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    Posted October 6, 2011 by
    nealmoore
    Location
    New Taipei City, Taiwan

    More from nealmoore

    One Hundred Years in Taiwan

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     nealmoore told me, 'I wanted to chronicle the 100th Anniversary of the ROC in a special and thoughtful way. The real story are the people. And the thought came, if I could find a centenarian who had lived the history, we could look at it through their eyes. Which turned out to be quite a quest. I'm really pleased with the chance to have met these elders - the oldest people I've met, ever, and by far. They've changed my perspective on life. And to share their respective stories is of course very cool.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    One Hundred Years in Taiwan

     

    By NEAL MOORE (CNN iReport) NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan, R.O.C. --- As Taiwan readies herself to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the Republic of China – the oldest surviving republic in all of East Asia – I wanted to highlight and thus celebrate a different, yet related history.  Namely, those in Taiwan who identify themselves as Taiwanese.

     

    Huang Jan Mei, age 100, was born in You-na, Keelung, Taiwan [then Formosa].  Like many Taiwanese, Huang Jan Mei’s family came to Formosa during the Qing Dynasty, as fisher folk, between two and three hundred years ago.

     

    While the Xinhai Revolution and Chinese Civil War would rage on the Mainland, and the end of WWII would herald a changing of the guard on Taiwan from Japanese colonialists to Chiang Kai-shek and the Republic of China, Huang Jan Mei would not take notice.  For she was a housewife who lived in the “country” – thus not in direct contact with soldiers, politicians, or news of the world.  Which makes for an interesting point.  Huang Jan Mei was busily living her life, stowing away food, making a success of the family store, and in so doing, a livelihood for her family.  And while history was being written, swirling all around her, and although she would dream about an education for herself, Huang Jan Mei would go without, so that her son, Huang Chin-fu, and his seven children could attend school.

     

    What I learned from my meeting with Huang Jan Mei is to live to one hundred, you’ve got to be tough, you have to celebrate the gift of life and you must above all else, sacrifice for and thus celebrate family.  I was amazed to learn that at the wise old age of one hundred, Huang Jan Mei to this day not only shops for fresh produce and meat by herself at the local morning market, but brings the food home and, again on her own, insists on cooking for her family.

     

    Taiwan’s hardships, triumphs, and illustrious history are reflected in her diverse populace, like Huang Jan Mei, among others.  Pausing to glance back while simultaneously looking forward, onto a future, they hope will be bright.

     

     

    Photographs:

     

    2) Huang Chin-fu, 84, with his mother, Huang Jan Mei, 100. Photographed at the Huang’s residence, New Taipei City, Taiwan, R.O.C.

     

    3) Huang Jan Mei, 100. New Taipei City, Taiwan, R.O.C.

    To view my related dispatch, The Life Journey of the Republic of China, click here:  http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-684230

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