他為盲人點心燈——陳五福醫生

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1993 / 11月

文‧魏宏晉 圖‧邱瑞金


他一生行醫救人,不但在家鄉羅東贏得「聖人」的尊稱,還受過「非洲之父」史懷哲醫生的長信鼓勵。

然而,將一生奉獻給病人的陳五福醫生,到晚年卻遭病魔纏身。

在救人與自救間,現年七十五歲,身罹肝癌的陳醫生有什麼不同於常人的感受呢?


雖然臉上有著明顯的倦容,今天他還是接連奔波在台北、宜蘭兩地,分別接受了衛生署與仰山文教基金會頒贈給他的一等衛生獎章以及噶瑪蘭獎,以表彰他致力盲人醫療,和為宜蘭人貢獻。

上個月十六日的兩項表揚,雖不是已退休的陳五福醫生一生所獲唯一的殊榮,但卻可以為其一生致力於盲人教育以及社會工作的努力,做一個光榮的注解。

迷人的眼!

陳五福,西元一九一八年出生於宜蘭縣羅東鎮,廿二歲時考入日本帝大醫學院。

陳五福一生的命運就在醫學院堥M定。當年他著迷於人類眼睛組織的精密,於是選擇了冷門的眼科以為其專業。由於選擇了眼科,他在生活修養上自律甚謹,嚴格要求自己不菸、不酒、不怒,生活起居正常,保持心境平和,甚至不可以手提重物,避免一切因身心不平衡所可能造成手指顫動,而影響了眼球醫療的品質。

從帝大畢業後,他原本在台大眼科服務,但為了回饋家鄉,在廿八歲時,決定離開台北,回到羅東開設「五福眼科」診所,在故鄉行醫。

早年醫生在台灣社會地位甚高,尤其像在羅東這樣的小地方,醫生有幾位都數得出來,大家對醫生都另眼相待。

然而五福醫生卻從未認為當醫生的就高人一等。曾經有病人請他診治後,非常想和他握手表達感激之意,但卻怕自己一雙莊稼人的手和醫生握手失禮,五福醫生瞧出他的尷尬,立即上前拉住他的手,真摯地說:「我最愛握這種粗糙的手,這才是生活的手。」

當然一些像優待貧苦人家,甚至不收費的診療、施藥措施,在陳醫生的診所堿O常有的事;更有趣的是,貧苦人家到「五福眼科」看病不只不要錢,甚至還有錢拿。

陳醫生在退休前幾乎整天忙於治療病人,根本無暇消費,但很奇怪,陳太太每天早上固定會給先生一些零用錢,一到晚上,除了醫院那兒都沒去的五福醫生口袋卻往往空空如也,太太很納悶,偷偷地問醫院堛瘍@士,才恍然大悟,原來他在遇到貧苦的病人,除了不收醫療費之外,還經常順手掏出口袋堛犒s用錢塞給病人。

不只治眼睛

五福醫生的專業是眼科,但在早年醫療資源不充分的鄉下地方,只要是和醫生沾上邊的,經常得當一個全能博士。所以他常常要「撈過界」,管到眼睛以外的地方。

在台北經商卅年,這兩年決定落葉歸根,退休回宜蘭定居的吳松合就因曾受幫助,而深深為五福醫生所折服。

三十幾年前,吳松合的父親因為工作賣力,而傷了脊椎,長年下來,病況逐漸惡化,甚至到脊椎周圍組織化膿的地步;眼看病人情況危急,家貧的吳家束手無策,在友人建議下,用木製的拖車把病人送到羅東陳五福醫生的診所。他看了一回,覺得事態嚴重,又深感病人不宜移動,於是往後天天騎著車從羅東鎮上遠赴今天的冬山鄉得安村看病。最後眼看病人不行了,五福醫生使出最後的法寶,找到當時最貴的消炎針劑給病人注射,他當時堅毅的語氣令吳松合至今難忘,「醫生說:『現在沒法子了,只好拚拚看了!』」,吳松合說,父親注射了兩瓶針藥,四天後轉危為安,日後才能有機會開刀治療,而後活到八十餘歲,到前幾年才往生。

而正因在行醫時,深刻地體會了盲人的痛苦,陳醫生開始思考除了被動幫助求醫盲人之外,要如何才能更進一步去為他們開創出一條光明之路?

