A Chinese woman whose son committed suicide while studying in Taiwan a year ago has come to the school he used to attend with a mission: to reach out to Chinese students there and offer them the support of a mother’s love.
Liu Shan (劉珊) was a host at the Fuzhou-based Voice of the Strait radio station before she quit her job late last year. She arrived in Taipei last month as a visiting academic and is taking two courses at Fu Jen Catholic University, where her 19-year-old son was studying until he took his own life in March last year.
Liu, who is from Nanjing, said she traveled across the Taiwan Strait to extend motherly care and love to Chinese students because they often do not have anyone close by who they can confide in about their problems.
She said that her son, Liu Tengyang (劉騰陽), who hanged himself while a freshman at the school — possibly as a result of a relationship problem — was one example of how such isolation can affect students.
Liu Shan said she spends her afternoons meeting with Chinese students over meals and counseling them on their day-to-day issues.
“I feel happy to be able to contribute, even just a little,” she said, adding that she feels joy when students open up and confide in her.
Liu Shan said that after her son died, she decided to put her grief behind her and make the trip to Taiwan because he had given her a “message” urging her to let go of her anger, since his death was not anyone’s fault.
Liu Shan is planning to stay in Taiwan for six months, during which she hopes to use her personal experience to prevent similar tragedies.
“My son is no longer here, but I am going to to give my motherly love to whoever needs it,” she said.
A Chinese student surnamed Lin (林) who traveled across the Strait on the same flight as Liu Tengyang said Chinese students in Taiwan are prone to feeling particularly lonely because they can have a hard time getting along with their Taiwanese classmates, as “some Taiwanese are not very friendly toward students from China.”