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1064 42 4

Vol. 42 No. 4 April 2017


Taiwan Panorama

Bringing Love Across the Seas:
Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan


Ellisa Yao


Ive been reading Taiwan Panorama for years,
from my barefoot youth all the way through my time
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Thank you, Taiwan Panorama, beautifully eternal. (Ellisa Yao, Norway)
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Publisher: David Tawei LEE

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Editor-in-Chief: TIEN Yun-liang

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Editor: LIU Yingfeng

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Writers: Cathy TENG, CHEN Chun-fang

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The Gift of Love EDITORS NOTE

G uided by the holy light, a band of an-

gels traveled far from home and came
on a mission of love to Taiwan, where they
chun, whose innovative style combines
Eastern and Western techniques. The founder
of the Continental Watercolor Art Hwa-yang
Republic of China: NT$150 per copy,
NT$1500/year, NT$2600/2 years
Hong Kong & Macao: HK$150/year,
HK$280/2 years

put down roots all over the island. Choos- Awards, he has been invited to exhibit all over
Asia & Pacic Regions: US$40/year,
US$72/2 years by airmail

ing the road less traveled, they passed the world, but has also long acted as a cultural North America: US$32/year,
US$55/2 years by regular mail

nearly a half centuryfrom the prime of ambassador, raising Taiwans international Elsewhere: US$45/year,
US$80/2 years by airmail
their lives up to the presentthe trajectory profile and drawing attention to our nations
Sinorama Magazine
of their lives converging on this island of accomplishments. 951 Taiwan
dreams where their spirits burned brightly. With roots in a Pinghu fishing village, the GPN: 2008000038 ISSN1991-525X

Such is the power of love that each in their Luperla Jewelry Company started out mak-

own way these foreign missionaries, through ing mid-priced jewelry from pearls and coral.


dance, culture, education, the arts, or medi- Today it is an international brand that carries

cine, enacted their good deeds in the public the creative spirit of Taiwans craft industry +886-2-2915-0123

interest, submerging themselves in the local around the globe by teaching and supporting +886-2-2397-0633
life of town and country, their kindness leav- craftspeople in other countries. We report on 1501500
ing a deep impression on the daily life of the their efforts in the Solomon Islands and Mar-
Taiwan Panorama (USPS 000624) is published
people. They enthusiastically enmeshed their shall Islands. monthly, US$32.00 per year, by Kwang Hwa

own lives with our communities, devoting Continuing our Old Residences series,
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Los Angeles, CA 90010 USA. All rights reserved.

themselves without complaint or regret to this month we stop off in Chiayi to visit the Reproduction in whole or in part without written
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their mission, and planting the seeds of love former residence of Chen Cheng-po, known at Los Angeles, California.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Kwang
and compassion through their example. as the father of Taiwanese modernism, along Hwa Publishing (USA), Inc., 3731 Wilshire Blvd
104, Los Angeles, CA 90010 USA.
Reading of their deeds fills our hearts with with the museum dedicated to his memory. In

boundless gratitude. The bright light of their this issue we also delve into the world of Kuo Readers in the US & Canada should subscribe
through Kwang Hwa Publishing (USA), Inc.
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inspires eternal esteem and admiration. sions are collecting art and fostering aesthetic
President: K. T. YANG
In last months cover story we explored appreciation. Through the restoration of a General Manager: Jenny WU
Assistants: WU Chia-ying, Thomas KOH
the world of Taiwanese enterprises in Malay- series of dilapidated structures in quiet side
sia, reporting on e-commerce entrepreneurs, streets, she has created a thriving space for

farming enterprises, and second-generation young artists to realize their dreams.

Taiwanese businesspeople. In this issue we As we join hands to face lifes uncertain- All rights reserved. Photos and articles may not be
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return to Malaysia with articles on education, ties, we offer our heartfelt gratitude to those If you wish to reprint any of our articles or
photographs, please contact our senior
culture, and Muslim-related business oppor- missionaries for their selfless contributions. administrative editor.
Damaged or misbound copies returned to us will
tunities. As for love eternal, together let us continue to be gladly replaced.

In our Artists and Artisans series, we in- spread its message. l

troduce celebrated watercolorist Chen Yang- (Tien Yun-liang/tr. by Robert Green)

CONTENTS 1064 42 4 Vol. 42 No. 4 April 2017

Cover Story

Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan



Spreading Hope in Houbi:
Father Verny


My Brothers Keeper:
St. Josephs Hospital

30 30

Fifty Years of Dance: Father Michelini


Telling It in the Mountains:
The Bethlehem Mission Society



Enriching Lives in Qingquan:
Father Martinson

Editors Note The Fleeting World

01 56
The Gift of Love Variety Pages

Old Residences

Cover: Angels have come to Taiwan from afar,
spreading love and hope.
Bloodied Artist, Warrior of Life
Chen Cheng-pos Former Residence and

Southeast Asian Focus

Halal: The Key to Muslim Markets


Chinese Education in Malaysia:
The Taiwan Connection

Film, Entertainment, Culture:
Taking Taiwans Soft Power South

Restoring Old Buildings


A Collectors Vision:
Kuo Su-jen Brings Art into Old City Streets

Artists and Artisans


Paintings Knight Errant: Chen Yang Chun

Craft Entrepreneurship



Island Sisters, Sister Islands:
A Taiwanese Jewelry Firm Helps in Pacific
Island Diplomacy

Jingliao Holy Cross Church
Bethlehem Mission Society St. Josephs Hospital constructed in Houbi, Tainan.
(BMS) in Taiwan established founded with Fr. Georges

Fr. Gian Carlo Michelini
Centennial of the Catholic
mission in Taiwan. arrives in Taiwan.
BMS mission head Fr. Jakob
Hilber founds Kung-Tung
Technical Senior High School.

6 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Culture p. 10

Medicine p. 20

Dance p. 30

Education p. 38

$UW p. 48

Fr. Barry Martinson arrives
in Taiwan. Fr. Martinson assigned Fr. Franois Verny arrives
to Holy Cross Church in in Taiwan, assigned as
Qingquan, Hsinchu. missionary to Houbi.

Fr. Michelini founds Lan St. Josephs Hospital sets up
Yang Dancers. Fr. Michelini takes Lan Yang <XQOLQVUVWSHGLDWULF,&8
tour; they perform for Pope
Paul VI.


Design: Henry Wang

Photos: Chuang Kung-ju, Jimmy Lin, Lin Min-hsuan, Fr. Barry Martinson, Bethlehem Mission Society,
St. Josephs Hospital, Jingliao Holy Cross Church, Lan Yang Dancers, Lan Yang Youth Catholic Center
Kuangchi Program Service contributed to the writing of this feature.

24 Fr. Martinson opens Sacred
Heart Preschool.
St. Josephs Hospital provides Fr. Josef Eugster gives foot
Yunlins only 24-hour pediatric massage to Pope John Paul
emergency service. II.

Fr. Michelini spurs creation of Fr. Martinson completes
Yilan International Childrens wall mosaics he worked St. Josephs Hospital sets up
Folklore and Folkgame on for 15 years. childrens rehabilitation center
Festival. to aid in early intervention.

8 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

D uring the 1950s, Taiwan was just emerging
from a period of war and chaos, and faced in-
adequate conditions in culture, education, medical
assimilated into local culture. Though some-
times faced by material privations, culture shock
and other difficulties, they have nonetheless
care, and public health. At this time, Catholic mis- persevered.
sionaries from Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Over the past half-century and more, these
Switzerland, Italy, and elsewhere arrived with foreign Catholic missionaries have done things
much-needed donations and material assistance. that no one else had thought to do, but which
Bolstered by their firm faith, these men and many people have very much needed. They have
women have over time built hospitals, formed dedicated their whole lives to this land, from
dance companies, founded after-school programs vigorous youth to old age, and even to the grave.
to help disadvantaged children, and promoted Like angels, they have continually spread the
community arts and culture. Strangers in a strange message of love in our society.
land, they have learned the local languages and (Sanya Huang/tr. by Max Barker)

Bethlehem Mission Society
in Taiwan celebrates 60th Fr. Verny launches after-school Fr. Verny launches
anniversary. supervision and study program repurposing plan for Pingan
for children in Jingliao. Church in Houbi.


Fr. Verny launches Fr. Michelini celebrates 50
renovation plan for Jingliao years in Taiwan. Fr. Martinson holds charity
Holy Cross Church. auction of stained-glass artwork.

Bringing Love Across the Seas:
Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan


Spreading Hope in Houbi:

Father Verny

I t was at a Mid-Autumn Festival celebration in
the Houbi District of Tainan City that Father
Franois Verny, originally from France, first made

himself well-known among the local peoplespe-

hit Marching Forward. Since then, Tainan people,
27 Catholic or not, have known this foreign priest not
Verny, who has been living in Taiwan for 27 years,

is much more than just a missionary for his faith. He

is very concerned about issues related to children,

Taiwans rural areas desolate and with no clear fu-
ture path for survival. Beneath his warm and gentle
accolades, merely saying, The more you put in, the
more you get back.

It is early on a Monday morning, and the weekend

tourists have all gone home, leaving the little town of

Houbi tranquil. Few vehicles traverse its winding roads

The rotund Father Franois Verny always greets visitors with a

10 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04


The pyramid-shaped aluminum spire of the Jingliao Holy Cross
for 60 years.



2012 1



12 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

ever undertaken by Gottfried Bhm, who later in life would win
the Pritzker Prize for architecture. But the actual construction
was done entirely by Taiwanese builders.

to bring out the best in Houbi and improve the quality
of life of all of its residents.
Renovating a church, renewing an old attachment
It was eight years ago that Verny transferred from the
Anxiliao Catholic Church (also in Houbi) to Jingliao. At
has been busier than everperhaps because he can see
the problems up close.
Children, the elderly, the future of Houbiall these is-
sues clamor for his attention. At one moment he is trying
go after school. At another he is pondering the problem
of care for senior citizens. And then there are his poorer
parishioners. And always in his mind are the mainte-
nance and repair of the Jingliao Holy Cross Church, tasks
that are always near the top of his to do list.
Jingliao, a community in the Houbi District of Tainan
City, was thrown into the national spotlight back in 2005
with the release of the documentary Let It Be. Since then,
many out-of-towners have come here to explore this
archetypal rice-growing township. The Jingliao Holy
Cross Church, built in 1960, has been carried along in

Symbols of the Roman Catholic faith embellish the interior of the the tide, becoming an attraction in its own right. Yet few
church. people know that it was designed by the well-known
German architect Gottfried Bhm, who is now aged 97.
there suddenly appears the pyramid-shaped aluminum plans to Taiwan, leaving it up to local builders to com-
VSLUHRIWKH-LQJOLDR+RO\&URVV&KXUFKZLWKDPLOGUHHF- plete construction of the church, with its distinctive
tive shimmer that has mellowed and faded with time. pyramid-shaped main spire and the conical spires on its
The person who opens the door, with a round body to bell tower and baptistry. Circumstances at the time did
match a round face, is wearing black-framed glasses and not permit him to come to Taiwan himself. Imagine his
smiling like a Buddha. Although the face is clearly that surprise and delight when the memory of this building
of a foreigner, the greeting to visitorsHello! How are was brought back to him in 2012, after he received a let-
you?is in perfect downhome Taiwanese. ter from Fr. Verny, written as renovation plans were in
This Taiwanese made in France, Catholic priest the works. Verny invited Bhm to come to Taiwan to see
Father Franois Verny, left his home in 1990 to come to LQSHUVRQKLVUVWHYHUSURMHFW6DGO\*RWWIULHGZDVWRR
Houbi in Taiwan as a missionary. Each day he gets up old to travel, so he asked his son Paul, also an architect,
at 5 a.m., just like the neighboring farmers, and strolls to take part in the renovation project.


Verny has a plan to renovate Houbis closed Pingan Catholic

Church to provide a place of shelter for local elderly people and

Verny blesses a parishioner.




14 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

:LWKRQHZLVKIXOOOHGODVW\HDU9HUQ\H[WHQGHGKLV the church, will house an activity center for the elderly
LGHD WR DQRWKHU KDOO RI ZRUVKLS WKH 3LQJDQ &DWKROLF and a recreational space for kids. Once completed, it will
Church, a branch of the Jingliao Church located less EHSRVVLEOHWRORRNIURPWKHXSSHURRUVRYHUWKHFRP-
7KH3LQJDQVWUXFWXUHFRPSOHWHGRQO\RQH\HDUDIWHU see all the way to the Jingliao Holy Cross Church.
most), has a roof constructed out of wood, and outside met Fr. Verny two years ago, when the latter approached
the building itself it has a courtyard like a traditional him about borrowing a school classroom for an activity.
Taiwanese three-sided compound, with the whole of the It turns out that these two menone responsible for 11
grounds surrounded by a red brick wall. After its com- school districts and the other for three parishesfound
pletion it functioned not only as a place of worship, but themselves with a major overlapping area of responsibil-
also as an important distribution center for charitable ity: the children in their jurisdictions.
relief. However, a decade or so ago, considering the de- Lin notes that there are few job opportunities in Houbi,
cline in the rural population and in church attendance, and young people have been leaving in droves. It is com-
LW ZDV GHFLGHG WR FORVH WKH 3LQJDQ IDFLOLW\ 7KH PDLQ mon to see children being raised by single parents or by
gate was locked and all signs of human activity faded grandparents. Jingliau Junior High got together with a
into oblivion. subsidiary association of the Jingliao Catholic Church to
Father Verny, seeing that many children of his com- launch a program for kids to have after-school supervi-
munity have no place to go after school, decided to sion and guided study. This project also includes week-
repurpose the site, which is located right next to Jing- end classes for disadvantaged children. Currently Verny
liau Junior High School. While the funds have yet to be
While keeping the external appearance of the church

unaltered, he wants to build two new two-story struc-
A year or so ago Father Verny got together with Jingliau Junior
tures. One, at the front of the compound, will be a hos- +LJK6FKRROSULQFLSDO/LQ*XRELQ UVWOHIW WRFUHDWHDQDIWHUVFKRRO
supervision and study program for schoolchildren. Thanks to this
tel for guests to stay overnight. Another, to the east of program the children have really bonded with this foreign priest.




Made in Taiwan

Father Verny has had a critical tool at his disposal for connecting

16 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

not only brings snacks every day, he even arranges for
transportation to bring the kids over and then take them
home again. Donating money is easy, says Lin Guobin,
but actually being consistently present, spending time
with the children and showing authentic concern for
their problems, is a rare and demanding kind of commit-
ment. But still Fr. Verny is here each and every day.
These days, whenever students see Verny they give
kids were still quite timid around this foreign priest.
Fortunately Verny has an ace up his sleeve in breaking
down barriers with local children: authentic downhome
Taiwanese exactly like they speak and hear at home.
Even today, it is always cause for gossip and discus-
sion when a Big Nose (a Taiwanese slang term for for-
eigners) appears in the countryside. Luckily for Fr. Verny,
greeting to help him through all his interactions: Have
you eaten today? Every time he encounters a Taiwanese
person in the street and sees the wonder or even sus-
picion in their eyes, he engages them with this handy
Verny admits, however, Learning Taiwanese was
really hard! He says that this is perhaps the greatest chal-
lenge God has presented him with in his time in Taiwan.
Priests who entered training for missionary work in
Taiwan at the same time as Verny mainly studied Man-
darin Chinese. But he was one of a very small number
in the more remote parts of the countryside. He admits

complain, and stepped up to the challenge. He began to $PRPHQWRIUHHFWLRQDQGSUD\HUEHQHDWKDZRUNE\WKHQRWHG
travel from Tainan to Taichung each week for Taiwanese calligrapher Chen Shih-hsien.

