Daily temple visit binds Miaoli County mother, two sons

By Peng Chien-li and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Thu, Oct 17, 2013 - Page 3

An elderly woman in Jhunan Township (竹南), Miaoli County, is the envy of other residents because her two sons respect filial tradition by accompanying her on her daily visits to a temple.

Although walking alongside their mother may seem to be a simple act, it is a picture of family bliss to those who witness it, locals said.

Many people have been touched by the sons’ devotion because the 67-year-old Chang Yu-chih (張玉枝) has suffered a lot of tragedy in her life.

She is afflicted with a mild form of mental disability, and her husband, a Mainlander who came to Taiwan as a soldier with the Nationalist army in 1949, passed away more than 10 years ago.

Her husband’s wages had been the family’s only source of income.

Additionally, two of her four sons committed suicide some years ago, local borough warden Chen Wen-chung (陳文宗) said.

The two remaining sons, Lin Chin-tu (林金土), now 53, and Lin Wen-wei (林文尉), 43, have both suffered from mental handicaps since they were youngsters, Chen said.

However, they now look after their mother, with the three surviving on monthly welfare assistance from government agencies.

After 7am every morning, the three walk from their home on Kanding Street (崁頂街) to the Wugu Temple (五穀宮) to worship.

Chen said the two brothers are attentive to their mother’s needs as they walk on either side of her, taking about 20 minutes to cover the 500m to the temple, which ordinarily would only be about a five-minute walk.

A temple official said the three are not interested in rushing their daily visits, which seem to hold the family together.

At the temple, they light incense sticks and offer prayers, then sit quietly on a bench or stroll around the nearby streets.Neighbors say the three rarely speak, but the brothers will frequently touch their mother’s head, face or hands.

They said the trio’s relationship is the best possible expression of filial piety and family happiness.