The Tainan City Government tomorrow is holding an event to commemorate of 82nd anniversary of the passing of Thomas Barclay, a British missionary known for introducing the first Hoklo-language (also known as Taiwanese) newspaper in Taiwan and negotiating the peaceful takeover of Tainan by the Japanese Imperial Army.
Oct. 5 marked the 82nd anniversary of the passing of Barclay, who arrived in Taiwan in 1875 as the fifth Presbyterian Church of England missionary.
Tainan Enterprise Culture and Arts Foundation director-general Yeh Chung-li (葉重利) said the event, open to the public, would be a re-enactment of Barclay’s negotiation with the Japanese.
Barclay lived in Taiwan for 60 years and never left. His remains were interred in the Presbyterian section of the public cemetery in Tainan.
Barclay, the founder of the Tainan Theological College and Seminary in 1876, was lauded as the man who introduced Western education to southern Taiwan, breaking the traditional Chinese educational norm of rote memorization.
Barclay’s methods also paved the way for the later establishment of Tainan’s first high school, Chang Jung Senior High School, and the first female high school, Chang Jung Girl’s High School.
In 1885, Barclay founded the Taiwan Church News, a Hoklo-language newspaper.
It continues to this day.
The missionary also used the Peh-oe-ji Romanization system to help people learn to read and write in Hokkien, the predecessor to Hoklo.
Both the New Testament and Old Testament translations made with the Peh-oe-ji system are still in print today and they have helped preserve the archaic language.
Following the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895 and the brief Republic of Formosa rebellion, Barclay proved instrumental in negotiating the peaceful takeover of Tainan by the Japanese.
The Japanese had allegedly intended to make an example of Tainan, since it was the proclaimed capital of the rebel government.
The treaty signaled the end of the first Sino-Japanese War, resulting in the ceding of Taiwan to Japan.
Representatives of Chang Jung Senior High School, Chang Jung Girls’ Senior High School and the Barclay Memorial Park Sustainable Association are to attend tomorrow’s event, Chang Jung Girls’ Senior High School dean Tsai Yu-min (蔡玉敏) said.
The students would wear historic versions of the schools’ uniforms, Tsai said.
Participants are to gather at National University of Tainan’s affiliated elementary school, before walking to Qingwang Temple in Rende District (仁德), where the event is to be held, Yeh said.
“We hope the event will help participants and the public better understand this part of Tainan’s history and become more aware of Barclay’s contributions to the city,” Yeh said.
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