After only six months of coursework, Verny was as- WKDW\RXXQGHUVWRRGWKHWH[W,GLGQWXQGHUVWDQGDVLQ-
signed a most imposing challenge indeed: conducting gle word I was saying! All he remembers of the day
an Easter Mass in Taiwanese! was one phrase that he said to the faithful sitting below
Easter is one of the most important holy days in the the altar just as the mass was ending: Bin kiann lah!
Christian calendar. The mass is very long and the rituals (No problem!)
are complicated. Verny put his nose to the grindstone, $OZD\VPDUFKLQJIRUZDUG
making notations in the margin of his bible in Roman- Bin kiann lah! Bin kiann lah! This simple but
ization, to help him pronounce the words in Taiwanese. highly expressive little phrase seemed to put at ease the
When the service was over, as some of his parishioners mind of the then 33-year-old Verny.
came forward to thank him, he replied: You are lucky 9HUQ\ KDG OLYHG WKH UVW WKUHH GHFDGHV RI KLV OLIH LQ




Visitors who have come all the way from Hong Kong specially
to visit the Jingliao Holy Cross Church leave with a sample of
Vernys original French-style New Years couplets.

18 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

It was quite a transition for Father Verny to come from the great French city of Lyon to remote Houbi District. But he
has grown to love this place, and 27 years have passed in the blink of an eye.

)UDQFHV VHFRQGODUJHVW FLW\ /\RQ %HIRUH KH HPEDUNHG In many ways Verny is a very creative person. Even
for Taiwan, his mental map of the world only contained before beginning calligraphy with brush and ink he was
from his childhood priest, and his homeland of France. he pored over each character, rigidly following the rules
In the 1970s the only thing he associated with the word about how to depict it. But now he lets his imagination
Taiwan was cheap, lowbrow Made in Taiwan man- run free, and he uninhibitedly adapts his characters to
XIDFWXUHG JRRGV ,WV QR ZRQGHU WKDW ZKHQ WKH FKXUFK the shape and grain of the wood.
asked Verny if he was willing to come here, he immedi- I love freedom, he says with obvious joy and satis-
But now that place he once refused to come to has was painfully shy, only able to express himself through
become for Verny his spiritual home. Taiwan was even gymnastics. Over the last 27 years the straightforward
responsible for an attack of homesickness he felt and open-hearted lifestyle of the southern Taiwan
when he was re-assigned back to France by the church countryside has changed him, and as his once lithe phy-
for a period of time. sique has become well-rounded, so his personality has
In fact, if you were to obscure the silhouette of his become expansive and warm. It is this generous, warm
IDFH\RXZRXOGQGDPDQZKRVHZKROHZD\RIOLIHLV spirit that has become the most familiar characteris-
almost identical to that of a Taiwanese. About the only tic by which this foreign priest has come to be known
time you feel that he is even a little bit French is when among the rural folk of Houbi District. 
you see the French-language annotations next to his (Liu Yingfeng/photos by Chuang Kung-ju/
Chinese calligraphy. WUE\0D[%DUNHU

Bringing Love Across the Seas:
Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan

20 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04


My Brothers Keeper:
St. Josephs Hospital



T hroughout the six decades since its founding in 1955,

St. Josephs Hospital in Yunlin County has been watch-
ing over the health of the local population. Several times
it has been voted the best medical center in Yunlin, and has
received 11 Medical Dedication Awards. It acts as a good
neighbor (in the Christian sense) to the people of Yunlin.
Nicknamed the three treasures of St. Josephs, senior

The three treasures of St. Josephs pose for from abroad to dedicate their lives to St. Josephs. Today,
From left to right: Godelieve Franssens, Fr. now that Yunlin has numerous medical centers, St. Josephs
Antoine Pierrot and Dr. Marguerite Billiet. has fulfilled the mission that it undertook in a different
era, and the three are growing old. How then can they pass




The pioneering staff of St. Josephs Hospital in its early days.
Father Georges Massin stands on the right wearing a lab coat.
(courtesy of St. Josephs Hospital)





A footbridge was built between St. Josephs Hospital and a staff
residence to facilitate safer passage between the two buildings.
(courtesy of St. Josephs Hospital)

22 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Father Antione Pierrot baptizes the child of a German teacher
(center) at Yongnian Middle School. (courtesy of St. Josephs

vide medical care locally to ordinary people.
St. Josephs: Pioneers of healthcare in Yunlin
In 1953 Father Antoine Pierrot accepted the task of
setting up St. Josephs. He boarded a flight from the
Netherlands, his native land, to Rome. He then traveled
to the port of Genoa, near Milan, to catch a freighter,
and arrived in Taiwan in 1954, eager to help Bishop Niu
establish the hospital.
After the hospital building was completed in De-
cember 1955, Bishop Niu invited Fr. Georges Massin, a
Belgian native, to come to Taiwan to serve as the hospi-
consisted of only two doctors and two nurses, who were
assisted by ten nuns. The whole hospital was like a big
family, says obstetrician and gynecologist Cai Meng-
hong, who doubles as a family medicine practitioner.
Father Massin was always forgiving and compassionate.
It was really moving, and made you want to work your
hardest. No one had to tell you to do anything. You just
felt ashamed if you didnt take things upon yourself.
Children undergoing early intervention therapies play merrily in and the number of hospital beds has increased to 361.
the childrens rehabilitation center.
the torch of holistic care to a new generation and DWULFLQWHQVLYHFDUHXQLW  UVWKRXUHPHUJHQF\
continue to deliver health and hope? This is the chal- SHGLDWULFVHUYLFH  DQGUVWKRVSLFH  
lenge the hospital faces as it seeks to transform and Antoine Pierrot: A beautiful gift for Chiayi Diocese
modernize itself. In 1954 Fr. Pierrot arrived in Taiwan to take up the
mission that he had volunteered for. He dedicated most
In the 1950s, after the chaos of the war years, Taiwan of his time to establishing and developing St. Josephs.
faced a dire shortage of medical facilities. Fortunately In this hospital we take care of the whole person,
the Catholic Church founded clinics around the island mind, body and soul. Thats what we call holistic care.
and brought in trained medical personnel and specialist But no matter how busy he was, he went to the hos-
HTXLSPHQWIURPRYHUVHDVWROOWKHJDS pital day in and day out, rain or shine, visiting patients
In 1955, the Catholic Church established St. Josephs in their rooms and saying prayers for them. He also de-
Hospital in Huwei, Yunlin County, and today it is still a YRWHGKLPVHOIWRWKHFDUHRIWKHVWDDQGWKHLUIDPLOLHV
major provider of medical services locally. In the 1950s, Over six decades, he helped countless families through
outside the main urban centers there were some doctors critical moments in their lives.
practicing who had trained in Japan, but they were pro- Some years ago, when the former head of accounting
hibitively costly for the average person. For this reason, at St. Josephs, Wu Junnan, was diagnosed with cancer,
Bishop Thomas Niu of the Chiayi Diocese decided to Pierrots presence gave him tremendous comfort and


For decades Father Antoine Pierrot visited patients on a daily
basis. (courtesy of St. Josephs Hospital)





24 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

allowed him to experience serenity and Gods embrace Godelieve Franssens: Appreciating lifes beauty
as he neared death. When he was hospitalized, Father ,QDWWKHDJHRI*RGHOLHYH)UDQVVHQVD%HOJLDQ
Pierrot was also ill and staying in the hospital, says national, arrived in Taiwan to assume responsibilities as
Wus wife, Chang Mei Jung, who works in the hospitals DPLGZLIHDQGQXUVH'XULQJWKHEDE\ERRPRIWKHV
SODQQLQJ RFH +H LQVLVWHG RQ YLVLWLQJ LQ KLV ZKHHO- and 1980s, she personally assisted in the birth of a great
chair every day and encouraged us to remain positive. number of children. During that time, the greatest number
After Wu Junnan succumbed to his illness, Pierrot of deliveries recorded at St. Josephs was 400 newborns in
led the funeral mass for his old friend, despite being ill. a single month. Bassinets that had been relegated to store-
+HVKDUHGLQRXUMR\VDQGLQGLFXOWWLPHVKHZDVDO- rooms were pressed back into service but still more were
ways there to help us get through our sorrows, Chang needed. Franssens hit on the idea of taking out drawers
recalls, doing her best to hold back her tears. and using them as bassinets, and as if by magic she also
Pierrot formerly spent a decade shouldering the PDQDJHGWRWIRXUEDELHVLQWRHDFKLQFXEDWRU
responsibility of collecting donations at churches all Now that she has officially retired, she continues to
around the United States. The majority of the funds work as a chaplain for the hospitals pastoral care de-
were used to expand St. Josephs, but they also brought partment, bringing comfort to patients. In describing her
to the Chiayi Diocese a most beautiful giftthe Church interactions with other people, she loves to use the words
RI6W$XJXVWLQHFRPSOHWHGLQ3LHUURWHQOLVWHGWKH really beautiful. There was one time that a girl had just
help of Francisco Borboa, a painter of religious themes,
to design the avant-garde trapezoidal building, the
form of which is based on the image of a pair of praying Ricky

hands. Just like the church, Fr. Pierrot is also a beautiful
Ricky (right) is Father Pierrots home care provider. Here he
gift given by God to the Chiayi Diocese. accompanies Pierrot on a visit to the Church of St. Augustine.


Godelieve Franssens (right) with a jade vendor at a local market.




Godelieve Franssens was caring for a premature baby.
(courtesy of St. Josephs Hospital)




26 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

died of cancer and her mother, who had raised her on Josephs. Father Massin returned to Belgium about once
her own, was busy giving instructions to the people who HYHU\YH\HDUV%LOOLHWH[SODLQV2QRQHWULSKHSDLGD
were washing and dressing her daughter, while at the visit to my home. At the time I was still in medical school,
same time glaring angrily at the girls father, who had and I still needed to complete my training in pediatric
abandoned them years before, Franssens recalls. The PHGLFLQH$IWHU EHFRPLQJ FHUWLHG LQ SHGLDWULFV DQG DU-
father rushed to the hospital on learning that his daugh- riving in Taiwan, I still had to learn Chinese. Father Mas-
ter had died, but the mother wouldnt let him near her. VLQWKXVKDGWRZDLWIRUPHIRUYH\HDUV
The father could only sit silently in a corner and In 1980, Billiet arrived in Taiwan and put her skills to
wait. Finally when they were about to put a hat on the work, treating countless premature newborns and sick
girls head, the mothers heart softened, and she let the children.
father come forward to do this one last thing for their She is the only pediatrician in Taiwan who requires
daughter. Isnt that a beautiful thing? Franssens says. patients to strip down for a detailed full-body examina-
After witnessing so many births and deaths, the tion, observes Soong Wei-tsuen, a former director of St.
PDMHVW\RIOLIHPDGHVWUXJJOHDQGVXHULQJSDOHLQVLJ- Josephs. This is the result of Dr. Billiets rigorous pediatric
nificance. Perhaps as a result, Franssens knows how training in Belgium. Through a close examination of the
to appreciate the beauty of life. She walked with us entire body, she is better able to arrive at a comprehensive
out through the front entrance of St. Josephs to stroll assessment of a patients condition. St. Josephs excels at
through the market on Huweis Zhongzheng Street. Its caring for premature infants, who are at high risk for infant
fantastic. I would never have thought that in my sev- PRUWDOLW\,QWKHVHFDVHVWKHQXUVLQJVWDIHHGPLONWRWKH
enties I would still be able to pop out during work and children in tiny doses, starting from one to two cubic cen-
visit the market, she says with joy. timeters and gradually increasing to 56 cc, to reduce the
Marguerite Billiet: Giving is its own reward risk of necrotizing enterocolitis caused by overeating. In
In the hospitals early days, the medical staff was this way, premature infants slowly build their body weight
stretched thin, so Fr. Georges Massin appealed to the to normal levels and can be released from the hospital.
church to recruit more doctors from abroad. Thus it was
that Marguerite Billiet, who would receive a Medical

'HGLFDWLRQ$ZDUG LQ  EHFDPH DIILOLDWHG ZLWK 6W After mass, Godelieve Franssens tidies up the church.


Marguerite Billiet cant suppress her joy when a young patients

condition improves.

Attending pediatrician Marguerite Billiet is uncompromising when
it comes to upholding treatment standards.

28 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Over the years Father Antoine Pierrot has progressed from uncle to grandfather
in the St. Josephs family. (courtesy of St. Josephs Hospital)

Billiet, however, shies away from accepting praise for A cycle of health and hope
her own contributions. You say that its extraordinary But in an era when medicine is pursuing perfor-
for us to travel from abroad to practice here, she says. mance-driven management, how can St. Josephs
I think what the nurses do is even more praiseworthy. adopt new management paradigms yet still preserve
They come to the hospital and care for the children of the compassion and ethos of a Catholic hospital?
others while looking after their own children and family Moreover, now that Yunlin has a good number of
members too. There is one nurse who has two kids but large-scale hospitals, St. Josephs original mission of
always requests the night shift so that she can take care making up the shortfall in what government and so-
of her sick mother-in-law in the daytime. How could ciety could provide in terms of local medical care is
anyone say that these people are not really impressive? no longer relevant.
I often feel that what we doctors and nurses give In the past, they traveled all the way from Europe
pales in comparison to what we get back, Dr. Billiet to donate their services here, Soong Wei-tsuen says.
says. One patient that left a particularly deep impres- But now they are old. Surely the people of Taiwan
sion was an impressive, intelligent and optimistic child can shoulder this burden themselves and carry on St.
ZKR VXHUHG IURP PXVFXODU G\VWURSK\ 7KH GLVHDVH LV Josephs mission of caring for the people of Yunlin.
incurable and causes the muscles in the entire body to Just as the selfless contributions of Antoine Pier-
breathe. When the childs condition became critical, she transcending ethnicity, nationality and faithenabled
was placed in intensive care. Every time she saw me even more people to stand on their own two feet, per-
she smiled. A few days later, she passed away, Billiet haps in the future these people will return the favor
says. She really understood how to live and to look by caring for others, and by doing so bring even more
greeted others with smiles. What she gave me was in- (Sanya Huang/photos by Lin Min-hsuan/

Bringing Love Across the Seas:
Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan


Fifty Years of Dance:

Father Michelini

1974 F ather Gian Carlo Michelini came to Taiwan from
Italy in 1964, and founded the Lan Yang Dancers
in 1966. In 1974 he took his dancers on an interna-



founding of the Yilan International Childrens Folk-

Good morning, Father! a group of children cho-

ruses, running over to Father Michelini. He greets the

students of Shengyin Kindergarten with pats on their

heads and gentle pinches of their soft cheeks. White-

haired, beer-bellied and raspy-voiced, Fr. Michelini still
speaks Mandarin with a heavy accent in spite of his
more than 50 years in Taiwan.

