Friday, March 25, 2011
One day in the summer of 1961, we (Miss Jones, Sherman, and I) got the itch to go out and do something. We decided to go out for a sparrow hunt. No, I do not remember why and how we decided to do that. We got ready to go, with a bb-gun , water and something to munch. We took a taxi to a suburb town called Mooshan(木 栅) and walked in the woods and trails. We had a great time, but not one shot was taken. No sparrow was hunted down.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Since schooling was so much a part of our growing-up process, most of my classmates participated in very few outside classroom activities. It was unusual for me to play basketball and to sing in the church. People like my father wondered where I got time to do so much! But I do have to give him credit not interfering with my activities whatsoever, especially after I passed the entrance exam to go to Taida. Both my parents supported me pretty much as I liked, which made my life much more enjoyable during my college years. Beginning in high school, whenever we had some free time, especially during the summer months, we read quite a lot of Chinese novels, such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms (三国演义), and Water Margin (水浒传) and Journey to the West (西游记). All of them I have read several times. These stories trained us in the so-called Chinese "mind".
The only foreign novel I read was Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. I read it in Chinese! And certainly I was very moved by the story, it is very interesting that I experience the same emotions whenever I watch the musical of the same title.
Friday, March 18, 2011
There were the usual drinking games played during our "Thanks-to-Teachers" banquet. This is an interesting game and it is played at all happy-occasion meals in Taiwan. It works like this: after two people agree to start, they shake hands first. They each then raise their own hand straight up and when they bring the hands down - at the same time they would signal a number between zero and five with their fingers while shouting out a perhaps different number between zero and ten. A person wins the game when the called number matches the sum of the two hands. The game continues with the contestants shouting numbers and showing hands until someone wins. The loser then drinks some liquor in the amount pre-determined by early agreement. Yes, the loser drinks! It is opposite from the western way of thinking! The game is then repeated – usually at least three times. Of course, the game could get very loud and heated! The following picture shows me playing this game with a professor. To show my respect, I was standing while he sat!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
There were three "musicians" in the Chemistry Department's graduating class of 1961. We had to take a picture together to celebrate. The other two were both pianists. Their names are Beatrice Ying and Hwei-Shung Hong. We all performed after the banquet.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
About one month before we graduated, we had a banquet to say "thank you" to our professors. The after dinner program included some singing (which I directed) for the teachers. Our president came to the banquet too, as he had been a chemist before becoming the president. The surprising aspect was that all our female classmates put on some make-up and got more dressed-up than usual, which had never been seen before by their male counterparts. Another first at this party was that everyone in the graduating class (a total of thirty) was there! What a night!
A photographer was there to take the official picture of students and teachers of the Chemistry Department, 1961.
Monday, March 7, 2011
The following picture is my Chemistry class group picture, the only one I know of which is in color. There are twenty people in the picture, out of my class of thirty three. When we graduated in 1961, only thirty graduated officially. Everyone here was relaxed and happy. Unfortunately I do not remember the occasion for this get-together.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
At the end of our junior year in college, all male students had to go to basic training to prepare for the mandatory draft right after graduating from college. The regular draft at that time was for three years of service, but college graduates only needed to serve one year as an officer at the lowest rank. So the college graduates were really better treated than the general public young males. That was another reason why everyone wanted to pass the college entrance examinations. The basic training was not part of the one year service. Therefore, it was required the summer before the service time. I was assigned to the fourth training center in Taichung.
Yes I played quite a bit of basketball during the three months of basic training, which is fairly unusual. Military groups loved basketball games, treating good players with everything they could provide. I was lucky to be selected to represent the training center. I had a better schedule for my daily life there and was envied by everyone else in the center. The following four were called big fishes, as we had slippery bodies to get away from trouble.
Yes, we did learn how to shoot a gun during our training, besides marching around and singing some songs for days until we were hoarse, looking forward to the weekends when we could take a break.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
There was a small lot on the right side of Chiang Kai Shek's Presidential Building reserved as a park. In the late fifties, it was remodeled with some old-style pavilions. It was definitely better looking than before. The local government was quite proud of what they did. The image of a very "poor" place was starting to change. It was a very slow change and it would not be noticeable until perhaps 1972. When I look back, the change really started after I entered Taida.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
As I told you before, Taida has a great campus. It was the best University when the Japanese started it and it continued so until today. Some academic departments may no longer be the best on the island, but over-all Taida still dominates. Clearly, when we started in 1957, it was THE University, from the curriculum to its physical infra structure. The following two pictures were taken on campus during the height of my golden years there.