HAC minister visits Zhan Bing Literary Museum in Miaoli

To explore late Hakka writer Zhan Bing’s literary passions, Hakka Affairs Council (HAC) Minister Yiong Con-ziin attended a literary tour at Zhan Bing Literary Museum (詹冰故事文學館) in Miaoli’s Zhuolan Township on Oct. 23. The event is one of the activities hosted by the contemporary Hakka literary salon, which was launched in September.
HAC minister visits Zhan Bing Literary Museum in Miaoli

Following his recitation of Zhan’s poem, HAC Minister Yiong said that the region on Taiwan Romantic Route 3 used to be regarded as an underdeveloped remote area. However, Yiong pointed out, this area is the birthplace of many esteemed Hakka authors, including Taoyuan’s Chung Chao-cheng (鍾肇政) and Du Pan Fang-ge (杜潘芳格), Hsinchu’s Wu Zhuo-liu (吳濁流) and Long Ying-zong (龍瑛宗), and Miaoli’s Zhan Bing. Why this region has nurtured so many writers who wrote beautiful works for Taiwan is something worth thinking about when we read their writings, said the Minister.

Minister Yiong also said, HAC believes that it is necessary to build literary museums in memory of these writers, not only for future generations to remember, but also for non-Hakka people to know that the culture of Taiwan Romantic Route 3 is something to be proud of. 

Apart from reading Zhan’s poems, the tour activities also included visits to the former Japanese-style dormitory of Zhuolan Elementary School, E-Lun Temple (峨崙廟), Zhan Ancestral Temple (詹氏繼述堂), historical building Zhihe Hospital (智和醫院). 

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 in 1945 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 barrier of language. He kept creating literary works until he passed away in 2004.