「眼睛瞎掉的動物除了人之外,沒有其他動物可以活下去的。因為人類會互相扶助,明眼的會幫助失明的」,陳醫生說,如果明眼人不幫盲人,那麼盲人也會像其他眼盲的動物一樣被淘汰。

正因為這股人類天生的惻隱心腸,陳五福於民國四十八年在宜蘭自費創辦「慕光盲人重建中心」,希望藉由明眼人的幫助,為不幸的盲胞開創一條重回社會之路。

創立慕光

草創期間,夫妻倆全力投入。陳太太身兼文書、總務、會計、保母的工作,不像一般人印象中的「先生娘」。而陳五福在空檔時,也會騎摩托車載學生兜風逛街。日後人手增加,他們才把工作授權分工。

進入慕光的學生,完全不必負擔任何學雜費用;家境貧寒者,慕光還負責全部生活用品的開支。來到慕光的盲生,可說全無後顧之憂,可以專心學習一技之長。

慕光盲人重建中心現址在宜蘭縣冬山鄉,佔地一千三百餘坪,有專業的指導老師,全套的點字口讀和教學訓練計畫之外,還有圖書室、按摩教室和盲人花園等,這些完善的設備,就是希望從養育、教育到日後生涯,都能替盲胞們做下完整的規劃。

慕光中心裡,只要按計算機上的鍵盤,就有聲音讀出數字;課本的每一頁都貼有一張唱片,可讀出課文的內容;而使用步行輔助機(一種超音波眼鏡)時,學生可以探測前方的障礙物;連撲克牌上都有點字,盲生玩牌時就像在進行摸字比賽……。

為了顧慮學生的安全,中心外的公路上,設有盲人音樂交通號誌,當他們通過時,有音樂聲會指示按鈕位置,按下通行鈕十八秒後,有另外自喇叭發出的音樂,提醒他們快點通過。在這同時,還有紅燈管制雙方來車。種種的措施,都源自陳醫師對盲人的深切關懷。

慕光成立至今卅餘年,已經有三百五十多位盲生從這裡畢業,重新走入人群,而支持這所盲人重生園地的經費,除了社會各界的捐輸、地方政府輔助部分之外,至今陳醫生每年還固定捐出數百萬元以補其不足。

每逢他的生日,已離開慕光的孩子總會包車從中南部來為他祝壽,人數最多時曾有二百多人,動員三部遊覽車。

除了慕光的盲生和病人,陳五福也關心其他需要幫助的人。

陳江山在念大同工學院時,因球賽發生意外,導致永久失明,之後他到新莊盲人重建院就讀,畢業後前往日本筑波大學攻讀特殊教育。另方面他也學針灸,回國後在台北開業,生意不錯。

但他心中仍未忘懷大同工學院未竟的電子課程,而想申請日本上智大學的有關科系,學校卻以種種理由婉拒。與陳江山無親無故的陳五福輾轉知道這件事,主動伸出援手。

他不但親自陪陳江山赴日求見上智大學理工學院的院長,並保證如果陳江山念不下去,他會負責接回台灣。對方被陳五福的熱誠所動,口試後決定錄取陳江山。這位盲生,最後還更上層樓,獲得美國密西西比大學特殊教育博士學位。

醫學貢獻良多

就是這樣的奉獻精神,讓五福醫生得到了他一生參與、一九九○年創立的仰山文教基金會所頒發的第二屆噶瑪蘭獎,評審委員會認為他是宜蘭人的驕傲,且對宜蘭人有所貢獻。

陳醫生除了行醫之外,在其專業醫學領域中,也有不少學術理論和實務經驗。除有廿餘種的專著及論文外,並有眼科儀器發明。民國六十七年在日本Japanese Journal of Ophthalmalogy發表The Visibility of Hai-dinger's Brushes,曾收到美、法、以色列、德國、瑞典及捷克等國的教授來函索取抽印本,民國四十九年及六十四年,先後發明「電波操縱迴轉式視力檢查表」及「黃斑部檢查儀」兩種,對眼科醫學投注的發展有所助益,並曾多次獲獎表揚。

