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Taiwanese heroes?

Moderator: hansioux

Taiwanese heroes?

Postby *monkey* » 13 Sep 2015, 21:09

I had a language exchange recently, and we got talking about loyalty, courage, betrayal, and cowardice. The conversation turned out to be much harder than I had anticipated because these concepts don't really seem to have analogs in Chinese culture, at least not outside of a military context.

Anyway the conversation turned to heroism, and when it came to giving examples of local heroes I was totally stumped. I just couldn't think of anyone in contemporary society or Taiwanese history who qualifies, and neither could the Taiwanese I was with. They came up with a handful of celebrities, religious leaders, philanthropists who obviously qualify as "good guys" but they hadn't done anything heroic, at least not in my mind.

So, who are the Taiwanese heroes? Is there anyone who is universally revered?
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby Hokwongwei » 14 Sep 2015, 06:09

A lot of historic heroes have been deified. Guan Yu (and many others from Three Kingdoms), Koxinga, Bao Zheng/Bao Qingtian, even Confucius. In recent history, there are people like Yip Man and groups like the Tigers of Guangdong, though they aren't very closely related to Taiwan.

As far as Taiwanese history goes, there's (arguably) Mona Rudao, Chiang Wei-shui, and depending on your political affiliation, possibly even CKS and his son. Most Taiwanese would agree Sun Yat-sen is a national hero. Lee Teng-hui should be a hero, but in today's sharply divided Taiwan he's still a controversial figure -- I believe that 20 years down the line he will be very highly regarded, but it's best not to provoke an argument by bringing him up. Yoichi Hatta (八田與一), despite being japanese, is very highly regarded for the infrastructure he helped build during that era. Lai He was a different kind of hero for his activism and writing.

I've tossed the question to a Facebook group and I'll let you know if any other names come up.
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby Rocket » 14 Sep 2015, 09:38

Who was that guy down south who was a kind of Robin Hood type deal under the Nipponese occupation?
There was a TV series about his exploits a way long time ago.
Dang if I can remember his name. :ponder:
They always show him with a moostache and long queue (without the Manchu head shave) and wearing a little kung fu jacket with no shirt.

He was definitely regarded as heroic by, at least, people down south of one or two generations ago.

Also, that one dude, uh, Gen Yo?
The one who got all ganged up and went to the slammer and started studying and got out and ended up a Uni professor?
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby hansioux » 14 Sep 2015, 09:57

Tan Ti-Hiong (陳智雄), one of the founders of the Provisional government of the Republic of Taiwan. He graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and spoke English, Japanese, Dutch, Malay, Taiwanese Holo and Mandarin. As a result, the Japanese stationed him to Indonesia as a diplomat.

He married a Dutch women and by the war's end, used the cover of his wife, and his leverage as a former Japanese diplomat to transfer large amount of Japanese weapons to Sukarno and his revolutionists to assist their fight for an independent Indonesia.

After witnessing the Indonesians gaining their independence, Tan devoted himself to free Taiwan from the grips of colonialism as well. He was appointed the ambassador to Southeast Asia by the president of the provisional government, and attended many international summits on behalf of the Republic of Taiwan.

PRC eventually began pressuring other nations to stop interactions with ROT, and pressured Sukarno to imprison Tan, and the pro-communist Sukarno did. Tan wrote a passionate letter to Sukarno from an Indonesian prison, asking Sukarno not to forget what he had done for Indonesian independence, and Sukarno let him go.

However, since by then he holds no citizenship , he wasn't allowed to enter any nation, so he ended up flying back and forth between Japan and Indonesia. On one such flight, he met a Swiss diplomat, who really wanted to help Tan out. The Swiss diplomat worked to get Tan Swiss citizenship, and in 1958, Tan finally got to enter Japan using a Swiss passport.

So Tan was a Swiss citizen living in Japan, promoting Taiwan independence. However, the KMT intelligence managed to sneak into Japan, kidnapped Tan, smuggled him out. Japan and most of the international communities were outraged. The KMT eventually let Tan out, but refusing to let him leave Taiwan. In 1961 the KMT arrested Tan again for promoting TI, and executed Tan in 1963, though not before they chopped off both his feet with an axe, as Tan chanted "Viva Taiwan Independence" through the corridors leading to the range.
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby hansioux » 14 Sep 2015, 09:58

Rocket wrote:Who was that guy down south who was a kind of Robin Hood type deal under the Nipponese occupation?
There was a TV series about his exploits a way long time ago.
Dang if I can remember his name. :ponder:
They always show him with a moostache and long queue (without the Manchu head shave) and wearing a little kung fu jacket with no shirt.

He was definitely regarded as heroic by, at least, people down south of one or two generations ago.

Also, that one dude, uh, Gen Yo?
The one who got all ganged up and went to the slammer and started studying and got out and ended up a Uni professor?


If you are talking about Liāu Thiam-Ting (廖添丁), then he was technically not from down south. Liau was born in Taichung, but did most of his Robin Hooding in Taipei, Keelung (Jilong) and northern Taiwan.
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby Hokwongwei » 14 Sep 2015, 12:09

I have a huge list going now. Here are some:

Chen Yi-hsing 陳益興, a teacher who sacrificed himself in 1985 to save a class of sixth-graders from a swarm of angry wasps
George Leslie Mackay 馬偕, the Canadian missionary who brought medical care and education to rural Taipei before the Japanese era
Luo Fuxing 羅福星, instigator of anti-Japanese revolts
(Don't know her name) the researcher who found plasticizer in beverages a few years back -- apparently she had decided to run extra tests on her own without orders from her superiors
Douglas MacArthur 麥帥 -- 'nough said
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby hansioux » 14 Sep 2015, 13:55

Hokwongwei wrote:I have a huge list going now. Here are some:

(Don't know her name) the researcher who found plasticizer in beverages a few years back -- apparently she had decided to run extra tests on her own without orders from her superiors


We only know her as Senior Technical Specialist Yang (楊技正).
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby Hokwongwei » 14 Sep 2015, 14:25

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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby hansioux » 14 Sep 2015, 14:40

Hokwongwei wrote:Yang Ming-yu 楊明玉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7fnrZX00DM


a good name for a future deity. :pray: :notworthy:
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Re: Taiwanese heroes?

Postby Dirt » 16 Sep 2015, 05:43

Momofuku Ando.
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