For love
Two months after I arrived in Taiwan, I realized
that I wanted to promote culture and the arts. I wanted

Determined to make a difference, Father Gian Carlo Michelini
set about cultivating Taiwans arts and culture. Having long since
established the Lan Yang Dancers, at more than 80 years of age he
now plans to set up an international childrens arts village in Yilan.

30 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04


Father Michelini encourages children to study dance from an early
appreciate the beauty of the art form.





32 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

to do something that Taiwan needed and that other EHJDQ VHHNLQJ QDQFLDO VXSSRUW IURP WKH JRYHUQPHQW
people werent doing, recalls Michelini. for performances abroad, but had no luck until 1974.
$ FKLOG RI EHDXWLIXO 5HQDLVVDQFHDYRUHG %RORJQD The Lan Yang Dancers made their international de-
Michelini excelled at music. The arts were fundamental but in Italy with a performance in the northern Italian
to his life, though he also loved psychology and foot- city of Vicenza. Unfortunately, with no advertising
ball. On arriving in Taiwan, he noted that Taiwanese to announce the show, only 32 people turned up at
children had no respite from their schoolwork and no the 5,000-seat venue. They nonetheless received high
energy for extracurricular activities. That was no kind marks for their performance, and invitations to per-
of life, says Fr. Michelini. form poured in as word of their prowess spread.
Instead of undertaking the service work typical for /DQ <DQJV JUHDWHVW KRQRU RQ WKLV UVW WRXU ZDV DQ
a member of the Camillian order, Michelini founded invitation to perform for Pope Paul VI, which made
the Luodong Youth Catholic Recreation Center (now them the first performing arts company to perform
the Lan Yang Youth Catholic Center) and the Lan Yang for a Pope in the Vatican. The troupes many tours in
Dancers in 1966. He uses these institutions to offer a the years since have been filled with both thrills and
variety of classes in dance, Chinese traditional music, mishaps. On one South American tour their agent
taekwondo, the arts, and music, as well as to arrange abandoned them, forcing them to rearrange everything
basketball, football, and volleyball tournaments. RQWKH\2QDQRWKHURFFDVLRQWKH\IRXQGWKHPVHOYHV
The children studying dance with the Lan Yang without visas or permission to perform as a show date
Dancers performed exceptionally well right from the ORRPHG%XW0LFKHOLQLVD\V,GRQWIHDUKDUGVKLS7KLV
groups inception. Just two years after its founding, the is what I want to do, and I want to keep on doing it.
Lan Yang Dancers not only represented Yilan at the Tai- It is Michelinis determination that keeps the Lan Yang
wan Provincial Dance Competition, but won it. Dancers traveling and introducing Taiwans beauty to
Going international the world. The company has performed on countless
From the beginning, Michelini was determined stages in Taiwan and around the world over the last
to take the troupe abroad as a means of introducing 50 years, delivering performances that have not only
Taiwan to the world. I wanted to do something that
would have an impact, he recalls.
When the ROC lost its seat in the United Nations

and many of its formal diplomatic partners in the 1970s, The ribbon dance The Rainbow evokes the colors and dynamism
Michelini reckoned that Taiwan could win new friends of the sky after a storm. The dance has been performed for the
Pope and on other international stages many times.
by introducing its culture to the rest of the world. He (courtesy of Lan Yang Dancers)




The Lan Yang Dancers have performed for Pope Paul VI (upper
UNESCO photo), for Pope John Paul II (lower photo) and also for Pope
Benedict XVI. (courtesy of Lan Yang Dancers)


200 Vaganova2005


34 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

shown the world a bit of Taiwanese culture, but also
served as an extraordinary kind of cultural diplomacy.
Bringing the world to Taiwan
Michelini has used culture and the arts to make
friends around the world, employing every technique,
network and channel he could to raise his troupes in-
abroad. The Lan Yang Dancers outstanding international
performances even prompted the International Council
of Organizations of Folklore Festivals (CIOFF), a group
annual conference as an observer. In fact, the hard work
and support of Michelini and others helped pave the
way for Taiwan to become a formal member of CIOFF in

1994. Michelini has continued to promote exchanges and Students at the Shengyin Kindergarten receive New Years red
envelopes from Father Grandpa (Father Michelini).
the development of Taiwans folk arts during his tenure
as secretary-general of CIOFF Chinese Taipei.
In 1996, the Yilan County Government incorporated audiences to international-caliber performances, but also
Michelinis proposal for a childrens arts and games fes- provided local troupes with the opportunity for interna-
tival into its celebration of the 200th anniversary of the tional exchanges. The festival itself was an unprecedented
arrival in Yilan of a party of Han Chinese pioneers, by success, and has since become one of Taiwans premier
hosting the first Yilan International Childrens Folklore celebrations of international arts, one that nearly everyone
and Folkgame Festival. Michelinis long experience with in Taiwan has attended at least once. When you examine
international arts festivals also came in handy, enabling Michelinis success in creating such impactful events,
him to invite outstanding troupes from around the world you cant help but admire his dedication and vision.
to perform. These groups not only exposed Taiwanese Michelini took advantage of the 1991 breakup of the

After spurring the creation
of the Yilan International
Childrens Folklore and
Folkgames Festival, Father
Michelini helped it grow into
one of Taiwans best-known
international arts festivals
by inviting artists from
around the world to perform.
(courtesy of Yilan County
Cultural Affairs Bureau)


Father Michelini built the Catholic Centers family garden with his
own hands, and welcomes everyone to enjoy it.



36 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

6RYLHW 8QLRQ WR H[SORUH (DVWHUQ (XURSH LQ VHDUFK RI Asked whether he is a romantic, Michelini demurs,
EDOOHWGDQFHUV+HFDPHEDFNZLWKWKH9DJDQRYD%DOOHW saying thats not the sort of thing one can judge for
Academys training system and in 2005 established the RQHVHOI%XWDVZHZDONWKURXJKWKHJDUGHQVKHTXLHWO\
/DQ<DQJ %DOOHW D WURXSH WKDW PDUULHV WKH VWUHQJWKV RI urges the two peacocks leading us around the garden to
Western dance with Taiwanese cultural content. fan their tail feathers for us to admire.
In fact, the Lan Yang Dancers have been incorporat- Its a revealing moment that hints at a whimsical if
ing Taiwanese elements into their work for years with not necessarily romantic side of Michelinis character.
pieces and programs such as 1999s Princess Kavalan, a Having already founded a professional dance com-
retelling in dance of the myth of Guishan Island and the pany that enables local dancers to preserve the joy-
Lanyang Plain, and Qianggu, a dance brimming with ful dances of their hometowns, in 2014 Fr. Michelini
imagery from Yilan. resolved to move on to the next stage of Lan Yangs
Building a future cultural blueprint by establishing an international chil-
The Lan Yang Youth Catholic Center consists of two drens art village in Yilan. The planned arts village will
connected concrete buildings housing the center, the include a professional performance space, multipurpose
dance companies, and the kindergarten on roughly six classrooms, and living spaces, and will draw on Lan
KHFWDUHVDORQJ/XRGRQJV%HLFKHQJ5RDG7KHVLWHDOVR Yangs deep experience with arts exchanges. Michelini
includes open fields. I like Nature and dislike con- aims to make the venue one of Taiwans key dance cen-
crete, explains Michelini, who has created a family ters by enabling international artists to remain here for
garden by planting trees from all over the world. The longer periods of time.
land is also home to a variety of animals, including Father Michelini has always felt that Taiwan needs
VWUXWWLQJSHDFRFNVOHDSLQJVTXLUUHOVRFNVRIFKLFNHQV to look outward and make friends with the world. With
and ducks, croaking frogs and migratory birds that visit WKDWLQPLQGKHVD\V/DQ<DQJKDVDFOHDURULHQWDWLRQ
every year. I once had a nocturnal sika deer inspect the one that only it can follow. We still have much more to
evening dance classes with me, jokes Michelini. give to Taiwan, and will continue to march ahead so
long as we receive support. Michelini is still working to
realize his dreams in Taiwan, and hopes that the public

will continue to endorse and support his endeavors.

Members of the Lan Yang Ballet enhance the Yilan landscape &DWK\7HQJSKRWRVE\-LPP\/LQ
and introduce ballet into local lives by performing at scenic spots
around the county. (courtesy of Lan Yang Dancers) tr. by Scott Williams)

Bringing Love Across the Seas:
Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan

38 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04


Telling It in the Mountains:

The Bethlehem Mission Society



F or 60 years now, the Swiss priests of the Bethlehem

Mission Society have lived in poor communities in
the mountains of Taitung. They have witnessed the areas
hardships and deprivations, while providing education
and relief to the poor, and saving souls.
Today, their exotic faces are gradually disappearing
from the Taitung countryside, but the contributions they
have made to Taiwanese society will never be forgotten.

Photographer Nicholas Fans The Chapel of Kung-Tung: An

Education Legend in the Coastal Range of Taiwan and Men for All
Seasons: The Swiss on the East Coast tell the story of the Swiss


Brother Augustin Bchel (left) and Fathers Gottfried Vonwyl
(center) and Josef Eugster (right) of the Bethlehem Mission
Society made the long journey to Taiwan when they were just
young men. More than 50 years have passed since then.


78Josef Eugster


40 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

The wooden pews and ceiling of the Bethlehem Mission Societys
chapel were made by the students of St. Josephs Kung-Tung
Technical Senior High School, who became well known for their

stepped up. Taitungs St. Marys Hospital and the Train-

ing Center East, as well as several local nursing homes,
were founded by the mission. Among them, St. Josephs
Kung-Tung Technical Senior High School, which was
established by the Taiwan missions founder, Father Ja-
kob Hilber, is the most familiar to people these days.
Not long after Fr. Hilber arrived in Taitung, he de-
cided to establish the high school, which was modeled
on German vocational high schools. From 1958 to 1974,
the school employed more than 20 foreign instructors
from Germany, Switzerland and Austria to teach wood-
working skills. The wood furniture the school produced
was well regarded both in Taiwan and overseas. During
its heyday, its beds could be found in hospitals through-
out Taiwan.
And today, the heavy exterior wooden doors at the
terior spaces, and the pews in the missions chapel were
all created by the schools students. Exquisitely crafted
with lustrous wood, the furniture and wooden doors
priests behind the Bethlehem Mission Society in Taiwan. bear witness to the marvelous workmanship of that era.
Without these books, the story of these Catholic fathers,
who crossed the seas to distant Taiwan in 1953 and de-
voted their lives to improving life in the mountains of
Taitung, might have been lost. 1965
In remote areas of Taitung, the Bethlehem Mission has built
For 60 years, the headquarters of the Bethlehem Mis- schools and hospitals, working to educate peoples minds and
sion in Taiwan has been located inconspicuously in the save their bodies and souls. The photo shows the Training
Center East, which was established in 1965. (courtesy of the
city of Taitung, next to St. Marys hospital. A chapel and Bethlehem Mission Society in Taiwan)
classrooms can be found inside a building whose archi-
tectural style recalls Le Corbusier. Here is also where the
priests and monks used to live back in the day.
A yellowed picture in the parlor features a photograph
of young priests at the headquarters of the Roman Catho-
lic Bethlehem Mission Society in Switzerland. They would
all end up serving as missionaries in locations such as Af-
rica, Central and South America, and mainland China.
Building schools, helping the poor, saving souls
In 1953, a large group of the societys missionaries
relocated to Taiwan from northeast China, settling in Tai-
tung. The governments ability to provide healthcare and
social care in the area was very limited, so the mission


Long based at the Church of St. Nicolaus at Xiaoma in Taitungs
Chenggong, Father Alfred Gigerearned the title Father of Orchid
Island for his many contributions to life on the island. (courtesy
of the Bethlehem Mission Society in Taiwan)

42 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

A scene of one of Bethlehems fathers doing
missionary work in Taitung back in the day. (courtesy
of the Bethlehem Mission Society in Taiwan)

Pain shows youre alive!

Before the Bethlehem Mission Society made a name
for itself in Taiwan, its big-eared priest Father Josef
Eugster, whose name in Taiwan is synonymous with
wans public.
Now aged 78, Fr. Eugster is the youngest member of
the mission.
He arrived in Taiwan in 1970, and his parish now
spans from Changbin all the way south to Yongfu.
Every Sunday, he rises at 6 a.m. and begins a day of
traveling: First he delivers a sermon at the church in
Yongfu. Then he scurries to the church in Changguang
mass of the day. Although he ends up spending more
than two hours all told delivering mass in three sepa-
rate places, Eugster doesnt show even the faintest hint
of fatigue.
Perhaps his faith is sustaining him, or perhaps his
health has been bolstered by the foot massage therapy
he developed to treat his rheumatoid arthritis while
training as a young priest in Hsinchu.
Eugster learned the technique from an old German
medical book. Though its pages were yellowed and its
treat himself, became a treasured conduit for establish-
ing deeper links to the community. He has spent several
decades widely disseminating this method of therapeu-
tic foot massage.
Mastering the foot massage technique requires 136
hours of rigorous training. From focusing simply on
treating people, he has moved to teaching the technique
to rural residents, thereby providing a vocation with
which they can make ends meet.
Those coming to study under him have changed
from Aborigines initially to Southeast-Asian immigrant
brides living in Taitung today.
These new immigrants account for most of his

current 20 students. Swiss, Germans and Africans also
number among them. Normally, Bethlehems fathers are scattered in various rural
townships attending to their duties, but every Monday they gather
Nevertheless, Eugster reveals that when he arrived to share their thoughts, chat and eat together.








Father Josef Eugster of the Bethlehem Mission Society in Taiwan
has developed his own regimen of foot therapy, which he often
demonstrates and teaches to immigrants in his neighborhood.

44 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

with this skill, many locals didnt appreciate it, and he reminds them: In fact, my calling is to be a priest. Re-
Taiwan or even foreign travelers. A temples neighbors of meeting people.
take the deities for granted, says Eugster, quoting a Eugsters foot massage therapy both rehabilitates
Taiwanese idiom. Its travelers from afar who show it peoples bodies and soothes their minds. Whenever he
the proper respect. The missions secretary Lin Sufei hears people crying in pain like babies, Eugster laughs
notes: The father has better Mandarin than the locals, and responds with a line he never tires of: If you feel
and better Taiwanese than the Taiwanese. Likewise, he pain, that means youre still alive!
speaks Amis better than the Amis! A gardener restores Taiwan
In fact, mastering the three languages took a lot of Unlike Eugster and other priests who went deep into
hard work. Along the way, he often played the fool and remote areas, Brother Augustin Bchel, ever since arriv-
elicited much laughter, such when confusing the Tai- ing in Taitung in 1963, has spent his time at the mission
wanese word for butt with the word for countryside. headquarters, handling payrolls and other administra-
But he had the courage not to be bothered by losing WLYHDDLUV
face. When he walked through the neighborhood, he Apart from his administrative duties at the mission,
would say hello and chat with those he encountered. As Bchel, who was born on a farm in Switzerland, also
suspicious looks gave way to smiles, he knew that his shows great love for Taiwans nature. He has planted
Taiwanese was improving. trees in front of the missions campus on Hangzhou
As a child, Eugster aspired to become a teacher or Street and black persimmons in the parking lot, as well
doctor. But he ended up fulfilling his dreams on the DVRZHUVDQGWUHHVLQVLGHWKHFDPSXV
other side of the world. The big boss gave me a mis-
sion! He has been in Taiwan for 47 years now, and
whenever anybody mentions him, they put the empha-
The fruits and vegetables on Eugsters dining table all come from
sis on his foot massage therapy. But Eugster always his own garden. He leads a tranquil, happy life.


