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Hakka Anti-cancer Professor – Cai, Lin-Jhang
[Hakka Tough Father Defeated Cancer and Dedicated to helping the Vulnerable]


If you don’t fight today, you’ll become a coward tomorrow. If you dare to fight today, you’ll be a warrior in the future.
It’s never too late to learn. Learn constantly to live longer.
—Cai, Lin-Jhang
 
Now doing PhD program at National Central University Graduate Institute of Philosophy, Cai, Lin-Jhang had gone through three times of cancer ravages, more than 10 minor and majors operations, more than 30 sessions of electrotherapy, and more than 22 sessions of chemotherapy. The therapies have caused his facial skin to look like an alien being full of cracks and unevenness. He had played tug of war with death several times. Despite the hard victory, it has caused him facial damage and speech disability.

He was originally the Chairman of two real estate companies, but long-term fighting with cancer has caused him to go broke.

After his anti-cancer treatments had improved slightly, he took the first step to work as a newspaper delivery boy, and then a vegetable delivery boy in the market, a resource collector and a factory operator. He also attended the evening cram school to take the college entrance exam again, after leaving the books behind for more than 30 years.

He made persistent efforts and finally passed the college entrance exam at the age of 50. In a short period of 15 years of public services, he succeeded promoting Taoyuan Public Library, Pingzheng Branch to rank first in the country. During his free time, he also worked as a pioneer volunteer for Tzu Chi disaster relief. He is indeed a practitioner who never ceases to learn as long as he lives. He worked his way through the Department of Business Administration in National Chung Hsing University, and double master’s degree in National Chiao Tung University and National Central University one after another. He has proved to the world that life only begins at 70 years old - to become a doctoral student at National Central University Graduate Institute of Philosophy with perfect attendance.

Cai, Lin-Jhang has embraced the Hakka character by displaying a hard-working spirit and challenging the limits to defeat the cancer demon, helping the disadvantaged, and never cease learning as long as he lives to become a model doctoral student in Taiwan. He deserves to be praised as a “Hakka Anti-cancer Professor” and stood out among 2616 candidates of Loved Life Medal in the world and won the “21st Fervent Global Love of Lives Award” in 2018 from Chou, Ta-Kuan Foundation in Taiwan. The Foundation always welcomes recommendations for life warriors from all walks of life in the world who are hardworking, benevolent, courageous, and have made great accomplishments, etc. (Fervent Global Love of Lives Award recommendation hotline of Chou, Ta-Kuan Cultural and Educational Foundation of Taiwan: 02-29178770, Fax: 02-29178768, Address: 3F, No. 52, Mingde Road, Xindian District, New Taipei City, Website: http://www.ta.org.tw, e-mail: ta88ms17@gmail.com).
 
Hakka tough guy to conquer cancer
Cai, Lin-Jhang was born on August 29, 1946 in the Hakka Village of Longtan District, Taoyuan City. When he was 17 years old, he started to work his way through college with lots of hardships, from Taipei Municipal Jianguo High School to the College of Law and Commerce National Chung Hsing University.
 
Upon entering the workplace for two years full of vigor and vitality at the age of 28, Lin-Jhang discovered a tumor under his tongue. Although his illness stabilized after going through 22 sessions of chemotherapy and more than 30 sessions of cobalt exposure, but his hair had almost fallen off, his facial skin was dry and scorched, and his lips were seriously cracked. He could not speak for a full year and could only communicate through paper and pen. That made him more or less like a dumb person.

One year later, Lin-Jhang returned to health and regained his feet. With keen observation and down-to-earth personalities, he quickly emerged as a Hotel Director of a large hotel in northern Taiwan.

In the 1980s, when Taiwan’s economy began to take off and the real estate industry was flourishing rapidly, Lin-Jhang established two real estate companies.

When he was pleased with his business, the tongue cancer that seemed to be vanished 17 years ago came back to him. The doctor first removed his right cheekbone and tongue that the cancer cells had invaded and supplemented it with a rib bone removed from his right chest, and the skin and flesh from his thigh and abdomen.

A few days later, the transplanted bone accidentally died from infection and the remaining tongue retracted into his throat. Fate always seemed to be playing a joke on him.
 
At that moment of life and death, not only did the tough Hakka spirit of Lin-Jhang condense the determination of his family to never give up, but also touched the confidence of medical personnel to save him at all costs.

