“Were it not for the hunchbacked seasoned soldier who phoned my family in the middle of the night, I could not have lived to this day,” says Hsueh Chao-chi, former chief of staff in then-Kaohsiung mayor Yeh Chu-lan’s administration. Hsueh hopes that he can find his savior from his army days and express his gratitude to him with NT$1 million.
Hsueh, who is 48 years old, says that as he reached middle age and reflected on his past years, he felt especially strongly about the nice things that have happened in his life, which could not have been possible without a phone call placed 23 years ago.
It was in the fall of 1992 that Hsueh was chosen to be dispatched to a special forces unit in Penghu, where he endured special rookie drills and, as a result, suffered multiple symptoms, including hematuria. He was then sent to a military clinic, where he lay on a bed, dying.
Photo: Tsai Ching-hua, Liberty Times
He faintly recalls that in his most helpless hours a seasoned soldier came to his side, speaking to him in Hoklo, “Give me a phone number. I assure you I will make the call. If your family cannot save you from the military, you will most certainly draw your last breath here.”
The man went on, “You see, as hunchbacked as I am, I am still required to complete my military service until the last day. I am about to be discharged, so I have nothing to lose. I assure you I will make the phone call for you.”
A few days later, in the middle of the night, Hsueh’s family received the call. They spared no effort throughout the night to try to save Hsueh’s life. At last he was sent back to Taipei and treated in the Tri-Service General Hospital. The diagnosis confirmed that it was an acute kidney injury. Had treatment been delayed any further, Hsueh’s condition would have become incurable.
Hsueh’s father kept this matter in mind and frequently reminded his son that he must remember to thank this man. Despite trying various avenues to search for his savior, however, Hsueh’s efforts were still in vain.
He conjectures that his savior was probably discharged in September or October 1992, that he was possibly two years older than himself and might have suffered from injuries that made him hunchbacked. Hsueh says bluntly that if his savior had not placed the phone call at his own risk, he could not have had the life he has now. He is very concerned about the life his savior is leading and will willingly give him NT$1 million as a token of his gratitude. He would like to thank the man’s family too, if he has one.
If you know this savior or are the savior yourself, please contact Hsueh via his Facebook account.
(Liberty Times, translated by Ethan Zhan)
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對話 Dialogue 小實：馬克，你看！我和我家人上個週末去臺東玩。 Xiǎoshí: Mǎkè, nǐ kàn! Wǒ hàn wǒ jiārén shàng ge zhōumò qù Táidōng wán. 馬克：哇！好漂亮的照片，你家有這麼多人啊？ Mǎkè: Wa! Hǎo piàoliàng de zhàopiàn, nǐ jiā yǒu zhème duō rén a? 小實：是啊！都是親戚。這個是我的大阿姨。 Xiǎoshí: Shì a! Dōu shì qīnqī. Zhèige shì wǒ de dà āyí. 馬克：這個看起來比較年輕的，是你的二阿姨嗎？ Mǎkè: Zhèige kàn qǐlái bǐjiào niánqīng de, shì nǐ de èr āyí ma? 小實：哦，不是！那是我的姑姑。 Xiǎoshí: WÓ, bùshì! Nà shì wǒ de gūgu. 馬克：「姑姑」和「阿姨」……不一樣嗎？ Mǎkè: “Gūgu” hàn “āyí”… bù yíyàng ma? 小實：嗯！姑姑是爸爸的姐妹，阿姨是媽媽的姐妹。 Xiǎoshí: En! “Gūgu” shì bàba de jiěmèi, “āyí” shì māma de jiěmèi. 馬克：中文的家族稱謂太複雜了！ Mǎkè: Zhōngwén de jiāzú chēngwèi tài fùzá le! 小實：有時候，我們也要想一下才知道怎麼說呢！ Xiǎoshí: Yǒu shíhòu, wǒmen yě yào xiǎng yíxià cái zhīdào zěnme shuō ne! 翻譯 Translation Xiaoshi Mark, look! My family and I