Tunghai University Honorary Professor and poet Chou-yu Cheng will soon depart for the US, and he has left behind manuscripts and cultural relics accumulated over the last 7 decades as a poet to the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Kinmen County. In the future, the materials will be showcased in an exhibition. Mayor Shiow-yen Lu traveled to Tunghai University today (16th) to express her gratitude for Professor Cheng for his important contributions to the preservation of cultural heritage. She emphasized that a great city values its history, culture, and art, so she appeals to Professor Cheng to come back to Taichung one day as a homecomer.
Shortly before leaving for the US, Poet Chou-yu Cheng especially held the Chou-yu x Tunghai – Peace for the World press conference, exhibiting manuscripts and cultural relics accumulated over the last 7 decades as a poet. These materials serve as a tribute to the lifetime of accomplishments of Chou-yu Cheng. Mayor Lu, Cultural Affairs Bureau Director-General Ta-chun Chang, and Social Affairs Bureau Director Yun-chieh Li all turned out for the function.
"A city is not great because of the proliferation of hardware and architecture, it is great because of its emphasis on history, culture, and art," said Mayor Lu. "Mistake" is considered a household poem because most of the citizens in Taiwan are able to recite it. Having led a life of hardship, Professor Cheng has soothed the souls of the Taiwanese people with one poem, and the people of Taiwan have sought introspection and peace reading his verses. Consequently, she has thanked Tunghai University on behalf of the city hall and Taichung citizens for appointing Professor Cheng as the school's honorary professor and for preserving invaluable cultural heritage in Taichung.
According to Mayor Lu, just like Professor Cheng, she also calls Keelung home, and Professor Cheng's little brother was her high school teacher, but she did not realize that until today. She said jokingly that Professor Cheng keeps such a low profile that the poem in the textbook entitled Mistake does not have his name on it. She wished Professor Cheng a safe and pleasant journey to the US, and she appealed him to return to Taichung as a homecomer someday in the future.
For today's press conference, the Sounding of Bells and Drums in Praying for Peace ceremony was conducted, where Professor Cheng struck the drum 23 times and led the audience to count the number from 800 to 823, symbolizing the Ringing of the Peace Bell. Mayor Lu and the audience also chanted the poem "When the Bell of Peace is Tolled 823 Times" to pray for world peace together.
Cultural Affairs Bureau explained that Chou-yu Cheng arrived in Taiwan from Beijing with his family in 1949 at the age of 16. After witnessing the inhumanity and harshness of war and mining accidents, he composed his first poem Straw Sandals and Raft for the disaster victims. Throughout his life, his poems have expressed concerns and care for others. When his work Lonely Person Sitting Down and Staring at Flowers received the National Award for Arts, it inspired him to compose more poems emanating with patriotism and aspiration. In particular, his creation Mantle of Peace received the Fervent Global Love of Lives Award, demonstrating a world view on peace and harmony.