It’s amazing what you come across in your travels. Take this picture, of a memorial located just outside of Taipei, in a port town by the name of Tamsui (淡水|区), also known as Danshui (depending on which method of transliteration you prefer).
It’s dedicated to George Leslie Mackay (偕叡理 or 馬偕), who was a Presbyterian missionary who was stationed here. He married 張聰明 (Tiu Chhang-mia), and is still highly regarded there.
Here’s an image of the plaque in front:
It was said that Mackay “allowed himself to truly encounter and to be transformed by the people he sought to serve.” The Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei is named in his honour.
Why am I fussing about this? It turns out that he came from the small village of Embro, located just south of Stratford.
Why am I bringing this up? It appears that a person’s influence can last well beyong their time here on Earth. When I was there in November 2007, there was a good cool blast of air coming in from the Pacific, which really cooled down Taiwan at that time, as well as drying out the normally humid air. It was quite refreshing, and I had my jacket unzipped in order to really take it in, while everyone around me seemed to be wearing sweaters! I wasn’t paying any attention, until I noticed that some locals were talking and pointing towards me, until someone said, “Oh, Canada!” That seemed to explain what people were wondering about.
And I didn’t mind at all…