The medical team of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou introduced a latest medical technique in the world by cutting a 20cm-long wound on his left chest, removing the skin and flesh and making it into a strip, and plugging it into the void where the bone had been removed. Meanwhile, the other end of the bone was left intact with the body to allow the strip of skin and flesh to regenerate new tissue and fill up the big hole in the right face.

As that surgery was considered the most advanced surgical operation then, it had caused a great sensation both at home and abroad.

"As part of my jawbone was removed and almost all the teeth were pulled off, it caused chewing and swallowing problems to me. Even the soft noodles had to be chopped or made into liquid form. To avoid the food from leaking out, I had to drink the liquid food my holding my chin up slightly, but the food kept flowing out while I eat. In the end, the fruit juice and the batter were splashed around along with my tears and blood! After so many years, I still feel sad when I think of it again!” After recalling the memories, tears began to roll down from Lin-Jhang’s eyes. That is why he is so grateful to his family members, friends and relatives who showed their sincerity when he was in a miserable state then.
 
His relatives and friends expressed pessimistic after seeing that he was worn to a shadow as tortured by cancer cells. However, Lin-Jhang gritted his teeth to show the 100% tough Hakka personality with confidence and courage.

“I’ve just entered my 45-year-old’s strong age and just held a strong foothold in the market, and my kids are still small, how can I end my life like this? Not to mention that I still own gratitude to my loved ones, and I can’t bear to see the elderly attending the funeral of their offspring!” From then on, Lin-Jhang no longer complained how the cancer had crushed his business, felt sad for his face, and talked about his disabilities.

He is grateful for this catastrophe for letting him to wake up from the meaningless goal of just eating, drinking, playing and entertaining, thereby dispelling the arrogant, irritated, and preoccupied personality of the past.

So Lin-Jhang started from scratch. Not only did he deliver newspapers and deliver vegetables in the market, but also worked in the factory as an operator, attended an evening cram school and picked up the books that he had left for nearly 30 years.

Heaven helps those who help themselves. He first passed the land agent exam and then the college entrance exam at the age of 50, and was regarded as the oldest candidate been accepted. He was dispatched to serve in Hsinchu City Government. After 2 years, he was transferred back to Taoyuan Public Library, Pingchen Branch as an official.
 
In 2000, Lin-Jhang’s left lip was festered again. The hospital confirmed that the new cancer cells had reemerged quietly! At that time, he already realized that “my mind has grown up after failure, and my life has been tempered to become worthwhile.” He knew that he must make a final fight.
 
On the day of his hospital admission, he hugged his mother’s shoulders gently and said with a confident smile: “Mom, please rest assured, I’ll definitely come back alive!”

As he firmly believed that: “If you’ve wish, you’ll have the strength; and if you’ve determination, you’ll be blessed.” After 20 days, he really returned peacefully as desired.

Greeting the sunshine with affection
For Lin-Jhang, her mother had been running to and fro from home to the hospital, always holding a small stewpot in her hand filled with various supplements. “My child will not die!” That oath seemed like a power that has stirred Lin-Jhang’s soul and life, and was also a safe guarantee given by her mother.

Lin-Jhang would never forget the kindness extended by his wife, helping him to perform sputum drawing, tabbing his back, disposing the urine and stool, working day and night, urging the nurses, and asking the doctor’s help in the middle of the might. Whatever the services were, she had participated them all. The painstaking efforts had become her daily routine. This is the kind of love that Lin-Jhang would never forget
 
She would often whisper to me in the dead of night: “Dear husband, you must be strong as you’re needed by the children and me...! Come on. You can do it...”

“Although our family is not rich, but as long as you’re healthy, there’ll be no problem in the family. Our children will grow up and I’ll work harder. If only you can stand up quickly, our life would not be a problem in the future.” Such heart-to-heart connection and verbal communication were really a test of sincerity amid the mishap.

At that time, their twin daughters in the 5th grade of elementary school also visited the hospital often on holidays despite being young. They would help to turn her father’s back and massage. Such acts were the most natural expression of the children’s love.

The daughters in 1st and 2nd grades of elementary school would stare at father with their big eyes as if to feel sorry for him. Lin-Jhang comforted them by saying: “Do you want to go to the basement to buy ice cream?” She said: “We want daddy to get well soon and go back with us!” His love for the loved ones let Lin-Jhang’s eyes to brim with tears.

To take care of Lin-Jhang, his wife temporarily left the children at their relative’s home during his first operation. When the children woke up at midnight and could not find their parents, they would often embrace each other and cry.

Although it was 30 years ago, but whenever Lin-Jhang thought about that event, he would feel a lifetime pain and regret for not being strong to cause his family to suffer.
 
