|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)|
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.
Chinese is a group of related, but in many cases not mutually intelligible, language varieties, forming the Sinitic branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family. Chinese is spoken by the ethnic Chinese majority and many minority ethnic groups in China. About 1.2 billion people speak some form of Chinese as their first language.
Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.
Wade–Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade, during the mid-19th century, and was given completed form with Herbert A. Giles's Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892.
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.
La Salle College is a boys' secondary school in Hong Kong. It was established by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, a Roman Catholic religious teaching order founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle.
National Cheng Kung University is a comprehensive university located in Tainan, Taiwan. NCKU is one of the best research-led universities in Taiwan and a leader in promoting industry-academia cooperation. It has consistently been ranked as one of the top universities in Asia. The university is best known for its engineering, computer science, medicine, and planning and design.
Hydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive use of gravity as the motive force to cause the movement of the fluids. This area of civil engineering is intimately related to the design of bridges, dams, channels, canals, and levees, and to both sanitary and environmental engineering.
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.
The University of Iowa is a public research university in Iowa City, Iowa. Founded in 1847, it is the oldest and the second largest university in the state. The University of Iowa is organized into 11 colleges offering more than 200 areas of study and seven professional degrees.
The Program in Creative Writing, more commonly known as the Iowa Writers' Workshop, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, is a celebrated graduate-level creative writing program in the United States. Writer Lan Samantha Chang is its director. Graduates earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in Creative Writing. It has been cited as the best graduate writing program in the nation, counting among its alumni 17 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Depression, a state of low mood and aversion to activity, can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, tendencies, feelings, and sense of well-being. Symptoms of the mood disorder is marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration and a significant increase/decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping. A great deal of people also have feelings of dejection, hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. It can either be short term or long term depending on the severity of the person's condition. A depressed mood is a normal temporary reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one. It is also a symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments. Depressed mood may also be a symptom of some mood disorders such as major depressive disorder or dysthymia.
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 young, gay runaway who serves as its main protagonist. 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.
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).
Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by reactions of horror to World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.
Crystal Boys is a novel written by author Pai Hsien-yung and first published in 1983 in Taiwan. In 1988, this novel went into circulation in China; its French and English translations were published in 1985 and 1989. A translation into German appeared in 1995.
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 is a major political party in the Republic of China on Taiwan, based in Taipei, that was founded in 1911, 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.
Taiwanization, also known as the Taiwanese localization movement, is a conceptual term used in Taiwan to emphasize the importance of a Taiwanese culture, society, economy, nationality, and identity rather than to regard Taiwan as solely an appendage of China. This involves the teaching of the history of Taiwan, geography, and culture from a Taiwan-centric perspective, as well as promoting languages locally established in Taiwan, including Taiwanese Hokkien (Taiwanese), Hakka, and aboriginal languages.
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" or "Consensus of 1992" is a political term coined by Kuomintang (KMT) politician Su Chi, referring to the outcome of a meeting in 1992 between the semi-official representatives of the People's Republic of China (PRC) in mainland China and the Republic of China (ROC) in 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.
Xiandai wenxue was a Taiwanese literary journal created in 1960. The journal was published on a bimonthly basis.
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 Cafe Astoria is the first Western style bakery in Taiwan. It is located in the Zhongzheng District of Taipei, Taiwan on WuChang Street across from the City God Temple.
Huang Hsien-yung is a female Taiwanese athlete. She won the gold medal in the women's finweight at the 2010 Asian Games at the age of 16. Huang surprisingly dominated South Korean champion Hwang Mi-Na 7-2 in the first round, and upset Olympic silver medalist Buttree Puedpong of Thailand 3-0 in the quarterfinals.
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.
Han Kuo-yu, also known by his English name Daniel Han, 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.
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.