Father Barry went to Orchid island as a Jesuit seminarian in 1971. After studying the Chinese language for two years in Taiwan, and as part of his training for the priesthood, he spent a year living and working with the Yami people. This book is the story of that year. It is a collection of impressions - a song perhaps - meant less for the anthropologist than for the poet, the dreamer, or anyone else as interested as he is in sharing lives so different from their own.
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The year the author spent teaching the children of Orchid Island was a special time in his life. When he left the island and continued his studies for the priesthood, his heart was full of the memories of that beautiful island and the people there who had become his friends.
"I was studying theology at Fu Jen University. But it was hard to concentrate on my studies, because I was always thinking of Orchid Island. During class, I drew pictures and wrote stories about my adventures of the previous year. When I returned to my room I typed them up. My teachers and classmates thought I was very studious. They didn't know I was writing a book. The book was inside of me. It had to come out.
After the book was finished, I mailed my one and only copy off to some publishers in San Francisco, who later went bankrupt. It was years before I got my copy back. I tossed the manuscript into a drawer and decided writing was not for me.
Almost a decade later, the famous writer San Mao came into my life once again. We had met briefly, while I was on Orchid Island and she on one of her exotic journeys. Then we had lost contact. When we met again, San Mao translated Song of Orchid Island into Chinese and had it published. The book quickly became a bestseller, especially among the youth of Taiwan.
Now, over thirty years since I wrote the English manuscript that was published in Chinese, Song of Orchid Island has finally come out in English. There were several reasons why I wanted to make an English version of this book.
First, because it can be a good study aid for Chinese readers wishing to improve their English reading skills. Together with the Chinese version, published by Huang Kuan, it can be a valuable teaching aid.
Second, because I wanted to make the book available to English readers. With this book, they can learn about Orchid Island, its awesome natural wonders and friendly people. Taiwan has so few travel books in English, and even fewer personal studies dealing with indigenous tribes. This book can make a difference. It can make Orchid Island more widely known throughout the world.
I believe when you have a strong desire to do something good, you should do it. I really wanted to do this book. It has taken 30 years for it to reach its present form. But the issues it raises are perhaps more timely now than ever before.
To understand and share with those of other cultures, beliefs and lifestyles has far-reaching consequences in an increasingly divided and intolerant world. I hope that those who read Song of Orchid Island will see the island and its people as I have seen them. And may this knowledge increase their love."From the Author:
The book shown on this page is my favorite book. Song of Orchid Island has short stories of my life on Orchid Island over thirty years ago. I like it so much, because the descriptions of the people and place are very poetic. The characters are so loveable; I think you will get to know them as I did.
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Book Description Barry Martinson, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P119868221900
Book Description Barry Martinson, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M9868221900