Dr. D Liang; Dr. and Mrs. P Y Liang 梁道; 梁炳元; 梁許春菊
Dr. Dow Liang; Dr. and Mrs. P Y Liang
1888-1954 ...... 1913-1982 ... 1918-1997
A Family of Caring...with Medicine, Courage and Faith
Throughout the most part of the 20th century, the first choice for the Taiwanese young people had been the medical field. The second choice would be the engineering and science. The Liang's family demonstrates the choices of the elites. More than 70% of the extended Liang's family members are medical doctors and the rest are PhDs in science and engineering. For the most that I've come to know, not only they are smart, they are with big hearts. They cared people with love and much faith.
Dr. Dow Liang (梁道 醫師) graduated from Taiwan Governor’s Medical School (臺灣總督府醫學校 - later became National Taiwan University Medical School where his younger brother also graduated) and worked at the Taipei Red Cross Hospital before opened up his own clinic in ShinHua (新化) Tainan. His life was much more than a doctor. First appointed by the Japanese government, then elected by the majority, Dr. Liang became a beloved local leader during the Japanese ruling period (1895-1945) and beyond. As a physician he took care of his patients and expanded to his fellow citizens in the surrounding communities. Here are some of his stories*:
1. In 1915 the Chiao-Ba-Nien incident (焦吧年事件, aka西來庵事件), considered to be the major armed revolutionary act by the Taiwanese against the Japanese rulers, came with many tragedies in south-central Taiwan. Dr. Liang demonstrated his leadership and power of PR that eventually saved many Taiwanese lives in ShinHua area alone.
2. Shortly after the World War II (1945) a strong earthquake hit the area (with the epicenter only two miles away), Dean Liang (a younger son of Dr. Liang) remembered that there were over fifty victims placed in the clinic of Dr. Liang, and the scene of the blood mixed with the crushed bones and broken legs and arms did not encourage Dean to become a doctor. Dean later turned himself into a scientist.
3. 1947 the infamous 228 incident occurred across Taiwan, Dr. Liang again worked with the locals and the authorities to save hundreds of lives of both the Taiwanese and the Chinese mainlanders. He provided his own home as a sanctuary for all who were seeking protection from the blind violence.
4. In 2008, to celebrate Dr. Liang’s 120 years birthday, the Historical Society of Singhua exhibited Dr. Liang’s documents as well as his memorials in an exhibition hall to officially commemorate his extraordinary services to his hometown.
Dr. P Y Liang (梁炳元 醫師) was the eldest son of Dr. Dow Liang. He had often been called Elder Liang and a saint by many friends. Graduated from Fengtian Manchuria (奉天now Shenyang) Medical School and served few years in the nearby city, Dr. Liang brought his family back to his hometown ShinHua to practice medicine.
-- Influenced by his elder sister, P Y Liang was baptized to be Christian at the age of 17 and never looked back.
-- Served the church as early as in his medical student years till his final days including the leadership in medical ministries within the Presbytery of Tainan.
-- His involvement in local church across the board was seen as an essential and crucial part of the ministry. He was also in charge with the local chapter of the Taiwanese Medical Association among other charities.
-- He volunteered to staff Shin-Law Clinic (the first Westernized medical facility in Taiwan 新樓診所-新樓醫院的前身) one afternoon a week during his peak of practice.
-- He equipped his clinic with up-to-date medical books and a Bible which he read while taking his breaks. He was very much loved and respected by his patients and the neighbors as well as the members of the churches throughout the Tainan County. He used to sleep in a bedroom above the door of his office until very late age, so if any patient knocked at the door during the night, he would not miss it.
-- Not a well known public speaker, occasionally Dr. Liang would make a speech for the Gideon society meetings. His simple words were so touching that brought listeners to tears. Dr. Liang would credit the success to his friends who never ceased to support him with prayers.
-- Dr. Liang’s favorite scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NRSV) Simple and straight, yes. Easy, not really.
Mrs. C C Hsu Liang (梁許春菊 長老) was one of the most famous female educators and activists in the history of modern Taiwan. Hsu was born in Peng-Hu County, a cluster of small islands west of Taiwan. Her parents were among the first generation Christians in Taiwan. She involved in the education then the politics, community affairs, sports and the churches in Taiwan for more than 40 years, and remained as an active church elder, just like her husband, till the end of her life.
I knew Elder Hsu Liang through the church activities in Tainan Presbytery and also through his son, George Liang, since our junior high school years. She earned a nickname of “One-Dollar-Representative 一元議員”by offering a very special “mail service.” When she was too busy to handle the requests right there and then, she would ask them to send her a letter which would cost only NT$1.00 stamp and the answers/results would be on their way. Mrs. Hsu Liang became a member of KMT after she was elected as a member of Provincial Assembly in her early political career simply because she figured out that she could serve people better in this status. Her critical decisions had been more faith related than of the political ones. It’d take a few volumes of book to detail her life story, but here I just mention the two not-so-public-known tales which indeed had big impact to the church of Taiwan ** :
-- In 1970: the reversal of the ban on the Taiwanese Romanization Bibles – While the Chinese government wanted to ban the Taiwanese Romanized version of the Bible used mostly by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan for nearly a century, Mrs. Hsu Liang went to see Madame Chiang Kai-Shek (宋美齡) to discuss the issue. Elder Hsu Liang brought Romanized Taiwanese bible and read John 3:16 to Mrs. Chiang in Taiwanese on her request. Mrs. Chiang nodded her head while listening, and was very much surprised and touched by the beautiful sound of the Taiwanese. They prayed together afterward to ask for the intervention of the Lord. That event had saved the Romanized Taiwanese Bibles.
-- In 1972-73: the long standing tradition of the Tainan Theological College and Seminary (TTCS) has been staying out of the touch of the regimes, whether Japanese or Chinese. During the World War II TTCS was forced to close for sometime by the Japanese government due to the well connections between the school and the British, Canadian and American Missions. Shortly after the Chinese Nationalists took over in 1945, there was an on and off conflict between the authority and TTCS. One of the issues was the tax exempt status. Since TTCS was not an officially registered educational institution and not operated as a church, the authority wanted to tax the property and the land of TTCS. To make a long story short, it was, gratefully, that Mrs. Hsu Liang’s assistance to help maintain the tax exempt status for TTCS – the oldest institution on higher education in the history of Taiwan.
In respond to the text "Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God" (Matthew 22:21), Elder Hsu Liang paid her taxes to the authority, and she dedicated her life to the kingdom of God.
* Many stories were provided by Dean Liang PhD, the younger son of Dr. Dow Liang, and George Liang MD, the oldest son of Dr. P Y Liang
** The stories were verified with Rev. S J Liu (劉瑞仁牧師,) a long time pastor and friend of Dr. and Mrs. P Y Liang
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