Yan Yunzhen, MA student, Graduate Institute of Taiwan Literature, National Taiwan University
At a time when Taiwan’s economy was depressed and its international standingwas in question, the Taitung Red Leaf little-league baseball team’s 7-0 victory over a Japanese all-star little-league team on August 25, 1968 restored the nation’s confidence in itself and enhanced its global reputation.That day, in the wee hours of the morning, Taiwanese the island over were glued to their television sets, watching the international competition – televised from abroad – cheering the team on, anunforgettableexperience for all who passed through that era. Xiao Ye’s 1977 “Forced Out” tells the story of A-Cai, a power hitter who is at bat with a 3-2 count. But as A-Cai readies for the next pitchhe is racked with inner turmoil, torn between a thirst for personal glory and his family’s expectations.If he hits a home run, his team will win the game and he’ll achieve his dream of joining the national squad and competing in the U.S. But A-Cai’s father has bet against his son – if A-Cai strikes out, his family will come into a small fortune; if not, “they’ll starve to death.” With every swing of the bat A-Cai wavers between the two possibilities.
In the end A-Cai hits safely, tying the game, but then allows himself to be forced out at home plate. The short time in which the action takes place is a miniature, a realistic depiction of Taiwan baseball at its darkest and most painful. On the one hand, young ballplayers hope to realize their dreams by turning in outstanding performances on the ball field; on the other hand, those youths are faced with the noxious influence of gambling and game-fixing that plague Taiwan baseball.Caught in a dilemma, A-Cai can’t decide what to do: Should he follow his dream – the hard work he’s put in and his enthusiastic supporters tell him that “he can’t lose.” But A-Cai’s impoverished family is always in the back of his mind. Because of father’s gambling debts, his eleven year-old sister A-Jin was nearly sold into prostitution but died under the wheels of a train whilefleeing to escape her fate – this and similar circumstances remind A-Cai that “he can’t win.”In the story, family is a prison, an impediment to growth and self-improvement. Trapped, A-Cai gets a hit, tying the game, but allows himself to be forced out. He wants neither to face up to his situation nor to bear responsibility for it. This compromise – an attempt to accommodateboth himself and his family – shows that when making fateful decisions, young people must have both courage and wisdom.
Xiao Ye’s lively colloquial language allows readers to experience the force of A-Cai’s inner turmoil, and the crowd’s shouting and cheering heighten the tension, as if the game is actually taking place. Reading the story is like hearing a youth’s scream: Transformational growth choices are just this difficult and painful.
Dai Huaxuan, Assistant Professor, Department of Taiwanese Literature, Aletheia University
Xiao Ye (1951- ) is the penname of Li Yuan, a native of Taipei. Xiao Ye published a number of writings while studying at National Taiwan Normal University’s Department of Life Sciences. His novella, Life of a Pupa, was serialized in the Central Daily News in August 1974, garnering wideacclaim. The work sold well, and in 1999 was chosen by Taiwanese readers as one of “The Most Influential Works of the Past Forty Years.” After university graduation the writer studied molecular physics in the U.S. On returning to Taiwan he worked in a number of fields, including film, TV, advertising, literature, and education. In 1979 his screenplay“Sea Dragon” won the 45th Annual National Armed Forces Award for Arts Gold Medal Prize.In 1980 his On Cheng Gong Ridge received the Chinese Screenwriters’ Association’s 4th Annual Best Screenplay Award. In 1981 he was hired as head of planning at the Central Pictures Corporation, where he worked closely with director Wu Nianzhen, setting the stage for Taiwan’s “new cinema” movement. In 1987 Reunion won the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival’s “Best Original Screenplay Award. The Terrorizers, which Xiao co-wrote with Yang Dechang, won the Golden Horse “Best Original Screenplay” award in 1986, and the Asia-Pacific Film Festival “Best Screenplay Award” in 1987.To date, Xiao Ye has written over thirty screenplays. From 2000 to 2002, he served as programming department manager at Taiwan Television, bringing a fresh, youthful style to the station’s programming. In 2006-2007 he acted as general director at Chinese Television System, resigning to work fulltime as a writer.
Xiao Ye has worked in a number of genres, authoring essays, fiction, children’s literature, and screenplays, a total of over one hundred works. In 1977 alone he won three major awards: The 18th Annual Chinese Writers’ and Artists’ Association Fiction Prize; the United Daily News 2nd Annual Fiction Competition Award for his short story “Forced Out”; and the Republic of China Literary Periodical Association’s Golden Pen Fiction Award for “The Moon in a Cup of Coffee.” Xiao Ye’s themes often center on family and school: On the one hand, he has humorously yet truthfully depicted family life, spurring a trend in writing aimed at parents and children; on the other hand, works such as the bestseller Dad, I Want to Take Leave from School! (2004), a collection of correspondence with his daughter, offer reflections on Taiwan’s educational system.
Xiao Ye’s best known works include the fiction collections Life of a Pupa (1975), and Tube Spider (1976); the essay collections Daddy Penguin (1992) and Hope Village (2005); the children’s series “Xiao Ye’s Fairy Tales”; and the screenplays On Cheng Gong Ridge (1980) and Reunion (1986).
|Anthology：||The Taipei Chinese Pen《中華民國筆會英季刊－當代台灣文學英譯》|
|Author：||Xiao Ye (Hsiao Yeh)|
|Literary Genre：||Short Story|
|Publisher：||Taipei: Taipei Chinese Center. International P.E.N.|
|Ordering information for original work(Link)：||http://www.ylib.com/book_cont.aspx?BookNo=YLL04|
Ordering information for original work(Note)：
|The “YLib.com” Internet Bookstore|
|Ordering information for translation(Link)：||http://www.taipen.org/the_chinese_pen/the_chinese_pen_03.htm|
|Ordering information for translation(Note)：||Taipei Chinese Center. International P.E.N.|