Renowned poet Chou Meng-tieh (周夢蝶) died in New Taipei City on Thursday at the age of 92 from complications associated with pneumonia.
Along with his poetry, Chou was known for his monk-like habits, which he adopted after immersing himself in Buddhism later in life.
Born in China’s Henan Province in December, 1921, Chou’s original name was Chou Chi-shu (周起述).
During the Chinese Civil War, he joined the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) youth corps and came to Taiwan in 1948 after the KMT lost the Chinese civil war.
He was separated from his family, including his grandparents, mother, wife and children, who all remained in China.
However, after five decades apart, Chou revisited his hometown.
At 32, Chou began to write poetry, which was published in the literary pages of Central Daily News and Young Soldier Daily (the forerunner of Youth Daily News).
In the 1950s, Chou became a member of the Blue Star Poetry Society (藍星詩社), an influential gathering of mostly Chinese poets and writers.
In 1959, Chou began selling poetry and literature in front of Cafe Astoria on Wuchang Street (武昌街) in central Taipei, which was a favorite hangout of intellectuals at the time.
That year, he published a collection of poems, entitled Gudu Guo (孤獨國, Lonely Land), which is his most well-known work.
Later in life, Chou delved into Buddhism and took up Zen meditation.
A picture of Chou sitting on a street corner, quietly meditating, became one of the symbolic images of an era, showing a literary man’s solitude against the backdrop of Taipei’s hustle and bustle.
Inspired by Confucian tradition and philosophy, Chou did not pursue material gains and lived a simple life, alone, throughout his adult life.
As a poet, Chou picked up the nom de plume of “Meng-tieh” (夢蝶), which means the “dream butterfly.”
He said it was inspired by Taoist master philosopher Chuang-Tze’s (莊子) famous tale about a butterfly dream.
The name is reflects his yearning for freedom, as well as his frugal, restrained way of living.
Highly regarded in Taiwan’s cultural circles, Chou was named the first literature laureate of the National Culture and Arts Foundation in 1997.
Hung Chung-hao (洪崇豪), spokesperson for the Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital in New Taipei City’s Xinzhuang District (新莊) where Chou was treated, said that Chou did not have any relatives in Taiwan.
Instead, many of his student followers are helping to arrange the funeral in accordance with Buddhist traditions.
On the news of Chou’s death, the Ministry of Culture released a statement and requested that the Presidential Office issue posthumous honors for Chou.
‘LOW PROBABILITY’: China still ‘has a ways to go to develop the actual, no-kidding capability’ to seize Taiwan militarily, US General Mark Milley said The US’ top general on Thursday downplayed concern that China would attempt a military takeover of Taiwan in the near term, saying Beijing does not have the capability to do so. While there has been rising concern in Taiwan and among US lawmakers about Chinese military activity near Taiwan, such as flying jets in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ), US military officials said that such moves are not overly concerning. US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told lawmakers that while Taiwan was still a core national interest of China, “there’s little intent right now, or motivation,
A Kaohsiung woman who thought that she was dating Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves was found not guilty of abetting fraud, the Kaohsiung District Court has ruled. Citing insufficient evidence to prove intent, the court on May 27 dismissed fraud and money-laundering charges against the woman, surnamed Chang (張), saying that the evidence suggested that she had been duped. The verdict can be appealed. The verdict said that police opened an investigation into Chang after her bank account was linked to an online catfishing scheme, which involves luring someone into a relationship by using a fictional online persona. The scheme claimed two victims, including a
The Canadian House of Commons on Thursday unanimously passed the first reading of a proposal to create a legal framework for efforts to strengthen relations with Taiwan. The Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act was introduced by Canadian Member of Parliament Michael Cooper, who said that not having a formal diplomatic relationship with Taiwan has complicated interactions between the two nations. Taiwan is one of Canada’s largest trading partners, and the two share strong people-to-people links and common values, he said. Taiwan “is a vibrant economy and one of the world’s top 20 economies. It is time Canada’s relations with Taiwan reflect
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmakers yesterday condemned Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) Institute of Revolutionary Practice director Lo Chih-chiang (羅智強) for calling the government a “vaccine beggar” for receiving a donation of COVID-19 vaccines from the US. “Lo is still living in feudal China,” DPP Legislator Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) told a news conference. “When Taiwan needs unity, he uses malicious words to malign our president’s character and Taiwan’s national integrity. This person is either evil or he is completely ignorant,” she said. Taiwan donated 2 million masks to the US, and provided 2 million masks and 50,000 protective gowns to Japan when they