In 1953 these young Swiss priests bravely overcame many
obstacles to go deep into the remotest regions of Taitung,
spreading the good word and saving lives, body and soul.
(courtesy of the Bethlehem Mission Society inTaiwan)

Brother Augustin Bchel of the Bethlehem Mission Society, who
arrived in Taiwan more than 50 years ago, walks through a secret
garden in the mountains behind Chulu. He has a deep love for


50 64

46 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

His love for Taiwan exceeds even that of most Tai-
The Bethlehem Mission Society is celebrating its 60th anniversary
ZDQHVH DQG KH RIWHQ SOXFNV ZLOGRZHUV DORQJ VWUHHWV of bringing the light of hope to the remotest corners of Taiwan.
and alleys. When he arrives at friends homes, they
hes out on a hike, his strict conservationist side comes club, becoming Taiwans first foreign-national wilder-
out as he considers the balance of the forest ecosystem. ness guide. He has hiked throughout Taiwans Central
Sometimes, when no one else is watching, he stealthily and Coastal mountain ranges.
sows a few seeds. Years later, hell return to silently )URP WKH PRPHQW KH UVW ODQGHG LQ 7DLZDQ %FKHO
HQMR\WKHRXULVKLQJJURZQWUHHV,I,KDGQWEHFRPHD hasnt let himself long for home. Once you start on
monk, I think I would have been a gardener! \RXU MRXUQH\ GRQW ORRN EDFN KH VD\V ,W LVQW FOHDU
Now in his eighties, when he takes a pleasure drive whether he is drawing inspiration from the Bible or from
up into the mountains behind Chulu, he displays not his own experiences as a young man arriving in the re-
WKH VOLJKWHVW KHVLWDWLRQ DV KH FRQGHQWO\ QDYLJDWHV WKH mote mountains of Taitung 54 years ago.
winding roads sharp curves. The 50-minute trip is to From its peak of over 30 members, the Bethlehem Mis-
a small house in the mountains, where a friend has VLRQ 6RFLHW\ LQ 7DLZDQ QRZ FRQVLVWV RI RQO\ YH SULHVWV
invited him to help in the garden, knowing Bchels and one monk. The strapping young fathers and brothers
fondness for horticulture. of that black-and-white photo have become wise elders.
As far as Bchel, who loves hiking, is concerned, the Yet the passage of time has not reduced the deter-
wild mountains spread before him are not only his fa- mination of those priests, who overcame all manner of
vorite place to visit, they have also been a springboard OLQJXLVWLFGLFXOWLHVDVWKH\PRYHGGHHSLQWR7DLWXQJV
for meeting many people. His friends all know that this mountains. In the parlor of the mission there is a map of
monk who spends his days busy with the administra- 7DLWXQJKDQGGUDZQIURPDSURMHFWHGVOLGH,WVDWWLQJ
tion of the mission has an deep, enduring love for the representation of the missions 64 years of serving every
natural environment of Taiwan. Consequently, he has remote community in the county. 
become a member of the Taiwan Environmental Pro- (Liu Yingfeng/photos by Jimmy Lin/
tection Association and has even organized a climbing tr. by Jonathan Barnard)

Bringing Love Across the Seas:
Foreign Missionaries in Taiwan


Enriching Lives in Qingquan:

Father Martinson

A s you approach the Atayal indigenous village
of Qing quan in Wufeng Township, Hsinchu
County, you see a little church nestled in verdant

hills, its gray walls decorated with stained-glass

windows. Against a cloudy sky, the Holy Cross

Catholic Church is conspicuous yet reserved. Its

historical ambiance seems to make time stand still,
conveying a sense of serenity. For Father Barry
40 Martinson, the keeper of this church, and the vil-
lage of Qingquan, 40 serene years have passed as if
1946 in the blink of an eye.

Martinson was born in California in 1946. When he

was eight years old his father passed away, leaving his

mother to raise him and his two brothers on her own.

His mother s determination and tolerance ensured
that Martinson grew up in a loving environment. And
it was his mother s love and her hope for her sons
happiness that sustained Barry and his elder brother
Jerry through their studies at the seminary. After grad-
uation, both brothers were sent by the Jesuits to serve

in Taiwan.

Martinson paints, sculpts, and creates stained-glass windows to
inspire everyone with vitality and joy.

48 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04


Decorated with indigenous cultural elements arranged around a
cross, the church is not just a local center of belief but is also a
temple to art and culture.

Outside the church, Martinson has put up a statue of an angel in
memory of his mother Lilys love and tolerance, and her support
for his calling to dedicate his life to service in Taiwan.

50 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

A church and a temple to art
Martinson, who loved to draw and paint from an
early age, used to gaze up at the stained-glass windows
instead of listening to the sermon when he attended
mass as a child. Perhaps this experience formed his idea
of what a church should be. When he was assigned to
the Atayal Aboriginal community of Qingquan in the
western foothills of Taiwans Central Mountain Range
in 1976, he arrived to find the church walls mottled
with age, seemingly lifeless. Determined to use his ar-
tistic skill and his aesthetic sensibility to add some color
to the building, he set himself to making stained-glass
windows to ornament the walls with both natural beau-
ties and stories from the Bible.
One image of Jesus praying is Martinsons favorite.
He pieced shades of red glass together into Jesuss robe,
which glows when sunlight spills through the natural
grain of the glass, especially at dusk. This is for Martin-
son the happiest time of day, and the most beautiful. 40

Besides the stained glass, the altar too displays
Martinson is dedicated to making Qingquan, his
Martinsons artistry. On the floor, he alternated strips home for 40 years, even more beautiful.
of blue and yellow tile into what he describes as water
mountain spring symbolizes the origin of life, and the

ZDWHUWKHHQHUJ\WKDWVHHPVWRRZDURXQGWKHVSDFHRI The beauties of the stained-glass windows are to be
the church, charging it with vitality. appreciated under different light from different angles.





15 In front of the mosaic he spent 15 years making, Martinson
playfully imitates the stance of the Atayal archer, demonstrating a
2000 spirit of perseverance.

52 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Martinson leads groups to repair walls and beautify them with

the archers beauty and power as he looses his arrow,

culty, to persevere no matter what. With his hard work
and dedication, it took Martinson 15 years, from 1985 to
2000, to complete this group of murals that symbolize
strength, hope, freedom, and courage.
Building a fortress
Before Martinsons arrival, children who were born
in remote villages in the mountains had to go down into
Zhudong to go to school. In many households, both
Grandma and Grandpa to take care of the kids. Many
such children were denied the opportunity to get an
education. Martinson could not bear it. In 1998, he con-
verted an abandoned church 20 minutes drive from his
own into the Sacred Heart Kindergarten, serving all the
villages in the area.
Though resources are limited, the kindergarten is
funded by the government through indigenous assis-
tance programs. Thus there are no tuition fees, just a cou-
ple of hundred NT dollars a month for transportation.
This is quite a light burden for families to bear compared
with the NT$10,000-plus they would have to pay at a
private kindergarten in the city. Martinson has not only
founded this kindergarten, but also goes there once a
week to teach English. Seeing the innocent smiles on the

Not just a Catholic father but also like a parent to the people of faces of the children gives him the greatest satisfaction.
Qingquan, Martinson lives to see the villagers thrive. Martinson believes in practicing what he preaches.
In addition to founding the kindergarten, he also settled
To honor the indigenous villagers, Martinson painted the debt of a local credit cooperative which had been
the wall inside the entrance with a mural composed dysfunctional for many years and turned the building
of Atayal imagery arranged around a Christian cross. into the Taoshan Youth Cultural Center. He applied to
Without words or language, Martinson has painted his the Ministry of Education for funds for a simple library
love for the village of Qingquan and its inhabitants. and for an instructor to teach computer skills. In this
In addition to putting the church in order, Martin- way, Martinson hopes to narrow the educational gap be-
son has done a series of mosaics on the wall beside the tween urban and rural areas. Establishing the center was
EDVNHWEDOOFRXUWRXWVLGH$IWHUORQJUHHFWLRQKHVHWWOHG not smooth going: when the government withdrew the
on the story of David and Goliath for his first theme. right to use the property, Martinson had to go down to
Alongside other Bible stories, he also rendered an Ata- the city more than once to try to sort things out. To him,
yal myth: once there were two suns that rose and set in the important thing is not who owns or manages the
alternation, until an archer shot down the second sun to property, but that Atayal children and youth can have a
separate day from night. The mural vividly expresses space to study and develop their potential.


Martinson intends to keep watching over the church and the
village in the future.

54 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Like a parent to the people of Qingquan

In addition to building a kindergarten for young chil- Through Martinsons efforts, the Sacred Heart Kindergarten
dren and a cultural center for youth, Martinson has built improves indigenous childrens access to education.

a guesthouse for travelers, the Fountain of Youth Hostel,

hoping to create job opportunities for local residents so
DVWRVWHPWKHRXWRZRIODERU0DUWLQVRQGRHVZKDWKH village, including the stone walls along inclines. He
can in ways large and small in the village, never afraid raises funds and applies for assistance without thought
to get his hands dirty. He is not just a Catholic father, of personal gain, and always contributes his own time
but also like a parent to the people of Qingquan. He of- and energy. He also gets involved in discussions for
fers blessings at weddings and births. He cares for and government-directed projects. His dedication to aesthet-
provides support to poor families. Martinson even helps icsmatching color, balancing line, and harmonizing
ex-convicts to repair their houses and rebuild their lives, LPDJHU\PLJKWOHDGVRPHWRWKLQNKLPWRRQLFN\EXW
encouraging them to make a fresh start. to him Qingquan is home, and making the village as
To Martinson, the whole village of Qingquan is home. good as it can possibly be is his unshirkable responsibil-
He concerns himself not just with the church, which LW\:KHQKHUVWFDPHWR4LQJTXDQLWZDVWKHVLQFHUH
KH EHDXWLHV ZLWK DUW DQG JDUGHQLQJ EXW DOVR ZLWK WKH lively villagers who warmed his lonely expatriate heart
environment in which the villagers live. To improve this and gave him a sense of belonging. Martinson has spent
environment, he donated all the stained-glass artwork most of his life serving them in return, and will con-
he made over two years for auction. With the funds the tinue to love and watch over the residents, enriching
auction raised, he led teams to repair walls and paint peoples daily lives with art so that everyone can dis-
ing Qingquan now is like walking into a painting. (Chen Chun-fang/photos by Lin Min-hsuan/


56 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04






O l i v e r B o y d- B a r r e t t

Bernard Pivot

A p o s t r o p h e s

58 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

P h o t o s h o p


c h r o n i c p a r o nyc h i a

60 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

acute paronychia


62 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Bloodied Artist, Warrior of Life

Chen Cheng-pos Former
Residence and Museum

A casual passerby of the bustling shop at the

intersection of Lan jing Street and Guo
hua Street in Chiayi City might lift his head and
see a sign proclaiming the site to be the former
residence of Chen Chengpo. Although he was
acclaimed as the father of Taiwanese modernism,
Chens untimely death in his prime led him to be
forgotten by many. That has changed, however,
as in the past decade or so his paintings have
auctioned for everrising prices and there has
been a cultural shift towards appreciating Tai
wanese artists.


With the passing of time, Chen Cheng-pos former residence has
become an ice shop named We Taiwanese Folks Ice Dessert,
but some of the artists representative works are still displayed

1895 19291933






64 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Hopes of becoming Taiwans Van Gogh resent the Republic of China at the Chicago Worlds
Born in 1895, the year the First Sino-Japanese War Fair in 1933. After he returned to Taiwan the same year,
ended and Taiwan was ceded to Japan, it seems as if most of his works were of the scenery of his hometown
Chen Cheng-pos life was destined to be circumscribed and portrayed both the local culture of Chiayi and his
by the major conflicts of the era. deep love for his home.
Although his father was a scholar who had passed The Chiayi City 228 Commemorative Cultural Foun-
the local-level imperial exams, Chens mother had to dation established the Chen Cheng-Po & 228 Cultural
peddle peanut oil on the streets because his father died Museum at 228-12 Guohua Street, near Chens former
shortly after his birth. Chen Cheng-po entered the Tai- residence. Many of his paintings are displayed there,
wan Governor-Generals National Language School. featuring scenes of Chiayi streets, parks, and temple
During college, he became a student of famed Japanese plazas.
watercolorist Kinichiro Ishikawa, and with his teachers Chen Cheng-po painted Summer Street Scene in 1927.
encouragement eventually went on to enroll at Tokyo In this painting, he uses space to separate the Chiayi
Fine Arts School (now Tokyo University of the Arts). street scene into three half-circular or circular sections,
In 1926 his painting Outside Chiayi Street was cho- each an independent vignette. The sunbaked streets
sen for the 7th Imperial Fine Arts Academy Exhibition of the small southern town come to life on the canvas.
(the Teiten) in Japan, making him the first Taiwanese One can almost feel the shade thrown by the trees and
painter to have an oil painting exhibited at the Teiten. the inexpressible anxiety of a hot summer afternoon.
From there, his star began to rise. Chiayi Park (1), painted in 1937, is one of Chens larger
Sketches of home pieces, standing 162 centimeters tall. Red-crowned
Chen Cheng-po moved to Shanghai and taught at cranes and white geese frolic in the shade of a magnif-
Xinhua Art College and Changming Art School from icent flame tree, creating an idyllic scene straight from
1929 to 1933. He was chosen as one of 12 artists to rep- the artists deepest longings.


