C. J. Anderson-Wu
C. J. Anderson-Wu (吳介禎) is a Taiwanese writer. In 2017 she published Impossible to Swallow—A Collection of Short Stories About The White Terror in Taiwan and in 2021 The Surveillance—Tales of White Terror in Taiwan. Based on true characters and real incidents, her works look into the political oppression and the traumas resulting from the state’s brutal violation of human rights. Currently she is working on her third book Endangered Youth— To Hong Kong. C. J. Anderson-Wu’s stories and poems can be found in the Global Anthologies of Short Stories(US), Eastlit(Southeast Asia), Lunaris Review(Nigeria), Strands Lit Magazine(India), Short Story Avenue(US), Olney Magazine(US), So Fi Zine(Australia), An Capall Dorcha/The Dark House(Ireland), Short Story Town(US), Hennepin Review(US), MockingOwl Roost(US), Kitaab(Singapore & India), LEO Literary Journal(US), Bazinega(India), Main Squeeze Literary Journal(US) , Confetti Westchester Writers Workshop Magazine(US), Story Sanctum(US), Edged Humanity(US), The Bezine(Israel), Flash Fiction North(UK), SINK(UK), Unlikely Stories(UK), Rat Ass(US), Wingless Dream(US) and Wild Word(Mult-national), Fresh Out Mag(US), and e-ratio(US), among other literature journals. Currently she is working on her third book “Endangered Youth—to Hong Kong.” Her short stories have been shortlisted for a number of international literary awards, including the Art of Unity Creative Award by the International Human Rights Art Festival. She also won the Strands Lit International Flash Fiction Competition, and the Invisible City Blurred Genre Literature Competition.
What is life like under the grip of an oppressive regime? How does an individual navigate existence in a society void of freedom of speech, transparent policy-making, or due process for political dissidents? Should one choose rebellion or compromise? What are the repercussions of defying authority, and what is the cost of compliance? For 38 years, from 1949 to 1987, Taiwan was subjected to Martial Law, with the exceptionally brutal censorship not being lifted until 1992. Throughout this period, all publications were rigorously controlled, public gatherings required pre-approved permits, dissenting opinions were ruthlessly suppressed, and calls for democracy met with forceful oppression. Perhaps most alarmingly, individuals with differing political stances were subjected to persecution. The thirteen stories in this book delve into the lives of ordinary individuals deprived of freedom of expression and full political rights, exploring the decisions they confront in the midst of dilemmas. Furthermore, these narratives delve into the role of literary works within a society marked by various political taboos. These stories effectively illuminate the breadth of those who endured the hardships of Taiwan’s White Terror era, a period of severe persecution against perceived political dissidents typically spanning from 1947 to 1992. They also reveal the diverse ways in which people were impacted; some were directly subjected to imprisonment and, all too often, death, while others were family members affected indirectly, and yet others took part in protests toward the end of this period, yielding less traumatic outcomes. A distinctive feature of these tales is the absence of explicit of violence. They refrain from depicting the brutal acts, including murder and torture, for which the White Terror regime was responsible. Instead, they shed light on the consequences of these horrors on other individuals, implying that the oppressive atmosphere pervaded society and left few Taiwanese citizens unaffected. Drawing from actual events and real individuals, “The Surveillance—Tales of White Terrors in Taiwan” serves as a stark reminder of the brutality inflicted during times of dictatorship. It sheds light on a reality that often goes unnoticed by those in the free world, urging us not to overlook the suffering of people enduring oppression.
The Hunger Devil Ah-Zhan woke up from the smell of milkfish porridge, the tenderness of the fish belly in the long-cooked rice was hot enough to burn the tongue, and the green onions had greatly enriched the flavors. As she opened her eyes, sunlight had begun to climb over the high windows. She sat up and looked around, all the others were still asleep. She jumped down from the bunk bed as quietly as possible and walked toward the restroom shared by more than thirty women. The breakfast was very dry buns, shredded pork with cucumber preserved in soy sauce, and peanuts that tasted mildewy. The pork and preserved cucumber were too salty, Ah-Zhan had to drink a lot of cold water to wash it down. But at least she had regular meals. The memory of hunger was not a fond one at all. When Ah-Zhan was in high school, she had grown tall enough to help her father and other milkfish farmers work in the pond they created together. It was the time when the farmlands along the west coast had sunken to lower than the sea level, and the soil turned too saline to grow anything. Later their fish farm was accused of being the cause of the land sinking because they pumped underground water to fill the pond. But they had to give up rice farming in the first place because their lands sank, so who should be responsible for it? Ah-Zhan’s father and other farmers spent a lot of time and money to learn how to convert their rice fields into a fish pond for all the families to rely on the income they might make by the quantities of fish they could raise. For the first several years, they made a lot of mistakes, like the time the water leaked through the clay walls they erected by hand, or when the feed they produced was not right for the fish and the water was polluted, or the season they waited for too long to harvest the fish which were still too small resulting in them finally dying in the winter chill. Later they were taught to put a thin layer of water into the pond first during the end of winter to cultivate algae. When spring started, the water would be dried by sunlight and wind, and at that time they spread rice bran for the growth of more algae. They then added a thin layer of water again, while waiting until the pond dried up once more, so that it should not dry too fast or too slowly. If it dried too fast, they’d add more water, if it dried too slowly, they’d drain the pond. They were told if the soil at the bottom of the pond was barren, they should spread more rice bran, but since they did not have so much rice bran, they added chicken manure. They also found, after trial and error, that the chicken manure must be fermented prior to use, otherwise the fish might die because of the lack of oxygen. They had to watch the quality of the pond water closely, if there was too much algae, fish would tend to gather on the water surface and become the prey of egrets or seagulls.
Author Website https://impossibletoswallow.wordpress.com/about/
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