Lai He was born in Changhua on May 28, 1894 and died in 1943. He was arrested in 1923 for participating in a political protest, and was a leading figure in Taiwan’s literary circles during the 1930s. While he was editor for the literary arts section at Taiwan Minpao, he published numerous articles, such as “The awful state of Taiwan’s literary circles,” attacking conventional literature and promoting a new nativist literary movement in Taiwan. He was the first writer in Taiwan to write poetry and novels in Hoklo, also known as Taiwanese, and is often praised as being the father of Taiwan’s nativist literary movement.
After Lai graduated from the Taipei School of Medicine, a predecessor to National Taiwan University’s College of Medicine, he opened his own clinic in Changhua and always reduced or waived payment from the poor. People in Changhua respectfully call him “the Changhua Matsu,” in reference to the goddess of the sea. The Lai He Memorial Hall and the Lai He Culture and Education Foundation are currently located at Lai He’s former residence in Changhua, and the city celebrates “Lai He Day” on May 28 every year.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY KYLE JEFFCOAT)
Photo courtesy of Lai He’s family
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