Prof. C K Wu 吳振坤 教授
An Educator, a Thinker, and a Care-Giver
Prof. and Mrs. C K WU
Most people called him Elder Wu, a man who worked in various libraries before joined the faculty at Chang-Jung High school and moved on to Tainan Theological College/Seminary (TTCS). He became the first lay person to be given the full professorship at TTCS.
Graduated from Kyoto University (Philosophy) and Yale University, Wu was more a thinker than a talker. He used the seminar style to conduct the classes at TTCS and pushed students to think more independently than just following the text books. Some students thought he was always serious, not knowing that he was a man with humor:
- Once a student made a comment that another student was really strange. Wu said, “Most people come to study at the Seminary are really strange…” I wonder if Wu thought the same way about the fellow faculty members.
- Saying the grace in a Japanese restaurant, Wu was heard saying something like, “Lord, please help us that we will not have any poisonous raw fish tonight...”
Elder Wu’s situations under KMT regime in Taiwan during the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were very difficult due to the political activities of his brother, Dr. C N Wu (吳振南 醫師) in Japan. Wu himself was a straight forward talker. He had made comments about KMT when there was known for not to tolerate any criticisms. Thus for a long time Wu, like many other intellectuals, was denied to leave Taiwan.
In 1974 while I was teaching at the YMCA Institute in Hong Kong I received a letter from Wu who was one of the original founders of the Tainan Tung-Ning Church. The letter was to invite me to be the pastor of the church even though most members of the church had not met me. I accepted the ‘challenge’ from my professor and from the church which was one of the first community-oriented churches. The emphasis of the ministry was on the academic communities where Cheng-Kung University, TTCS and several high schools are near by. For the next two years 1976 the church gave me enough freedom to teach at TTCS and assist the student fellowships among the colleges/universities. Without Wu, I would not be even close to make it. After all, he was one of the Student Christian Movements (SCM) initiators. And the Tung-Ning church has been helping the area campus ministries as well.
During my seminary years in the 60’s, Wu came to visit my father. I then found out that they knew each other in Tokyo area when they were students. They talked for a long time. It was a rather strange occasion since both of them were not good talkers. Before Wu left, he told me that it was a rare treat for him to freely talk what he had in his mind without fear.
Wu taught Christian Ethics and Philosophy of Religions at TTCS more than a quarter of a century focusing on the “What if” and made all the effort to keep his students aware of the situations in and out of the church and the society. He retired from TTCS at 1978 and was awarded the Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1986.
In early 80’s I paid a visit to Prof. Wu who stayed with his daughter’s family in New Jersey area. We had a short yet good talk. He still sincerely cared about the Taiwanese young intellectuals and the future of Taiwan, saying, “We have got to do our part continuously and then pray…”
Did we actually do our part, and what are in our prayers? As for the future of Taiwan, what if…? The answers are in many of Wu’s students’ minds all over the world, and in the people of Taiwan too.
How the Taiwanese language virtually links with other languages: http://www.wretch.cc/blog/Heruler