2014年6月21日 星期六


"Ouch ouch ouch, it's done?!"
This was a scene re-played countless times in all elementary schools in Taiwan, in the 1950s. Here is another, from Taipics.com, children apprehensively queued up before receiving the shot:
 Because of the loss of medical personnel to the Pacific War - many were drafted to serve in the Japanese military and never returned, there was a public health crisis in the post-war era. The long vanished black death and cholera actually made a comeback. As part of the 美援US aid, vaccines such as that for diphtheria, and BCG vaccines (BCG: Bacillus Calmette-Guérin, known in Taiwan as 卡介苗) became available. And programs such as mandatory vaccination and malaria eradication were instituted through the island-wide network of 衛生所Public Health Clinics.

In Tamsui, the Clinic was headed by Dr 蔡坤煌Tsai Kun-Huang. It was located next to Tamsui Elementary School with a huge front yard where a make-shift movie screen could be quickly erected and cartoons on health subjects shown in summer evenings. These cartoons were in English, so no one knew what the narratives were all about; although from the animated colorful pictures, even us kids could surmise that being bare-footed might be comfortable but bad for you, because some kind of parasitic worms could enter through between the toes and wreck havoc with your organs. Not that anybody we knew had contracted the disease whatever it was, we did love to squish an earthworm with our toes. Of course, we quickly lost interests in those black-and-white ones.

It was less sophisticated in other parts of Taiwan. This 1957 photo shows a mobile team of actors, playacting the diseases which houseflies and mosquitoes could carry; although this was already known to the Taiwanese, not to mention the also common knowledge that the dreaded plague was carried by rats (a bounty program was actually promoted in Tamsui during the Japanese colonial era, see here).

"Come -- let's all exterminate mosquitoes and flies!"
The medical tradition in Taiwan did recover, slowly but surely, from the loss of physicians, and medical and immunological assistants to the Pacific War, and continues to safeguard the health of the Taiwanese to this day.

2014年6月15日 星期日

淡水街長 洪以南 The First Mayor of Tamsui

Most friends of Tamsui will recognize this famed 1935 oil painting by 陳澄波 (1895-1947). On the upper right is the 紅樓 (Red Castle) built in 1895-99, home to the 洪以南 (Hong Yi-Nan) family (purchased in 1913, re-named 達觀樓). For years, it has sat idle, now a popular cafe-restaurant with a spectacular view of Tamsui.

洪以南 was actually the first mayor of Tamsui (from 1920 to 1924) who lived there for 14 years. The 淡水信用組合 that he had helped founded is still in business today.

Mayor Hong was an accomplished scholar, well-known for his poetry, calligraphy, and traditional painting. He was also a literature collector and the first leader of 瀛社, a poetry society in Taipei. A short biography is included in the recently published 淡水鎮志 vol 3 p 292 and reproduced here:

洪以南(1871—1927) 洪以南名文成,字逸雅,號墨樵,別署無量癡者。清淡水廳艋舺(今臺北市萬華)人。1871年(同治10),生於艋舺土地後街,1913年4、5月間,遷居淡水。道光中,其曾祖自泉州移往臺北。祖騰雲,經營米郊致富。以南幼穎異,祖喜之,延泉州名孝廉龔顯鶴課讀,受諸經子史詩賦。1895年,割臺,內渡晉江,參加童試,補弟子員,後為護產,攜眷返臺。1897至1901年,嘗任臺北縣辨務署參事,1897年授佩紳章,之後歷任艋舺保甲局副局長、臺北廳檢驗疫員、臺北協會臺北支部評議員、臨時臺灣舊慣調查會囑託、臺北廳參事,1914年9月25日任淡水區長,1920至1924年首任街長等職。洪氏善詩文,詩書俱佳,能畫蘭竹,且家饒於貲,乃蒐集各地散佚圖籍、碑帖、文物,購達觀樓以貯之,為北臺著名藏書之所。1909年與謝汝銓等共創瀛社,被推為第一任社長,時與當道相唱和。著有《妙香閣集》。子長庚,是臺灣第一位眼科醫學博士。1927年5月14日,洪氏因病去世。洪氏雖然只在淡水居住約14年,但因其交友廣闊,為人又熱心,除了擔任淡水區、街長外,更一手參與淡水信用組合的成立,在淡水的近代史留下了美好的名聲,其寓所―達觀樓亦讓後人緬懷當年文人雅士聚集飲酒作詩的風雅。
Hong Yi-Nan was from Manga (now WanHua), born in 1871, and relocated to Tamsui in May 1913. His great grandfather had migrated from QuanZhou to Taipei during the reign of Emperor DaoGuang (1821-50). Grandfather Ten-Yun became wealthy from the rice trade who, recognizing the extraordinary intelligence of the young Yi-Nan, had invited a famous scholar Kong Hsien-He from Quan Zhou to be his grandson's private tutor for the latter to learn literature, history, poetry, and rhapsody. In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan, Yi-Nan moved to Jing-Jiang and took the Chinese national scholastic exam to qualify for officialdom. Later, to protect family estates in Taiwan, he traveled back with his family and was appointed to a series of official posts. On Sept 25, 1914, he became the Director of Tamsui District, and between 1920-24, Tamsui's first Mayor. Yi-Nan was well-known for his poetry, calligraphy, and traditional painting (of orchids and bamboo). He was also an avid literary collector, owner of a noted private library within his residence 達觀樓, and the first leader of 瀛社, a poetry society in Taipei. Yi-Nan's son Chang-Gun was the first MD ophthalmologist of Taiwan. Yi-Nan passed away on May 14, 1927 from an illness. Even though he had resided in Tamsui for only 14 years, because of his vast network of friends and unbridled generosity, he not only had administered Tamsui but had also participated in the establishment of Tamsui Cooperative, leaving behind a favorable imprint in Tamsui's modern history. His residence 達觀樓 also permits younger generations to look back and remember the graceful past of poet gatherings, complete with poetry composing, reading, and wine-sipping, at that time.