Lin-Jhang believes that love must not cause people to be touched and shed tears in pain, but must always grasp good opportunities, and must be grateful for the daily peace and happy interaction with the family.
 
Although there are inevitable misunderstanding or disagreements between family members, but these elements are essential to allow light to shine inside and drive away the darkness.

Although “cancer” is frightening, but he uses love to resolve uneasiness and frustration. He is grateful to the care given by his family members to allow him to turn over a new leaf.


Treating illnesses as a teacher
Besides the torturing pains, Lin-Jhang accidentally heard the teaching from Dharma Master Cheng Yen: “In the morning when you wake up, able to open your eyes and able to walk out of bed, this is a blessing and you must always be thankful of it.”

The teaching suddenly enlightened Lin-Jhang and opened his lonely and helpless soul. He told himself that he would start from scratch.

Lin-Jhang began to take the first step of rebirth by working as a newspapers delivery boy, a vegetable delivery boy in the market, a resource collector, a factory operator, and even attending the evening cram school with the hope to retake the college entrance exam.
 
Lin-Jhang began to pick up books that he had left for nearly 30 years and pursue his life dream with all his heart and soul. At the beginning, it was perhaps difficult, but he did not want failure to bow before perseverance and constancy.

“A man must always stand tall” is a lifetime oath that Lin-Jhang has committed to himself and his family.
 
Lin-Jhang sworn to rely on his own hands and feet to weave the vision of life step by step personally in the future, not just allowing the good things to pass by.
 
Lin-Jhang strongly believes that as long as his direction is correct and he dares to stride forward courageously, he will definitely gain fruitful results one day.

After years of hard work, his efforts have paid off. First of all, Lin-Jhang passed the land agent license exam. It might look like a small step in others, but it was a big step in his life, and it was also a key step.

With this small step, Lin-Jhang made persistent efforts to pass the advanced examination in first place at the age of 50. He was the oldest candidate for the college entrance exam then and was dispatched to serve in Hsinchu City Government.
 
Then he passed the Chinese medicine practitioner of higher exam. At the same time, he was also selected to take up the three-year course in National Chiao Tung University Institute of Business & Management, and further graduated from the doctorate program at the Institute of Philosophy at Central University. He is now a doctoral student at National Central University Graduate Institute of Philosophy with perfect attendance.

Here, Lin-Jhang always likes to share his life to people. He is not flaunting his ability, but explaining his mottos of “treating illnesses as a teacher,” “when a day has passed, our lives will be shortened too,” and “life hangs on while breathing.” As the hardship scenes would always flash vividly in his mind, he is very much looking forward to everybody to cherish and grasp what you already have at present.

Practicing good deeds as a grassroots public servant
As a public servant, besides adhering to law-abiding standards and abide by the rules and regulations, Lin-Jhang wishes that he would practice good deeds well every day in order to give convenience, hope, joy and confidence to people.

Lin-Jhang started working from the grassroots level as he knew that if he put more effort into his work, he would gain more abilities.

Less than ten years and by chance, he was luckily promoted as the Deputy Leader of the cleaning team. He kept a low profile while working with 130 of his colleagues to fight for the facade of Pingyuan Town, Taoyuan, and personally led the team to collect garbage.

God knows the efforts paid by Lin-Jhang as he was visited by a messenger of a newly appointed Major, asking him to take the post of a Curator in the library and work hard for the municipal cultural construction project.

Lin-Jhang readily accepted for what came to him and worked meticulously in his job. After just a few years, the impoverished Pingchen Cultural Desert has become an oasis of culture that spreads with a scholarly and cultural atmosphere. He has made Pingzheng Library to rank first in the country and attracted delegations from all walks of life at home and abroad to visit it.

Before retiring, the Mayor cherished the dedication achieved by Lin-Jhang and promoted him as the Secretary, thereby paving him with a bright future life.

Tough father dedicated to helping the vulnerable
“As long as you find the right path, you’ll never be afraid of being late.” In 1994, Lin-Jhang saw an essay competition in a magazine organized by Tzu Chi Education Association, and won an Excellent Award that entitled “Good Thousand Evils.” He accepted the award personally from Dharma Master Cheng Yen at the Taichung Branch of Tzu Chi.

The moment he caught the grateful eyes of the Master, Lin-Jhang had a feeling to cry.

At that time, he did not know much about Tzu Chi. He only knew that as long as an organization capable of illuminating the bright side of human nature, it must be a charity organization.
 
