Winter Issue 12
By Jolene Nolte
This year the timing of Holy Week and end of term is an interesting one. There are endings--this is my last issue as your editor. I just left my last regular class session at Regent. Some of you might do the same this week. This might not be the end of formal Regent classes for all of you, but it is the conclusion of a four-month rhythm. Even if it's a welcome change for you, it might still be a disorienting one.
Holy Week includes an abrupt end to Jesus' life, a violent end to the disciples' hopes for what Jesus would accomplish. As much as there was a business as usual in Jesus' ministry years, it all came to a ghastly halt that first Good Friday. It's easy to fast forward the story at this point, but it's important to register the profound disorientation of the cross. We, too, are called to join Christ in his suffering. We, too, watch with incomprehension and recoil like the disciples. What a strange Story! But it is also the one in which our small stories with their own endings, confusions and are held together. No resurrection without death. No unfathomable beginnings without disruptive endings.
So whether you are graduating or not, counting the seconds until the end of term or trying to grasp each moment before it slips away, I hope this Holy Week is one in which you find deepened meaning, recognizing your story's participation in the Great Story.
With that I leave you to your finals, your Holy Week and Easter, your summers. Thanks for a great semester. As to my own story, I've enjoyed getting the chance to be your editor.
Righteous Legacy, Part 8
By Peter Cheung
Righteous Legacy is Peter's attempt to tell his interpretation of the story of Dr. Ho Feng-Shan, better known as the Chinese Schindler, on stage. In the last issue, Dr. Ho was confronted by his supervisor, the ambassador to Germany, for his act of giving out Shanghai visas for Jews to help them escape Nazi territory. (For previous scenes, visit etcetera.regent-college.edu.)
14 | Ouija Board
Early 1940. Hotel performance hall. Shan and other guests at a party for distinguished guests. A number of tables are set up with groups socializing, plus one table being hidden behind the veil. There, a witch is practicing her special art of fortune telling through an Ouija board. (Please note that the order of Shan’s questions are reversed here compared to the source, My Forty Years as a Diplomat, Dr. Ho’s own memoir as translated by Monto Ho.)
Shan is dancing with a German woman.
WOMAN: Dr. Ho, you dance very well.
SHAN: Thank you. I got better at dancing while I was working on my PhD in Munich.
WOMAN: Did you? I am from Munich. I say, you shouldn’t dance with these Austrian women.
SHAN: I see.
They finish dancing, Shan leaves his dance partner, attends to and speaks with Mrs. Burg, later Guest and two Gestapo officers approach them.
SHAN: Mrs. Burg, how are your immigration plans to the States or the UK?
BURG: Dr. Ho. I do plan to head soon, just need to finish dealing with our family business.
SHAN: (realizes it is hard to help Mrs. Burg feel the sense of urgency) Anyhow, Monto told me that he wants to become a medical doctor. I think it’s thanks to you teaching him science!
BURG: Oh, that’s wonderful. Please send him my affirmation and encouragement.
SHAN: You bet.
BURG: And also tell him that I said he should keep up with studying Chinese!
SHAN: Great! One of these days I will send him to Hong Kong.
GUEST: Dr. Ho!
SHAN: Good to see you, sir! (about to walk up and shake hands.)
BURG: (interrupts) Dr. Ho, please excuse me. I should take my leave now. (Realizing that the Gestapo is approaching.)
SHAN: I understand. (Burg exits, Shan continues to walk up and shake hands with Guest). How are you?
GUEST: Well, thank you. Allow me to introduce, (points to the two Gestapo officers), my friends from the Nazi party.
SHAN: Well, sirs, I am not the Consulate General from Japan, I am with the Chinese.
GESTAPO: Well, it’s good to have you at this party then. We like the Chinese (the other Gestapo officer agrees with him)!
SHAN: That I can appreciate, though the Nazis chose to ally with the Japanese!
GESTAPO: About that I can tell you this is just a short-term tactic of our leaders. We will eventually deal with that issue. Deep down we respect the Chinese very much.
SHAN: We shall see.
GUEST: (trying to diffuse the tension) Well, shall we get to the special arts we have here tonight? It’s just right over there! Dr. Ho, why don’t you go first?
Lights out. Shan enters the space behind the veil. Guest and Gestapo officers exit.
SHAN: So I just ask you some questions?
SHAN: Alright. My country’s war with the Japanese, how will it go?
WITCH: (performs some form of divination) The Chinese will outlast the Japanese.
SHAN: (puzzled by the word “outlast”) With what?
WITCH: Great harvests year after year.
SHAN: Fair enough. Tell me about my careers future.
WITCH: (performs some form of divination again) Very soon you will leave Vienna. Two posts await you as you head back to China.
Lights out. Witch exits. Strike the set. Shan remains on stage.
15 | Goodbye, Vienna
Shan on his own in spotlight with projections of WWII, the Holocaust and Final Solution being played.
SHAN: And so, my time in Vienna was up. I requested a transfer back to help with the war effort, and soon after Germany marched into Poland, and the Allies declared war, and by doing so the war was no longer just between Japan and China, but a second world war.
The Jews had it tough. Yes, some American churches and charities tried to save them, and I worked with them to the best of my abilities. I don’t know how many we were able to save, but every single one counts.
It is unfortunate that Mrs. Burg didn’t get to escape from Austria. I tried to persuade her. But by the time she was ready to leave, it was too late. We have not heard from her since I left. Monto was very sad.
Monto and I headed to New York. As well as my wife, Grace. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs tasked me to gather intelligence on how the Americas will get involved in the war. Working alone was tough. With a war going, all the pay I got was only enough for rent and basic expenses. Every two weeks I sent a long report, which went all the way up to Generalissimo Chiang. By March 1941, I was certain that it was only a matter of time before the Americans would help us. So I went back months before the war broke out across the Pacific Ocean. It was then Grace and I separated.
Lights out. End of Act II.
By Jolene Nolte
Behold the man:
yet in full possession
of the tongue he does not use
to defend himself.
Behold the king
bearing the cross beam,
stripped of his seamless tunic,
who even in his torment
cares to say to his mother,
“Behold your son,”
and to his disciple,
“Behold your mother.”
Hear the fount of Living Water say,
the Resurrection and the Life cry,
“It is finished.”
Behold, the man, the king, the I AM
in the garden tomb.
Song lyrics by Jonathan Lipps
I arose and sorrow fell
Dreadful weight of memory
You were here just hours ago
But they don’t keep time in Hell
Where am I wandering to?
Can I bear where my feet go?
They take me to the place
Where all my hopes are laid to rest
Just in time for fear to rule my heart
For the door is left ajar
Even peace of death denied
But wait, who comes beside
Has he a tale to tell?
Then he says my name
Then he says my name
Just in time for love to rule my heart
These are lyrics from a song on the upcoming album Present-Future from Jonathan’s band Splendour Hyaline. To sign up for news about the album, visit http://splendourhyaline.com. To hear a pre-release version of “Sunday”, head to http://splendourhyaline.com/sunday.
Illustration and poem by Sandi Smoker
Solution to Last Issue’s Codeword
Codeword by Embolus
Each letter has a corresponding letter. (See below.)
Easter greetings from Embolus!