Fort from the Japanese colonial era (above). Clearly, it had been abandoned and, at some point, occupied by squatters who had built a traditional residential house 三合院 in the court yard. Another photo shows the run-down house:

Source: http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/30/e0/3c.html

Two years after the Battle of Fisherman's Wharf, Governor of Taiwan 劉銘傳 Liu Ming-chuan ordered the construction of this fortress [Hobe is the Taiwanese pronunciation of 滬尾, the old name of Tamsui], under the supervision of a German engineer, Lieutenant Max E Hecht. Hecht unfortunately died on the job and was buried in Tamsui Foreigners Cemetery. He was the only deceased with two headstones, one reads "In memoriam Lieut Max Hecht who died in Tamsui on the 19th August 1892 in his 39th year. Ruhe seiner asche. Erected by his friends" and the other, simply "M Hecht".

This gun fort was designed to cover the area where the French warships were deployed in 1884 (below). It was equipped with 4 rear-loaded pieces: two 8-inch Krupp, one 10-inch and another a 12-inch Armstrong.
Source: http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/30/e0/45.html

Now fully restored, complete with a museum inside the soldiers' quarters and munition dumps that exhibits the history of the Sino-French war:

 The plague above the main gate, was presented by Liu Ming-chuan
with his calligraphic writing of 北門鎖鑰. 
The court yard with 蓮霧 trees with the barracks/museum in the background