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 **

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Prof. Liao Chi-Chun 廖繼春 教授

A Mastery of Colors with Passion for Life

1902 - 1976

Court Yard with Banana Trees, 1928

Shade, 1957

Love River, 1967

Venice, 1973

I first heard of Liao Chi-Chun (廖繼春) was from his student Shen Tse-Chai (沈哲哉 - another Taiwanese famous painter) whose family were the members of the Tung-Ning (東寧) Church I was pasturing from 1974-76. Shen’s house was covered with paintings like a gallery. All I knew then was that Liao was a top modern Taiwanese artist.

Then between 1982 and 1986 I met Sut-Chung (述宗) – Liao’s fourth son, a well known research professor at the University of Chicago, and Sut-Tiong (述忠) - his fifth son, a scientist worked in the Ann Arbor area. I began to feel the impact of an artist’s family when once Sut-Tiong drove me through the University of Michigan campus in the fall. The trees were so breath-taking beautiful. Then Sut-Tiong told me that we were like driving right into the God’s paintings.

Yes, I still remember it well years after that. The beauty of the nature, sometimes captured and reflected by the painters, stands by itself, without comparison.

Born in a poor farming family in Hong-Goân (豐原) in central Taiwan, Liao Chi-Chun displayed his artistic talents in his childhood. He also showed his dream of educating others by entering Taipei Teacher’s school. Through the encouragement of his fiancée among others, Liao ended up graduating from Tokyo School of Fine Arts concentrating on western style oil paintings. Since then he never stopped working with his paintings and teachings, from Tainan Chung-Jung Middle School (長榮中學), Tainan First Middle School (台南一中) to Normal University (師範大學.) While his paintings dominate the arts circle of Taiwan, his students are all over Taiwan and abroad. Liao also had extended his influences by educating his children to have outstanding personalities and achievements with a strong sense of being a proud Taiwanese wherever they turn out to be.

As the saying goes, a painting is worth more than a thousand words. In almost 50 years, Liao’s paintings were evolving in styles with his life experience expanded while teaching and traveling throughout the United States and Europe. He remained as the master of colors. His works were selected and awarded in major government exhibitions such as the Taiten (Taiwan Exhibition 台展) and Teiten (Imperial Exhibition 帝展.)

While struggling through poverty, war and limited human conditions, his paintings demonstrate the endless possibilities of dream-like, sometimes wishful, yet definitely a better and more constructive tomorrow is always around the corner. Through his artistic touch, Liao gave colors to the eyes of the beholders, and beyond. He gave colors with abundant hope to humanity.

More Liao’s paintings are available at these websites:

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Mr. Lōa Bûn-Liông 賴文良 長老

1907 - 1986

"To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

-- Lōa's Calligraph and his Life Goal

While Rev. Bú-Tong Hwang (黃武東) and Dr. Chiau-Seng Hwang (黃昭聲) appeared on this site as father-son, this article would mark as the first two Taiwanese figures appeared here related to each other in marriage. The daughter of Chhòa Pôe-Hóe (蔡培火 posted April 12, 2007) married to the son of Lōa Bûn-Liông (賴文良.)

I had heard of Mr. Chhòa often back in Taiwan but never met him. I first heard of Mr. Lōa was at a Detroit area Taiwanese church late in 1986. Even though I never met Lōa in person but felt like I had known him well through his family members.

Lōa was a traditional and disciplined gentleman. He took his time to shave well, to dress properly and to enjoy mostly the classical music. He also loved to read and to work in the garden. Most of all, he loved the nature, his family and the communities.

Lōa was born on 1907, 12 years into the Japan’s rule of Taiwan that had brought modernization of infrastructure and educational system to Taiwan. Lōa’s father died when he was nine. He was raised by his mother with some family owned lands in Tōa-nâ (大林). After three years at the Tainan Normal School, Lōa decided to pursue his higher education in Japan. He got transferred to a Tokyo high school, and whence successfully gained admission to the Tokyo Institute of Technology, one of the top colleges in Japan. Upon graduation in electrical engineering, he took a break coming home before taking up a lucrative job offer in Japan. But Lōa’s mother, having long for her only son to return, found him a very nice lady Miss Chan (曾綢, also well educated), and urged him to stay. Lōa’s plan for returning to Japan thus ended but a love story and a very fine family began to form.