The Hong Family has kept a collection of vintage photos, including the art work done by Hong Yi-Nan, here:

A quick example is the ballad composed by Hong Yi-Nan (exhibition in 北投文物館, est 1984):
Courtesy of Katy Biggs, great granddaughter of Hong Yi-Nan

2014年6月10日 星期二

The Cheng Map of China

In 2008, an old map was rediscovered in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University, after more than 350 years of neglect. It is now known as The Selden Map of China, named after its donor John Selden (1584-1654). The map appeared to have been made in ca 1624. After extensive restoration, it is now on display and also available on line, see:


Tonio Andrade has proposed in his book, "Lost Colony: the Untold Story of China's First Great Victory over the West" (2011 Princeton Univ Press), that the map might have been created by the Cheng Family, perhaps under the supervision of 鄭芝龍Cheng Zi-long (p 23). If true, then Selden's Map is actually the Cheng Map of China, 鄭芝龍航海圖.

Of particular interest are the markers denoting Taiwan which appears as two islands on the map. The one in the north 北港 might be the seaport of the same name in modern-day Yun-lin; although it could also be an ancient name now disused of Taiwan. In the south, 加里林 appeared to be the now 佳里 in Tainan. There are also several small islands off the north shore. They were probably Keelung or the 宮古群島. To the west of Taiwan was of course Hokkien with the major cities clearly marked out. 泉州 was the home base of the Cheng Clan.

Tomothy Brook in his "Mr. Selden's Map of China" (Bloomsbury Press, 2013) has suggested that the map "could have had impact on European cartographers" but didn't, for "by the time the map is on display in Oxford, it was too late to make any difference". How true.

Oddly, as far as the relationship between 鄭芝龍 and his mentor 李旦, Brook quoting from Andrade, as one of an unconfirmed homosexual nature. Much like the putative rape of Koxinga's mother Lady Weng, insinuating someone has been sexually violated is a traditional Chinese insult, a way of tarnishing his or her reputation. The official Qing history is fairly dubious in its claims when it comes to the Cheng Clan; unfortunately, the lies are still being perpetuated by students of this part of the history.

2014年6月6日 星期五

BK24 comes home

Mayor Tsai Yeh-Wei hailing from BK20, an exact replica of our beloved BK24

BK20 on the original re-fueling site
A view familiar to Tamsui-lang on their way to Tamsui Station to catch the train to Taipei

2014年6月4日 星期三

The Mackay sisters

This is a photo of Dr and Mrs George William Mackay偕叡廉 and their children. The three daughters were Anna Helen Mackay (偕安理,1912-2012), Isabel Minnie Mackay (偕明利,1917-2012), and the youngest Margret Mackay (偕瑪烈). Both Helen and Isabel passed away in Toronto and were buried in Mackay Cemetery in their hometown Tamsui. They were home-schooled in English but spoke fluent Taiwanese and were well-versed in Pe̍h-ōe-jī白話字 (language of the Holy Bible in Taiwanese).

On 7/19/2009 Michael Turton posted in his The View from Taiwan blog (http://michaelturton.blogspot.com/2009/07/previously-unrevealed-2-28-account.html) a letter written by someone who was "for years a marine advisor in the principal Chinese ports". The letter appeared to have been forwarded by Kenneth W Dowie, through Margaret Mackay, to a Dr Cameron. The letter described the 228 Incident of 1947 in great detail. [Note: Mr Dowie羅虔益 was the geometry teacher from 1913-1924 at Tamkang High School (founded by Dr George William Mackay) who had designed the well-known landmark on its campus, the Eight-cornered Tower八角塔.]

The 228 Incident did have an immense impact on every single Taiwanese at that time, and the Mackays were no exception. Indeed, Dr George William Mackay had to deal with the garrison commander 柯遠芬 on the release of Mr 陳能通, the principal of Tamkang High, who intervened and was immediately arrested when the military came to search for students allegedly involved in the uprising. Mr Tan was never seen again.

To make the story complete, Miss Isabel Mackay recalled in 1999 that her father and a brother were en route from Shanghai to Keelung when the Incident took place. The ship they were on had to turn back; although for unknown reasons, it turned around to resume its course a short time later, and eventually arrived in Port Keelung. They then traveled from Keelung to Taipei, and from Taipei to Tamsui. On the way, they witnessed common people indiscriminately shot and killed by the military. "慘不忍睹", they told the family. Miss Mackay lamented years later, "太悲哀,太悲哀".