Soaring on a plane through the blue skies or being carried by metal wings to every corner of the world are wonderful experiences that are easy to come by today. However, the experience of flying is not only the preserve of modern people. Airplanes were first brought to Taiwan in the early 20th century. Though mainly used for military purposes and for transporting mail to begin with, a small number of Taiwanese were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to experience flying. Through classical poems, they left behind these precious moments for posterity.
Following, a few classical poems about flying written by scholars from Taiwan are introduced. In these poems, the magical sensory experience of flying through the clouds, astonishment at the way flying substantially shortened the traveling time between places, and even air flight stewardesses and in-flight meals are described! Through these works, it can be seen that Taiwan’s classical poems were not only written about classical mood, they also recorded modern and novel things and thus are well worth exploring and reading.
Wu Zhuo-liu’s “In-Flight Snacks”
“Passengers are awoken from their slumber, a Western stewardess announces in an elegant and friendly voice “Snack time”, But all the snacks are Western style and have a strong buttery taste, and there is no hot tea, only cold water, how unfortunate.”
Wu Zhuo-liu (1900-1976, from Hsinchu). This poem makes the reader smile. The stewardesses are sweet and friendly Western women, but all the snacks have a strong buttery taste. He wants a cup of hot tea to take away the taste but only cold water is served, making him feel vexed. This reflects the initial feelings of the poet, but also bears witness to the gradually widening international field of vision of the people of Taiwan as they began to travel overseas.
Sept. 23, 2016 ~ Mar. 23, 2017
C5 E-Library Waiting Lounge, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport
Taiwan Taoyuan Int’l Airport Corporation
Ever Rich Duty Free Shop
National Museum of Taiwan Literature