From Taiwan to the World and Back: A Memoir of Ambassador Fu-chen Lo （羅福全回憶錄英文版）
- 作者：Rou-jin Chen（陳柔縉）
- 譯者：Yew Leong Lee（李耀龍）
- 校註：Lanny T. Chen（柯翠園）
- 尺寸（公分） （寬×長×高）：15×21公分
A Taiwanese in the United Nations — where Taiwan could not enter, he found a way in.
As an economic expert, he has travelled across the world whereupon he provided his expertise to a number of countries.
He is an internationally seasoned Taiwanese, standing atop the world stage and where he conducts his exquisite performance.
Lo Fu-chen is a Taiwanese who left his hometown far behind and made his own way into international academic elite circle. He is neither a suitcase-carrying businessman nor a diplomat dispatched by government. He is but himself.
During the era when ROC (Taiwan) was repelled from the UN, it became isolated from international society and Taiwan’s political structure was quite enclosed. Lo Fu-chen couldn’t go back to Taiwan because of political reasons, however with a UN passport in hand, he was able to travel around the globe as a world citizen.
By what stroke of luck did a boy born in Sakaemachi, Chiayi left home for 40 years, unable to return, yet shines so brightly from atop the world stage?
Born in Sakaemachi, Chiayi during the Japanese colonial era, Lo went to Tokyo as an overseas student at the young age of 6. He went back to Taiwan after the war. After he graduated from college, he went to Japan to study again and eventually received his doctorate degree in Regional Science from University of Pennsylvania.
During the 1960s, when he was working on his doctorate degree at UPenn, he joined a pro Taiwan independence march and was thus blacklisted by the KMT government ─ not only was he forbidden to return to Taiwan, but he also became a man without nationality. In the 1970s, he was recruited by the UN to work at Nogoya’s UN Center for Regional Development due to his distinguished academic performance. He helped developing countries to establish their economies. He was also invited by countries such as India, Iran, Malaysia, etc. to work as their economic consultant. For 27 years, with UN passport in hand, he flew around the world working for the well-being of the people.
Just when he was ready to enjoy his retirement, the government in Taiwan changed hands. The new government wanted to use his connections in Japan as well as his economic expertise, and appointed him to the position of Taiwan’s top representative to Japan. His life thus took a big turn. Switching to politics at the age of 65, his greatest achievement in his 4-year term as top representative was to successfully negotiate former President Lee Tung-hui’s trip to Japan, which was indeed a great diplomatic breakthrough.
Lo is like a versatile Renaissance-man. Other than his economic expertise, he writes poems, does calligraphy, draws, sings, and even cooks. Through his eyes and stories, we are able to take a peek into his world of the past half century.
Introduction / Eva Lou ― 10
Preface ― 15
- 01. A Three-Year Old Giving Away the Bride ― 21
- 02. An Aunt Becomes a Mother, a Mother Becomes an Aunt ― 29
- 03. A Hundred Years Ago, Mother Was Once a Telephone Operator ― 37
- 04. Father Founded a Transportation Company and Even Built Bridges ― 45
- 05. A Celebrity’s Dog Caused Me to Hit My Head against the Wall ― 53
- 06. Eating the Rice Sent by Wang Yung-ching (王永慶) ― 61
- 07. We Owned a Lake ― 65
- 08. A Six-Year-Old Overseas Student ― 69
- 09. Singing at The Top of Our Voices: “Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling Have Fled Into the Mountains” ― 75
- 10. Leaving Our Homes En Masse for Schooling in a Hot Springs Resort ― 81
- 11. Japanese Subjects No Longer! ― 89
- 12. Learning Mandarin Chinese in Japan ― 95
- 13. The Scar of the 228 Incident: A Chiayi Perspective ― 101
- 14. Passing the Night on a Ping Pong Table in a Military Police Station ― 107
- 15. Many Famous Classmates at National Tainan First Senior High School ― 117
- 16. Shiy De-jinn ( 席德進) Was My Art Teacher ― 123
- 17. Nowadays Universities Admit Tens of Thousands of Students, But in the Past They Only Took Two Thousand ― 131
- 18. For Organizing a Graduation Dance, Our Class Rep Got Demerit Points ― 139
- 19. Fighting for a Photo of a Swedish Actress with a Girl ― 145
- 20. Learning Proper Dinner Etiquette before Going to Study Abroad ― 153
- 21. I Wanted to Open a School at the Age of Twenty-five ― 159
- 22. Forty-three People Secretly Becoming Sworn Brothers in a Hotel ― 169
- 23. Getting Engaged During White Terror ― 175
- 24. The Unbelievable Economics Department at Tokyo University ― 181
- 25. American Policemen Gave Me a Lift to My Protest ― 189
- 26. The Son of the British Prime Minister Mops the Floor in the US ― 197
- 27. Shouting at Robert Kennedy ― 201
- 28. A Letter from the Young Lee Chia-tung ― 205
- 29. PhDs Take On Naval Divers at Williamsport ― 213
- 30. Bringing Bananas to America ― 221
- 31. Taking Classes from a Nobel Prize Winner ― 229
- 32. The Magnificent Computer Capable of Processing 43K ― 237
- 33. A Ph.D. Certificate that Even a Ph.D. Can’t Read ― 241
- 34. My Friendship with Ikuda Kōji ( 生田浩二) ― 247
- 35. Being Investigated by the FBI in America ― 253
- 36. An MRT Pass for Global Travel (The United Nations Laissez-Passer) ― 259
- 37. A Traveling Economic Advisor ― 265
- 38. You Know that You’re Near a University if You Smell Tear Gas ― 275
- 39. Half Tables at a Wedding Banquet in an Iron-Curtain Country ― 281
- 40. Sounding the “Midnight Bell” at Hanshan Temple ― 287
- 41. Testifying at the US Congressional Hearing ― 293
- 42. Meeting Zhao Zi-yang ( 趙紫陽) and Zhu Rong-ji ( 朱鎔基) at the Beijing Conference ― 297
- 43. Lugging Back Jinhua Ham from Thousands of Miles Away ― 309
- 44. Lamb’s Eyes for Dinner ― 315
- 45. Eating Soft-Shell Turtle ― 321
- 46. Flying up Mount Everest on a Helicopter ― 325
- 47. Providing Economic Data for the G7 Summit ― 331
- 48. Drafting the Kyoto Protocol ― 337
- 49. A “Taiwanese” Meets World Leaders from All Over ― 343
- 50. Chiang Kai-shek Enlists Schumpeter as Economic Advisor ― 355
- 51. When His Fiancée Called Off the Engagement, He Tore Down the House ― 361
- 52. My Malay Muslim Brother ― 365
- 53. A Japanese Celebrity Comes to Taiwan, Happy About Not Having to Fear Assassination ― 371
- 54. My Appointment Intensifies the Awkwardness between the President and His Premier ― 377
- 55. The Japanese Princess Was Forbidden to Watch Television During Her Childhood ― 383
- 56. Becoming Tokyo’s Only Foreign Consultant ― 391
- 57. Giving the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations A Secret Tour of Taiwan ― 395
- 58. Yamanaka Sadanori’s Silver Cane ― 403
- 59. Being “Smuggled” into the American Embassy ― 411
- 60. Getting a Li Shih-chiao ( 李石樵) and a Grand Piano into the Taipei Representative Office ― 417
- 61. The Taiwanese Rep’s American Ways ― 425
- 62. Lee Teng-hui Visits Japan, to Whose Credit? ― 431
- 63. A Handsome Guy Regardless of Time Period ― 439
- 64. In Which Koo Chen-fu Says, “Nevermore from Taiwan will There Emerge Such a Person Again.” ― 447
- 65. Being the Witness at Jason Wu’s ( 吳季剛) Brother’s Wedding ― 453
- 66. Bringing Second Brother Up to Speed About My Life Abroad ― 459
- Chronicles of Lo Fu-chen ― 470
- List of Lo Fu-chen’s Major Academic Works ― 478
I am a Taiwanese through and through. I left Taiwan shortly after completing my university studies, not expecting to stay abroad for 45 years before coming home for good.
My initial reason for leaving the country was to evade the oppressive atmosphere of Taiwan under martial law. I went to the United States to study at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1960s. Then, determined to be a free man, I gave up my R.O.C. passport, thereby crossing the point of no return. The founder of the University of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin, was also one of the co-signers of the United States Declaration of Independence. Although people from the United States and England share a same language and racial background, Americans nevertheless wanted to establish their own sovereignty as a country; this was their God-given right. When the United States was declared independent, the first modern nation state was born. Living in exile in the 1960s at that time, Chin-fun and I drew comfort from this Declaration. This time was also the beginning of a new life for me.
In the 1970s, after I presented a paper at the World Geographical Union’s annual conference, an official from the United Nations approached me asking me if I would be willing to work for the UN Center for Regional Development (UNCRD) that they had recently set up in Japan. This would be another turning point in my life. I would spend cumulatively 25 years in Japan over the course of my life. The time spent in both pre-war and post-war Japan led me to developing quite a deep personal history with the country. As a young child, I had lived in Japan for five years before the War, and three years as a graduate student for my Master’s degree. From 1990 to 2000, I spent another ten years in Tokyo working for the United Nations University, which was followed by four years from 2000 to 2004 as Taiwan’s top representative to Japan, I helped to foster bilateral relations between Taiwan and Japan—a most meaningful opportunity of a lifetime.
