Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lin I-hsiung speaks out...

Lîm Gī-hiông speaks out.

This is a group that particularly focuses on advocating for referendums on major matters including Taiwan continued independence as a true expression of democracy.

Pastor Ko Chùn-bêng (Kao Chun-Ming) opens with a prayer.

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) dictatorship of Chiang Ching-kuo unjustly imprisoned Pastor Kao after the 1979 Kaohsiung Incident. While in prison, he wrote a poem that has become a rallying point of hope for the Taiwanese people. It is called "Chhì-phè hō͘ Hóe Sio" (The Burning Thornbush) and was inspired by the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church's 140-plus year-old motto: 焚而不燬 "Nec Tamen Consumebatur" (It burned but was not consumed). This motto in turn harkens back to the "Killing Times" of the late 1600's in Scotland where there was intense government persecution of the Scottish Covenanters who refused to submit their religious beliefs to state rule. The government made non-sanctioned field meetings treasonable and preaching at these assemblies carried the death penalty. Scottish pastors were systematically hunted down, imprisoned and executed for their stand for freedom of religion and freedom of assembly.

Roughly translated the song reads: "See the bush of thorns burning, it burns fiercely. But it is not consumed, it continues to stand. When the flames die out, there will be new leaf shoots. When the spring comes again, it will put forth new flowers to blossom. " This song has a dual meaning. On the one hand, it can refer to Christian churches (such as those in China) which are persecuted by governments yet these churches still grow stronger. And its contextual religious backdrop is the seeming defeat and elimination of Jesus by arrest, torture, humiliation and execution that was turned into the very means of redemption for God's people -- victory out of defeat, resurrection after death. The song also, and more immediately, refers to the fact that no matter how much dictatorships (such as the ROC government-in-exile in Taiwan) use injustice and oppression, eventually, justice, freedom and democracy must prevail.

This poem has been put to music by Lo̍h Î-tō in the traditional Khàu-tiâu-á, a wailing song motif used in the Taiwanese Opera -- Koa-á-hì (歌仔戯) . (This form of musical theatre - the Koa-á-hì - was invented in I-Lan in 1910. It became so popular for village and temple festivals that it spread all over southeast Asia and also China and replaced previous musical opera styles. As I understand it, the Beijing Opera copied this Koa-á-hì style that originated right here in Taiwan in I-Lan.)


Anonymous said...

Lin I-hsiung should declare his candidacy for President or his march will mean nuttin.

Anonymous said...

His march is not about running for president.

Joel Linton said...

Getting one good leader at the top cannot replace an extensive grass roots movement of the people. Taiwan has not substantively changed while the KMT has continued to hold power in the legislature. Changing the legislature requires informed voting on the grass-roots level.

I'm very thankful for Lin I-hsiung's leadership and sacrifice for Taiwan's people over these many years. I respect him a lot, especially that he has always been above reproach in his political interaction, has always refused any thing even remotely looking like a bribe, and has not sought self-advancement or power.

I still cannot imagine his suffering that he went through and perhaps still goes through because his daughters and mother were assassinated.

Anonymous said...

Joel, well you just described a man fit to be Taiwan's next president!

Anonymous said...

Yes, I will also vote for Lin sensei!

ka -io!

Joel Linton said...

That guy to the right of Rev. Kao with the red and black jacket, sun glasses and originally police base-ball cap that he took off looks really suspicious.

He is chewing something and looking around and listening his ear piece, but something in his whole manner makes me think of a thug.

The other police presence around the protesters merely look standing there mean and menacing.