Saturday, February 25, 2006

Marjorie Bly of Penghu

Earlier this evening I caught a story on the TV news about Pres. Chen's visit to Marjorie Bly, a retired American nurse who is in a Penghu hospital. The reason that I mention this is that I only first heard of her very recently when I was going through some archival documents for my disseration and she was mentioned in a letter from the late 1950s. It was quite an interesting coincidence.

Bly, whose Chinese name is 白寶珠 (Bai Baozhu, which means "White Precious Pearl"), has lived in Taiwan since 1952 (most of those years in Penghu), helping people with leprosy. She is 87 years old and is in failing health, and the president's visit was to express the country's appreciation for her love and care for people with leprosy. A Chinese-language story about Chen's visit to Bly is available here (thanks, Linda!). Another Chinese-language story that covers Bly's 50 years in Taiwan is here. There's an English-language story from 2002 that reports on a fund raised to help her in her retirement and to continue to help people with leprosy. And here is an English story on her receipt of permanent residency in honor of her work in Taiwan.

[Update, 3/11/06: David Bly has included and linked to more information on his blog, including a Taiwan News article that I hadn't noticed. (For some reason, the TN article--actually a Central News Agency release--gets Marjorie Bly's name mixed up, calling her "Bly Marjorie Ingeleiv"...)]


Michael Turton said...

You're famous!


February 26, 2006

Benda Prize Shortlist

From: "Paul H. Kratoska"

The Benda Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding newer scholar of
Southeast Asian studies from any discipline or country specialization.
Members of
the Benda Prize Committee for the current year are Ward Keeler
(Chair), Ben
Kerkvliet, Panivong Norindr, and Natasha Hamilton-Hart. On behalf of
Southeast Asia Council of the (US) Association for Asian Studies, I am
pleased to
announce that the following books have been shortlisted for the Benda

Mary Callahan. Making Enemies: War and State Building in Burma.
Cornell University Press and Singapore University Press, 2004.

Shawn McHale. Print and Power: Confucianism, Communism, and Buddhism
in the Making of Modern Vietnam. University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Marc Perlman. Unplayed Melodies: Javanese Gamelan and the Genesis of
Music Theory. University of California Press, 2004.

Andrew Weintraub. Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West
Java. Ohio University SE Asia Series No. 110/ Institute of Southeast
Asian Studies (Singapore), 2004.

Wilson, Andrew. Ambition and Identity: Chinese Merchant Elites in
Colonial Manila, 1880-1916. University of Hawaii Press, 2004.

Paul H. Kratoska [ ]
Chair, Southeast Asia Council, (US) Association for Asian Studies

Jonathan Benda said...

Ah, good ol' Uncle Harry... (actually, I don't think we're related--particularly since it says he finished his Ph.D. in only 3 years...)

David Bly said...

I am Marjorie Bly's nephew I came upon your blog while doing a search for more information about the visit from President Chen. I was curious about your mention of the letter from the fifties. What was the context of the letter if I a may ask?

The one news story I read about my aunt had a few errors such as confusion about her name, calling Ingeleiv and saying she was from Missouri. I live in the house she grew up in, in Northfield, Minnesota. I am very interested in finding more about her as I try send news of her recognition to Minnesota media. Thanks for blogging about her. Do you mind if I mention your blog in mine? - David Bly

Jonathan Benda said...

Hi, David--since it's from an archive, I'd have to ask the writer before giving you too much info., but generally it was about the writer's trip to Penghu and the visit the writer had with your aunt. (The writer didn't know your aunt before the trip to Penghu.) It just mentioned something of Marjorie Bly's work with lepers. (I'll check with the writer to see if I can send you the actual content of the letter.)

Thanks for the corrections about your aunt.

Sure, you can mention my blog on yours--what is your blog, by the way?