Remembering 2/28 / by john cheng

On February 27, 1947 an anti-government uprising in Taiwan began and was violently suppressed by the KMT-led Republic of China government. A massacre of civilians began on February 28, 1947, predominantly those of an educated background. These civilians were dragged out of their homes and publicly executed. This day, "marked the beginning of the Kuomintang's White Terror period in Taiwan, in which thousands more vanished, died, or were imprisoned." On this day, February 28, we remember the tragedy that was 2/28 but this was also the day that triggered the movement towards an independent Taiwan.

All cultures all have their own painful histories but there is no point in holding grudges, however, it is still important to remember moments in our past that help shape our future.

Watch the spoken word below about the story of a woman's experience in watching her husband be dragged out of their home to be murdered and then raising their daughter on her own, performed by my very own mother. 

Placing down this single stem of lily, unable to let go of the remembrance of you.

My youth, like the pure white bud about to blossom, was crushed.

The morning, two months into our newly married life, gunshots disrupted the quiet Taipei roundabout streets in springtime.

Between the hospital and meetings, back and forth you went and rarely had time to see me.

That night, our bodies found comfort as one. The valley mist, felt like a blanket, embracing us.

The comforting moist, warm air made us breathless, not wanting to open our eyes.

Suddenly, the door forced violently opened, At gunpoint, soldiers dragged you away.

Not even allowing you to change your clothes...by our bedside...only one slipper was left behind. 

That same night...I washed your body for the very last time.

From your bare pale back, to the blood-spattered bullet shot, sits a deep, deep endless hollow wound, will forever be engraved in my memory.

Not a single tear fell. Despair left my heart cold as ice, my eyes dried as wood. 

My voice with no sound to be found. Fear constricted me…My heart will no longer be able to sing.

In an endless dark night, not knowing, a tiny seed quietly began to grow inside me…

The baby arrived prematurely on a typhoon night... “Ah….. it's a girl!”

Your father heard the news... disappointed, he shook his head and walked away. My family urged me to remarry…

It was arranged, the baby at one month would be sent away to be cared for by strangers...

In the middle of the night, the baby cried...I carried his child by the window, as I watched her contently nursing on my breast and slowly falling back asleep.

My tears running down my ears,  I knew I could not bare to let her leave my side.

At the moment, I realized…..“this baby is the Cross that I must carry, she is the testament of our love,

she is the only hope in this desolate life,  the only joy left in this sorrow filled life.”

Fifty years, flowed by like the strong river waters...
My youth, like a washboard I grinded through, during midnight needle threading I wedged through ... 

Our daughter is slowly growing up. And just like you...through her eyes, she is able to see what is right and wrong. And always has her own opinion...

As a young child, she would come along with me to wash clothes for people.    
The man selling molasses candy would always gave her some to eat.

One day she asked:
 “Could you please marry the man selling molasses candy? Then I will have candy to eat every day…”

And she continued...and whispered gently, “that way…..I will also have a father to love me…”

Our daughter grows up, and is nothing short than having a son. Like her father, she became an obstetrician. She opened a practice, started a family, had children and settled abroad.

Although I miss her very much, she is still my greatest comfort.

I still choose to live at the same house at the bottom of the hillside.

Fifty years later, I walked into the town square, stood by the monument that you so bravely shed your blood for.

For the first time, I am able to weep again…
In front of many witnesses, I can freely and fearlessly cry out for you.

For the first time, I am able to stand with my back upright, straight as an arrow. These fifty-years of turmoil...I held my head high...

The years of long awaited justice has finally arrived; Our sacrifice is not an evidence of crime, but a testimony of the justice that will be forever remembered in our history.

Like a torch that lights up, shining towards the land before dawn.

Placing down this single stem of lily, unable to let go of the remembrance of you.

Our youth, like the pure white buds, blossoming on our beloved motherland, even if we are crushed, there are no regrets.

 

囥一枝百合花
囥bē落對你ê思念
我ê青春親像純白ê花蕊
抵抵開花就hō͘人at折
咱新婚兩月日ê早起
槍聲擾亂台北園環ê春天
病院及談判會議來來去去,
你罕得及我相見
彼暝咱用身軀相安慰
山谷ê霧親像被
kā咱包圍
溫暖ê溼氣hō͘͘ 咱強欲絕氣
也呣願kā目睭展開
房間門雄雄互人撞開
兵仔攑搶kā你拖去
連外衫也呣互你換
眠床邊干單剩一雙淺拖
仝彼暝我上尾擺洗你ê身軀
Tùi白siak-siak ê腳脊phiaⁿ
摸槍子通過ê血跡 
深到摸無底ê的孔嘴
永久磕tī我ê記持
目屎無留半滴
絕望互我ê心冷ki-ki
互我ê目睭枯乾若柴 
喉叫也bē出聲
驚惶束ân我 ê 聲帶
我ê心bē閣唱歌
Tī無盡磅 ê 暗暝
一粒種子無人看見
恬恬 tī我ê腹內發芛
囡仔 tī風颱暝早產出世
啊,查某ê!
你ê老父聽著就hàiⁿ頭離開
外家勸我量早改嫁 
講好勢
囡仔滿月就送互人飼
半暝嬰仔啼哭
我抱伊行到窗仔口
看伊滿足suh奶,靜靜睏去
我ê目屎流到耳仔墘
呣甘 kā 伊抱離開身邊
彼霎我覺醒
囡仔是我欲揹ê十字架
是咱捌相疼ê印記
是絕望中獨一 ê  ńg 望
苦痛中上大 ê 歡喜
五十年親像大水流過
我ê青春 tī thoah板頂面noá過
對半暝針線 ê 孔縫 nńg 過
查某囝漸漸大漢
親像你,有黑白分明ê目睭
凡事有家己 ê 判斷
細漢伊 toè我去替人洗衫
賣麥芽膏 ê定定送互伊糖仔
有一工囡仔問我:
「你及賣芽膏 ê 結緍豈好
按呢我逐日攏有糖仔通食」
續接伊講細細聲
「按呢我也有
一個爸爸,通疼我」
查某囝大漢
無輸hō͘ 查甫囝仔
及你仝款,作婦科醫生
Tī外國開業,生囝定居
雖莽思念
猶是我上大 ê 安慰
我猶原守tī山腳ê厝裡
五十年後才行入街市
徛 tī你拍拚有份 ê 紀念碑
頭一擺由在目屎teh流
Tī眾人面前
出聲為你啼哭
頭一擺
我ê腳脊phiaⁿ徛挺挺
五十年ê拖磨無互我犁頭 
久年聽候 ê 正義這霎才到
咱 ê 犠牲呣是罪證
是歷史永久 ê 見證
親像點著 ê 火把
照過天光前 ê 曠野 
囥一枝百合花
囥bē落對你 ê 思念
咱ê青春親像清白ê花蕊
開 tī久長所疼 ê 土地
受 at-折也無怨悔