I was not always "Su Beng's biographer", well at least it didn't start off that way. When I started working on this project it was simply about the seeds of an idea for a story, a story about the pursuit of social justice, and a life lived and led by ideals. But that's a story for another day...
In my capacity now as Su Beng's biographer, I've been largely focused on documenting his life as I should, discussing the major events of his life and doing such things like dutifully drawing up his family tree. So it only seemed natural that I accompany him during Ching Ming Jie (清明節, also known as the tomb sweeping festival) on a visit to his family's tomb. Though visiting his ancestral tomb was fascinating- I learned who exactly was kept in his family's tomb and about the rituals and customs performed in paying respects- the most revealing moments came in unexpected things and events in the days that I spent with Su Beng.
The first evening of my two day visit (April 5), Su Beng had gone through many of his personal files and dug up his old notebooks, many of which revealed his intense, near lifelong study of Marxism- an interest which began while he was a student studying political science and economics at Waseda University in Japan. It was at that time that he became influenced by socialist ideology.
We also chatted about Zheng Hong Yi (鄭弘儀) quoting statistics from Taiwan's 400 Years of History, which prompted Su Beng to flip through the book and point out precious pages of data that he and his underground network of people had stealthfully procured from the Kuomingtang.
Su Beng is now working on a 30 page book entitled Why Should Taiwan be Independent? As he spoke about his latest work, other works he'd like to write, and all the things he feels he still has to do, even before writing his own autobiography in Chinese, I felt his sense of urgency in this. I offered to help translate the book into English.
Su Beng drew this image and is now considering using it for the cover of his next book entitled, Why Should Taiwan be Independent?