在陳五福秘書林蕙蓮的剪貼簿中,有點點滴滴的紀錄:一九七二年,宜蘭鄉民游阿淮的二子二女因隔代遺傳罹患先天性白內障,陳五福分文不取地讓四個小孩重見光明。

一九七一年,花蓮和平國小一位山地孤兒林平和,被棒球傷及右眼,可能失明,陳醫生同情他的遭遇,免費為他開刀治療……。

忘年之交史懷哲

而他奉獻家鄉的事蹟不僅為鄉人敬重,連有「非洲之父」之稱的史懷哲醫生都和他成了忘年之交。當年五福醫生久仰其名,為了自己想創立「慕光」,所以寫了封信給他。那時已高齡八十四的史懷哲被五福醫生的熱情感動,回了封三、四頁的長信鼓勵他;前後以德文寫了三封信給陳五福。魚雁神交九年後,五福醫生正準備到非洲探望這忘年交時,史懷哲卻在他行前過世,留下莫大的遺憾。

陳五福醫生是位虔誠的基督教徒,他總是把所有的榮耀奉獻給神。但是他的身體健康卻未能通過神的試煉。因工作過於勤奮,累壞了身體,所以儘管自己是個救人的醫生,卻也被同行大大小小開了五次刀。雖然他執意封鎖消息,慕光畢業的學生仍從各地找到醫院,堅持要為他按摩,唱聖歌為他祈福。

罹患肝癌

一九九○年,醫生宣佈他得了肝癌。

這一年是五福醫生忙碌的一年,六月時擔任總統府參議,又參加國是會議,十月在大陸北平參加「第九屆亞太地區國際復健會議」時,台大醫院打電話到北平通知陳醫師,告訴他肝臟的腫瘤是惡性的。

回台灣後,五福醫生住進台大醫院接受肝腫瘤切除手術,手術後恢復情況十分良好,因此引來許多人問他到底有何秘方。但他總說什麼秘方也沒有,「生死的問題就是信心而已。」很多現代人沒有一股信心的力量,遇到生死難關時,未戰先敗,一灰心就完了。「遇到罹患絕症這種事,千萬記得不要自怨自艾,老想著『為什是我?』,這時候最重要的是不要和自己說話,要和自己相信的神說話」,他解釋說,人之所以會出生為人,都不是自己的意願,一切都是上蒼的安排。而上蒼安排人出生,也安排人死亡,祂要人什麼時候得病,也一定有道理。「想到得病不是我的錯,內心就輕鬆了」,他說他相信「天無絕人之路」。

在台大醫院的癌症病房堙A陳五福醫生是最快樂、也最合作的病人,護士小姐老愛說:「他實在不像個病人。」而陳醫生心裡明白,只有這樣才是自救之道。

七十學長笛!

陳醫生的一生除了奉獻外,他也不斷地在探索自己的潛能。

「父親在七十歲時,突然迷上了橫笛,除了在醫院工作時間外,無時無刻皆可聽到他的笛音。他那五音不全、節拍撩亂的笛聲,不得不常常要大家坐下來聆聽他的學習心得。母親總會回答說:『我剛好要去忙一件……。』經過了五年的苦修,終於收到效果,最近和孫女兒的二重奏竟然得到不少掌聲,且有聽眾喊『安可』」,陳五福的女兒陳昭理在一篇文章中寫道。這是因為陳五福覺得自己除了從早到晚當醫生外,應該還能做一點別的事,所以才決定練習指法有些複雜的長笛,「這有助於開發腦力」,陳醫生幽默的說法是如此:人類的腦細胞約有五百億個左右,平常人一生平均只用二十∼廿五%,其他的則全沒用到,實在可惜。

