Today, March 4th, is the birthday of Song Meiling, daughter of one of the wealthiest families in China. Born in China, educated in America, and married to General Chiang Kai-shek. Her two other sisters had equally glorious lives, one married into a family of equally great wealth and worldwide interests in banking. The other, Qingling, married Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary and the first president China.
Song Meiling was beautiful and well-spoken, and was well-known to people around the world during the World War II as she and her husband rallied support from the allied governments, fought against the Japanese invaders, and tried stop the rise of the communists China. They fought bravely, but a great number of communist sleeper spies planted in many parts of the government and military just got up joined the communists in their fight for power. Song Qingling stayed in China. Song Meiling and Chiang Kai-shek and their nationalist loyalists retreated to the island of Taiwan to re-arm and re-take China. It never happened. She died a recognized war hero in NYC at the age of 106 years old.
Oct 10 marks the 100th Mandarin Chinese anniversary of the 1911 Revolution in China. It will be celebrated on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. It seems that Sun Yatsen and Song Qingling will be some of the greats remembered. Sun Yatsen was the spiritual leader of the revolution. Song Qingling, his wife, was one of the three famous Song sisters. Another was Madame Chiang Kai-shek (Song Meiling). Thirty to thirty-five years later, while Chiang Kaishek and Song Meiling, president and first lady of the Republic of China, were busy fighting off the Japanese, Russia and the Chinese communists were planning the overthrow of the KMT, which occurred shortly after WWII. Thus, a second revolution, the Communist Revolution, occurred, forcing Chiang Kaishek and Song Meiling and some loyalists to Taiwan and Burma, with the hope of re-taking the mainland and re-establishing ROC governance. It never happened. Still both sides of Taiwan Strait owe much and pay homage to Sun Yatsen and the 1911 Revolution. However, it is always best to avoid political conversations when traveling around the region. There are many, many opinions, and some quite passionate. As for the celebrations, look out for the fireworks.