In Time Traveler, John Van Trieste takes you back into history. Get to know the events that have a profound impact on Taiwan, and get to know the people and places that made it all happen. So what're you waiting for? Get on the RTI time machine!
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.
For generations of Taiwanese people, the book “A New English Grammar” by Ke Chi-hua was a trusty sidekick. There had never been anything like it in Taiwan before- a systematic, no-nonsense guide to the the English language that demystified its inner workings so that even schoolchildren could make sense of them. Its revised editions and sequels went on to be bestsellers too, and through the whole middle of the 20th century, Ke Chi-hua’s English textbooks were the preferred option for Taiwanese students looking to master the language. After so many decades of use, these books have achieved an iconic stature as something everyone over a certain age will remember.
At 109 years old, the National Taiwan Museum is Taiwan’s oldest museum and one of its most venerable institutions. Since 1908, the museum has been a center of natural history, anthropology, geology and other fields of study in Taiwan. Its current home, completed in 1915, was one of the chief landmarks of Taipei under Japanese colonial rule. It was built to impress, and especially after an extensive restoration project finished in November, it still does. But while the museum’s core mission of showcasing Taiwan’s people and nature has never changed, its precise aims and the means it uses to showcase Taiwan have. As the museum celebrates its reopening, I’m speaking with assistant museum researcher Lin Yi-hung about the museum’s past and about plans for its future.