Thu, Aug 15, 2013 - Page 5 News List

FEATURE: Heartbreak led man to edify nation

POWER OF LOVE:Having introduced many Western classics to Taiwan during the authoritarian era, Lin Heng-zhe said unrequited love was what set his path

By Hsieh Wen-hua and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

“It was then that I began to become conscious of my Taiwanese heritage,” Lin said, adding that this led him to publish books about the Incident in the US, which got him on the government black list.

Lin said that being blacklisted meant he was unable to see his father one last time before he passed away, adding that his father had told him not to risk coming back.

“Seeing your picture is the same as seeing you,” Lin remembered his father telling him.

Lin has also translated many autobiographies and said that of these, the only one that made him cry was that of Yoichi Hatta.

Hatta was a Japanese hydraulic engineer who designed the Chianan Canal (嘉南大圳) and Wushantou Reservoir (烏山頭水庫) in Taiwan during Japanese rule. Lin said he had been very moved by the devotion of Hatta’s wife, who drowned herself in the reservoir after her husband passed away.

Lin said he wished that Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee (李安) would make a movie about the Hattas’ story.

Just as he managed to introduce bits of the West into Taiwan, Lin has also sought to bring elements of Taiwanese culture to the US.

To this end, Lin founded the Taiwan Library in southern California, where he holds a Taiwanese Culture night each year to introduce Taiwanese musicians to US citizens, as well as to attendees from other nations.

The 74-year-old Lin smiled when thinking about the impetus that started him off on his path and said that love had always been a great motivator across the ages.

Thinking about the girl he had pined for all those years ago, Lin said she had ultimately been better off marrying a man who was able to give her all his love, since “I can only give half my heart to another because I have already given the other half to preserving and promoting Taiwanese culture.”

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