Chen often painted in Chiayis Zhongzheng Park. One can almost
imagine him standing by his easel under a flame tree, brush in
hand, setting life to paper. (photo by Hsu Ching-ho)

165 58





66 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Tamsui sunset
Chen Cheng-po truly hit his stride after he returned
to Taiwan. He would wander, his easel on his back,
painting whenever and wherever inspiration struck.
Nine reproductions of Chens paintings are on dis-
play in Chiayis Zhongzheng Park in front of the Chen
Cheng-Po & 228 Cultural Museum. The replicas are
showcased in metal frames set on metal easels. The
most famous of these works is Sunset in Tamsui, painted
in 1935, depicting Hokkien-style houses clustered to-
gether beside the Danshui River. It gives the viewer a
sense of immersion within the scene.
The Tam sui series, including Tam sui and Tam sui gua, and Yu shan (Mt. Jade). The reproductions also
Middle School, are iconic examples of Chens style of each bear a plaque with a brief introduction of the piece
painting. In 2007, Sunset in Tamsui set a record for the and an audio guide. These 58 displays form the Chen
highest price paid for an oil painting by a Taiwanese Cheng-po Art Trail.
painter at a Hong Kong auction. Walking into history
The works in Zhongzheng Park also include Chiayi Warm-hearted and generous, Chen Cheng-po was
Street Scene, painted in 1934. The perspective of this elected to the Chiayi City Council in 1946. When the
painting is lowered to eye level, allowing the viewer a February 28 Incident occurred in 1947, because he
point of view similar to what a person would see if they spoke Mandarin he was chosen as part of a locally or-
were to stand on a street in Chiayi. ganized February 28 Incident Settlement Committee.
Fifty-eight of these Chen Cheng-po easels are The committee was called upon to mediate between
placed throughout Chiayi City, showcasing two main Kuo min tang forces and civilians when there was a
focal points: the eponymous Chiayi series, the easels standoff at Chiayis Shuishang Airfield. People urged
placed where Chen originally painted the works, and Chen not to go, saying it was too dangerous, but he in-
the Taiwan series, with pictures of Tamsui, Mt. Ba- sisted. However, at the airfield the group was seized by


Replications of
Chens works are
displayed in Chiayi
Citys cultural center
and in front of the
Central Fountain
(above), with 58 in
total throughout the
city. Chens style
illustrates a deep
love of his hometown
and the local culture.


The Chen Cheng-po & 228 Cultural Museum showcases Chen
Cheng-pos life and his works in chronological order. Acclaimed
as the father of Taiwanese modernism, his achievements are fully
displayed within. (photo below by Hsu Ching-ho)




70 l

68 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

the military. Later, bound with wire, they were taken to family, who were in the business of making candied
Chiayi Train Station and summarily executed. yams. The next generation changed to selling flavored ice
Xu Yong sen, who runs the ice shop out of Chen instead, and has been doing so for the last 20-odd years.
Cheng-pos former residence, says that he used to hear Often, customers will see the sign saying that the place
his grandmother speak of the artist: Mr. Chen was such is Chen Cheng-pos former residence and they will ask
a kind man. Not only was he passionate about his duties about what sort of person the artist used to be.
as a city councilman, but he would also sometimes come After finishing our ice and taking leave of Chens resi-
over to mediate when I argued with your grandfather. dence, walking along the busy street we can see one of his
Such a good man, yet his life ended in such tragedy. easels displayed beside a nearby temple courtyard. Temple
Xu adds, His family even had to risk their lives to of Wenling Sea Goddess (Matsu) was painted in 1927. Al-
bring his corpse home. Chens heartbroken family put though he is long gone, one can still almost see the artists
his cold body on a door panel and took a picture, proof solitary figure walking through the bustling marketplace
that he had died an unjust death. His bullet-torn shirt, with a smile on his lips and his easel on his back, continu-
which hangs in the museum, is like a white flag flutter- ing on his journey to paint throughout Taiwan. l
ing over Taiwan, calling his soul home. (Kuo Hanchen/photos by Chuang Kungju/
The changing fortunes of Chens former residence tr. by Katje Chen and Darryl Sterk)
Seven decades later, Chen Cheng-pos for-
mer residence at 249 Lanjing Street has become
an ice shop named We Taiwanese Folks Ice
Dessert. At this ice shop, one can see how
bustling excitement and serenity co-exist.
Serenity, because the ice shop doesnt open
until past noon, and in those hours before it
opens for business, one can almost imagine
how it was back in the days when Chen was
in residence, quietly working at his art. Xu
Yongsen remembers that when he was young,
he could see how the first floor was filled with
Chens paintings. Hed always wanted to go
in and take a closer look, but never had the
The other aspect, that of bustling excite-
ment, is because the ice shop sells flavored ices
in summer and hot grass jelly and rice dump-
ling soup in winter. Hence the shop is very
popular and often has a line out the door.
Xu Yongsen says that he rents the storefront
from Chen Cheng-pos family. Chens family
moved away after the February 28th Incident.
In 1983, they started renting the place to Xus

Standing before Chens former residence or following

a tour guide, one can imagine the artists elegance
while at work and be moved by the spirit of art.
(photo by Hsu Ching-ho)


70 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Halal: The Key to Muslim Markets

W hen it comes to business opportunities in the

Muslim world, Taiwan is making its pres-
ence felt. Taiwan has been actively courting Muslim
tourists by creating a hospitable environment and

finding new ways to welcome Muslim visitors, and

Taiwanese enterprises have long since established
export routes to Muslim markets. For example, over
16 four decades ago Herdsman Enterprises began mar-
2050 keting beauty products in Southeast Asia. Their
28 much-coveted pearl creams have already been sold in
such numbers that if stacked vertically they would
GIER2020 exceed the height of 1000 Taipei 101 skyscrapers.

Statistics indicate that the global Muslim population
exceeds 1.6 billion, accounting for about a quarter of the
worlds population, and that by 2050 it will approach 2.8
billion. According to the latest estimate from the Global
Islamic Economic Report (GIER), Muslim-related economic
output is expected to reach US$3.5 trillion by 2020, sup-
ported by rapid population growth, a growing middle class,
higher levels of education and higher disposable incomes.
Catering to Muslim tastes

Islamic law determines the patterns of daily life for

Muslims. According to the Quran pork is unclean, and

certain other foods are proscribed from the daily diet of

Malaysia is the sole ASEAN member to have Islam as its official believers, such as the blood of animals, animals not slaugh-
religion. Pictured here is the pink-domed Putra Mosque in
Putrajaya, which is built of rose-tinted granite. tered in the name of Allah, and alcohol.


Muslim Friendly Restaurant


Islam requires adherence to a strict dietary code. Aside from

banning pork and the blood of animals, meat must be prepared in
accordance with religious guidelines.




Abdullah Mahmud
13 Mahmud


72 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

In the past Muslims largely consumed foods originat-
ing in the vicinity of their homes. In todays globalized
world of speedier transportation, however, food preser- reau thus held information sessions and arranged subsi-
vation techniques have improved and processed foods dies to stir interest among service enterprises. But because
are ubiquitous. As a result halal certification was adopted Taiwan is not a Muslim country, many businesspeople
to avoid consumers inadvertently transgressing Islamic believe that halal certification is difficult to obtain.
dietary restrictions. Various countries, seeing favorable In order to dispel this notion, the Tourism Bureau
business opportunities, have been vying to make inroads and the Chinese Muslim Association are cooperating in
into the enormous halal market. securing halal certification and the designation Muslim
A Muslim-friendly environment Friendly Restaurant for restaurant operators. The first is
Taiwan has been investing in Muslim tourism for less reserved for restaurants run by Muslims, and the second is
than five years, says Eric Lin, director of the International for those run by non-Muslims, but the criteria are the same.
Affairs Division of the ROC Tourism Bureau. Seeing the They are granted only after a thorough inspection proves
potential for growth, the Tourism Bureau has been pro- that a restaurant meets certain specifications on food ori-
moting a Muslim-friendly tourism environment. Taiwans gin, methods of preparation, specific utensils, and segre-
13 national parks led the way by providing prayer rooms gated preparation areas, and accords with the proscription
and installing hand showers in toilets. Islamic prayer against displaying portraits.
rooms have since been installed at important transporta- Up to 2011 only 15 restaurants had obtained certification.
tion hubs, including Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei But today Muslim-friendly restaurants number more than
Railway Station, the Taichung High Speed Rail Station,
and the freeway rest stop at Qingshui in Taichung.

Creating a Muslim-friendly environment relies heavily
Tony Wu (center, wearing a suit) leads a Malaysian media group
on the cooperation of the private sector. The Tourism Bu- on a tour of Taiwan. (courtesy of Tony Wu)


Herdsman Enterprises has been using Malay models and the

Malay language in its advertising campaigns to gain the confidence
of Malay consumers. (courtesy of Herdsman Enterprises)

The products of Herdsman Enterprises are sold in more than 30

countries worldwide. Caleb Tang believes that localization is the
key to success in the global marketplace.

Instagram MITMalaysia in Taiwan

MITMade in Taiwan




M a s t e r C a r d
2 0 1 5



74 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

100. Taiwans food culture has expanded into the world
of halal cooking, from the five-star Silks Palace at the Na-
tional Palace Museum and one of the restaurants at Tai- particularly interested in nature and herbal products and
peis Grand Hotel to less-expensive neighborhood restau- placed great emphasis on family life. This made him real-
rants like Huangs Halal Beef Noodles or the Kunming ize that Taiwan could market current tourism trends such
Islamic Restaurant, and the trend is still picking up steam. as leisure farms, theme parks, and hands-on activities.
Hospitality with heart Wu also organized a press tour of Taiwan to promote
Aside from creating a Muslim-friendly environment, the islands tourism efforts to the Malaysian media.
it is essential for Taiwan to capitalize on its reputation Among those taking part were the Malaysian celebrity
for hospitality. Tony Wu, director of the Kuala Lumpur Maria and the famous radio host Raifa. During their
Office of the Taiwan Visitors Association, is brimming tour Maria, who is followed by more than 700,000 fans
with ideas on just how to introduce Taiwan to Muslim on Instagram, shared video clips of her experiences sam-
visitors. In 2013, for example, Wu arranged for 20 Muslim pling Taiwanese delicacies, soaking in a hot spring and
orphans from impoverished families to visit Taiwan. Wu visiting the National Palace Museum, using the power
says he got the idea from the Quran, which calls on Mus- of social media to promote Taiwan as a fun destination.
lims to look after widows and orphans. He hoped to use Wu is overflowing with good ideas. On recent trips
the experience to build a positive impression of Taiwans to Eastern Malaysia, I discovered that people there
willingness to look after the disadvantaged. It was a suc-
cessful example of national diplomacy, and the children
were later interviewed by Malaysias TV9, marking the
first time that Taiwans tourism efforts were broadcast to

a predominantly Muslim audience. Taiwan has been working hard to create a Muslim-friendly
In 2016 Wu visited Abdullah Mahmud, a Malaysian environment. Pictured here is a Muslim-friendly guestroom at
Taipeis Check Inn, which features an arrow pointing toward
religious leader, and learned that Muslim tourists were Mecca, a prayer rug, and a hand shower in the bathroom.



Jabatan Kamajuan Islam Malaysia


2011 S A S O,
Saudi Arabian Standards OrganizationSASO

Taiwans own long-established Muslim population lives
mainly in Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Kaohsiung. Pictured
here are worshipers praying at the Taipei Grand Mosque. Ready to GO l

76 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

shared many similarities with Taiwans Aborigines, quite
possibly because they are both Austronesian peoples. Tai-
wans Aboriginal culture could be another appealing as- The pros and cons of halal certification
pect for us to highlight in our efforts to encourage tourist Since entering the Malaysian market in 1974, Herds-
visits from Malaysia, he says with enthusiasm. man Enterprises has accumulated 40 years of experience.
In the past five years, Malaysian tourist visits to Tai- At present halal certification in Malaysia is a marketing
wan increased by more than 50%, from 300,000 in 2011 to issue, not a legal issue, observes Caleb Tang.
470,000 in 2016. Malaysia is the sole member of the Association of
In the 2015 MasterCardCrescentRating Global Muslim Southeast Asian Nations that proclaims Islam as its offi-
Travel Index, Taiwan ranked tenth among non-member cial religion, and it lists the development of Islamic enter-
countries of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in prises among its key industrial priorities. The Department
terms of meeting the needs of Muslim travelers, and in of Islamic Development Malaysia (abbreviated to JAKIM
2016 the island jumped three places to number seven. Next in Malay) is a government-led initiative that issues halal
year we will move even higher up the rankings, Wu says certification, which carries considerable weight in the
with confidence. Islamic world. Yet there is still a lack of international con-
Learning to sell locally sensus on halal certification standards.
Selling Taiwanese merchandise into Muslim markets re- Applying for halal certification is highly beneficial for
quires similar diligence. Herdsman Enterprises began culti- businesses, but complying with JAKIMs halal production
vating the Southeast-Asian market as early as 1974. Second- standards can be costly, requiring not only that the raw
generation executive Caleb Tang describes his family materials meet halal requirements but also that the entire
background: his parents both came from Malaysia to study production line is used only for halal products.
in Taiwan. They liked it so much that after graduation they The Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association
decided to settle down and go into the export business. was established in 2011 to provide halal certification, and is
The name for Herdsman Enterprises BEANNE cos- recognized by the official certification agencies in Malaysia,
metic line comes from the Malay word for wife and is Indonesia, and Singapore. Tasha Hsiao, director of the Tai-
intended to represent a husbands devotion to his wife. wan Trade Center, Kuala Lumpur, notes that after obtain-
Their most famous product is a pearl cream nicknamed ing halal certification some companies simply put the halal
Grandmas BB cream. Used both as a skin whitener and logo on their products but do not design packaging with
as a foundation, it has been a leading brand in Southeast the Malay consumer in mind, thus alienating customers.
Asia for more than four decades. Caleb Tang says it is quite possible that one day certi-
Herdsman Enterprises products are sold in more than fication will become a regulatory issue. So at present the
30 countries around the word. It is one of the few Taiwan- most important strategy is to try to gain a foothold in the
ese brands sold in Middle-Eastern markets, including market. If further legal restrictions are imposed in the fu-
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Dubai, where Herdsmans ture, businesses with considerable market share will find
years of cultivating local markets has found some success. it easier to navigate the regulatory process. For example,
Caleb Tang believes that the key to approaching different Herdsman Enterprises was already well established the
customers and different markets is localization. In Ma- Middle-Eastern markets when Saudi Arabia introduced
laysia, for example, Herdsman has focused its marketing a requirement for all imported products to be certified by
efforts on Malays, who make up 60% of the population. the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization. To protect its
Working with a local agent that has been marketing position in the local market, Herdsman naturally applied
cosmetics for more than two decades, it has established for the necessary certification.
a distribution channel to sell its products through local Taiwan has already made comprehensive preparations
shops, which are the direct contact points with customers. for doing business with Muslim countries, from creating
The company has also been using Malay models and the a welcoming environment to adapting to different tastes.
Malay language in its advertising campaigns to help local It is optimistic and ready to go! l
consumers more easily identify with their products. (Cathy Teng/photos by Jimmy Lin/tr. by Robert Green)


Chinese Education in Malaysia:
The Taiwan Connection

S ince the 1950s, going to Taiwan for university has
been a popular choice for ethnic Chinese in Malaysia.
Often, the only overseas Chinese that Taiwanese college

students meet are from Malaysia. And in the Overseas

Youth Vocational Training School program, sponsored
2016 by the Overseas Community Affairs Council, students
16,051 from Malaysia always outnumber those of other na-
tions. According to the Ministry of Education, the 16,051
Malaysian students in Taiwan in 2016 comprised 54% of
all students from the ten ASEAN nations. Taiwan enjoys
a greater level of educational exchange with Malaysia
than with any other Southeast-Asian nation.