自律甚嚴的陳五福,救人無數,在生活上卻被子女形容為具有「么兒個性」。

陳昭理指出「每次出門前,母親必須幫他拉直領帶、檢查鈕釦、整理頭髮,放些零錢在皮包內。好幾次帶著雨傘出門卻淋著雨回家,晚上非要母親對他『抓虎口』按摩一番,蓋好棉被才睡覺。換洗衣服擺在那個抽屜,到現在還常分不清楚。他常用的電話號碼記不起來,卻辯稱:『腦筋是要記更重要的事情的。』……」

幽默樂觀、不憂不懼,使陳五福醫生到了七十五歲高齡,而且在身罹重病的情況下,還能不放棄生命任何可開發的價值。「尊重生命」是他一生的圭臬,他不只尊重別人的生命,也尊重自己的生命。問他一生的目標完成了嗎?他坦白地說,這永遠也完成不了,因為,他希望幫助所有眼睛殘障者走出陰影。而若果真如此,盲人將成為社會一項無窮的資源,而不是一般人眼中的負擔。

陳五福醫生的理想顯然不是有生之年可達成的,甚至也不是再十個、百個陳五福就可以做到的,這應該是整個社會配合才有希望完成的理想。然而問一生奉獻盲人教育與醫療的陳醫生遺憾嗎?他自在地回答:「也不會!」對一個已經盡了十分力的人而言,沒有完成心願,遺憾的應該是社會,而不是個人吧!

〔圖片說明〕

P.110

陳五福的木刻畫像(陳義仁提供)

P.110

史懷哲與陳五福藉魚雁往來,建立超越時空的友誼。(陳五福提供)

P.111

在所信仰的上帝之前,五福醫生認為自己非常平凡,命運都由神計畫安排。

P.112

陳五福醫生一生致力盲人教育,創立「慕光」為其最大成就。圖為「慕光」教室一景。

P.113

五福醫生時常提醒人要尊重生命,對於一飯一粥都要心存感激。

P.113

陳五福醫生一生獲獎無數,是他致力社會工作的最佳證言。圖為陳醫生獲頒今年第二屆噶瑪蘭獎的情形。

P.114

七十歲學長笛,五福醫生為的是要「開發生命潛能」。

P.116

盲人失去視覺,觸、嗅等其他感覺變得特別靈敏,經訓練從花香就可辨別出花種。

P.117

為了讓盲人可以過正常生活,——不只是食衣住行,還包括育樂,「慕光」設計了有格棋盤的象棋。

P.117

盲人在社會生活競爭力較低,學習按摩是比較常見的謀生方式。圖為「慕光」按摩教室,老師指導學生學習按摩技巧。

P.118

在黑暗中,心靈才是人類真正的眼睛。圖為陳五福醫生早年為病人看病的情景。(陳五福提供)

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EN

Lighting Their Darkness--Dr. Chen Wu-fu

Wei Hung-chin /photos courtesy of Diago Chiu /tr. by Robert Taylor

He has spent his whole life helping people as a physician, and is not only respectfully known as a "saint" in his home town of Luotung, but has even received long letters of encouragement from Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the "Father of Africa."

But now in old age, Dr. Chen Wu-fu, who has dedicated his life to the sick, is himself stricker with illness.

At 75 years old and suffering from liver cancer, between saving others and saving himself, what unusual insights does Dr. Chen have?


Although his face shows obvious signs of fatigue, today he has still gone to Taipei and then to Ilan, to receive the Department of Health's Grade One Health Prize and the Yang-Shan Culture and Education Foundation's Kavalan Prize, in recognition of his work in the medical treatment of the blind and of his contribution to the people of Ilan County.

Although these two awards, presented on the 16th of last month, are by no means the only outstanding distinctions which Dr. Chen Wu-fu, now retired, has received during his lifetime, they nonetheless make an honorable footnote to a life which has been devoted to education and training for the blind and service to society.

Charming eyes!

Chen Wu-fu was born in 1918 in Luotung Township in Ilan County, and at the age of 22 passed the entry examinations for the medical school at Japan Imperial University (now National Taiwan University).

