Ke Chi-hua, Taiwan's great English teacher (Part Two)

  • 20 November, 2020
  • English Service

For decades, anyone in Taiwan who wanted to learn English had only one place to turn. For whole generations of people here, the works of author Ke Chi-hua were trusty friends, guiding the way through the tangled world of English grammar. It is for these bestsellers, published starting around 1960, that many Taiwanese people today remember Ke best. But Ke was a man of staggering talent, whose literary output included books in multiple languages, novels, and poetry. He was also a man whose life was full of tragedy.

As a suspected dissident living under Taiwan’s 20th century dictatorship, he spent the prime of his life, around 17 years in total, imprisoned. His poetic attacks on the government and fight for Taiwan’s dignity are also his legacy. Ke passed away in 2002, but his story is just as much the story of his wife, Tsai A-li. Now 86, she still remembers the joy they shared over their success as publishers. And she still remembers the heartbreak of running a business and raising a family alone after Ke was taken. This month, Ms. Tsai has agreed to share her memories with us, and today, we present part two of her recollections.

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