Although he is battling terminal cancer, 62-year-old Liu Tai-hsiang (劉泰祥) is determined to do everything within his power to help promote Hakka culture.
Sitting in a wheelchair, wearing an oxygen mask and with severe edema in his hands and legs, Liu seemed to be defying his poor health as he pulled out a huqin (胡琴) spike fiddle and performed two iconic Hakka songs while his wife, Lin Chien-ying (林建英), sang along in the lounge of the Miaoli General Hospital on Saturday.
Though he had to pause after every few sentences to catch his breath because of his pleural effusion — fluid buildup in the lungs — Liu performed the songs to promote his latest audiobook, titled Kiou Dong (撬冬).
Photo courtesy of Miaoli General Hospital
“This is my legacy and I hope it can be yours as well,” he told those assembled in the lounge.
The book features seven-word Hakka proverbs, ranging from the ancient to the modern, and also includes rhyming sayings, Liu said, adding that it was a good primer for beginners learning the Hakka language.
“Life is short, so don’t waste any of it,” Liu said, adding that he wanted to devote the time he has left to doing something for the Hakka people.
Liu said that although he has written at least six books — the first in 2008 — he had no channels through which to distribute them, adding that he has between 600 and 700 copies of his books at home.
Before he was admitted to the hospital, Lin had driven him around tirelessly so he could distribute and sell the books, Liu said.
The promotional event on Saturday was organized by the hospital and Liu expressed his gratitude to the hospital staff for trying to help him realize his dream of spreading Hakka culture.
Liu’s sister, Liu Chu-ying (劉菊英), said that the 62-year-old dropped out of school after junior high and sold pork his whole life, but had always tried hard to promote Hakka culture.
She said he was “the bravest Hakka man” she had ever met for continuing to pursue his goals even after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Liu Tai-hsiang was diagnosed with a malignant tumor after noticing a lump close to his knee while he was delivering pork to Miaoli County’s Sihu Township (西湖) 13 years ago.
Liu Chu-ying said that after her brother was diagnosed, he continued to dedicate himself to Hakka studies, studying hard to obtain the Hakka Council Affairs certificates for Hakka language and literature.
Prior to being hospitalized, Liu Tai-hsiang was also certified to teach Hakka language in elementary schools, Liu Chu-ying said.
Liu Chu-ying said her family had always been proud of their heritage and it was this pride that inspired Liu Tai-hsiang in his quest to ensure that the Hakka language was not constrained solely to colloquial conversation.
“My brother’s greatest wish is to promote Hakka culture,” Liu Chu-ying said, adding that “Liu Tai-hsiang’s way of life embodies the ngng giang (硬頸) spirit of the Hakka people.”
Translated literally into Chinese, ngng giang means “stiff neck” and originally carried a negative connotation, but since 1988, the term has increasingly been perceived to mean “being stubborn about maintaining good qualities.” More recently, the phrase’s significance has evolved to mean that the Hakka are a hardworking people who are able to weather all difficulties.
“He is the pride of our family and also the pride of the Hakka people,” Liu Chu-ying said.
SPEEDING ELETRIC VEHICLES: Available without license requirements, the low-cost vehicles, especially if illicitly modified, can often reach a dangerous speed The government should crack down on illegal electric bicycles and scooters, the non-profit Consumers’ Foundation said on Friday, citing research on the potentially dangerous speed of the vehicles. Electric bicycles and lightweight electric scooters have gained popularity as they do not require registration and riders do not need licenses, the foundation said, adding that as many as 40 percent of them can reach speeds exceeding the legal limit of 25kph for non-licensed two-wheelers. Some consumers also purchased legal electric vehicles and modified them to reach higher speeds, it said. “If the government does not step up efforts to confiscate these
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,