The course of Chen Wu-fu's life was decided at medical school. At that time he became fascinated by the precise structure of the human eye, and so he chose to specialize in the unpopular field of ophthalmology. Because he had chosen ophthalmology he took up a highly self-disciplined lifestyle He forced himself to strictly abstain from smoking and drinking, avoid anger, lead a settled, regular life, maintain a placid frame of mind, and not even to pick up heavy objects, so as to avoid any physical or mental imbalance which might make his hands unsteady and thereby affect the quality of his treatment of people's eyes.

After graduating from Imperial University, he first worked in the ophthalmology department at Taiwan University Hospital. But in order to repay his debt to his home town, at the age of 28 he decided to leave Taipei and return to Luotung, where he opened his "Wu-fu Eye Clinic" and began practicing medicine for the benefit of the people of his home town.

In days gone by, the social status of physicians in Taiwan was very high, especially in a small place like Luotung with only a handful of doctors, and everybody looked up to them.

However, Dr. Chen has never believed that physicians are a race apart. Once, after coming to him for treatment a patient very much wanted to shake hands with him to express his gratitude, but feared that for his rough farmer's hands to shake the doctor's would be impolite. Dr. Chen saw the cause of his embarrassment and immediately stepped forward to grasp his hand, saying sincerely: "I like nothing better than to shake rough hands like these, for they are hands with real life."

It goes without saying that at Dr. Chen's clinic diagnosis, treatment and medicine would often be given to poor people at reduced prices or even free of charge; but more amusingly, poor people who went to the Wu-fu Eye Clinic for treatment not only had nothing to pay, they might even be given money to take away with them.

Until he retired, Dr. Chen was busy treating patients from morning till night almost every day, and had no time to spend money on anything. But strangely, although Mrs. Chen gave her husband some spending money every day, by evening the doctor's pockets would often be empty, though he had been nowhere but the clinic. Perplexed, his wife surreptitiously made inquiries among the nurses at the clinic, and only then did everything become clear: whenever he came across needy patients, apart from treating them free of charge, he would often dig out some of his spending money and slip it into their hands or pockets.

Not only treating eyes:

Dr. Chen is an ophthalmologist, but in the old days in country areas where medical resources were limited, anyone with the least knowledge of doctoring often had to play the role of an all-round expert. So Dr. Chen often had to "fish in other waters," and look after other things than just eyes.

Wu Sung-he, who decided two years ago to retire to his native Ilan County after being in business in Taipei for thirty years, once received such help, and has the deepest admiration for Dr. Chen.

Thirty years ago, Wu Sung-he's father had injured his spine through heavy labor, and over the years his condition gradually grew worse, to the point where even the tissues around his spine were swollen with pus. Seeing that his condition was critical, the impoverished Wu family were at their wit's end until at a friend's suggestion they used a wooden handcart to bring the patient to Dr. Chen's clinic in Luotung. After taking a look at Mr. Wu, Dr. Chen felt the situation was serious, and also saw that he should be moved as little as possible, and so from then on each day Dr. Chen cycled all the way from the town of Luotung to Teh-an Village in Tungshan Rural Township to visit his patient. Finally, seeing that old Mr. Wu was in a bad way, Dr. Chen pulled the last trick out of his bag by getting hold of some of the most expensive antiinflammatory drug available at that time to inject into his patient. Wu Sung-he remembers to this day the doctor's firm, resolute tone. "He said: 'All we can do now is try our best!'" Wu Sung-he says Dr. Chen injected his father with two vials of the drug, and after four days the crisis had passed. Old Mr. Wu was later able to have surgery to treat his spine, and went on to live to be over 80, only passing away just a few years ago.

It was the deep impression of the suffering experienced by blind people which he gained while practicing medicine which started Dr. Chen thinking about how, apart from passively giving help to those who came to him for treatment, he could do more to bring light into blind people's darkness.

