Friday, 11 January 2013

An egg for my father

                        A colorful map of present day Taiwan
The signing of The Treaty of Shimonoseki馬關條約

The Imperial Qing Empire of China was forced to cede Taiwan to the expansionist Japan followed by the defeat it suffered in the Sino-Japan War in 1894. The unjustified, lop-sided Treaty of Shimonoseki was signed by both parties in April 17th 1895. Thereafter Taiwan fell into the bloodied hands of the Japanese Empire until the end of the 2nd WW in 1945. 

 The famous landmark of middle Taiwan - The enchanting Sun Moon Lake
The numerous hill tribes (At least 14 of them) of Taiwan 台湾 原住民 have been blended and assimilated into Taiwanese society. They're being treated as equal, respected citizens who contributed a great deal to Taiwan's economy, particularly in the tourism industry and more. With the result of many mixed marriages, they look just like any other Chinese Taiwanese. 

Taiwanese hill tribal girl of the highland region of Taichung, Yin Tai wrote in memory of her childhood days an unforgettable incident during the pre-war (The 2nd WW, The Pacific War) era when Taiwan was under the colonial control of the Japanese Regime. Yin Tai documented the small anecdote after the completion of her Senior Middle 3 education in an essay she wrote. Here goes:


My father ran a Chinese traditional medical hall in our village during those difficult years when most foodstuff and daily needs were scarce and strictly controlled. Father was a gentle, kind hearted person to the villagers and to his children too. He loved us all the same and treated us fairly disregarding the gender of his kids. I remember vividly he only beat me on one occasion with a cane stick for my folly and a lie told. I was bruised to the bones and suffered blue and black marks all over my tiny body that my dearest mother sobbed for 3 days.

You wouldn't want to see a hatched chick inside the egg when you broke the shell, and were about to eat it!

It was on the way back to home after my primary school hours when I saw a mother hen sitting in a nest made of grass straws and rice-stalks in the compound of a neighbor’s house. It was hatching some eggs. In my 6-year old mind I thought would not it be a good thing if I were to take one egg from the hen for father’s breakfast the next day. I made some calculated moves; knowing well if I were to take the egg blatantly in front of the mother hen, I probably would be pecked. So I just slid my little hand behind the hen and pilfered one nice and warm egg from the uneasy hen. It made some noises in her protest but I ignored its response and made a beeline for home. I placed the egg on the dining table and told my father that I picked it up from our own chicken coop.

                   What in the world has happened to you Mom?

The next day mother poured hot water into a steel mug containing the egg. With the shell of the egg removed, and with a pungent smell it emitted, a still born chick emerged from the wreckage. With a little light interrogation, I admitted that the egg was stolen by me from the neighbor’s. After the punishment mother took a few eggs as compensation and apologized profusely to our neighbor for my silly misbehavior. For the matter I would not dare to be mischievous anymore thereafter. The thought of my beloved father caning me, inflicting me with unbearable pain, was unthinkable and that haunted me until I reached adulthood.

Years later my mother explained to me the reason why was father so mad with me. During the draconian ruling years of the Japanese regime, any theft or wrong doing could cost a person’s life, or result the perpetrator to be publicly flogged. I was stunned and silenced for weeks after learning that. I had learned my lesson well.


Alan CY Kok

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