Chinese are the second largest ethnic group in Malay-
sia. Hailing from coastal areas of Guangdong and Fujian,
their ancestors sailed across the South China Sea to take

advantage of the regions abundant resources, and they
put down roots.
Centuries of tradition
Very early on, Chinese in Malaysia created simple
schools attached to ancestral temples, and from these

beginnings Chinese education grew and flourished for

many years. Later, oppressive British colonial rule would
engender a sense of crisis in the community, spurring an
increase in the number of private Chinese schools to more
1956 than 1400 by the start of World War II. In 1957 Malaysia
gained independence from Britain thanks in no small part
to the efforts of its ethnic Chinese. But the Razak Report of

78 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

The traditional Chinese-language education

found in Malaysia has allowed Chinese culture
to continue to flourish there. (photo by Chuang


To help Chinese Malaysians acquire skills, the Overseas
Youth Vocational Training School program, sponsored by
the Overseas Community Affairs Council, holds classes at
schools around Taiwan on subjects such as cosmetology,
hair styling, hospitality management, and agriculture.




80 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

1956, although recognizing the legality of schools offering
instruction in any of three languages (Malaysian, Chinese
or Tamil), established Malaysian (Standard Malay) as the But back then, once the Malaysian students had fin-
national language and the language of instruction in state ished their studies in Taiwan, their degrees werent recog-
schools. Consequently, Chinese Malaysians began a long nized by the Malaysian government when they returned,
campaign for the right to a Chinese-language education. so they often ended up as teachers in the independent
After more than half a century of protests, debate and school system. On the one hand, these Taiwan-educated
evolving policy, there are now more than 1298 elementary teachers bolstered the professionalism of the education
schools with instruction in Chinese that receive govern- system, and on the other hand they shared their experi-
ment assistance. ences of studying in Taiwan with their students, which
Students who attend Chinese elementary schools then led more of their students to make the same choice.
select from three options for secondary education: national Malaysians who have studied in Taiwan have wit-
secondary schools, national type secondary schools nessed first hand Taiwans social development. Peng
and independent schools. Both the national secondary Choong Leng studied in Taiwan from 1986 to 1990, in
schools, which feature instruction in Malaysian, and the those heady days when Taiwan repealed martial law
national type secondary schools, which instruct with and lifted prohibitions as social movements blossomed.
a combination of Malaysian and Chinese, are five-year More than 20 years later Anson Soh, now Malaysia sales
institutions. Only about 10% of students from Chinese director for Tagtoo, witnessed the Sunflower Movement
elementary schools enter independent secondary schools. of 2014, a political movement of the new era. Whatever
These private schools, which do not receive government their generation, when these alumni of Taiwans colleges
assistance, are six-year institutions with Chinese-language make plans to travel to Taiwan, they speak of returning
instruction, much like the six years of secondary education to Taiwan not going to Taiwan. Taiwan has become a
in Taiwan. Consequently, many students go to college or second home for many of them.
university in Taiwan after graduating from them. Platform for educational exchange
Taiwan-bound for college Upon returning to Malaysia, these students have
Apart from the compatibility of the education systems, become a powerful force. In 1974, they formed the
there are historical reasons that explain why so many
Malaysian students who attend independent Chinese-
language secondary schools choose to go to college in
Peng Choong Leng, president of the Federation of Alumni
Taiwan, says James Chang, head of the Taipei Economic Associations of Taiwan Universities, Malaysia, explains that his
group serves as an important platform for facilitating educational
and Cultural Office in Malaysia. Early on, graduates of exchange between Taiwan and Malaysia.
independent Chinese secondary schools faced ethnic quo-
tas when applying to college. When unable to attend local
colleges and universities, they looked abroad. In the 1950s,
at the height of the Cold War, the United States hoped
to encourage warm relations between ethnic Chinese in
Southeast Asia and Free China (the ROC on Taiwan)
by assisting Southeast-Asian Chinese to study in Taiwan.
Taiwan possessed high-quality colleges and universities
charging lower tuition than schools in the United States
and Europe, so it attracted quite a few ethnic Chinese
from Malaysia. Once the American grants ended, Taiwan
launched its own Overseas Chinese Education Policy.
Consequently, Chinese-Malaysian students have continued
to come to Taiwan for over half a century. More than 70,000
Malaysians have attended college or university in Taiwan.




Federation of Alumni Associations of Taiwan Universi-
ties, Malaysia (FAATUM). Apart from its social functions,
1974 the federation has actively lobbied the Malaysian gov-
ernment to recognize Taiwan degrees. It worked toward
that goal for two decades before 1996, when the Malay-
sian government finally recognized eight medical, seven
dental and three pharmacy programs in Taiwan. In 2012

Taiwan and Malaysia mutually agreed to recognize each

others post-secondary degrees. Peng says, Now those

You are asking for the moon.
of us who have studied in Taiwan have another goal: We
1996 hope the government will allow holders of these degrees
873 to enter public service.
2012 Located in Petaling Jaya, a satellite city of Kuala Lum-
pur, the federation has for more than 40 years been a

launching pad for countless Chinese Malaysians to realize

their dreams of studying in Taiwan. Serving as a Taiwan

educational platform in Malaysia, its main mission is ed-

ucation counseling. Every year it holds regularly sched-
uled higher education fairs, traveling to various locations
in Malaysia with the assistance of its 40 member associa-
tions (14 district associations and 26 school associations)
4014 to recruit students interested in studying in Taiwan.

82 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

(left) The message boards at Tunku Abdul Rahman University
bear witness to Malaysias tremendous cultural diversity.

Actively moving in an international direction, UTAR hosts large
numbers of foreign exchange students every year.

Tunku Abdul Rahman University has been at the forefront of

Chinese-language education in Malaysia. (courtesy of UTAR)




8411 Malaysians who have studied in Taiwan constitute important allies
of the ROC, and educational exchanges between the two nations
1996 help to realize Taiwans New Southbound Policy by facilitating
people-based exchange with the nations of Southeast Asia.




2009 l

84 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

the historical background and reasons why they came,
as well as the contributions they have made locally.
The New Village Community Project is especially
noteworthy. It refers to the new villages for Chinese
Malaysians that were established in the 1950s. To pre-
vent ethnic Chinese from establishing ties to communist
guerrillas, the British colonial administration declared
a state of emergency and resettled massive numbers
of them into new villages, restricting their freedom of
movement for more than a decade.
To gather information about this period, the univer-
sitys New Village Community Project was launched in
2009, issuing requests to conduct fieldwork in these vil-
lages. The work attracted interest from academic insti-
tutions in nearby nations such as Singapore, Japan and
Korea, who sent researchers to participate. With its deep
In June of 2016 the federation and related institutions ties to Malaysia, Taiwan also made its mark. Participants
held a recruitment expo and launched a program to came from National Tsing Hua University, National
cultivate teaching resources for independent Chinese Taiwan University, and Feng Chia University. We have
schools in association with Taiwan colleges and uni- also engaged in joint research on Hokkien communities
versities, as well as a program supporting innovative in Malaysia with National Quemoy University, National
research to be carried out by colleges and universities Cheng Kung University and Xiamen University, and we
in cooperation with industry. The goal is to foster new have conducted research with National Chiao Tung Uni-
types and models of cooperation. versity into Hakka culture, says Chuah.
University exchanges Actively moving in an international direction, UTAR
In addition to maintaining the traditions of Chinese has formed sister-school relationships with more than
education, scholars in Malaysia are working to foster 40 schools in Taiwan, in addition to promoting student
their own Chinese discourse, and these efforts have led exchanges and joint degree programs.
to growing exchanges between Taiwan and Malaysia. Fifty years ago, Taiwan became a place where many
Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR) has been at Malaysians would go to pursue their educational
the forefront of Chinese-language education in Malaysia dreams, and those educational journeys have never
since it opened in 2002. At first it had only eight depart- ceased. Malaysia is the Southeast-Asian nation where
ments, with 411 students. Taiwan has most successfully implemented its ex-
Today it has 110 departments with more than 26,000 changes of people under the New Southbound Policy.
students. It has Malaysias largest Chinese department, But TaiwanMalaysia exchanges should not be mea-
with more than 400 undergraduates and graduates sured by rising numbers alone, and their importance
combined, and it has established an Institute of Chinese should not be limited to discussions of the New South-
Studies. As Malaysias leading Chinese university, more bound Policy, says Peng Choong Leng. The fruits of
than 90% of its students are ethnic Chinese. It is our TaiwanMalaysia educational exchange are demon-
mission to pass down Chinese cultural knowledge strations of the true power of the Republic of Chinas
work that all the more important now that Chinese is an foreign relations. That assessment should serve as a
international language, says Dato Chuah Hean Teik, footnote to this historical era. l
the universitys president. Whats more, we hope to re- (Cathy Teng/photos by Jimmy Lin/
cord the history of Chinese in Southeast Asia, including tr. by Jonathan Barnard)


Bookshops are an essential
venue of cultural transmission
for Malaysias Chinese-speaking

86 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Film, Entertainment, Culture:

Taking Taiwans Soft Power South

T aiwan and Malaysia enjoy close linguistic ties
that have supported continuous bilateral cul-
tural exchanges. The Malaysian ethnic Chinese com-

munitys use of various varieties of spoken Chinese

and of Chinese characters means that we view the

world through similar frames.
21 Every December, a group of more than 300 young
Chinese Malaysians visits Taiwan for a 21-day tour of
the island. Although many of these students are visiting
15~18 Taiwan for the first time, most have already learned
a great deal about our island and culture through the

mass media.

Members of the study group, who range in age from

15 to 18 years old, chatter enthusiastically among them-
S selves about books by Giddens Ko, films such as You
201416 Are the Apple of My Eye and At Cafe 6, shows like Kangsi
Coming, TV hosts such as Kevin Tsai, Dee Hsu, and Woo
Gwa, and their love of the music of Jay Chou, A-mei,
and Jolin Tsai.

Having grown up learning about Taiwan through

television, the kids now have the opportunity to experi-

ence the real thing for themselves.
Cultural connections
In contrast to this younger generation of Chinese
Malaysians, who acquired their first impressions of Tai-
wan through movies and television, those born in the


These children in a corner
of a bookstore focus on
their reading, immersing
themselves in imaginary




Peter Su 2016


68 90

88 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

1960s and 1970s got theirs from the works of Taiwanese
Malaysias long tradition of Chinese-language educa- released in Taiwan by Chinese-language pop stars
tion has helped the country maintain a large population not only circulate throughout Greater China, but also
of people who read Chinese. By whetting the literary within Malaysias own large ethnic Chinese community.
appetites of Chinese Malaysians, this educational tradi- Taiwan also serves as an important market for Malay-
tion has also turned bookshops into essential mediums sian Mandopop singers who hope to take their talents
of cultural transmission. abroad, one in which they have to compete.
Well known throughout Singapore, Malaysia, and Which Mandopop stars come from Malaysia? Eric
Hong Kong, the Popular Book Company opened its Moo is an early example, but Taiwanese record compa-
first Malaysian bookstore in 1984. It has since grown nies have been scouting Southeast Asia for new talent
into Malaysias largest bookstore chain, with 89 outlets since the 1990s, and their finds have included the likes
across the country. Executive director Lim Lee Ngoh of Fish Leong, Penny Tai, Michael Wong, Victor Wong,
has been working in book publishing for more than 30 Nicholas Teo, and Ah Niu (Tan Kheng Seong).
years, and shares her perspective as she leads us around TV programs have provided still more opportuni-
one of her stores. Taiwan accounts for the bulk of our ties for exchanges between singers from Taiwan and
Chinese-language books, followed by mainland China, Malaysia.
and then locally published books, explains Lim. Malaysian singer Athena Beh appeared on the
She points to shelves lined with books by Taiwanese
household names, ranging from Chang Man Chuans
The Sea is Blue and San Maos collected works to titles
When you read a book, you come to know the author.
by Neal Wu, Giddens Ko, Mark (Mark Lee), Deng Hui-
wen, and Juzi (Cao Xiaoru). Theres even a poster on
the wall promoting a Malaysian lecture by Peter Su, the
social media phenom who wrote On the Road to Dreams.
It feels just like a bookstore in Taiwan!
Populars efforts to promote reading include recom-
mending 19 new books (ten from Taiwan) every month
and airfreighting them to Malaysia, which ensures that
Malaysian readers have access to the hottest new Chi-
nese-language titles.
Popular also organizes the Malaysian publishing in-
dustrys annual BookFest, which attracted 680,000 visi-
tors to its 11th iteration in 2016.
Taiwanese publishers have participated as a group
for many years. In fact, the Ministry of Culture brought
more than 300 publishers to the Taiwan pavilion for the
2016 expo. The MOC also invited authors Wu Mingyi,
Tsai Shi-ping, and Chuang Tzu-i, as well as illustrator
Chen Yingfan, to deliver lectures and participate in ex-
changes aimed at helping ignite TaiwaneseMalaysian
cultural fires.
Musical exchanges
Taiwan is a trendsetter in the Chinese-language en-
tertainment field. You can hear Taiwanese pop music
just about everywhere you find ethnic Chinese. Albums





Taiwanese TV show One Million Star three times and re-
ceived such high marks for her performance, in a song

duel, of I Admit It, originally by the 1990s Taiwanese
duo Youke Li Lin, that her record company had her record
a new version of it for one of her albums. The recording by
a relative youngster rejuvenated an old standard and cre-
ated memories that can be shared across the generations.
Malaysian songwriters have also penned many a
Taiwanese Mandopop song, including hits such as Jovi

Thengs Cant Help Falling in Love, as well as Ah

Nius Look over Here, Girl and Waves Like Flowers
(performed by Richie Ren). Ah Nius use of distinctively
F4 Malaysian elements, such as Mamak stalls and multiple
languages, in his songs has also helped bring greater di-

versity to Mandopop.
Television exchanges

TaiwaneseMalaysian exchanges extend well beyond

music. Turn on a TV at 3 p.m. in Malaysia and youll find
long-running programs set in rural Taiwan that have a
large Malaysian fan base. Theyre so popular that Ma-
laysias Astro television service even created a station
devoted exclusively to them in 2007.

90 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Taiwanese and Malaysian TV and film professionals are
undertaking exchanges in multiple areas, creating opportunities
for cooperation and mutually beneficial ventures. (courtesy of
Enjoy TV Corp.)

M R. R i g h t

(left) Yoko Chous My Mr. Right was the first Malaysian film to be
made in coproduction between Malaysia, Taiwan and mainland
China, establishing a template for future collaboration on
Chinese-language films. (courtesy of Enjoy TV Corp.)


These members of a Taiwan study tour traveled the island for 21

days, learning about folk arts through experience-oriented classes.

(right) Taiwan and Malaysias extensive musical exchanges include

Malaysian singer Athenas three appearances on the Taiwanese
TV show One Million Star. (courtesy of Enjoy TV Corp.)

2015K L C T FA


MR. Right 2018




Crowds pack Malaysias annual BookFest. (courtesy of Popular
Book Co.)

