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The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Moderator: hansioux

The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby hansioux » 26 Jun 2015, 17:45

Image

Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯) was born in Taipei on June 24th of 1901. As such, Ong was born under Japanese rule. His father was a tea farmer, and his grand father was a traditional medicine doctor. Ong was a straight shooter and calls it as he sees it. After graduating from Ko gakko (公學校 elementary school for Taiwanese), Ong went on to work as the Chief of General Affairs (庶務主任) at the District Office (役場) of Shinten Shō (新店庄, present day Xindian), and was later transferred to Taipei City's district office.

Ong made a name for himself for making anti-Japanese and anti-corruption comments while holding a public office position. He was active in Taiwanese self-governance movements, and joined organizations such as Taiwanese Cultural Association (台灣文化協會) and Taiwan Local Self-governance Alliance (台灣地方自治聯盟). For that Japanese police arrested him on multiple occasions and eventually cost him his job. Despite that Ong continued to be vocal and critical of Japan's rule.

The Japanese government then went another route to get Ong on their side. They invited Ong to see the Emperor of Japan. Emperor Showa gave Ong a katana and told Ong "Taiwan is very fortunate to have a patriot like you. Japan values people like you." When Ong returned to Taiwan alive, he told his sister "As angry as the Japanese are with me, they at least still understand reason."

After WW2 was over, Ong welcomed the arrival of KMT trustee forces on American planes and ships. For his active and vocal anti-Japanese role, Ong was highly valued by the KMT. He was first appointed to the director of Youth of the Three Principles Group at Taipei (三民主義青年團), then elected to the Taiwan province's senate (臺灣省參議會, 1946 to 1951).

As a senator Ong saw first hand of the KMT's corruption. He would often lambaste KMT officials at the senate and his unwavering directness made him many enemies within the KMT. The most famous scandal Ong uncovered was the Sugar Incident. The Japanese transferred 150 thousand tonnes of sugar to the KMT trusteeship, and those sugar vanished as if dissolved in water. Ong discovered top KMT officials secretly shipped the sugar to Shanghai and sold them. The money went into their own pockets. This reveal earned him the nickname of Iron-faced Senator amongst the Taiwanese people.

Later, KMT leaders made several comments denying the Taiwanese's rights to hold public positions, citing Japanese's Kominka policy (皇民化政策 Japanization) have turned Taiwanese into Japanese slaves and claimed that Taiwanese's obsession with abiding the rules is a sign of servility, and the lack of competitiveness. Ong was offended by such comments and wrote an editorial named "To Waisheng Sirs" (告外省人諸公) which further alienated him from the KMT.

In 1946, Ong wrote a news article pointing out Kaohisung police were oppressing local farmers. That finally triggered the wrath of KMT operatives. They planned a series of lawsuits attempting to censor and discredit Ong and his newspaper.

When 228 broke out in 1947, Ong's friends suggested Ong to go into hiding. Ong said "Even the Emperor of Japan didn't harm me, the government of our fatherland would do no such thing." Not only did Ong not go into hiding, he took an active role in the 228 Incident Action Committee (二二八事件處理委員會), which was established to restore peace.

Ong was wrong, of course. KMT soldiers came for him before day break on March 11th, and dragged Ong away in his sleep.

Zhang Mu-tao (張慕陶), the regiment commander of the 4th MP corp (憲兵第四團團長) was in charge of Ong's torture. Ong would continue to criticize Zhang and KMT's actions as blood was streaming down his face. So Zhang ordered soldiers to douse gasoline on Ong and burned him alive. Ong's burnt corpse was then ordered to be thrown into the Tamsui river. Ong left behind 2 sons and 4 daughters, all were still under aged at the time.

References:
https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%8E%8B ... B%E7%81%AF
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =1&fref=nf
http://taiwantt.org.tw/taiwanspirit/frame/frame05.htm
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby lostinasia » 26 Jun 2015, 19:16

Thanks for posting about this.

How well known are historical figures like this in Taiwan? Do they show up in high school textbooks at all, for example, or are there plaques/memorials dedicated to them? He sounds admirably heroic, but I'm afraid I lack the knowledge to tell if he was a unique exception, or one of many.

And I'll be thinking about the Tamsui River a little differently next time I bicycle along it.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby urodacus » 26 Jun 2015, 23:53

Gotta love the local KMT goons, MYJ among them.

if you don't, they burn you alive.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby hansioux » 29 Jun 2015, 14:26

lostinasia wrote:Thanks for posting about this.

How well known are historical figures like this in Taiwan? Do they show up in high school textbooks at all, for example, or are there plaques/memorials dedicated to them? He sounds admirably heroic, but I'm afraid I lack the knowledge to tell if he was a unique exception, or one of many.


Unfortunately no. Stories like these are news to me, and that's why I feel compelled to translate them, hoping more people would learn about their sacrifices.

