Wednesday, June 24, 2009
For me there have always these little milestones, these breakthroughs that I remember having experienced along the way in my interviews and interactions with Su Beng. It has been nearly five years now since I began this project! In the beginning I saw the big picture, I felt the potential of it ALL- and that is what moved me to pursue his story. For me it was a "calling" of sorts.
I remember noticing how the trust that I had built with him over the years was starting to yield results. During my interviews with him, especially in the past two years, new details have resurfaced.
And it may seem strange, that even now, I am still amazed by how our relationship has become so collaborative.
Su Beng has contacted me a few times in the past week- the good old fashioned way- via telephone. He will be sending me more photos and written materials for the biography. He'd like to find someone to translate his book: The Ideology of Democracy（民主主義). So now I'll be on the lookout for a translator.
But what I've always hoped would eventually get translated more completely some day, is Su Beng's Chinese language version of "Taiwan's 400 Year of History", which is over 2000 pages! The only English language version of it in existence, which is out of print, is a mere 150-something pages long.
Today he told me that on June 29th he will be returning to Japan to finally reopen his noodle shop. I'm looking forward to hearing about the grand reopening and have already enlisted a friend in Tokyo to pay the noodle shop a visit and to report back with photos of course.
The top of the wooden case of Su Beng's three volume work depicts the now "legendary", but true account of Jan Huygen van Linschoten, a Dutch navigator on a Portuguese ship who cried out "Ilha Formosa" ("Beautiful Island") upon seeing Taiwan in the 1500's.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Su Beng (史明) recently wrote an editorial article expressing his disapproval of the mayor of Kaohsiung, Chen Chu’s (陳菊) recent visit to China. With the help of my mother, I have translated his editorial, which was originally written in Chinese.
On May 17 there were protests in Kaohsiung and Taipei for an independent Taiwan, and to criticize of the government’s cross-strait policies. The protests concluded in Taipei with an overnight sit-in protest (May 18-19) for reform of the Assembly and Parade Act (集會遊行法). Prior to the protests, Chen Chu (陳菊) had announced that she would be canceling her trip to China. But on May 21, just days after the protests, Chen Chu (陳菊) reversed her decision, announcing that she would be going ahead with her trip to China.
Having spent seven years in China (1942-1949), dealing with the inner workings of the Chinese Communist Party, Su Beng (史明) believes that the politicians of Taiwan, especially members of the Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨) are ill-equipped to deal with the Chinese Communist Party. While China has over 2000 ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan and refuses to acknowledge Taiwan’s sovereignty, the emerging trend of engagement between the politicians of Taiwan and China is troubling to him.
Here is the English translation of Su Beng's (史明) editorial article:
Chen Chu (陳菊) Has Betrayed the Taiwan Independence Movement
By Su Beng (史明)
In the early 1970s, Chen Chu (陳菊), the current mayor of Kaohsiung city, was the secretary of Guo Yu Xin (郭雨新) (former leader of the opposition to the Kuomintang (國民黨) during the 1970s).
Mr. Guo (郭雨新) was my father’s friend. Since I was in junior high school I’d visit Mr. Guo’s (郭雨新) house (on Zhong Shan Bei Road 中山北路). From the end of 1960 to the beginning of 1970, I was in Japan continuing my work for the Taiwan independence movement, by working outside of the Republic of China (中華民國) political framework. At the same time, Mr. Guo (郭雨新) was in Taiwan working to promote democracy under the Kuomintang (國民黨) colonial regime; he and I had some secret communications then.
At the end of the 1970s, Chen Chu (陳菊) was working for the opposition movement in Taiwan. Because of this, she was arrested twice. Towards the end of 1978 Chen Chu (陳菊) was released from jail early. After her release, the Kuomintang (國民黨) gave her special treatment, by taking her to visit Kimen (金門, which was a restricted military zone at the time). After returning from Kimen (金門), at the end of 1978, the Kuomintang (國民黨) granted Chen Chu (陳菊) permission to travel abroad.
Chen Chu (陳菊) went to Japan and came to see me. The next spring, she came to Japan during a stopover on her way to the U.S. She traveled all over the U.S. visiting overseas Taiwanese students, to promote Taiwan independence and to fundraise for the movement. Soon she became a famous activist for the Taiwan independence movement. After that visit, she often came to Tokyo to stay at my noodle shop. We often discussed strategies for the Taiwan independence movement.
In 1986, the Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨) was formed. Chen Chu (陳菊) was one of the founders of the party. Many people saw her as a key person for the Taiwan independence movement.
After Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁, the Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨) candidate for the presidency) was elected as the President in 2000, Chen Chu (陳菊) and the Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨) had to work within the Republic of China (中華民國) political framework. When Chen Chu (陳菊) was appointed to the position of Labor Minister, she became a high-ranking bureaucrat within the Republic of China (中華民國) political framework, which is against Taiwan’s independence.
Although Chen Chu (陳菊) had become famous for her work with the Taiwan independence movement, when she went to visit China as the mayor of Kaohsiung, she kowtowed to China, which has threatened to invade Taiwan. In doing so, she betrayed Taiwan.
Historically, China has claimed that Taiwan is a part of China, within its territorial borders and disparaged Taiwan by describing it as a remote, barren land. Now they have over 2000 ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, putting Taiwan under eminent military threat. China has cut off Taiwan’s lifeline to the international community. China is totally against Taiwan’s independence and nation building efforts. However, Chen Chu (陳菊), a major figure, who had consistently advocated Taiwan’s independence, went to China, under the guise of recruiting Chinese athletes and spectators for the 2009 World Games, and promoting Kaohsiung (the host of the 2009 World Games). But she ended up prostrating herself to China. While in China, Chen Chu (陳菊) referred to the Republic of China (中華民國) as the central government of Taiwan (while China refers to the Republic of China (中華民國) as “Taiwan authority”) and she referred to Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) as President (while China refers to him as Mr. Ma (馬英九)). With this choice of words, she has kissed the Koumintang’s (國民黨) ass. She has thrown away her principles and turned her back on her years of dedication to the Taiwan independence movement, and diverged from the path of Taiwan’s ancestors, who have struggled for over 400 years, to stand up to become the masters of their own fate, and to break the shackles of colonial rule. Which is more important, the development of Kaohsiung or Taiwan’s future?
Chen Chu’s (陳菊) actions are shameful. What is troubling is that the case of Chen Chu (陳菊) could be the first in a long line of Taiwanese politicians who will surrender to the tactics of Communist China.
I hope that the people of Taiwan know right from wrong, insist on protecting Taiwan’s sovereignty, and will not be misled by Chen Chu’s (陳菊) reprehensible dealings with the devil.
Translated by Felicia C. Lin and Mei-Ling Lin