Sunday, September 25, 2011

A story of an old lady

This is a true story of an old lady who just passed away. She told my mother her story, and my mom retold it to me.

The husband of this old lady first married her elder sister. Unfortunately her elder sister died young because of bad health. Her husband, a KMT army officer, went on both knees begging her father to let him marry the little sister as his wife. Her father reluctantly agreed. In 1949, after KMT's defeat in the civil war, she came to Taiwan with her husband, and her brother and his wife also came. Without her knowledge, her brother and his wife were actually Communist spies with a mission to incite defection of her husband, now a general commanding troops stationing at Quemoy, KMT's advance outpost off the Chinese coastline. What her brother and his wife did not know was they bad been under close KMT surveillance ever since they landed in Taiwan. They were not arrested because KMT secret service was hoping to use them as a bait to catch larger fish and crack Communist spy ring once and for all. Her brother and his wife led an ordinary life here and had three children, and she had two herself.

The end of the Battle of 823, the Communist's failed attempt to take Quemoy by intensive artillery shelling for 47 days, saw the arrest of her brother and his wife. Both were immediately tried and executed. She and her husband were also arrested for crime of not reporting Communist spies to the authorities. Her husband was exonerated from criminal charges by Chiang Kai-shek for he was a decorated war hero in the Battle of 823, but he was stripped off his rank, privileges, and pension. She was found guilty and jailed.

After her release, she found that her husband had collapsed in this setback and resorted to alcohol as an escape and used her as a punching bag from time to time. She, however, was a strong person. Despite the domestic violence, she raised her own two children and her brother's three children all by herself. Fortunately for her, these five children were good kids studying very hard and all of them graduated from national universities. After her husband died, she came to the nursing home and became a neighbor of my mother.

In my mother's opinion, the KMT secret service was very cruel. Why did they execute the couple after they had three children and let them become orphans? In the 50s and 60s of the last century, our intelligence agency would consider those children acceptable collateral damages in the name of national security. There were always little people suffering in times of conflicts and struggles.

Mom said this old lady filed petition to the Ministry of National Defense during DPP rule trying to regain her husband’s name and pension, but Admiral Lee Jie, then minister of MND, also her husband's acquaintance, did not accept her request.

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