Dr. Chiau-Seng Hwang 黃昭聲醫師 (1936-2006)
By Stephen Chen 陳中潔 Posted to the Taiwanese Site on Sunday, July 01, 2007’
Two reasons that I had known Chiau-seng (黃昭聲) for over 40 years: he had a well known father Rev. Bu-Tong Hwang (黃武東牧師 http://thetaiwanese.blogspot.com/2005_11_01_archive.html), and he married to a fine lady who graduated from the same seminary as I did. But I began to really know him was sometime in late 1986 when I served as a guest preacher at Taiwanese church in Detroit Presbytery. Hwang had been practicing medicine in between Detroit and Ann Arbor for many years and actively involved with the church business. The bonus for me then was not really the mileage from the frequent fliers program (flying between Detroit and Chicago at least once a month for years) but to meet Rev. Bu-tong Hwang from time to time and to see first handed the distinctiveness of the father-son pair both brilliant with sense of humor and their love beyond their fields, namely the ministry and the medical practice.
It was really a surprise that I heard the news of Dr. Hwang decided to take the job as the superintendent of the Changhua Christian Hospital (CCH-Taiwan) in 1989. Pretty much the entire congregation got together at a restaurant in Windsor as a farewell dinner for the Hwangs. Chiau-seng made his famous short yet powerful speech about his dream during the dinner. He had an unfinished dream as a Taiwanese in Taiwan. He shared with me his experience of meeting Dr. and Mrs. David Landsborough IV in United Kingdom before he took his new job. Hwang seemed to be fully aware of the historical responsibility of the nearly a century old hospital. It is, after all, a Christian hospital full of the loving memories and stories of the early missionaries and local professionals in central Taiwan.
In 1995 I got a chance to meet Hwangs in Taiwan – the last time I was there was 1976. Hui-hui, Mrs. Hwang, was once jokingly told me that they would treat me to the best ginger duck soup (薑母鴨) in Taiwan. And I stopped by only to find that Chiau-seng was in hospital bed, not visiting patients, but getting ready for lower back surgery himself.
The main hall of the hospital was so crowded it sounded like a noisy market plaza. However I was warmly welcome by the receptionist and visited Chiau-seng who was actually in bed reading and signing papers. It was my turn to kid both of them back, “Some members of the congregation may get sick to avoid a Sunday sermon from me, but for a lousy ginger duck soup? “
It was really good to see them both in good spirit. And on my way around, I did hear many good things Chiau-seng had been doing for the Hospital both in administration and in medical services. During his tenure, the hospital had expanded the service and business alike, turned CCH into a great medical center for education/teaching, increased cooperation with local churches and communities and even helped the young Chang-Jung University (長榮大學) and the old Tainan Theological College/Seminary financially.
I never got a chance to pay another visit to the Hwangs in Changhua. I met them in Ann Arbor a few times, but never long enough to sit down and talk. How I wish I had.
And then in late 2001 I heard the controversial stories (to retire or not to retire…) from many sides. And I was too far away to even make comments. And in between my secular work Monday-Friday and weekend preaching engagements, I lost count of virtually everything in memory.
And then I was told, in late 2004, that Chiau-seng was retired from CCH and was honored as an Emeritus Superintendent - CCH has also published a book called The Footsteps(腳步), a collection of Chiau-seng’s 15 years at CCH, full of pictures and footsteps of his and many others.
Then in the spring of 2006, like a thunder, I heard the news of Hwang’s passing away in Taiwan. I was totally speechless. In my mind Chiau-seng was always strong (perhaps too strong sometimes) and dignified. How could anything like that happen to him? Well, it happens to everybody. There is no discrimination in the process of life and death.
Like his father Rev. B T Hwang, Chiau-seng spent his final years in Taiwan, did the best he could to offer from both a Christian and a medical professional. And now Hui-hui, his wife, spent most of her time organizing volunteers (as many as 200 plus, including wives of physicians, students and all kinds) to help the families of the CCH patients.
There are tons of loving words expressed in the memorial service of Dr. Chiau-seng Hwang. Allow me to translate (I do not have the original) the eulogy that Dr. David Landsborough IV wrote:
"Dear Dr. Hwang,
Because of your effort and encouragement, every bolt and nut feels important and valuable. You strengthened every one of us. We’ll always miss your smiles and your love. However hard it seems to be, we have to let you go. Have a good trip home. God is taking care of you and we pray that God will continue to take care of your family. May His gracious love be with you forever... - David and family”