Dr. Lai Ho 賴和 醫師
Dr. Lai Ho
Deep rooted in the literatures of Taiwan…
Embraced the lives of the ordinary people
Lai Ho (賴和, 本名賴河) was born in ChangHua, Taiwan on May 28th 1894. He studied Chinese literature quite early, and entered the Taipei Medical College (later known as National Taiwan University Medical College) when he was 16. One of his classmates was Dr. Du Chong-Ming 杜聰明 http://thetaiwanese.blogspot.com/2006_02_01_archive.html.
Upon graduation, Lai opened up his own clinic in his home town at the age of 22. He practiced medicine and was involved in cultural and creative writing activities throughout his life.
Twice he was arrested (1923, 1941) by the Japanese authority because of his guts and resistance expressed in writings and speeches on the unfair treatments to the fellow Taiwanese by the Japanese government. While in jail, like many great writers, he continued to write. He derived from the traditional poems to the freer form and some novels.
Dr. Lai was known for standing firmly with the Taiwanese all the way. In January 31st 1943 Lai passed away at the Taipei Imperial Medical College Hospital.
He earned his nick name as the Matsu of ChangHua (彰化媽祖) because he dedicated his skills to the patients, especially the poor. While he was not at the clinic, He observed and read and put his thoughts together and wrote.
Throughout his life, he had written more than a thousand poems, articles and novels. To his friends, his writings were as effortless and as natural as breathing (平生慣作性靈詩，珠玉連篇不費思.)
Like Dr. Lim Bo-Seng (林茂生) http://thetaiwanese.blogspot.com/2006/04/dr-lim-bo-seng.html Dr. Lai was also actively involved in the Taiwan Culture Association (台灣文化協會) which could be considered at that time the Taiwanese cultural oriented think-tank.
In his rather short life (barely half a century) under Japanese control, Lai tirelessly tendered his patients. And his writings had actually opened up a new dimension of the Taiwanese literature.
The power of his works was found in the very common language, first handed and almost naked descriptions, and down right struggles with the people like our grandpas and grandmas and great uncles and great aunts, those senior neighbors, known and unknown, in the fields, on the streets and in the alleys. In stead of collecting the fees from the patients, Lai collected the stories of their lives, laughs, hope, tears and pains.
Lai probably was not the first Taiwanese physician who involved so much in the writings, but he was certainly among the best.
Dr. Lai was later honored as the Father of the New Taiwanese Literature (台灣新文學之父).
Some of his works displayed in Chinese:
Dr. Lai’s official Memorial Hall:
To find out how the Taiwanese language virtually links with other languages: