Nori (Shih Ming-Teh) Story
Shih Ming Teh
Shy looks but powerful in act
Masters of our own fate
Meanwhile on the mainland,Mao Zedong,driven by the rubric and revolution of Marx,came out of his historical Long March and led a ruthless onslaught on Chiang’s troops, taking city after village.Humiliated and emaciated,the Kuomintang army fled to Taiwan in 1949. Chiang Kai-shek declared that the island would be used as a base from which to launch the recovery of China from the communist. What was left unsaid was that Taiwan was not home to the Kuomintang. As far as Chiang and his army were concerned, it was nothing more than a military base, a political outpost.This callousness was to have far-reaching consequences for the later development of the Beautiful Island.
When the Communist Party took over China, Chiang Kai-shek knew that the war was well and trully lost. To save himself from complete loss of face, the leader of Kuomintang relinquished his post of President of the Republicof China as proclaimed by Dr Sun Yat-Sen when he overthrew the Qing Dynasty in 1911.
Ever the impresario of modern Chinese politics, Chiang left the lame duck presidency to his deputy Li Chung-ren while he quietly staged a massive haul of national treasures from the motherland. A total of 151 crates of gold,silver and cash from the central bank were shipped off to Taiwan.Chiang was also prescient enough to take pricelessrelics and museum treasures along with him. President Li Chung-ren,assailed by thoughsof being dragged from pillar to post by the communists,had in the meantime resigned the presidency and escaped to the United States.
Once in Taiwan,Chiang’s appointed National Assembly, according to script,pleaded with the Generalissimo to resume the presidency of China. The stage was set for the former President to take control again. In 1949 he declared Taipei to be the temporary capital of all China and vowed that the Kuomintang would one day ‘make a glorious return to the mainland’.
The 2-2-8 Incident had lit the flame of independence in the hearts ofagroup of young Taiwanese whom Shih was to later lead–a flame that burned unstoppably in the decades that followed.More than anything else,Shih wanted the Taiwanese people to be able to defend themselves against foreign powers.Resisting the mainland rulers would be an arduous task.But for every journey af a thousand miles,someone had to nurse the anxious hope that someone else would take that first fearless step.
Shih was a thin,timid man who never looked like a leader of his people. With a stick of a body,he was not disposed to grandiloquent displays of wit and oratory.His preferred method of leadership was to work in the background and influence his contemporaries with quiet diligence.
He quickly developed a zest for philosophy, politics and law, and participated in discussion groups organised by students. Wherever these groups gathered together,there would also be talk about social issues, with poverty and discrimination against the locals being the leitmotif. The meetings were conducted in different places,including the Shih’s family run hotel.
Shih was determined tolead inspite of himself.Firstly,he had to overcome his aversions to everything from public speaking to darkness,which triggered phobic reactions. With a single=mindedness that proved to be his greatest source of strength in his struggle