As a then rare college graduate, Lōa took a job as a supervisor in the major sugar refinery. After several years, he accepted an invitation by the town elders to return to Tōa-nâ, to manage the local agricultural corporative. Within a few years he was able to turn the organization around into the black. He recruited educated Taiwanese youths to the team, and added facilities for storage and distribution of farm produces, contributing to the local economy. Lōa’s leadership and amiable personality won the trust of the community. His son Hiro (弘典) recalled an incident years later when once he was caught riding a bike without the front lamp lit in the evening. While Hiro waited to be fined at the police station an officer recognized him. When he was confirmed to be indeed Mr. Lōa’s son, Hiro was given a verbal warning and sent home without penalty.

Towards the end of WWII, a shortage of qualified technical school teachers developed as Japanese teachers got drafted to the war. Lōa was called upon to teach at the Tâi-Tiong (台中) Technical High School, a prestigious position. When the war ended and the Chinese took over Taiwan, however, Lōa was appointed to take charge of the Tang-shi (東勢) county government in Tâi-Tiong area. In the ensuing tumultuous years of culture shock and confusion, Lōa managed to maintain peace and stability in the area. It was not a small feat and he won warm support of the Tang-shi people. But the pressure was great, and Mrs. Lōa became ill with tuberculosis around the time their last child Siù-Khêng was born. Then, Siù-Khêng also contracted the disease on the spine, and Lōa had to spend increasing amount of time for their medical cares.

It was a tough and long journey for the entire family. Lōa resigned from his job and took the family back to Tōa-nâ. While by the grace of God Siù-Khêng’s condition got stabilized, that of Mrs. Lōa’s continued to deteriorate despite of the use of a new antibiotic. At one time lady Chan’s condition was so critical that even the doctors turned pessimistic. At one time she pleaded her husband to “Please give it up. We all suffered enough already.” Still Lōa refused to give it up, and continued to pray to the All Mighty he had come to trust.

Miraculously Mrs. Lōa’s condition turned around, and she felt better by the days. She continued to regain her strength slowly yet surely. With friends from Tōa-nâ church who had often prayed for her, Mrs. Lōa began to attend the church services. The entire family soon followed, and eventually they all converted into Christians.

As normalcy returned, Lōa started to work as a mathematic and physics teacher at public high schools in nearby towns. The ‘land reform’ that the Chinese imposed on Taiwan had taken away most of Lōa’s lands, and his working became a necessity. Fortunately the workload was relatively light, so Lōa could devote large part of his time to church affairs. He studied the Bible diligently, and his morning prayer became a daily must. Having been a local celebrity and because of his dedication to faith, he was elected as the church elder just a year after his baptism.

When Tōa-nâ church, with its aging wooden structure next to the busy market, was looking to a new building, Lōa took the leadership in the project. From fund-raising, selection of the building site to design, contracting and construction, he worked incessantly, and with prayer. The contractor of the church building was so moved by Lōa’s sincere attitude and strong faith that he later became a Christian himself. The new church of brick and concrete, with an affiliated kindergarten was dedicated on 1965. Lōa’s calligraphy was installed permanently on the insignia of the new Tōa-nâ Presbyterian Church. When he left Tōa-nâ for the US several years later, he was made the honorary elder of the church.

Mr. and Mrs. Lōa raised three daughters and four sons. He taught his children in such a way that good traditions were to free people’s thoughts, not to limit them. Unlike some families at the time, Lōa’s family value was “to have quality of life among children” (但願子孫賢.) Lōa practiced what he preached. Among his children, there are professor, electrical engineers, dentists, and software developer. All are actively involved in the Taiwanese American churches and communities. And there are doctors, lawyers and other professionals among his grandchildren.

Lōa’s calligraphy was outstanding since he was very young. After he retired with his wife to the United States, when not playing with their grandchildren, he continued to demonstrate his beautiful writing skill with Biblical verses. His favorite one was from the Old Testament, “To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)

Mrs. Lōa***, once almost died from tuberculosis, now at the age of 97, still shows up in the church near Detroit every Sunday. When asked what she was doing there, her answer was simply, “To give thanks to the Lord.”