92 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

During a subsequent interview with Taiwanese
variety-show matriarch Chang Hsiao-yen, he men-
tioned that Malaysian films with more than 60% of
their dialog in Chinese were considered foreign films
and subject to a 20% entertainment tax. The reporting
of this news prompted the Malaysian government to
amend the law, which in turn began the development
of Chinese-language film in Malaysia. Such policy
restrictions used to discourage Chinese Malaysians
Drop into any Popular bookstore and youre sure to find the
works of Taiwanese authors on the shelves. from going into film production, and contributed to
the sector s relatively late development. The indus-
trys next hurdle is overcoming its resultant lack of
The Taiwanese idol show Meteor Garden has also film professionals.
been a huge hit, tearing through Malaysia like a whirl- In 2015, the KLCTFA and the Taipei Economic and
wind and turning not just ethnic Chinese but also na- Cultural Office in Malaysia jointly organized the Ma-
tive Malays into fans of the Taiwanese boy band F4. laysia and Taiwan Film Festival and the Golden But-
Interestingly, the driving force behind the spread terfly Awards, inviting Taiwanese and Malaysian di-
of Taiwanese TV shows on Malaysian TV has been a rectors, writers, producers, and actors to attend forums
Taiwanese woman named Yoko Chou. Married to a and take part in exchanges. Sam Yap, who chaired the
Malaysian man, Chou also happens to be the CEO of organizing committee, says: It was a good beginning.
Enjoy TV Holdings. I hope to see more cooperation and exchange between
Chou has continued to pursue her TV career in Ma- Taiwan and Malaysia in the future.
laysia, using her extensive connections and experience TV is an incredibly important form of entertain-
to bring Taiwanese and Malaysian resources to bear ment in Malaysia, where the average urban house-
on producing TV programs. She has also worked with hold watches 3.7 hours per day and the average rural
mainland Chinas Jiangsu Broadcasting and Malaysian household watches 4.3 hours per day. With the Malay-
television networks to shoot a variety of programs. sian government planning to move all of the countrys
My role is to be something of a platform, to bring Tai- state-owned TV stations to digital broadcasting by
wanese talent to Malaysia and mainland China, and to 2018, and with Enjoy TV Holdings having won the li-
spur cooperation by enabling that talent to be seen. cense to operate a block of the broadcasting spectrum
Chou branched out into film in 2012, and in 2015 and been authorized to devote it entirely to Mandarin
released My Mr. Right, a film that features Taiwanese programming, Chou and Yap believe that the time is
actors Tou Chung-hua and Lin Mei-hsiu, as well as right for Malaysia and Taiwan to deepen their cooper-
Malaysian and mainland Chinese cast members. As ation and that such cooperation will benefit the profes-
the Malaysian film industrys first trilateral venture, sionals, capital, and talent on both sides.
it established a template that the rest of the industry Malaysians regularly listen to Taiwanese pop music,
can follow to make Chinese-language films. watch Taiwanese TV, and even occasionally read the
Taiwans experience has been proving important books of Taiwan authors. Taiwan and Malaysias many
to the development of the Malaysian film industry. years of close cultural exchanges have incorporated
Chous husband Dato Sam Yap, president of the Kuala Taiwanese elements into Malaysian lives. Moving
Lumpur Chinese TV & Film Association (KLCTFA), forward, cultural soft power will undoubtedly play an
admits: Malaysias film industry has developed more important role in our deepening ties to one another. l
slowly than its other entertainment industries. (Cathy Teng/photos by Jimmy Lin/
Ah Niu filmed Ice Kacang Puppy Love in 2010. tr. by Scott Williams)


A Collectors Vision:
Kuo Su-jen Brings Art into
Old City Streets



Kuos art
began with the
acquisition of
a Sakyamuni
Buddha by
Liao Hongbiao.
(courtesy of
Kuo Su-jen)

94 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

S ince returning from the United States
in 1996 and buying her first collectible
artwork (a figure of Sakyamuni Buddha by
Liao Hongbiao), Kuo Su-jen, who will be
60 next year, has continued to expand her
art collection and has worked to restore
historic residences, combining architec-
tural aesthetics with art promotion to
infuse beauty into the daily lives of ever
more people. Interweaving old and new in
this way, she is opening a new chapter for
urban aesthetics in Taipei.

Kuo Su-jen, chairwoman of the Rich Development

Company, is pictured at Gallery Life Seeding, which
is located in the renovated former residence of a
physician to Chinas last emperor.





The view from the second story of Gallery Life Seeding. In the
past, the rear door led out directly toward the Danshui River.





96 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

A peek into an exhibit of Taiwanese and Japanese artistic
household utensils, suitable for everyday use.

In 1996, property developer Kuo Su-jen, a passionate

lover of the arts and chairwoman of the Rich Develop-
ment Company, set up the Kuo Mu Sheng Foundation
and invited her father to invest in the venture. The fol-
lowing year, Kuo established the foundations art center,

and in recent years she has helped to restore a succession Shih Chi-yao traveled to Japan to master difficult techniques and
succeed in infusing innovative ceramics with glazes made from
of old buildings: Taipei Story House; the galleries Bloom Hualien jadeite.
and Gallery Life Seeding, located on Dihua Street; old
National Taiwan University dorms on Wenzhou Street,
which are tentatively slated to open at the end of the Huang Zizheng, sometime physician to Puyi, the last
year; and the former residence of the philosopher Thom emperor of China. Repurposed into a living arts space
H. Fang on Guling Street, which is still being renovated. by Kuo, the gallery is separated into three different
Gallery Life Seeding: partsone selling artistic craft items, another selling
From doctors digs to exhibition space coffee beans hand-roasted in earthenware, and finally a
Ask Kuo about her collection and she can describe teahouse cum art gallery, which from time to time hosts
the items at great length. But if you ask her how she se- exhibits by Taiwanese artists.
lects artworks, her answer is surprisingly simple: I just In December last year, the gallery invited flower-
follow my tastes. Her collection, which is barely con- arranging masters to practice their art in the earthenware
tained within three spacious rooms, is stored in a series jars and vases of potter Shih Chi-yao, enlivening the
of brocaded boxes. somewhat staid exhibition space in keeping with Kuos
Liu Wen-liang, Kuos husband and the current CEO let art enter life aesthetic principle. Kuo raised a blue
of the Kuo Mu Sheng Foundation, explains why they teacup and showed how cracks spread over the surface
opened Gallery Life Seeding: She was dying to have when it came into contact with water. When water of dif-
her own art promotion space, he says. ferent temperatures was poured into the vessel, the orig-
The gallery, which opened in December 2016 and is inal solid blue surface splintered into layers of crackling
located in a row of old shops, was once the residence of in various shades, giving life to the once-lifeless object.


Visitors enjoy photographing Blooms long balcony, which
stretches the length of ten storefronts.



Ismet Erikan

The Kuo Mu Sheng Foundations affiliated art center has won
several Arts & Business Awards from the Ministry of Culture for
its advancement of arts and culture.

98 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Bloom: you need to have established a reputation, Kuo says,
A riverside art salon and galleries require artworks to fetch a certain price.
Kuo grew anxious during the three years it took for While Bloom has no such restrictions, young artists
Gallery Life Seeding to secure a permit from the Taipei have found sales to be rather good, and gradually trust
City Government. One day she walked further along has been built between artists and the gallery. But just
Dihua Street and up to the second floor of a building what are Blooms criteria for selecting art? Purely what
there, and looking around her she could see the poten- we like, Kuo says. Really, its just that simple.
tial to create a large space stretching across ten shops. Taipei Story House:
Kuo brimmed with excitement, and in February 2015 An arts classroom
Bloom was born. Built in 1913 and located in Yuanshan on the south
At Bloom, Kuo sells works by young artists, allow- bank of the Keelung River, the Taipei Story House re-
ing the spirit of youth to infuse the space and enabling verted to Taipei City Government management in 2015
young artists to make a living by selling their own and its operation was then offered for public bidding.
works. My brothers friend was looking for a place to display
Our resources arent unlimited and we cant buy European porcelain and wanted to use the foundations
the priciest artworks, but we have some means and name to apply for a permit to establish an exhibition
can collect artwork we like and so allow young artists space in the Taipei Story House, Kuo says. It seemed
to keep creating, Liu Wen-liang says. If we find just better to apply ourselves, however, than to have some-
one great artist among 10,000, its worth it. Even if they one else apply in our name.
dont all become great artists, spaces like Bloom allow Around that time Ismet Erikan, representative at the
art to enter more peoples lives. In this way, wont the Turkish Trade Office in Taipei, got wind that Kuo had
arts be elevated over time? won the management rights for the Taipei Story House
Since Blooms opening the year before last, we have and they jointly organized a special exhibition last
received an endless stream of exhibition proposals from September: The Soul of Hands: Kilims and Ceramics
young artists, and the exhibition schedule was quickly
booked, Kuo says.
So, why do young artists like to exhibit at Bloom?
These artistic household items exhibited at Bloom come from
To show your work in a museum or exhibition space, many countries and were collected by Kuo Su-jen.


Precious Victorian-
era majolica tiles from
Britain on display at
the Taipei Story House.

In 2015 Kuo Su-jen took over the management of the Taipei
Story House, a historic landmark.

100 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

The Soul of Hands, a special exhibit of handicrafts
from Turkey, featured kilim woven carpets, which
are closely tied to the countrys image.

from Turkey. Aside from the kilim woven carpets and

ceramic arts, both very typical of Turkey, the exhibition
also featured a Turkish ceramicist who demonstrated

his art, lectures on Turkish culture and a Turkish bazaar.
The exhibition proved highly popular. The Turkish exhibition displayed painted tiles featuring the tree of
life, an ancient cross-cultural symbol that represents the universe
We expect ourselves to operate to museum stan- and eternal life.
dards, says Wang Ya Ting, chief of Taipei Story Houses
Exhibition Department. An important part of that is
not to ignore the teaching of aesthetics. For example, urban planning rules permit a high floor area ratio
when they planned the Story of Majolica event, they the ratio of a buildings floor area to the land that it oc-
prepared a kit for decorating majolica tiles that would cupies. When old low-rise buildings are renovated, the
allow people to better understand the process of creat- surplus portion of their theoretical maximum floor area,
ing precious Victorian-style majolica through first-hand plus an additional bonus amount, can be sold off and
experience. allocated to new buildings on other sites. This transfer
Peoples lives cannot be separated from material mechanism provides an incentive for restoring historic
things. Kuo Su-jen feels that if people could choose they buildingsone that Gallery Life Seeding also benefited
would naturally prefer to use objects possessing artistic from. Kuos involvement in renovations of old build-
beauty. In the case of kilims and ceramics, people do ings in Dadaocheng began as a happy accident. She was
not use woven carpets just to keep warm or pottery just looking to purchase surplus floor area to transfer to a
to serve food and beverages. The artistry, colors and de- new construction project, and in the process she discov-
signs used in their manufacture are a microcosm of the ered the beauty of the old buildings.
life and culture of Turkey. More recently, during a construction project on He-
Tangible materials sustain the intangible past and ping West Road, Kuo noticed an old building to the rear
serve as an extension of memory and a cultural medium. of the site, facing Guling Street, that had fallen into dis-
Perhaps they also embody our aspirations for the future. repair. She was told that this was the former residence
Thom H. Fangs residence and the of Thom H. Fang. Only later did she learn that he was
university dorms of Wenzhou Street not just a philosopher but also a kind of teacher for the
Dadaocheng is zoned as a commercial district, where nation. It is said that the late president Chiang Kai-shek







Kuo Su-jen combines
architecture, art and culture in
her quest to restore and enliven
old buildings. Pictured here is an
old National Taiwan University
dormitory building on Wenzhou
Street before renovation.
(courtesy of Kuo Su-jen)

102 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

When I look upon

artworks and
appreciate their
beauty, I forget all my
troubles, Kuo Su-jen

often visited him. Kuo, who has taken an interest in In her daily operations Kuo runs a tight ship, adapt-
Buddhism in recent years, also found great resonance in ing as needs demand based on daily financial reports
Fangs self-directed Buddhist studies. She became ever and allocating resources in a flexible manner. She set up
more determined to restore his former residence, and a separate room at Bloom, for example, to sell handi-
she checks on the progress monthly. crafts from various countries, including the Turkish
The project brought Kuo into frequent contact with carpets and traditional handpainted ceramics that
National Taiwan University, which holds the property proved popular at the Taipei Story Houses The Soul
rights for the Fang residence, and in this way she dis- of Hands exhibition, thereby increasing the gallerys
covered that a number of old dormitory buildings along revenues.
Wen zhou Street and He ping East Road were desper- Kuo has never explained exactly what it is that she
ately in need of repair and rejuvenation. She was partic- sees in the art that has captured her attention and in-
ularly attracted to seven pine trees, resplendent in their terest for the past few decades. When I look upon
emerald-green foliage, that grow near the old buildings. artworks and appreciate their beauty, I forget all my
She secured rights to manage the restoration through troubles, she says simply.
the governments rehabilitate-operate-transfer program. So, just what would Kuo do if she could do abso-
The site is tentatively slated to open at the end of the lutely anything? If I could, I would like to build a mu-
year, and Kuos current plans envisage its hosting a seum like the Miho Museum in Koka, Japan, in Yang-
museum for Theravada Buddhist arts and lectures on mingshan, she says. Perhaps in that kind of vast, geo-
Buddhism and Buddhist thought. metrically ordered space, Kuos art collection could be
Spaces that tell stories: freed from its protective cases and at last be displayed
A duet between buildings and art for the entire world to enjoy. Just as in the old buildings
Restoring and preserving old buildings in addition to that she renovates and revitalizes, it is not only the re-
continuing to promote the arts takes significant invest- pair of the physical space, but also the infusion of an
ment capital. This prompted Kuos 17-year-old daughter artistic sensibility that restores to their former glory the
to ask with concern: Mom, wont you end up going history and stories that had been buried and forgotten
broke? amid the decay and desolation. l
Theres no point in having too much money, Kuo re- (Sanya Huang/photos by Chuang Kung-ju/
plied. I love to do it, and Im willing to do it, so I do it. tr. by Robert Green)


Knight Errant:
Chen Yang Chun

P ainter Chen Yang Chun creates

charming watercolor images of
rural and urban Taiwan that practi-
cally leap from the paper. His unique
Taiwanese watercolor style, which
b l e n d s We s t e r n w a t e rc o l o r a n d
Chinese brush-painting techniques,
has introduced the international art
world to lovely Taiwanese land-
scapes and graceful Eastern beau-
ties, presenting Taiwan to global au-
diences and reconnecting Taiwanese
living abroad with their homeland.