"Apart from human beings, there are no other animals which can survive if they lose their sight. Because humans can help each other, the sighted can assist the blind," says Dr. Chen. If the sighted do not help the blind, then just like blind animals, blind people will lose out in the fight for survival.

It was just this innate human compassion which prompted Chen Wu-fu to set up at his own expense the "Mu-Kuang Rehabilitation Center for the Blind" in Ilan County in 1959, in the hope that with the help of the sighted, those with the misfortune to be blind could be given a path back into society.

Setting up the Mu-Kuang Center:

In those early days, Dr. Chen and his wife threw all their energies into the Center. Mrs. Chen was secretary, accountant, child minder and general assistant all rolled into one, not at all the way most people imagine a "doctor's wife." Whenever he had time to spare, Dr. Chen would take his students out for rides on his motorbike or to walk about in the town. It was only later, when the Center took on more staff, that he and his wife were able to delegate some of the work and responsibilities.

Students who enter the Mu-Kuang Center do not have to pay anything in the way of instruction fees or other sundry charges. If they come from a poor family the Center also pays for all the items they need in their daily lives. One can say that the blind students who come to Mu-Kuang are free of all worries which might distract them from learning the skills the Center teaches.

The Mu-Kuang Rehabilitation Center is now located in Tungshan Rural Township, Ilan County, on a 4300 m2 site. As well as professional instructors, audio-assisted braille teaching equipment and an all-round education and training program, the Center has a library, a massage teaching room, a scented garden for the blind, and so on. These comprehensive facilities are intended to cater to all the needs of the students from their education and physical well being to their preparation for later life.

At the Mu-Kuang Center, when one presses the button on a calculator, a voice reads out the numbers; the "Sopic" textbooks have a disc attached to each page, from which one can play back the lessons; by using an ultrasonic walking aid worn like spectacles, students can detect obstacles in front of them; and even the playing cards are marked in braille, so that a game of cards among the students looks like a braille reading contest.

For the students' safety, the roads around the Center are equipped with musical traffic signals, so that when they want to cross the road, music guides them to a push button, and 18 seconds after pressing the button a different tune reminds them to cross quickly. During this time, red lights stop the traffic from both directions. All these provisions are the result of Dr. Chen's deep concern for blind people.

Ready to help anyone in need:

The Mu-Kuang Center has been in existence for over 30 years, in which time more than 350 blind students have graduated and rejoined society. The funds on which the Center depends come not only from donations by people of all walks of life and a grant from the local government, but also from Dr. Chen himself, who to this day donates several million NT dollars each year to make up the shortfall in funding from other sources.

Every time Dr. Chen's birthday comes around, former students of the Center hire buses to come from central and southern Taiwan to pay their respects. On one occasion over 200 people came, filling three tour buses.

Apart from the Mu-Kuang Center's blind students and his patients, Chen Wu-fu also cares for other people in need of help.

When Chen Chiang-shan was studying at Tatung Institute of Technology, an accident during a ball game permanently robbed him of his sight. He later went to study at the Committee for the Blind of Taiwan's rehabilitation center in Hsinchuang, and after graduating, studied special education at Tsukuba University in Japan. He also studied acupuncture, and after returning from Japan opened his own practice in Taipei, which did rather well.

But he never forgot his unfinished course in electronics at the Tatung Institute, and he wished to apply to read the same subject at Japan's Sophia University; but the university put him off again and again with various polite excuses. When Chen Wu-fu, to whom Chen Chiang-shan was a complete stranger, indirectly heard of this he spontaneously stretched out a helping hand.

He not only personally accompanied Chen Chiang-shan to Japan to visit the director of the Institute of Technology at Sophia University, but also gave his guarantee that if Chen Chiang-shan should be unable to finish his studies, he would take responsibility for returning him to Taiwan. The director was moved by Chen Wu-fu's sincerity, and after an oral examination decided to accept Chen Chiang-shan. This blind student later even went on to gain a doctorate in special education from the University of Mississippi in the USA.

