|Born||July 11, 1937|
Guilin, Guangxi, China
|Residence||Santa Barbara, California|
|Alma mater|| La Salle College |
Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School
National Cheng Kung University
National Taiwan University
|Notable works||Crystal Boys|
|Notable awards||Order of Brilliant Star (2015)|
|Relatives||Bai Chongxi (father)|
Kenneth Hsien-yung Pai (Chinese :白先勇; pinyin :Bái Xiānyǒng; Wade–Giles :Pai Hsien-yung), born July 11, 1937) is a Taiwanese writer who has been described as a "melancholy pioneer." He was born in Guilin, Guangxi, China at the cusp of both the Second Sino-Japanese War and subsequent Chinese Civil War. Pai's father was the famous Kuomintang (KMT) general Bai Chongxi (Pai Chung-hsi), whom he later described as a "stern, Confucian father" with "some soft spots in his heart." Pai was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of seven, during which time he would have to live in a separate house from his siblings (of which he would have a total of nine). He lived with his family in Chongqing, Shanghai, and Nanjing before moving to the British-controlled Hong Kong in 1948 as CPC forces turned the tide of the Chinese Civil War. In 1952, Pai and his family resettled in Taiwan, where the KMT had relocated the Republic of China after defeat by the Communists in 1949.
Pai studied in La Salle College, a Hong Kong Catholic boys' high school, until he left for Taiwan with his family. In 1956, Pai enrolled at National Cheng Kung University as a hydraulic engineering major, because he wanted to participate in the Three Gorges Dam Project. The following year, he passed the entrance examination for the foreign literature department of National Taiwan University and transferred there to study English literature. In September 1958, after completing his first year of study, he published his first short story "Madame Ching" in the magazine Literature. Two years later, he collaborated with several NTU classmates—e.g., Chen Ruoxi, Wang Wenxing, Ouyang Tzu—to launch Modern Literature (Xiandai wenxue), in which many of his early works were published. He was also known to frequent the Cafe Astoria in Taipei.
Pai went abroad in 1963 to study literary theory and creative writing at the University of Iowa in the Iowa Writers' Workshop. That same year, Pai's mother, the parent with whom Pai had the closest relationship, died, and it was this death to which Pai attributes the melancholy that pervades his work. After earning his M.A. from Iowa, he became a professor of Chinese literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has resided in Santa Barbara ever since. Pai retired from UCSB in 1994. Pai's cousin is Hong Kong radio personality Pamela Peck.
Pai's most famous work of fiction, Taipei People (臺北人, Táiběirén, 1971), is a seminal work of Chinese modernism that mixes both literary Chinese and experimental modernist techniques. In terms of his choice of themes, Pai's work is also far ahead of its time. His novel, Crystal Boys (孽子, Nièzǐ, 1983), tells the story of a group of homosexual youths living in 1960s Taipei, largely from the viewpoint of a gay youth who is thrown out of his father's home. The novel's comparison of the dark corners of Taipei's New Park, the characters' main cruising area, with the cloistered society of Taiwan of that period proved quite unacceptable to Taipei's then KMT-dominated establishment, though Pai has generally remained a loyal KMT supporter.
Among other Taiwanese writers, Pai is appreciated for sophisticated narratives that introduce controversial and groundbreaking perspectives to Chinese literature. His major works, discussed above, have been widely influential.
Further, Pai's writings while in the US in the early 1960s have greatly contributed to an understanding of the Chinese experience in postwar America. "Death in Chicago" (1964) is a semi-autobiographical account of a young Chinese man who, on the eve of his graduation from the English Literature department of the University of Chicago, discovers that his mother has died back home. "Pleasantville" (1964) explores the depressed state of a Chinese mother in the upper-class New York suburbs who feels alienated by the Americanization of her Chinese husband and daughter. Both "Death in Chicago" and "Pleasantville" subtly criticize America as a superficial and materialistic culture that can cause immigrant Chinese to feel lonely and isolated.
In recent years, Pai has gained some acclaim in Mainland Chinese literary circles. He has held various lectures at Beijing Normal University, among others. In the Beijing University Selection of Modern Chinese Literature: 1949–1999 published in 2002, three of Pai's works are included under the time period 1958–1978.These stories reflect the decadence of Shanghai high society in the Republican era. This subject matter constitutes only a small segment of Pai's diverse work, yet it fits particularly well with orthodox renditions of pre-1949 history taught on the Mainland.
In April 2000, a series of five books representing Pai's lifework was published by Huacheng Publishing House in Guangzhou. This series is widely available in Mainland bookstores. It includes short stories, essays, diary entries, and the novel Niezi. A lengthy preface in Volume 1 was penned by Ou Yangzi, a fellow member of the group that founded the journal Xiandai Wenxue in Taiwan in the 1950s.
Pai was born Muslim, attended missionary Catholic schools and embraced Buddhist meditation practices in the United States.
The Kuomintang of China (KMT), also often alternatively translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party (CNP), is a major political party in the Republic of China based in Taipei. Formed in 1919, the KMT was formerly the sole ruling party of the Republic of China from 1928 to 2000 and is currently an opposition political party in the Legislative Yuan.
Mainland China, also known as the Chinese mainland, is the geopolitical as well as geographical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It includes Hainan island and strictly speaking, politically, does not include the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, even though both are partially on the geographic mainland.
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Bai Chongxi was a Chinese general in the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China (ROC) and a prominent Chinese Nationalist leader. He was of Hui ethnicity and of the Muslim faith. From the mid-1920s to 1949, Bai and his close ally Li Zongren ruled Guangxi province as regional warlords with their own troops and considerable political autonomy. His relationship with Chiang Kai-shek was at various times antagonistic and cooperative. He and Li Zongren supported the anti-Chiang warlord alliance in the Central Plains War in 1930, then supported Chiang in the Second Sino-Japanese War and the Chinese Civil War. Bai was the first defense minister of the Republic of China from 1946-48. After losing to the Communists in 1949, he fled to Taiwan, where he died in 1966.
Bo Yang, sometimes also erroneously called Bai Yang, was a Chinese poet, essayist and historian based in Taiwan. He is also regarded as a social critic. According to his own memoir, the exact date of his birthday was unknown even to himself. He later adopted 7 March, the date of his 1968 imprisonment, as his birthday.
Koo Chen-fu, also known as C.F. Koo, was a Taiwanese businessman and diplomat. He led the Koos Group of companies from 1940 until his death. As a chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Koo arranged the first direct talks between Taiwan and mainland China since 1949 and served as Taiwan's negotiator in both the 1993 and 1998 Wang-Koo summit.
The "1992 Consensus", also known as the "Consensus of 1992" or the "One China" Consensus, is a political term coined by Kuomintang (KMT) politician Su Chi, referring to the outcome of a meeting in 1992 between the semiofficial representatives of the People's Republic of China (PRC) of mainland China and the Republic of China (ROC) of Taiwan.
The 2005 Pan–Blue visits to mainland China were a series of groundbreaking visits by delegations of the Kuomintang (KMT) and their allied Pan-Blue Coalition to mainland China. They were hailed as the highest level of exchange between the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang since Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong met in Chongqing, China on August 28, 1945.
Ouyang Tzu is the penname of Hong Zhihui, a female Taiwanese writer. She, along with fellow students of National Taiwan University Bai Xianyong, Wang Wenxing, and Chen Rouxi, created the literary magazine Modern Literature in 1960, under the guidance of Professor Hsia Tsi-an.
Taiwanese literature refers to the literature written by Taiwanese in any language ever used in Taiwan, including Japanese, Taiwanese Han and Austronesian languages.
Taiwanese nationalism is an ideology that promotes the interests of residents of the Taiwan Area. Due to the political status of Taiwan, it is rooted in and overlaps with Taiwanese localism, the promotion and emphasis of Taiwanese culture, society, and identity within the Republic of China. This involves the education of history, geography, and culture from a Taiwan-centric perspective, promoting native languages of Taiwan such as Taiwanese Hokkien, Hakka, and indigenous languages, as well as reforms in other aspects.
Xiandai wenxue was a Taiwanese literary journal created in 1960. The journal was published on a bimonthly basis.
Taipei People is a collection of 14 short stories written by Pai Hsien-yung in the 1960s, published in 1971. The length and art of each story is different, but all these short stories are about people who came from Mainland China to Taiwan in the 1950s, and about their life in Taipei. Some of the stories were also published in Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream (1968).
Wu Po-hsiung is a politician in Taiwan (ROC) who formerly served as chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT). He has been the Interior Minister (1984-1988), Mayor of Taipei (1988–1990), Secretary-General to the President (1991–1996), and Chairman of the KMT (2007-2009). Wu was nominated as Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang when he was succeeded by Ma Ying-jeou as the Chairman of the Kuomintang.
The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong is the representative office of the Republic of China in Hong Kong. Its counterpart body in Taiwan is the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan.
Bái is the pinyin of the surname 白, meaning the colour white. It is of Mongol origin.
Events in the year 1949 in Taiwan, Republic of China.
Liang Jingfeng is a Taiwanese specialist on Taiwan nativist literature, especially native Taiwanese poetry since the 1920s. He also studies German literature, especially Heinrich Heine. He was a notable activist in the Tangwai movement that took to the streets in the mid-1970s in opposition to the KMT dictatorship and for democracy and the rights of workers, peasants and fishers. In the 1970s, he was very active in the Tangwai movement or Democracy Movement. Liang was active in the folk music movement scene and is known in Taiwan for writing the lyrics of the song Meilidao, the anthem of the Tangwai movement that became almost the unofficial anthem of Taiwan.
Daniel Han Kuo-yu is a Taiwanese politician. He was a member of the Legislative Yuan from 1993 to 2002, representing a portion of Taipei County for three terms. He later became general manager of Taipei Agricultural Products Marketing Corporation. In 2017, Han contested the Kuomintang chairmanship, losing to Wu Den-yih. Han was elected Mayor of Kaohsiung in November 2018, and became the first Kuomintang politician since Wu in 1998 to hold the office. Han and Chang San-cheng represented the KMT in the 2020 Taiwanese presidential election, losing to Tsai Ing-wen and William Lai in a landslide.
Jade Love (玉卿嫂) is a 1960 Taiwanese novella by Pai Hsien-yung, first published in the magazine Xiandai wenxue. Written in first person and told through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy, the story takes place in Guilin, China during the Second Sino-Japanese War.