In the 1970s when I first started my work at the United Nations, East Asian countries one after another entered a period of high economic growth. Japan was first, followed by the four East Asian “dragons”: Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The 1990s saw the rise of China and, with it, the Southeastern Asian countries. In the past decade, India’s economy has also begun to soar. As economic development advisor to these countries, I experienced a firsthand account of this boom that has been hailed as the “East Asia Miracle” by the World Bank.
It wasn’t only an economic shift that these countries experienced but also a deeply societal one; every country inexorably entered the era of modernization. It was a great blessing for me to have witnessed and contributed to it all firsthand. Such historical events include the assassination of South Korean President Park Chung-hee in the 1980s followed by the Gwangju Uprising; the People Power Revolution in 1986 that overturned the Marcos government in the Philippines; the democratization of Indonesia sparked by the transition from pro-Communist Sukarno to pro-US Suharto. I’ve also seen the chaos before the collapse of Iran’s monarchy in 1978; and the change in Pakistan’s government. In November of 1980, I visited Beijing for the first time and saw how China put the Gang of Four on trial. On the first anniversary of the Tiananmen Square incident, I happened to be giving a lecture at Peking University, so I had the opportunity to talk with the students while their university’s main gate was blockaded by soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army. When the Cold War ended, I personally witnessed the upheaval that each Eastern European country went through. I saw how my friends, my students, as well as the general public faced up to the change. All these historical moments contributed to my precious life experience.
During the ten years from 1990 to 2000 that I spent at the United Nations University, the United Nations held its first ever Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. This UN summit announced that the new challenge facing mankind was Earth’s sustainable development—this would become one of my core research subjects at the university. My other main research topic was a problem faced by the world’s “mega cities,” i.e. the problem of a great influx of rural populations into these large cities, partly due to the population explosion in third world countries. On the other hand, due to the maturation of an international economic integration that saw the formation of “world cities” and network of cities controlling major internationalized economies. For both these research topics, I collaborated with scholars and organizations from both developed and developing countries; as such, I traveled all over the world.
For a time, I felt great regret that I could not be by Chin-fun’s side as she raised our children in the United States, thousands of miles away. This was the period that Tse-hsin (Ted) and Tse-yen (David) were attending high school and university which is, without a doubt, a period of adolescence where one is most impressionable and when one is most in need of his father’s guidance and the warmth of family life. At the end of 1984, after I decided to go back to Asia, I received an offer for a full-time professorship from the University of Pennsylvania’s Regional Science Department. Even so, my heart was still pointing me towards helping developing countries, so I flew across the ocean alone to pursue my calling.
Long-distance calls each weekend and postcards from Paris and Argentina cannot make up for my being an absent father to my children. Fortunately for me, Chin-fun was and is a strong woman, who ably took up her wifely duties of looking after the household and the children in my absence.
My children finished their studies smoothly and found jobs in American companies. One after the other, they were sent to Tokyo for work. During my time at the United Nations University and my four years as Taiwan’s top representative to Japan, our family was finally reunited in Tokyo. It was also during this time that my children both got married and our family of four grew to six. Our family gatherings then were the happiest moments of our lives. Ten years later, my grandchildren are now using many different languages to talk to us. After leaving Taiwanese soil for over forty years, my family has become an international one.
In the summer of 2004, I finally came back to Taiwan to stay for good. From my tenth-story apartment, I have a grand view of Tatun Mountain, Yangming Mountain, as well as the undulating peaks of many mountains. The sunset view is especially touching. Protesters bearing blue or green colors represent KMT or opposite parties fill the streets down below from time to time. Evidently, modern society, like the society I grew up with, is still inherently unjust. Nevertheless as a democracy, Taiwan has made leaps and bounds. The era of military rule is over, replaced by that of a new democracy. Like many other Asian countries, Taiwan is now well on its way to becoming a true modern democracy.
Over the last twenty years, the economic growth of China, just across the Taiwan Strait from us, has been a cause for joy. To think that the May Fourth Movement of students in Peking back in 1919 had proclaimed that science and democracy could save China. Today, only Science has prevailed. The Chinese still have quite a long way to go as far as democracy is concerned. Compared to China, Taiwan is truly fortunate in this respect. The Taiwan that I’ve returned to after forty years of being abroad is a brand-new Taiwan.
Chin-fun loves the opening of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The word ‘dream’ can also be interpreted as an ideal, the road striving towards that ideal, a road sign. This book represents that road we’ve walked together, but it’s also a record of our everyday lives.
I’m very grateful to Chen Jou-Chin for her professionalism and her dedication in completing this book. For their attentiveness, I want to thank my editors at Commonwealth Publishing, Hsu Yao-yun, Chou Su-yun and Lu Yi-Sui. Finally, I’m grateful to Asymptote’s editor-in-chief Lee Yew-Leong for translating this book into English.
Lo Fu-chen 1 July, 2013