Many contributions to medical science:

It was just this spirit of giving which caused Dr. Chen to be selected as the second recipient of the Kavalan Prize, awarded by the Yang-Shan Culture and Education Foundation, which was set up 1990. In the opinion of the prize committee, Dr. Chen has made a contribution to the people of Ilan, and is someone they can be proud of.

Apart from simply practicing medicine, Dr. Chen has made many contributions to the theory and practice of his own specialist field. He has written over 20 books and articles, and has also invented ophthalmological instruments. His article The Visibility of Haidinger's Brushes, published in 1978 in The Japanese Journal of Ophthalmology, brought letters asking for copies of the article from professors in America, France, Israel, Germany, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere. In 1960, he invented a radio-controlled vision testing apparatus, and in 1975 an instrument for examining the macula lutea (the portion of the retina providing the most acute vision). His work has contributed to the progress of ophthalmic medicine, and he has also received many awards and citations.

Albert Schweitzer--a friendship bridging generations:

A scrapbook kept by Chen Wu-fu's secretary Lin Hui-lien records many acts of generosity. For instance, the two sons and two daughters of Ilan County resident You A-huai all suffered congenital cataracts; in 1972 Chen Wu-fu treated all four children, restoring their vision, without asking for a penny in payment.

In 1971 Lin Ping-he, an orphan aboriginal child attending Heping elementary school in Hualien County, was struck in the right eye by the ball during a baseball game, and was in danger of losing the sight of that eye. Taking pity on him, Dr. Chen operated on him free of charge.

The contribution which he has made to his homeland has not only earned him the respect of local people; even the "Father of Africa" Dr. Albert Schweitzer, far away in Africa, formed a deep friendship with him which bridged the generation gap between them. Dr. Chen wrote to Dr. Schweitzer, whom he had long admired, when he was considering founding the Mu-Kuang Center. Schweitzer, already 84 at the time, was so moved by Chen's enthusiasm that he replied with a letter of encouragement three or four pages long, and later wrote to Dr. Chen twice more in German. After a correspondence over nine years, Dr. Chen was just preparing to travel to Africa to visit his friend when Albert Schweitzer passed away, to Chen's great and lasting sorrow.

Dr. Chen Wu-fu is a devout Christian, and he offers up all honor to the glory of God. But his health has not stood the test of the challenges God has placed before him. The strain of overwork has broken his health, and so this doctor who saves others' lives has himself had five operations large and small performed on him by his colleagues. Although he tried hard to keep it a secret, former students of the Mu-Kuang Center came to the hospital from all over the island and insisted on giving him massages, singing hymns and praying for him.

In 1990, Dr. Chen's doctors told him he had liver cancer.

Liver cancer:

That year had been a busy one for Dr. Chen; in June he became a counselor at the Presidential Office, and took part in the National Affairs Conference. In October, Dr. Chen was attending the "Ninth Asia and Pacific Regional Conference of Rehabilitation International" in Beijing in mainland China when Taiwan University Hospital phoned him there to tell him that the tumor in his liver was malignant.

On returning to Taiwan, Dr. Chen was admitted to Taiwan University Hospital to have the tumor removed. He recovered so well after his operation that many people asked him what his secret was. But he always said there was no secret, "it's just that survival depends on confidence." Many people today don't have the strength that confidence brings, so that if faced with the prospect of death they give up without a fight, and to lose heart is fatal. "If you are faced with a situation like having a life-threatening disease, always remember that you should not blame or pity yourself or keep thinking 'Why me?' At that time the most important thing is to talk not to yourself, but to the God you believe in." He explains that people are not born as human beings by their own desire, but only by the will of God. And there is surely a purpose in the way He arranges for people to be born, to die, or to fall ill at a certain time. "When I realized that becoming ill was not my own fault, I felt much easier inside." He says he believes that "Heaven always leaves people a way out of their troubles."

In Taiwan University Hospital's cancer ward, Dr. Chen Wu-fu was the most cheerful and cooperative of patients, and the nurses often said: "He really doesn't seem like a sick person at all." But Dr. Chen knows in his heart that this is the only way to save oneself.

Learning the flute at 70!

