Mon, Feb 28, 2000 - Page 8 News List

Disillusion forged a new identity

By Yang Ching-tsu

From the poems written in the classical style by the victims of the 228 Incident (二二八事件), we sense the longing of Taiwanese intellectuals for the Chinese motherland. Under the Japanese occupation era, many Taiwanese hoped that China could become prosperous, striking a blow for Taiwanese suffering under colonial rule. However, as soon as they came into contract with the motherland, they where disillusioned.

Wu Cho-liu's (吳濁流) book The Orphans of Asia (亞細亞的孤兒) tells of a Taiwanese living under Japanese. Living under a foreign regime, the character describes himself as an orphan of Asia. When the character returns to the motherland to pursue his dream, he was totally disappointed with everything he sees. The experience gave him even stronger feelings of alienation. At the end, the character goes mad due to a sense of hopelessness.

Wu also became disillusioned about the motherland during the Japanese occupation era. Other Taiwanese intellectuals did not become disillusioned until they came to understand the true nature of the Chinese after the 228 Incident in 1947.

A Collection of Three-hundred Classic Taiwanese Poems (台灣古典詩選三百首), currently a work in progress, discusses the poems of two of the most representative intellectuals of the time: Lin Mou-sheng (林茂生) and Chen Hsin (陳炘).

Both Lin and Chen were victims of the 228 Incident.

After August 15 -- By Lin Mou-sheng

The dark cloud of war went away with the Japanese emperor's call for peace // Boundless rivers and hills were returned to the great Chinese empire.

The people came to understand the true nature of Japan, the favor of heaven, who boasts about her war-like prowess // Who would have thought that China, the heaven blessed phoenix, would have such good strategies;

Tormented by the loss of Chinese soil over the past three-thousand days // I was made a prisoner for fifty years in a foreign land.

I am now able to take off the hat of the Japanese prisoner // In my old age I can now live in freedom like the seagulls.

八月十五日以後 -- 林茂生著





Lin was the first Taiwanese to be awarded a US doctorate in Philosophy. After WWII, he served as the Dean of Liberal Arts at the National Taiwan University. He also found the newspaper Min Pao (民報, The People's Newspaper.) and served as the paper's president. Through his participation in politics he became disappointed in the motherland. Therefore, he resigned. This Taiwanese leader who once held high hopes for the motherland was dissatisfied with the government of the KMT. He advocated the position that Taiwanese be ruled by Taiwanese. Possibly because of this position, Lin was arrested and disappeared after the 228 Incident. He was executed secretly without trial.

Arrest -- By Chen Hsin

I shed tears in sorrow all my life over the loss of the motherland's rivers and hills // However, since retrocession, I have experienced many emotions.

I led the Taiwanese crowd in hailing the return of the motherland. // However, I was put into a new jail by the motherland amidst the welcoming cheers.

被拘 -- 陳炘著



Chen is one of the few Taiwanese economists who studied in the US during the Japanese occupation era. In 1925, he returned to Taiwan after receiving his degree. He organized the Tatung Trust Company (大東信托株式會社) with Lin Hsien-tang (林獻堂) the year after his return and served as its General Manager. After the war, the company was renamed the Taiwan Trust Company (台灣信托公司) and then subsequently merged with the Hua Nan Bank (華南銀行).

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