Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Thursday, September 8, 2022


old map of Taipei ...
lost again in the backstreets
of my mind

Taipei beach 
sparks from a bonfire 
color my childhood

even in Taipei
I sing along, sing along
to Half of My Hometown


Some went north, some went south
Still lookin' for a feelin' half of us ain't found
So stay or leave
Part of me will always be
Half of my hometown

"Half of my hometown," Kelsea Ballerini,  born and raised in the East Tennessee city of Knoxville, whose song is an ode to her hometown and how her relationship to it changed after leaving.


a double-rainbow
breaking through gray clouds
over Buckingham . . .
on its gold and black rails
notice of the Queen's death

Added: This Brave New World, LIII

these Royal
nephews, cousins and suchlike 
jostle for spots 
on Buckingham Palace's balcony ...
kids in a bakery window

FYI: Child Poverty and Action Group, UK: ... There were 3.9 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2020-21. That's 27 per cent of children, or eight in a classroom of 30...

But in spite of all the progress that has been made the greatest problem in the world today remains the gap between rich and poor countries and that we shall not begin to close this gap until we hear less about nationalism and more about interindependence.

Queen Elizabeth II, 1983 Christmas Day message

FYI regarding the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the impacts/reflections

1: The Washington Post, September 8: Queen Elizabeth II and the end of Britain’s imperial age, Analysis by Ishaan Tharoor

The days to come will see a surfeit of commentary and analysis of the depth of that legacy. But one narrative is inescapable: Elizabeth ascended the throne 70 years ago as the head of a globe-spanning empire. But she died at a moment of contraction and uncertainty, with most of Britain’s colonies gone, its place in Europe a source of tension, and its global status diminished.

2:  The Washington Post, September 8: The day Elizabeth became queen in a treehouse in Kenya,  And FYI: The Seattle Times, February 6, 2017: Queen’s porter at Treetops later joined Mau Mau rebellion

3: The Guardian, August 18, 2016: Uncovering the brutal truth about the British empire: The Harvard historian Caroline Elkins stirred controversy with her work on the crushing of the Mau Mau uprising. But it laid the ground for a legal case that has transformed our view of Britain’s past.

Elkins had come to prominence in 2005 with a book that exhumed one of the nastiest chapters of British imperial history: the suppression of Kenya’s Mau Mau rebellion (1952–1960). Her study, Britain’s Gulag, chronicled how the British had battled this anticolonial uprising by confining some 1.5 million Kenyans to a network of detention camps and heavily patrolled villages. It was a tale of systematic violence and high-level cover-ups.

On 6 April 2011, the debate over Caroline Elkins’s work shifted to the Royal Courts of Justice in London...In preparation, Elkins had distilled her book into a 78-page witness statement.

The British government, defeated repeatedly in court, moved to settle the Mau Mau case. On 6 June 2013, the foreign secretary, William Hague, read a statement in parliament announcing an unprecedented agreement to compensate 5,228 Kenyans who were tortured and abused during the insurrection. Each would receive about £3,800. “The British government recognises that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration,” Hague said. Britain “sincerely regrets that these abuses took place.” The settlement, in Anderson’s view, marked a “profound” rewriting of history. It was the first time Britain had admitted carrying out torture anywhere in its former empire.

4: Smithsonian Magazine, "History," September 8: Elizabeth II Was an Enduring Emblem of the Waning British Empire:

Elizabeth spent her first years as queen attempting to secure Britain’s symbolic foothold in a rapidly changing world. After her coronation, she and Philip embarked on a six-month, globe-trotting tour that spanned 13 countries in the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association comprised largely of former British colonies.

[T]he Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the empires of the past,” the queen said in her inaugural 1953 Christmas broadcast. “It is an entirely new conception built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man. … To that new conception of an equal partnership of nations and races I shall give myself heart and soul every day of my life.

Elizabeth’s reign was marked by rocky periods of intermittent violence abroad, including Britain’s botched attempt to gain control of the Suez Canal in 1956 and the Falklands War, a ten-week-long battle with Argentina in 1982.

Closer to home, the British Army waged its longest military campaign to date: Operation Banner, an effort to establish order during the Troubles, a bloody sectarian conflict that engulfed much of Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1998. The conflict touched Elizabeth directly in 1979, when the Irish Republican Army assassinated her second cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten...

At its apex just a few years before Elizabeth’s birth, the British Empire claimed roughly a quarter of all land on Earth. European colonizers—among them enslavers, traders and investors, including members of the royal family—enriched themselves through the enslavement of African and Indigenous people and the appropriation and exploitation of colonies’ resources.

As the primary spokesperson for the royal family, Elizabeth acknowledged but did not apologize for a long list of British imperial crimes committed in centuries past. The crown continues to deny growing calls for reparations from former colonies.

Note: This "History article" says nothing about the the unfathomable crushing brutality against Kenya's Mau Mau. And Smithsonian is the official journal published by the Smithsonian Institution, a group of museums and education and research centers, the largest such complex in the world, created by the U.S. Government "for the increase and diffusion of knowledge")

5Sunil Khilnani, The New Yorker, March 22, 2022: The British Empire Was Much Worse Than You Realize 

As the sole imperial power that remained a liberal democracy throughout the twentieth century, Britain claimed to be distinct from Europe’s colonial powers in its commitment to bringing rule of law, enlightened principles, and social progress to its colonies. Elkins contends that Britain’s use of systematic violence was no better than that of its rivals. The British were simply more skilled at hiding it.

We misunderstand the end of empire, Elkins says, because the old liberal imperial historiography focussed more on high policy—the stratagems of what Gallagher and his cohort termed the “official mind”—than on the acts of get-it-done enforcers in the field. 

In “Imperial Reckoning,” Elkins moved deftly between oral and archival histories to describe a British strategy of detention, beatings, starvation, torture, forced hard labor, rape, and castration, designed to break the resistance of a people, the Kikuyu, who, having been dispossessed by the British and then, during the Second World War, enlisted to fight for them, had plenty of reason to resist.

In 1957, a British colonial governor informed his superiors in London that “violent shock” was the only way to break down hard-core adherents, justifying a brutal campaign called Operation Progress. More than a million men, women, and children were forced into barbed-wire village compounds and concentration camps for reëducation in circumstances that the colony’s attorney general at the time called “distressingly reminiscent of conditions in Nazi Germany or Communist Russia.”