104 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Chen Yang Chun has devoted his

life to painting in watercolors. He
has vowed to spread enlightenment
through the arts, and his international
exhibitions have helped introduce
Taiwanese watercolors to a global
audience. (photo by Chuang Kung-ju)

Sugarcane Harvest in Taiwan, 2007




Visiting Jiufen by Night, 2015

106 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Born in Beigang, Yunlin County, in 1946, Chen Yang
Chun began studying calligraphy with a teacher at the 2006
A Mazu Procession in Beigang, 2006
age of seven. Talented and diligent,
he won innumerable calligraphy and
painting prizes while in elementary
and middle school.
As a 14-year-old, he used to pass
by a framing shop on his way to
school. The framer, Wang Jialiang, no-
ticed that the boy would often tarry
to appreciate the lovely paintings
inside, and asked if he was interested
in learning to paint. Wang went on
to introduce Chen to the rich world
of watercolors, planting the notion of
becoming a professional painter in his
young mind.
Mixing East and West
Chen resolved to become a painter,
and spent his years as a student in the industrial art
department of the National Academy of Arts (now the Sunset-Tinted Clouds Above Taipei 101, 2014


Chen likes to burn some agarwood incense when painting to
create a Chan Buddhist atmosphere and free his mind.
(photo by Chuang Kung-ju)



108 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Chen Yang Chun has blended Western watercolor and
Chinese brush-painting techniques into a lovely Taiwanese
watercolor style that magically captures the beauty of a
scene. (photos by Chuang Kung-ju)

National Taiwan University of Arts) auditing courses in

the fine arts department on top of his coursework for his
own major. He gained confidence from the instruction
and support he received from painters there such as Fu
Juanfu and Ren Bowu, and often spent time outside of of mountains and forests, and of the warm relations be-
the classroom prowling used book stalls for books of tween people trading in the cattle market, his brightly
watercolor prints. He studied these paintings repeatedly, colored works are also imbued with an earthy rural
enjoying both the scenes depicted and the techniques warmth.
used to create them. Through constant study and prac- Chen enjoys sketching local cultures and conditions,
tice, Chen gradually developed his own unique Tai- and his eye for personal detail has made his paintings
wanese watercolor style that drew on the techniques of of beautiful women especially beloved by collectors. He
Chinese brush painting and Western watercolor. says that when he works on a painting of a woman, he
Chen painted delightful scenes of Yun lin streets, first notes his models best side, then looks for aspects
Tam sui sunsets, and historic Spanish cities, incorpo- of her face and carriage that are unique to her. Chen
rating Chinese techniques such as leaving parts of the always captures his models grace and the vibrancy of
sea and sky unpainted. He creates a sense of quiet and their expressions whether they are standing or reclin-
harmony in these works by not cluttering his scenes of ing, smiling or gazing intently. I paint them so prettily
boats sailing on a lake or of birds or clouds in the sky that everyone says Ive made them look even more like
with excess objects. Nourished by childhood memories themselves, he says with a grin.



Chens paintings of
Taiwanese scenes
have earned him a
reputation as a cultural
ambassador by helping
foster connections
among members of
Taiwanese communities
overseas and with ROC
representative offices,
and raising Taiwans
international profile. This
1999 photograph shows
Chen (left) in Scotland at
his 70th solo exhibition.



Chen Yang Chun has painted beautiful scenes of every place he has
visited while traveling the world exhibiting his work. Shown above are
Fall in Istanbul (2005) and In Love with London Bridge (2008).

110 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Religious images tend to have an air
of solemnity and distance, but Chen
chooses to depict Guan yin, Mazu,
Bodhidarma and the monk Jigong in a
more peaceful, compassionate, and even
amiable light. When asked, he says that
while he does draw on his memories
of other Buddhist images, he also fre-
quently seeks out models with features
that correspond to his own ideas about
Buddhist figures, dresses them up in the
appropriate attire, and then paints them.

How Lovely to Dream, 2006
Helping Mortals Across the Sea of Suffering, 2010

Quitting the nine-to-five to paint

Chen worked for an advertising agency
after graduating from art school, but after
four years found himself unable to repress
any longer his desire to make art. At the age
of 27 he left his job to devote his full atten-
tion to painting.
Chen admits to having been uncertain
about his decision. Fortunately, he received
financial support from a friend, who
provided him with a monthly stipend of
NT$10,000 for one year in an era when mid-
dle-school teachers earned just NT$2,000 per
month. With this support, Chen was able to
put aside worldly concerns and throw him-
self wholeheartedly into painting. His work
eventually caught the eye of collectors, and
exhibitions in the Philippines, Hong Kong,
and Japan spread his reputation abroad.
Nowadays, he even has 40 watercolors in
the permanent collection of the Higashi-
hiroshima City Art Museum in Japan.
Cultural ambassador
Chen has held over 200 exhibitions since
his first solo show in 1970. Taking place
in countries as diverse as the US, the UK,
Singapore, South Africa and Jordan, these
exhibitions, which now regularly include
paintings of Taipei 101 and Kaohsiungs 85




Located next to Zhinan Temple in Taipeis
Muzha area, the Chen Yang Chun
Art Gallery exhibits art and offers free
painting classes to children to further
Chens vision of spreading enlightenment
through art. (photo by Chuang Kung-ju)

112 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

Zhinan Temple, Palace Above the Clouds, 2014

Sky Tower, have introduced the world to Taiwans rural Chens lifelong passion for watercolor has made
and urban scenery. Chens Taiwanese subject matter also painting almost a religion for him. He believes that
stirs the memories of Taiwans overseas communities, the arts can temper peoples natures, and has made it
helping foster connections among community members his lifes goal to spread enlightenment through the
and with ROC representative offices overseas, and earn- arts. Recognizing the spiritual solace and tranquility
ing Chen a reputation as a cultural ambassador. that the arts can bring to those of us living in societies
focused on efficiency and profit, Chen established the
Continental Watercolor Art Hwa-yang Award in 2007
in hopes of introducing watercolors to a broader audi-

ence and providing encouragement to watercolorists.

Officials at Zhinan Temple invited people to create sculptures based In addition to painting and exhibiting, Chen is now
on Chens brilliant paintings of cattle. Viewed from the Maokong
Gondola, they look remarkably lifelike. (photo by Chuang Kung-ju) planning the construction of his own art gallery to
share his personal art collection and his own paintings.
He also harbors another even bigger goal: creating
hundreds of small, private galleries around Taiwan
by having corporations adopt idle public spaces and
use them to display artists work. He is convinced that
if everyone works together to protect the beauty of
Taiwan, we can make our island an internationally re-
nowned cultural destination. While his goal may seem
ambitious, Chen has long been a dreamer, one who has
successfully used his talent with a brush to paint his
own beautiful world. l
(Chen Chun-fang/
photos courtesy of Chen Yang Chun/
tr. by Scott Williams)


Island Sisters, Sister Islands:
A Taiwanese Jewelry Firm Helps
in Pacific Island Diplomacy

Luperla Jewelry Company
CEO Victoria Lu (left), and
her sister Flora (right), who
is curator of the Lucoral
Museum in Hawaii, visited
the Solomon Islands to
share their 50 years of
experience in the oceanic
crafts industry. (courtesy of
the ROC Embassy to the
Solomon Islands)

T he Solomon Islands, located far away in the South Pacific, have emerald seas, blue
skies, intense sun, and buffeting salt-laden winds. They remind the Lu sisters
Victoria, CEO of Taiwans Luperla Jewelry Company, and Flora, curator of the Lucoral
Museum in Hawaiiof their own home, the Penghu Islands in Taiwan.
The use of marine resources to create unique artisanal works has not only made
Luperla internationally famous, it also laid the groundwork for the Lu sisters to travel
to the Republic of the Solomon Islands to offer a workshop in marine handicrafts,
entitled Ocean Creation, that constituted a voyage into trans-Pacific diplomacy.


H o n. 7
Manasseh Sogavare

Flora Lu is the main artist in the family. On a visit to
3 the Marshall Islands, she created lovely jewelry by
applying her skills to the discarded glass bottles that
litter the beaches there.

116 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

The seeds of the journey by Victoria Lu, CEO of the

Taiwan-based Luperla Jewelry Company, and her sister Pictured here, Flora Lu instructs students on how to process
Flora, curator of the Lucoral Museum in Hawaii, to the shells into jewelry. (courtesy of Luperla)

distant Solomon Islandsa journey of more than ten

hourswere planted during an official diplomatic visit elry items or accessories. The 40-plus students at the
in July of 2016. workshop, selected from across the country, included
Maritime diplomacy like a pearl necklace many local artists, with tremendous talent and aesthetic
At that time, the Solomon Islands prime minister, the sensibility. All they really needed was the right equip-
Honorable Manasseh Sogavare, had accepted an invita- ment to produce high-quality creations of their own on
tion to come to Taiwan, and during his excursion made a a commercial scale.
special visit to Luperla. Likewise born in an island nation, Therefore, on this trip the Lu sisters not only offered
he was deeply impressed by the exquisite craftsmanship instruction, they also brought four processing machines.
of the internationally renowned pieces of jewelry that he Shells that once required endless hours of hand polish-
saw. His thoughts turned to them often even after going ing can now be polished on a machine and immediately
back home, and through the ROC Ministry of Foreign made glossy and beautiful. And with power drills, the
Affairs he extended an invitation to Luperla to hold a simple act of driving a hole into a shell, which previ-
workshop in the Solomon Islands, in order to share the ously required a great deal of working and chipping, is
companys decades of experiences with local residents. now much simpler.
Victoria Lu, generous and enthusiastic by nature, On this visit, besides sharing their knowhow, the two
immediately accepted without a second thought, and to- sisters also encouraged the students to give free play to
gether she and her sister, who lives in the US, headed off their own creativity. Over the three-day course, the stu-
to the Solomons. Victoria, a confident speaker, handled dents and instructors bonded, and the former were al-
the classroom lectures, while Flora, the dexterous and ways quick to drop the phrase: Im a friend of Taiwan.
creative one, personally demonstrated shellcraft tech- Interestingly, this was by no means the first case of
niques to students at the workshop. handcrafted transoceanic diplomacy by the Lu sisters.
Because there is little in the way of processing equip- After three days in the Solomons, Flora headed off
ment in the Solomons, despite the countrys abundance to the nearby Republic of the Marshall Islands to take
of marine resources it produces few manufactured jew- part in a conference on weaving at the Marshall Islands

1963 1986



Hilda Cathay Heine

Residents of the Solomon
Islands have few opportunities
to come in contact with
processing machines. In this
photo, a student works on a
seashell using a bench drill that
Victoria Lu brought from Taiwan.
(courtesy of Luperla)

118 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

campus of the University of the South Pacific, where get unexpected returns by selfless sharing.
she shared her experience in the culture of handicrafts. Take for example the story of the
This was her seventh trip to the Marshalls. She first founding of the Lu coral
went there more than a decade ago at the invitation of Museum.
the USP and the ROC Embassy to the Marshall Islands. In 1986 Lu-
Each time she goes to the Marshalls, Lu cannot help perla de-
but sigh when she sees that the local people dont under- cided to expand overseas, and after open-
stand how to utilize their abundant marine resources. ing one branch in New York, estab-
She selflessly shares her artisanal skills, and has even lished another in Hawaii. In or-
come up with clever ideas to convert discarded glass der to secure a firm footing
cola bottleswhich are an environmental eyesore all in the Aloha State, the
over the islandsinto beautiful jewelry and accessories. company purchased
Children of the sea, sharing their art land and constructed
Journeys to the Marshalls and the Solomons naturally a headquarters build-
led to thoughts of Lus own island childhood, in Tai- ing. After it was
wans Penghu County. completed there were
The Lu perla Jewelry Company was founded on a lot of materials left
Penghu. Long before the 1963 opening of its well-known over, and a friend suggested to Flora
Taipei base, the Wish Paradise Corporation on Nanjing that she donate the extra shells to local
East Road, the Lu clan had already been through amaz- primary schools for use in nature classes.
ing highs and lows. Lu Qingshui, the primogenitor, was One grateful teacher responded to Lus over-
one of Penghus most successful fishing-industry entre- ture by suggesting that she open the company venue to
preneurs, and at his peak owned tens of fishing boats. the public for educational purposes. And thus in 1992
However, the entire family fortune was destroyed in the space that had originally been destined as a show-
1961 due to a typhoon. Lu Qingshui, always ready to room for customers was transformed into a museum,
lend a hand to others, had stood surety for loans to other providing a valued resource for visitors to learn about
fishermen, and after the typhoon he ended up respon- minerals like crystal and coral.
sible for a mountain of debt. The whole family, left with In the two decades and more since its opening,
no alternative, moved to the tiny town of Shili (also on the small Lucoral Museum, with only a few hundred
Penghu) where they started a small-scale fish trading square meters of floor space, has welcomed over 10,000
business, and turned their sights to the future and a re- students per year. Each month more than 1000 students
vival of their fortunes. get a hands-on taste of jewelry making and get to know
Seeing the familys pathetic state, a neighbor who had all sorts of precious stones and minerals.
learned shellcraft techniques in Japan selflessly taught Cultivating human resources
these skills to them. Flora, the seventh child, recalls the Bringing the story back to Taiwan and looking retro-
many hours she spent at home with her brothers and sis- spectively at the development of our jewelry industry,
ters polishing Penghu shells by hand and drilling holes in Luperla has not only successfully branched out into the
them to make brooches, which they then sent to their elder world market, it has had an important seat at the table
sister, who was studying in Taipei. She in turn sold them in the development of marine handicrafts in Taiwan.
to a jewelry wholesaler on Zhonghua Road in Ximending. Todays Luperla headquarters is located just one street
Coming to the Marshalls or the Solomons and teach- away from Nanjing East Roads Lane 86, once known as
ing everything to local people starting from zero, trans- Coral Lane. Besides a first-floor salesroom, the eight-
forming disregarded shells into jewelry, is not only about story HQ also hosts a coral museum and an activity hall.
sharing skills, its also about sharing an idea, a vision, The basement, rarely opened to the public, houses
says Flora. a collection of coral art works accumulated over more
In turn, as she herself understands, the giver can also than five decades, dating back to the Lu sisters fathers


Victoria Lu has spared

no effort in cultivating
a new generation of
talent for her industry.
Works by Luperla
student interns are
proudly displayed
at the companys
headquarters building
in Taipei.

generation. Coral of various shades and hues, which

came to life in the ocean, has been transformed by the

skillful hands of artists into vivid statues of the Buddhist

deity Guanyin, dragons and phoenixes, and much more.

On the fifth and sixth floors, meanwhile, not only will

3 you encounter invited artists and scholars delivering
seminars, you will find a working space in which con-
sumers can experience first-hand how to make jewelry. It
was Victoria Lu who came up with the idea of combining
shopping with a DIY experience.
Victoria also was a founding member of the Taiwan

Good Design Association, of which she is now honor-

ary chairman, and in 2016 she received an achievement
award at the Taiwan Cultural and Creative Awards. She
has made tireless efforts to promote the training and
2015 advancement of a new generation of designers. In 2015
Luperla went a step further, opening its doors for the
first time to student interns. Through an introduction
from Huang Shih-yen, a professor in the Department of

Industrial Design at Huafan University, a dozen or so in-

dustrial design undergrads from Huafan and Chung Hua

University used what they learned in school to transform

materials provided by Luperla into beautiful works of art.
2 Like the oceans tides, the fortunes of the Lu family
18 have risen and fallen and risen again. Today, Luperla is
a world-renowned jewelry brand, and, just as the ocean
burnishes shells on a beach into things of lustrous beauty,
the siblings of the Lu clan have, through ceaseless refine-

ment, added great luster to the marine arts industry in

Taiwan. l
(Liu Yingfeng/photos by Lin Min-hsuan/
l tr. by Max Barker)

120 Taiwan Panorama 2017/04

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