This evening when I went to meet our intern and the leader of a drug rehabilitation center in Taiwan at the Conservative Baptist Church in BeiGang, the pastor, Mike Gee, who is from nearby ShuiLin (Water Forest) Township, shared some interesting history, most of which I had heard before but some which I had not.
The monument at the traffic circle in BeiGang commemorates the place of earliest immigration of Chinese into Taiwan right there in BeiGang, 391 years ago (?). They came not from mainland China, but from Japan. Since they were pirates, they had already been kicked out of China.
The township next door where MIke is from is called “Water Forest Township” (ChuiNa). However, in Taiwanese the original name was Water Thief Forest (ChuiChatNa). Water Thief, of course, means Pirate! They came first to this part of Taiwan, murdering many of the native inhabitants and driving the rest off the plains and up into the mountains, taking their land and women, since they had none.
I had just been at the ChuiNa（Mandarin Chinese:ShuiLin) 水林 Presbyterian church to share with a bunch of students just a few hours before. Too bad I didn’t know they lived in “Pirate Forest Township” then! It would have made a great introduction (I’m told most young people living there now would not know that Water Forest was originally known by another name).