As well as dedicating his whole life to the service of others, Dr. Chen has also continuously explored his own potential .

"When my father was 70, he suddenly fell in love with the flute, and except when he was working at the clinic, you could always hear the sound of him playing. For all his wrong notes and irregular rhythms, he would keep wanting everyone to sit down and listen to the progress he was making. Mother would always reply: 'I just have something I must go and do . . . . ' But five years of hard study finally paid off, and a duet he recently played with his granddaughter actually drew quite a round of applause, and even some cries of 'encore'!" Chen Wu-fu's daughter Chen Chao-li wrote in an essay.

Dr. Chen felt that apart from doctoring from morning till night, he should have the ability to do something else, so he decided to practice the flute with its complex fingering, for "it helps develop one's mental capacity." Dr. Chen says humorously that human beings have around 50 billion brain cells, but most people only use a fifth or a quarter of them throughout their lives; the rest are left completely unused, which is a real pity.

Chen Wu-fu maintains iron self-discipline and has helped and saved countless people, but in his daily life his children describe him as having "the personality of a coddled child."

Chen Chao-li observes: "Every time before he goes out, Mother has to straighten his collar, inspect whether his buttons are done up, tidy his hair and put some money in his wallet. Often he has gone out with an umbrella but come home soaking wet, and at night he won't go to sleep until Mother massages his hands for him and tucks him up under his quilt. To this day, he never knows which drawer his clean clothes are in. He can't remember telephone numbers which he uses all the time, but he tries to defend himself by saying: 'I've more important things to be filling my brain with.'"

His humor and optimism and his unworried, unfearing attitude have brought Dr. Chen Wu-fu to the ripe old age of 75, and although visited by serious illness, he still grasps every opportunity to improve the value of life. To "respect life" has always been his guiding principle, and he not only respects other people's life but also respects his own. When asked whether he has fulfilled his goal in life, he replies frankly that it can never be fulfilled, for he hopes to bring light into the darkness for all visually handicapped people. If he could do this, then blind people would become a great resource for society rather than a burden as they are regarded by most people.

Evidently Dr. Chen Wu-fu's ideal is not one which can be realized in his own lifetime, or even one which could be accomplished by ten or a hundred Chen Wu-fus; it is an ideal which can only be achieved if the whole of society works together. But if you ask Dr. Chen, who has dedicated his whole life to training and treating the blind, whether this makes him regretful, he replies relaxedly: "Not at all!" If someone has put in their best effort, then if their dream has not been achieved, surely this is something for society to regret, and not the individual!

[Picture Caption]

p.110

A woodcut portrait of Chen Wu-fu (courtesy of Chen Yi-jen)

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The correspondence between Albert Schweizer and Chen Wu-fu established a friendship which bridged the age gap and distance between them. (photo courtesy of Dr. Chen Wu-fu)

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Before the God in which he trusts, Dr. Chen Wu-fu sees himself as a very ordinary person, and believes that his fate is planned and arranged by God.

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Dr. Chen Wu-fu has spent his whole life working for education for the blind, and establishing the Mu-Kuang Center has been his greatest achievement. This picture shows a classroom at the Center.

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Dr. Chen constantly reminds people to respect life and to be grateful for every meal we receive.

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The many prizes Chen Wu-fu has been awarded during his lifetime are a powerful testimony to his service to society. Here Dr. Chen is shown receiving the second Kavalan Prize, presented to him this year.

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At 70 Dr. Chen took up the flute, in order to "develop life's potential."

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Without vision, blind people's other senses such as touch and smell become especially sensitive, and with training they can distinguish flower species just by their scent.

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To help blind people lead a normal life--including recreation as wellas food, clothing and a place to live--the Mu-Kuang Center has designed a chess set with round holes for the pieces to fit in.

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Blind people are less able to compete in society, and many learn massage as a way of earning a living. The picture shows a massage class at the Mu-Kuang Center.

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In the darkness, the soul is a person's real eyes. This picture shows Chen Wu-fu treating a patient in his early years as a doctor. (photo courtesy of Dr. Chen Wu-fu)

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