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Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che, Vice President William Lai, and British Office Taipei Representative John Dennis Jointly Honor Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell at His 100th Death Anniversary

Dr. James Laidlaw Maxwell was the first British Presbyterian missionary to Taiwan. An evangelist with medical training, Maxwell greatly contributed to the development of western medical care in Taiwan. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his death. Vice President William Lai, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che, and British Office Taipei Representative John Dennis attended the ceremony on March 6th to pay their respects to Dr. Maxwell.

 

Vice President Lai remarked that Dr. Maxwell came to southern Taiwan more than a hundred years ago to spread Christianity and practice medicine, and his love and dedication to serving the public are carried on through our present medical personnel: last year since the pandemic broke out, frontline healthcare professionals have been unwaveringly safeguarding the health of Taiwan’s public. Their hard work and dedication created a strong epidemic prevention example that impressed the world. Lai then thanked Representative John Dennis for coming and hoped that with Mr. Dennis' assistance, Taiwan and the UK can continue the relationship built by Dr. Maxwell and work together in areas such as epidemic prevention, the economy, and promoting the official Mandarin Chinese-English bilingual system in Taiwan.

 

Mayor Huang Wei-che mentioned that, following the spirit of Christ, Dr. Maxwell gave up his comfortable life in England and came to Tainan to work as a missionary and doctor. Back then life in Tainan was challenging, yet Maxwell introduced modern medicine into Taiwan and saved many lives, which was very admirable. Huang expressed that he is very grateful to Maxwell as Tainan has greatly benefited from Dr. Maxwell’s sacrifice and contributions. The Sin-Lau Hospital, which was set up by him, is still serving and caring for patients to this day, and the gospel that he shared is now the spiritual support of many Tainan citizens.

 

British Office Taipei Representative John Dennis began his remarks by greeting everyone in the local Taiwanese dialect. He then expressed that Dr. Maxwell not only brought medicine and religion to Tainan and built the first western hospital to improve the lives of the locals, but also established a relationship between England and Taiwan more than a hundred years ago. With love and patience, Maxwell cleared up misunderstandings and cultivated a bond between the two sides. Dennis also remarked that he will view Dr. Maxwell as a role model and commit to facilitating more exchanges between Taiwan and the UK.

 

This was Representative Dennis’ first visit to Tainan. Mayor Huang gifted him local dried pineapple snacks as a symbol of good luck and prosperity (the pronunciation of pineapple in the local dialect sounds similar to “good luck and prosperity”). Huang then wished the Representative great success during his term here in Taiwan and invited him to return to Tainan in April to taste the delicious fresh pineapples. The Mayor expressed that he looks forward to more agricultural interactions between the two countries in the future.

 

Huang Wei-che also mentioned that currently Tainan is working to build stronger ties with Oxford, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, and assistance from the British Office Taipei would be much appreciated.