For decades, anyone in Taiwan who wanted to learn English did so through the books of author Ke Chi-hua. From around 1960, when his first book came out, Ke produced a series of guides to the strange world of English grammar. They became instant classics, and were the standard guides for generations of Taiwanese learners. But while it is perhaps for these books that he’s best remembered today, Ke was above all a man of letters who wrote in several genres and in several languages. He was also a government target during Taiwan’s 20th century dictatorship. He spent around 17 years in total imprisoned under dubious charges of dissidence.
Ke passed away in 2002, but his story is not his alone to tell. His wife Tsai A-li, now 86, was in the thick of it all. She clearly remembers her family’s hopes for success when Ke’s first book became a bestseller. She also remembers the dashing of those hopes as her husband was taken away and sentenced to a second prison term of twelve years. Over the past two weeks, Ms. Tsai has shared her memories of Ke Chi-hua’s life with us. This week, we present the final installment of her story.