Later on, he learned from the newspapers and magazines about the goodness of Tzu Chi. Although he was curious to find out, but always felt that he did not have the honor to meet the organization. Until 1997 when a Tzu Chi member visited him in an early autumn afternoon did he begin to engage with Tzu Chi and became a Tzu Chi volunteer.

That Tzu Chi member is the boss of a construction firm. He then formed a brotherhood with this Tzu Chi member out of fate while working on a project.
 
Once, Lin-Jhang went to care for a woman who was seriously ill and wanted to commit suicide. He shared his personal painful experience of “empathy” with her and soothed her desperate heart.

After she recovered completely, she told Lin-Jhang that: “It’s strange! Other people didn’t seem to have any effect on me, but when you came, you seemed to inject me with a dose of stimulant to give me a steady power and confidence in life.” That seems like a kind fate they once had established!
 
In addition, Lin-Jhang’s daughter and her grandson immigrated to Malaysia a year ago. A school in that community was supposed to run a book club, and the community leader painstakingly found a good book from Taiwan that entitled “My Tough and Handsome Father” (KST Education Corp.) as the reading material to share during the book club. Coincidentally, the tough guy was Cai, Lin-Jhang. At that time, Lin-Jhang’s daughter was almost stunned, thereby causing an unexpected uproar from the Malaysian Chinese. What a coincidence and how fortunate they said to have the privilege to be in close proximity with Lin-Jhang’s daughter and grandson.
 
Lin-Jhang thinks that if one wishes to do something, it is a blessing; if one does not wish to do it, it is surrendering. For all sentient beings, it is a happy thing for being able to contribute to the community at any time.

Lin-Jhang is a vegetarian and volunteer worker. He carries out his family business, studies, and careers simultaneously. He was found to give a helping hand at Kaohsiung’s gas explosions as a volunteer, as well as at the mudslide in Wulai.

To date, Lin-Jhang has been working for more than 20 years. He vows to be a noble person with wisdom, and a physically and mentally healthy person to serve as a benefactor for others and to protect the earth.

Never too old to learn
“The mind grows after failing; life is more valuable after being tempered.” Looking back on the past, I feel that my life during the first half era was arrogant and wasted; my life during the middle half era was brave to transform; and for my latter half of life, I look forward to becoming more cautious and refined, and would work until I can’t move anymore.”

There is a saying that: “If you die after doing it, it’s better than not doing it at all; the more you do it, the greater chance you’ll not die.” “If you’re not diligent in your studies, you’ll remain ignorant and nobody will be attracted to you!” This is a profound and insightful view of “getting along with people” and “live for the sake of learning” in traditional Chinese culture.

 If a person does not study, he will not have the ability to think and have self-consciousness.
 
Fortunately, Lin-Jhang can still catch the learning train to study in the research institution after retirement.

The transformation of Lin-Jhang has inspired all sectors at home and abroad to realize that: “If we see a man of virtue and talent, we should think of equalling him; if we see a man of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.”

After his retirement, the clan elected Cai, Lin-Jhang as the President of the Management Committee of ancestor worship tower. He accepted without hesitation and began to repair the old tower full of cracks and extend the front yard to make it more dignified, making as a beautiful park both inside out. He wanted the ancestors to be pleased to live there peacefully and leisurely.

Lin-Jhang admitted that he still has a lot of things to do, for example, to update the family trees of Ko and Tsai clans, to develop the organic agriculture on a farmland that his father has left behind after diligently cultivated it for seven decades. He looks forward to continuing farming and will go head to do it!

Life fighter doing it without hesitation
As a life warrior, he will go ahead to do it!

Lin-Jhang likes to thank his family members, friends and relatives for their endless care and companionship when his life was in misery, allowing him to greet the sunshine even when he was down and sad. Now he will live in hopes bravely.

Lin-Jhang who is now over 70 years old lives an obedient life. His elder daughter has already married and has a 10-year-old grandchild, his youngest daughter has graduated from university, and her 95-year-old mother is still living healthily. The happy family is his greatest asset and best blessing.
 
His friend said: “Lin-Jhang is a fighter and is truly a brave man. His anti-cancer journey is a most exciting life textbook for a collective society that is commonly been depressed.”

The incomplete verses can also be arranged to become a beautiful poem; and the light and heat emitted from his sick body come from his uncompromising persistence and faith. Thorough the road to fight against cancer, the tough vitality of Cai, Lin-Jhang will always inspire millions of people to live in hopes.