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Monday, October 10, 2011

Lin Jue-Min's Farewell Letter

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Shinhai Revolution (辛亥革命) which led to the overthrow of the corrupt and incompetent Ching Dynasty and the founding of the Republic of China.

Lin Jue-Min (林覺民) was a member of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Tongmenghui (同盟會) and a participant of the Yellow Flower Mound Revolt (黃花岡之役), one of a series of uprisings during the Shinhai Revolution. The young revolutionaries' goal was to capture the Canton Viceroy's residence in Guangzhou as a means to inspire their fellow countrymen to rise up against the Ching government. They knew it was almost certain to be a suicide mission as they were vastly outnumbered. Many wrote farewell letters to their loved ones before the uprising. Lin Jue-Min's letter to his pregnant wife began with these words:

My beloved YiYing:

I am writing this letter to bid you farewell forever. While writing this letter, I still belong to this world, but by the time you read it, I will have been a spirit in the after world. When I write this letter, my tears blend with the ink, I can barely continue. But I worry you would not understand my heart, and think that I abandoned you to die needless for a cause...

I love you so much, because of this love, I now have the courage to face a certain death. Ever since we met (and fell in love), I have so often wished that all lovers will live and grow old together happily. Yet, we live in a time when the air is permeated with the smell of blood, and vicious thugs roam the streets - how many families can in fact lead happy lives? The bureaucrats hardly care while leading decadent lives. I cannot feign compassion but assume no action. I will use the love I have in my heart for you to help all the people under the sky to have the chance to love whom they love. Because of this, I am not afraid to die and go before you...

Lin Jue-Min and the other Shinhai revolutionaries stormed the Canton Viceroy's residence three days later. They were vastly outnumbered, captured and executed. He was 24 years old.


travii said...

my god! u actually translate wow, u shud do the whole letter...hahaha we cried in classroom last time we read it as malaysia.

Anonymous said...

my sissy lovin it

Lisa said...

Very well written! learned a lot from this letter! Farewell Letters

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