** Mr. Lōa Bûn-Liông would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2007.**

*** Mrs. Lōa passed away April 2008 at the age of 98, with moving memorial services in both Detroit and New York *** Updated, May 2008

Related website:

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dr. Chiau-Seng Hwang 黃昭聲 醫師

Rev. B T Hwang and family
-- Rev. Hwang on the front left
-- Dr. C S Hwang on the right

1936 - 2006

Drs. Landsborough IV, Dr. & Mrs. C S Hwang, 1992

Two reasons that I had known Chiau-seng (黃昭聲) for over 40 years: he had a well known father Rev. Bu-Tong Hwang (黃武東牧師, and he married to a fine lady who graduated from the same seminary as I did. But I began to really know him was sometime in late 1986 when I served as a guest preacher at Taiwanese church in Detroit Presbytery. Hwang had been practicing medicine in between Detroit and Ann Arbor for many years and actively involved with the church business. The bonus for me then was not really the mileage from the frequent fliers program (flying between Detroit and Chicago at least once a month for years) but to meet Rev. Bu-tong Hwang from time to time and to see first handed the distinctiveness of the father-son pair both brilliant with sense of humor and their love beyond their fields, namely the ministry and the medical practice.

It was really a surprise that I heard the news of Dr. Hwang decided to take the job as the superintendent of the Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH-Taiwan) in 1989. Pretty much the entire congregation got together at a restaurant in Windsor as a farewell dinner for the Hwangs. Chiau-seng made his famous short yet powerful speech about his dream during the dinner. He had an unfinished dream as a Taiwanese in Taiwan. He shared with me his experience of meeting Dr. and Mrs. David Landsborough IV in United Kingdom before he took his new job. Hwang seemed to be fully aware of the historical responsibility of the nearly a century old hospital. It is, after all, a Christian hospital full of the loving memories and stories of the early missionaries and local professionals in central Taiwan.

In 1995 I got a chance to meet Hwangs in Taiwan – the last time I was there was 1976. Hui-hui, Mrs. Hwang, was once jokingly told me that they would treat me to the best ginger duck soup (薑母鴨) in Taiwan. And I stopped by only to find that Chiau-seng was in hospital bed, not visiting patients, but getting ready for lower back surgery himself.

The main hall of the hospital was so crowded it sounded like a noisy market plaza. However I was warmly welcome by the receptionist and visited Chiau-seng who was actually in bed reading and signing papers. It was my turn to kid both of them back, “Some members of the congregation may get sick to avoid a Sunday sermon from me, but for a lousy ginger duck soup? “

It was really good to see them both in good spirit. And on my way around, I did hear many good things Chiau-seng had been doing for the Hospital both in administration and in medical services. During his tenure, the hospital had expanded the service and business alike, turned CCH into a great medical center for education/teaching, increased cooperation with local churches and communities and even helped the young Chang-Jung University (長榮大學) and the old Tainan Theological College/Seminary financially.

I never got a chance to pay another visit to the Hwangs in Changhua. I met them in Ann Arbor a few times, but never long enough to sit down and talk. How I wish I had.

And then in late 2001 I heard the controversial stories (to retire or not to retire…) from many sides. And I was too far away to even make comments. And in between my secular work Monday-Friday and weekend preaching engagements, I lost count of virtually everything in memory.

And then I was told, in late 2004, that Chiau-seng was retired from CCH and was honored as an Emeritus Superintendent - CCH has also published a book called The Footsteps(腳步), a collection of Chiau-seng’s 15 years at CCH, full of pictures and footsteps of his and many others.

Then in the spring of 2006, like a thunder, I heard the news of Hwang’s passing away in Taiwan. I was totally speechless. In my mind Chiau-seng was always strong (perhaps too strong sometimes) and dignified. How could anything like that happen to him? Well, it happens to everybody. There is no discrimination in the process of life and death.

Like his father Rev. B T Hwang, Chiau-seng spent his final years in Taiwan, did the best he could to offer from both a Christian and a medical professional. And now Hui-hui, his wife, spent most of her time organizing volunteers (as many as 200 plus, including wives of physicians, students and all kinds) to help the families of the CCH patients.

There are tons of loving words expressed in the memorial service of Dr. Chiau-seng Hwang. Allow me to translate (I do not have the original) the eulogy that Dr. David Landsborough IV wrote:

"Dear Dr. Hwang,

Because of your effort and encouragement, every bolt and nut feels important and valuable. You strengthened every one of us. We’ll always miss your smiles and your love. However hard it seems to be, we have to let you go. Have a good trip home. God is taking care of you and we pray that God will continue to take care of your family. May His gracious love be with you forever...

- David and family”

Some related websites: