The Taiwanese 台灣人 Tâi-Oân Lâng

Welcome to the Taiwanese Site! This is a collection of the stories of the past Taiwanese who had contributed to Taiwan in various aspects. We encourage readers' comments. Contact point, email contact at or ** Last Update April 26, 2012 **

Monday, January 09, 2006

Rev. Dr. William Sia 謝緯 牧師


Rev. and Mrs. William Sia 謝緯 牧師,牧師娘

A Doctor, a Minister and a Lover of Life

I never met Rev. Sia 謝緯 牧師. I probably never heard him preaching as I recalled. Rev. Sia was busy in Taichung Presbytery area most of time until he was elected the moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (台灣基督長老教會總會議長.) At the time of his death, I just came back from 10-month training in Hong Kong, tried to ‘regroup’ myself to campus ministry in Kaohsiung Medical College Luke Hall. I knew that there would be a General-Assembly-Honored funeral for him, and I knew that all the church leaders and civil leaders and medical professionals would be there to pay their highest and final respect. Other than knowing him through a lot of people from Lam-Tau (南投) area, where he was a household name, and through the Taiwan Church Press Weekly (台灣教會公報), I did not have any personal touch to add here.

But none of the above really mattered much. Rev. Sia had enough stories to fill up a library. He played good enough piano to keep bible study occasions alive. His medical and clerical professional standard always kept up-to-date. He had that rare reputation that some people even called him a holy man. His dedication to the gospel was larger than life. And every memory about him would quietly bring down the tears of the listeners.

Few ordained ministers hold an MD degree. Fewer still would be so people oriented that one wondered if he ever had enough time for himself. In fact, the car accident that took his life happened right after his now famous last sentences, “If I delay a minute to tend the patients, it’d be that extra minute those patients will have to suffer.” He then said good bye to his wife, also a physician, started his car, and took off with the hope that he’d be able to ease patients’ pain just minutes sooner. And the rest is history.

All seemed to agree that Sia’s work was over loaded, but he never complained. A nurse from a Christian hospital said that she never heard anybody, including nurses, complained about Rev. Sia. That should be big news in the medical fields everywhere. And by looking at his two favorite authors, Albert Schweitzer and Toyohiko Kagawa, we’d understand his private journey well. It’s no surprise that some had called him Dr. Schweitzer of Taiwan. Now look at the summary of Rev. Sia's busy activities on the top of endless meetings:

-- He helped founded and continued his voluntary work at the Christian Hospital in Ji-Lim (二林).

-- He traveled hours to Pak-Mng (北門) - a free Christian Clinic (established in 1960) - to perform surgery for the “black-feet” 烏腳病 patients, a disease caused by arsenic (砷) polluted water. The medical director there was Dr. C H Wang(王金河), Sia’s Tokyo Medical College classmate.

-- He helped open up yet another free clinic for tuberculosis patients in central Taiwan

-- He still held his primary medical office at Lam-Tau (南投.)

Some great preachers would draw your attention within minutes, and with punched lines coming down before you could start napping. Rev. Sia made his case more in deeds than in words: His life was a combination of touching sermons, and a great example of how a person can share one’s undivided love to the people who would never be able to pay back.

According to his niece Yaling (雅怜) of Chicago, Rev. Sia enjoyed family, life, food and chess games whenever he had a break. His laughs were warm and exciting and his sermons were short and powerful. Certainly Rev. Sia looked like my kind of guy. How I wish I could have spent sometime with him. Just to get to know him as a friend and as a mentor. With his 54 years on earth, he surely had made all his extra miles accounted for. While completing this article I had a chance to talk with Mrs. Sia over the phone. She sounded, perhaps, like Rev. Sia, youthful, optimistic, encouraging and full of hope. Only people with strong faith appear that way. Tomorrow will always be better and brighter.

A few years back I had a chance to visit Rev. Sia's Memorial Youth Camp Center in Po’-Li (埔里), where my long time friend Elder T L Wang (王天龍長老) served as one of the directors. I walked around the camp site with Wang. I could feel the spirit of Rev. Sia. The spirit of taking the path less traveled; going where one would be needed the most. And the image of him appeared to me, as it had always been, like a cloudy picture in a cloudy day.

Well, I never really met him. However, as it is written, “Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don't know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

We don't know everything, but then we will…
How comforting!

And in His Grace, one day, we may take turn to play a game of chess with Rev. Sia 謝緯牧師 when we see him face to face...

-- The above picture was provided by Enoch Pai (bayuhian.)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Dr. C Y Peng 彭清約 長老

A Man Practiced Medicine with all Heart


Dr. Peng was not always smiling, but he was all heart. He was a good physician yet better known as an elder who never stopped working with Sunday schools and beyond. Some thought he was a pastor, yet he was more than a pastor. He had helped numerous seminarians go through years of education anonymously. When a pastor finally realized what had happened and came forward to thank him, Peng's reply, “I do not know what you are talking about.” He cured his patients physically and emotionally. He would give money to his poorer patients instead of receiving the fee for his service.

Peng’s life story was included in 楊士養 Rev. Iuⁿ Sū-Ióng’s “The Taiwanese Famous Christians Vol. II.” There was also a special memorial book published by Kaohsiung Shin-Heng Presbyterian Church in 1982. His father was a preacher before entering the seminary and continued to be a pastor more than 30 years throughout the various churches in southern Taiwan. Peng and his two younger brothers graduated from Taiwan Governor’s Medical School (later known as National Taiwan University Medical School) while his elder brother received theological education from Tainan Theological Seminary.

His family members have contributed to Taiwan in such a broad areas, from higher education, medicine and cultures to Christianity. For instance, Peng's son, 明聰, was the Dean of the Medical School, National Taiwan University (NTU); and his nephew, 明敏 was also a professor at the NTU before he exiled to Europe and then to the States due to the KMT house arrest. 彭明敏 soon became the icon of the Taiwan Independent Movement.

Dr. Peng was once asked to run for the mayor of the city of Kaohsiung. He refused. The reason: "Politicians tend to enjoy being served rather than to serve. Jesus' teachings were simply to serve."

Like most great men, Peng endured his family tragedies and somehow those tragedies purified his faith. Throughout his life, especially when his wife passed away unexpectedly, Peng never gave up his faith and his hope for the mankind. He always gave generously to the churches, pastors, and patients but to himself. He had his share of favorite food, but always ate a little and saved for others. He once offered a big piece of land to build a local church and a student center (known as the Luke Hall) near the newly founded Kaohsiung Medical College (高雄醫學院.)
I was honored to work at the Luke Hall with Rev. Owen Bechtel, a Reformed Church missionary, for a few years. I remember Peng told me once, “If we can help build the strong Christian faith among these medical students, the hope is unlimited.”

During the senior year at the seminary, I once became sick. So I came home to rest. My father was a physician too, but he wanted Peng to take a look at me. Peng came and examined me for a while, then he knelt down and prayed. I remember what he said in his prayer, “Lord, this young man is your servant, we’ll tend him, but it is you who will heal him.”

The last time I “encountered” Peng was at his church honored funeral. I led the choir for the funeral process. We sang with tears to Peng’s favorite hymn, O for a Closer Walk with God (Goān goá ná-kiâⁿ kap Chú ná-oá.) At the end of the service, led by the pastors and elders, we began to move on to the burial site. Not surprisingly, we saw many people gathered by the side walks, wearing white clothes, knelt down and wept as if they had lost their father.

Yes, all of us had lost a father of faith indeed. And nobody I have ever come to know has had a closer walk with God than Dr. Peng 彭長老.

Related Website:

(Dr. Peng's Memorial Library 彭清約紀念圖書館)

Missions in Taiwan since 1865 - 台灣宣教 140年
英國馬雅各醫師 Dr. James L. Maxwell started from South, June 16, 1865
加拿大馬偕牧師 Rev. George Leslie Mackay started from North, Dec 9, 1871
Read more: