Taiwan Fiction and
Postwar Urban Experience
Week 10:
Huang Chun-ming and
“Young Widow”
[Nov 14th, 2013]
Instructor:
Richard Rong-bin Chen, PhD.
Adjunct Assistant Professor,
Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, NTU
Unless noted, the course materials are licensed under Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Taiwan (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)
Huang Chun-ming [黃春明]
1935: born in Luo-tung Township, Yi-lan County.
1956: published his first short story, “Son of the
Street Sweeper” (〈清道夫的孩子〉).
1958: graduated from National Ping-tung
Teachers College, and taught for three years in I-lan.
His son, Huang Kuo-chun [黃國峻] (1971-2003),
once a promising young novelist, committed suicide
without leaving any words behind.
Taiwan e-Learning & Digital Archives Program, TELDAP
http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/5b/c7/11.html
More about Huang Chun-ming
• The Taste of Apples. Translated by Howard
Goldblatt, and published by Columbia University
Press in 2001.
• “The Rural Stories of Hwang Chun-ming” by
Howard Goldblatt, collected in Chinese Fiction
from Taiwan: Critical Perspectives, edited by
Jeannette L. Faurot, publish by Idiana University
Press in 1980.
• The contribution to the New Cinema of
Taiwan in the 80s and 90s.
National Taiwan University Richard Rong-bin Chen
National Taiwan University Richard Rong-bin Chen
“The Drowning of an Old Cat”
〈溺死一隻老貓〉(1967)
•
•
•
•
A village invaded by people in the city.
The swimming pool.
The “old cat”: Uncle Ah-sheng.
Uncle Ah-sheng drowned himself.
“A Flower in the Rainy Night”
〈看海的日子〉(1967)
•
•
•
•
The prostitute.
Discrimination on the train.
The baby.
Back to her native village, where villagers
showed her due respect and support, and
didn’t discriminate her.
• The baby changed her life. [The final train
scene.]
“His Son’s Big Doll”
〈兒子的大玩偶〉(1968)
•
•
•
•
The sandwichman.
The makeup of a clown.
The family.
The son.
“The Two Sign Painters”
〈兩個油漆匠〉(1971)
• Two aboriginal young men from
Hua-lien.
• Unsatisfied with the job, but couldn’t
return home.
• People in the city vs. the aboriginal
young men.
• The film adaptation.
“The Taste of Apples”
〈蘋果的滋味〉(1972)
First published in the supplement to China
Times in December, 1972, Huang Chunming’s “The Taste of Apples” can be first of
all interpreted as a political novel criticizing
America’s great influence on Taiwan during
the “U.S. Aid” period (1951-65).
 Written against the background of Nixon’s
historical visit to China in February, 1972.
“Sayonara, Zaijian”
〈沙喲娜拉.再見〉 (1973)
“I Love Mary”
〈我愛瑪莉〉 (1977)
 Both allegories about Taiwan’s relationship
with foreign great powers.
(The former about Japan, and the latter
America.)
 Narrative model of “countrypeople in the
city.”
Historical Background:
The Vietnamese War
• During the Cold War period, the United States
was willing to help any government who was
opposed to communism, like the South
Vietnamese government with the communist
North Vietnamese government as it enemy.
• In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the
ambitious pledge to “pay any price, bear any
burden, meet any hardship, support any
friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the
survival and success of liberty.”
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the original source is from 蔡高明
http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0002774587&dofile=getImage.jsp?d=1321255132923&id=000277
9354&filename=cca100062-hp-ph010_032l-0001-i.jpg It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act Article
52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
After the 7th Fleet sent to Taiwan in 1950, more and
more bars emerged in Kaohsiung, and were not closed
until the end of the Vietnam War in 1975.
A picture taken
nearby Kaohsiung’s
Love River, date
unknown.
The women in the
picture might be bar
girls.
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of
Cultural Heritage” but the original source is from 蔡高明
http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0
002774589&dofile=getImage.jsp?d=1321255932649&id=00027793
56&filename=cca100062-hp-ph010_034l-0001-i.jpg It is used
subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act Article
52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the original source is from 謝惠民
http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0004505247&dofile=getImage.jsp?d=1332415886290&id=00044
88647&filename=cca100062-hp-kh2002_012_513_0002-i.jpg It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act
Article 52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
Nancy’s Bar in Kaohsiung, 1964.
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the original source is from 中央日報
(http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0000812132&dofile=getImage.jsp?d=1321255132064&id
=0000969911&filename=cca220001-hp-hjm0140679-0001-i.jpg) It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan
Copyright Act Article 52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
Some Taiwanese female escorts with US GIs at a table,
enjoying a hot pot. (November 1966.)
The first group of
American GIs on vacation
in Taiwan, 65 of them in
total, arriving Taipei on
November 25, 1968 for a
five-day trip.
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of
Cultural Heritage” but the original source is from 中央通訊社
http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=
0005912267&dofile=getImage.jsp?d=1321320283618&id=000584
0739&filename=cca220002-hp-196511250231000002l-0001-w.jpg
It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright
Act Article 52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
A Resort for R&R
• 1954: the Sino-American Mutual Defense Treaty
signed, promoting an emerging bar/dance hall/night
club business. (Bans lifted in 1958.)
• According to the Johnson Administration’s policy,
in November 1965, the Pentagon planned to raise
the number of US troops to 400,000.
• From November 1965 to 1971, about 400,000
American soldiers went to Taiwan for vacation.
• To clear up the “aftermaths” of the vacations, the
first venereal disease clinic was set up in Taipei in
1968.
From “Young Widow” in Oxcart
In 1968, Linden Johnson, the president of the United States,
ordered that a record-breaking number of American military
personnel be dispatched to serve in the Viet Nam theatre of war.
When the number of servicemen had reached five hundred
thousand, Taiwan was drawn into the Far East zone as a rest and
recreation centre for the enjoyment of the American troops.
Taiwan’s bar and nightclub industry had previously been sluggish,
but now it began to prosper. Bars appeared in Taipei, Keelung,
Taichung and Kaohsiung; even remote Hualien that had never
before even possessed a bar boasted of its new industry. With
minor renovations, such as the installation of English-language
neon signs that blinked on and off like eyes, teahouses were
transformed into bars, and the tea attendants were similarly
transformed into bar girls. None of the girls knew for sure
whether their new status constituted a promotion; nonetheless,
they all felt an indescribable thrill of excitement. (p .221)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
The Anti-war Movement in the U.S.
“To make the most of this opportune moment, we must
understand the psychology of the American GIs who
come to Taiwan on leave. The American citizens back
home in the United States are strongly opposed to the
war in Viet Nam, and the anti-war movement is at its
height. As a consequence, the morale of the troops is
very low. As soon as any conscript in Viet Nam obtains
leave and gets his hand on some money, he’ll want
nothing more than to go out and have a good time. No
matter where he’s sent on leave, he’ll seek out bars and
women.” Ma paused again and extinguished the long,
element cigarette of which he had taken no more than a
couple of puffs. (p .226)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
The Fall of South Vietnam
• After Tet Offensive and the My Lai
Massacre (both in 1968) , the war got more
notorious.
• In 1968, the U.S. government passed the
“Vietnamization” policy.
• By 1973, U.S. military involvement ended.
• In 1975, the North Vietnamese army
captured Saigon, which marked the end of
the Vietnam War.
“Young Widow” [小寡婦] (1974)
by Huang Chun-ming
• The protagonist is a Taiwanese with a foreign
degree in marketing and hotel management.
• In order to enhance an Oriental feeling, the
bar’s name was renamed “Young Widow”.
• Toward the end of the story, the protagonist
pulled out of the business in 1970, and turned
to real estate industry.
• One of the American GIs survived the war,
reunited with a bar girl in the end.
The Six Sections
•
•
•
•
•
•
1968
Summit Talks
121, 121 [January 21]
Area D Strategy
We Shall Overcome
1970
Characters
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Japanese reporters
Miyairi and Okamoto
American Soldiers
Smith and Steve ( both A-qing’s patron)
Blackie [Moon Beauty’s son Little Johnny in
Crystal Boy]
Louie
Tommy [LSD abuse]
Hershey
Billy
Taiwanese Characters
•
•
•
•
•
General Manager Huang
Ma Shanxing [馬善行]
Madams
A-qing [a bar girl, from the countryside]
A-qing’s mother would run about
everywhere in the countryside, saying,
“My daughter works in an import-export
company in Taipei.” (p. 246)
• Feifei
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
“You are now bar girls . . .”
”Stop laughing, the rest of you. You have to
remember your English names! I want to
remind you that you’re no longer tea attendants.
You’re now bar girls who want nothing less
than to suck Johnny dry!” He made a point of
saying “ bar girl “in English, then translating it
into Chinese. The girls were all very animated,
especially Shirley, who couldn’t stop giggling.
(p .222)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
“A deaf-mute is the best bar girl”
” You ought to know by now that you can
communit fine by not even opening your mouth.
Besides, no one asked you to talk. We’re not asking
you to be a lawyer or to run for the Provincial
Assembly.” Huang replied. “ I’m telling everyone
in Hualien that if they can speak English to
pretend they can’t. There’s a girl in one of the bars
in Taichung who’s deaf and mute, but of all the
girls, she has the best relations with the patrons.
And she makes the most money. That doesn’t mean
I want you to pretend you can’t talk, but the less
English you can speak , the more the GIs will like
you because you’ll seem exotic.” (p .223)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
The Name of the Bar
“ ‘Young Widow’ will be written in large
Chinese characters. It doesn’t matter if the
GIs don’t understand. The more they don’t
understand, the more mysterious they’ll find it,
and the more curious they’ll be. The United
States isn’t a country with a lot of culture, so
Americans are especially curious about China.
Still, the words Young Widow can be put up in
small English letters below the large
signboard. ” (p. 231-32)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
Criticism of the US Government
(the Ad on the China Post)
Why did the United States’ Asia Diplomacy Fail?
Because Americans don’t understand the saying:
“When in Rome do as the Romans do!”
If you want to understand the meaning of
“When in Rome do as the Romans do,”
Come to Jinxi Street and ask our young widows.
You’ll find out everything you want to know there!
(
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
Taiwan Cement Corporation
This work is from “Google map”(https://maps.google.com.tw/) and
used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act
Article 52 and 65 by GET
“I recently heard that Cathay Construction has put up
a number of apartment complexes. Sixty percent of the
funds were borrowed and are due for repayment over
a fifteen-year period. I suggest we consider purchasing
one of these blocks. There are two reasons for this: first,
we’ll be making a long-term future investment in real
estate and, second we can partition the block into
residences for the girls. If the girls have their own
apartment, they can easily persuade the GIs not to stay
in a hotel, but we can charge them hotel rates. This
could be a big source of revenue, enough to meet the
mortgage payments. But there’s more … (p. 237)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
Ma had written up to this point when a friend by the
name of Jin suddenly came into his mind. Jin had
studied architecture abroad and he had once
commented to Ma that architectural forms had the
power to alter lifestyles. Contemporary apartment
design, for example, do not take the traditional spirit
tablets into consideration. The apartments are
invariably designed after European models, and as a
consequence Chinese apartment-dwellers do not carry
on ancestor-worship. As Ma Shanxing reflected on the
concept of the “apartment culture,” he remembered
that when he was designing the Young Widow, he had
paid little attention to anything other than making
money. His emotions in a turmoil, he became aware of
his inner contradictions. (p. 285)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
“At the present, Taiwan’s economy is booming, and both
industry and business are expanding. The cities are
becoming very prosperous, and manpower is needed in
the export industry. There are large numbers of workers
leaving the farming areas and being absorbed into the
urban centres, reflecting the internal migration taking
place. The flood of labour has given rise to a new problem
in the urban areas; that is, it is creating a housing
shortage. Right now, the most lucrative business to be in
is construction. On the outside, capital looks swollen, but
the truth is, it’s all speculation. You can tell this from the
way the insurance companies have become engaged in
construction!” (p. 301-2)
Source: Huang Chun-ming.(1996). Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.),
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
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Author/Source
3
Taiwan e-Learning & Digital Archives Program, TELDAP
http://catalog.digitalarchives.tw/item/00/5b/c7/11.html
2013/11/15 visited
5
National Taiwan University Richard Rong-bin Chen
6
National Taiwan University Richard Rong-bin Chen
14
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the
original source is from 蔡高明
(http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0002774587&dofile=getI
mage.jsp?d=1321255132923&id=0002779354&filename=cca100062-hp-ph010_032l0001-i.jpg) It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act Article 52
and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
15
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the
original source is from 蔡高明
(http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0002774589&dofile=getI
mage.jsp?d=1321255932649&id=0002779356&filename=cca100062-hp-ph010_034l0001-i.jpg) It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act Article 52
and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
16
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the
original source is from 謝惠民
(http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0004505247&dofile=getI
mage.jsp?d=1332415886290&id=0004488647&filename=cca100062-hpkh2002_012_513_0002-i.jpg) It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan
Copyright Act Article 52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
Copyright Declaration
Page
Work
Licensing
Author/Source
17
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the
original source is from 中央日報
(http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0000812132&dofile=getI
mage.jsp?d=1321255132064&id=0000969911&filename=cca220001-hp-hjm01406790001-i.jpg) It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act Article 52
and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
18
This work is from “Ministry of Culture, National Repository of Cultural Heritage” but the
original source is from 中央通訊社
(http://nrch.cca.gov.tw/ccahome/search/search_meta.jsp?xml_id=0005912267&dofile=getI
mage.jsp?d=1321320283618&id=0005840739&filename=cca220002-hp196511250231000002l-0001-w.jpg) It is used subject to the fair use doctrine of the Taiwan
Copyright Act Article 52 and 65 by GET, and 文化部著作權聲明
20
In 1968, Linden
Johnson, the president
… indescribable thrill of
excitement.
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.221).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
21
To make the most of
this opportune … he
had taken no more than
a couple of puffs.
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.226).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
26
A-qing’s mother would
run about … works in an
import-export company
in Taipei.
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.246).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
27
Stop laughing, the rest of
you. You have to …
especially Shirley, who
couldn’t stop giggling.
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.222).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
Copyright Declaration
Page
Work
Licensing
Author/Source
28
You ought to know by
now that you can …will
like you because you’ll
seem exotic.”
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.223).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
29
‘Young Widow’ will be
written in large …up in
small English letters
below the large signboard.
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (pp.231-2).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
30
If you want to understand
the meaning of
“When in …everything
you want to know there!
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (pp.231-2).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
This work is from “Google map”(https://maps.google.com.tw/) and used subject to the fair
use doctrine of the Taiwan Copyright Act Article 52 and 65 by GET
31
32
I recently heard that
Cathay …the mortgage
payments. But there’s
more …
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.237).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
33
Ma had written up to this
point when a friend by …
became aware of his
inner contradictions.
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (p.285).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
Copyright Declaration
Page
Work
34
At the present, Taiwan’s
economy is … insurance
companies have become
engaged in construction!
Licensing
Author/Source
Huang Chun-ming.(1996) . Young Widow
Rosemary M. Haddon(Eds.)
Oxcart : nativist stories from Taiwan, 1934-1977. (pp.301-2).
Dortmund [Germany] : Projekt Verlag
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