Wed, Jan 07, 2015 - Page 3 News List

NZ father of missing son pens love letter to Taiwan

By Dan Bloom  /  Contributing reporter

Philip Tchernegovski’s son Reuben went missing in 1998 while hiking in the mountains near Alishan (阿里山) in Chiayi County, and while his body was never found after many fruitless searches, the New Zealander discovered a love for Taiwan that he describes in a new book titled Mountain of the Beautiful Moon (眠月之山).

Published this month in Chinese, the book is Tchernegovski’s love letter to Taiwan, the people of Alishan who helped him search for Reuben and the music of pop diva Jody Chiang (江蕙), whose songs he discovered on several trips to Chiayi over the past 15 years.

When he heard that Chiang had announced she would retire from the music business after performing farewell concerts later this year, Tchernegovski said he was saddened.

“I was gutted to hear that,” he said in a recent e-mail from New Zealand.

“My book Mountain of the Sleeping Moon [first written in English and later translated into Chinese] shares my feelings about Taiwan and its wonderful people, and how, in meeting such a beautiful person as Jody, I discovered a wonderful human being and a friend. She transcends all music, all language and all cultures,” Tchernegovski said.

Tchernegovski was invited to attend one of Chiang’s concerts in 2012 as a guest of the singer and was introduced to the audience by the singer from the stage. News of his friendship with the Taiwanese diva was broadcast on local television stations the following day.

His new book is a way to express his gratitude to Taiwanese during the time he was searching for his missing son and to explain how Chiang’s plaintive melodies touched his heart, both before and after they met.

A popular TV commercial a few years ago for a famous alcohol brand showed the New Zealand sculptor meeting Chiang at his home in New Zealand, although it was later revealed that the advertisement was shot in different locations, including Taipei, and edited to make it appear as if the singer was visiting his home studio.

“Jody is the sweetest, kindest person on the planet and I feel I am truly blessed to call her my friend,” Tchernegovski said. “Her voice inspires me forward, as it did in the search for my boy, Reuben.”

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