I think a few Taiwanese victims gets mentioned in school mainly for their contribution and achievements outside of social movements and politics in general. I can only think of Tan Ting-pho (陳澄波), who would get a mention because he is also a very accomplished artist.

However, in the new Ma government led textbook revision, the few snippets that mentions 228 individual victims and white terror are edited out. There's an up-coming high school student led protest against this version of textbook on July 4th. However, current minister of MoE is adamant about implementing this new version, even though the Taipei High Administrative Court has ruled this alteration illegal.

lostinasia wrote:And I'll be thinking about the Tamsui River a little differently next time I bicycle along it.


KMT soldiers at the time strung up many untried Taiwanese people with barbed wires through their palms, and then push them into rivers or harbors. Sometimes the victims were shot before being pushed, sometimes they weren't.

Pro-KMT historians like to justify such action by saying these KMT soldiers simply viewed these Taiwanese as Japanese, and replicated what the Japanese soldiers had done during the Nanjing massacre.

However, regardless of if the Japanese really had done such act during WW2 to Chinese civilians, or whether Nanjing massacre actually happened, it was the Chinese who first did this to Japanese expats in China prior to IJA's full scale invasion of China. In an event called Tungchow mutiny (通州事件), Chinese soldiers sacked Japanese held Tongzhou, a district inside Beijing, on July 29th, 1937, and raped and tortured Japanese expat community living in Tongzhou.

From wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tungchow_mutiny

Witness aid Japanese women were raped, and then decapitated. Many of their private regions were bayoneted. In some cases, women were strung up and then raped, then mutilated, some have broomsticks stuffed in their private regions then killed. Pregnant Japanese women had their stomachs cut open. At least one Korean family were strung up with barbed wires through their throats and then pushed into a pound. Men have their eyes and privates cut off.

Compare that to what KMT soldiers did during 228:
Post 228, bodies strung together with barbed wires were found drifting off-shore.
Wu Po-hsiung's (吳伯雄, KMT politician) uncle had his private cut off.

228 seems like something that's self-inspired.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby urodacus » 29 Jun 2015, 19:35

sounds like it's the same soldiers, sorry, brutish thugs, who did both Tongchou and Danshui.

Highly possible, and totally reprehensible.

thanks for sharing. Every day i learn more like this it makes me more glad I left, and got a divorce.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby sofun » 01 Jul 2015, 05:49

hansioux wrote:However, regardless of if the Japanese really had done such act during WW2 to Chinese civilians, or whether Nanjing massacre actually happened, it was the Chinese who first did this to Japanese expats in China prior to IJA's full scale invasion of China. In an event called Tungchow mutiny (通州事件), Chinese soldiers sacked Japanese held Tongzhou, a district inside Beijing, on July 29th, 1937, and raped and tortured Japanese expat community living in Tongzhou.

It's not related to Taiwanese culture and history. But I know that many of the well known pictures used to prove the Nanjing Massacre are taken from Tsushu Jiken (通州事件). The victims depicted in those pictures are Japanese civilians. The whole thing is debunked. Personally I became familiar with those pictures when I was in middle school. It all started because some of my friends wanted to show me gross pictures that the library possessed. The same pictures are used in Iris Chang's book.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby Kiwi » 06 Jul 2015, 22:47

Any evidence of incorrectly used Nanjing massacre photos? I'm curious to know more.

Seems a stretch to me to say the Nanjing massacre didn't happen.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby hansioux » 13 Jul 2015, 15:30

lostinasia wrote:Thanks for posting about this.

How well known are historical figures like this in Taiwan? Do they show up in high school textbooks at all, for example, or are there plaques/memorials dedicated to them? He sounds admirably heroic, but I'm afraid I lack the knowledge to tell if he was a unique exception, or one of many.

And I'll be thinking about the Tamsui River a little differently next time I bicycle along it.


A recent incident answers your question.

Image

A painting by the famous artist Tân Tîng-Pho (陳澄波) was stolen earlier last month. The painting 鼓浪嶼之二 is worth 30 million NTD. When TVBS reported the story, the news anchor mentioned nonchalantly that the artist himself is also very nervous.

The problem of course is that Tan was a famous Japanese era artists who was publicly killed by the KMT during 228 when he went to the KMT military to seek peace as the then sitting Jiayi councillor. So why in the heck would the news anchor say Tan is also very nervous about the stolen painting? No one knows. She is now arguing Tan is a rarely known part of history so she isn't to blame because no one would have known Tan if not for her error.

That I think says it all about how these matters are being taught here in Taiwan.
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Re: The story of Ông Thiam-ting (王添灯)

Postby headhonchoII » 13 Jul 2015, 21:15

His paintings hold the record for highest auction prices, I think this painter should be quite well known in Taiwan.
But I understand that locals knowledge of their own history is piss poor.
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