Exhibition on late Hakka poet’s literary items kicks off in Miaoli

The Hakka Culture Development Center launched an exhibition on the literary possessions of late Hakka poet and pharmacist Zhan Bing (詹冰) at the Taiwan Hakka Museum in Miaoli on Aug. 16. The exhibition was made possible with the help of Zhan’s family members, who donated his manuscripts, newspaper clippings, drawings, publications, trophies, photographs, diaries, and pharmaceutical prescriptions.

The opening ceremony was attended by Zhan’s son Zhan Chien-wei (詹前衛); Deputy Speaker of Legislative Yuan Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), who is Zhan’s grandson; renowned poet Li Min-yung (李敏勇); Hakka Contribution Award laureate Li Qiao (李喬); and Principal of Aletheia University (真理大學) Chen Chi-ming (陳奇銘).

To express his gratitude for the generosity of Zhan’s family, Hakka Affairs Council Minister Lee Yung-de presented an appreciation certificate to those in attendance, noting that literature is an indispensable part of Hakka culture. On Taiwan Romantic Route 3, former residences of literary luminaries including Taoyuan’s Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政), Hsinchu’s Wu Zhuo-liu (吳濁流) and Long Ying-zong (龍瑛宗), and Miaoli’s Li Qiao (李喬) and Zhan Bing have become important cultural assets for future generations to explore Hakka literary heritage, added Lee.

The exhibition on Zhan’s items will also take place on a later date at Miaoli’s Zhan Bing Literary Museum (詹冰故事文學館), which is not only a historic site but also a stronghold for the Raoping-accented (饒平) Hakka language.

Born at Miaoli’s Zhuolan Township in 1921, Zhan developed his enthusiasm for literature at a young age. Receiving his education in the era of Japanese rule, Zhan started to write Japanese poems when he was a high school student. At his father’s insistence, Zhan went to Japan to study pharmacy instead of literature in 1942. However, he refused to give up his love of words and continued to write and publish more poems.

Zhan came back to Taiwan and was faced with a big challenge when Japanese rule ended after World War II he was unable to write Japanese verses in Mandarin-speaking society under a new regime. Zhan ultimately decided to learn Mandarin because his dedication to poetry drove him to surmount the limitations of language. He kept creating literary works until he passed away in 2004. Zhan’s creative imagination and lifelong passion embodied by his poems are precious treasures in the Hakka literary trove.