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Slovenian town commemorates late doctor who was renowned in Taiwan

Slovenian town commemorates late doctor who was renowned in Taiwan

Ljubljana, Slovenia, Jan. 20 (CNA) The small township of Dolsko in Slovenia held a series of commemorative events Saturday to honor a native son who made his name serving patients in Taiwan for the last half of his life before dying there in 1990. Prominent individuals from medical circles and politicians were invited to attend the three-hour gathering that remembered the late Dr. Janeza Janeza with music, poems, and speeches after a morning Mass. Janeza arrived in Taiwan in 1952 after surviving communist purges in Yugoslavia and China, settling in the small and undeveloped coastal town of Luodong in Yilan County to take on the serious shortage of medical personnel and equipment. He spent the remainder of his life at St. Mary's Hospital in Luodong, providing medical services to the socially disadvantaged. The locals showed their respect for him by calling him "Oki," a nickname meaning "the Great," though he also went by the Chinese name Fan Feng-lung (that had the characters for "phoenix" and "dragon," both considered auspicious in Chinese culture). Forced to flee Yugoslavia in 1945 after being falsely accused by the communists of collaborating with the Nazis, Janeza never did return to his hometown situated just northwest of the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana. But his family in Dolsko remained in contact with him and knew that his work in a faraway land was highly appreciated. Professor Zvonka Zupanic Slavec of Ljubljana University Medical School told CNA that people in Dolsko are very proud of Janeza to this day because the good name he built in international medical circles helped craft a positive image of Slovenia, a young country that has been under the shadow of regional powers throughout history. The parish in Dolsko wanted to keep alive Janeza's memory and set up a documentation center in his honor years ago. A statue of the doctor was also erected on the campus of Ljubljana University, honoring Janeza as a model doctor and missionary, Slavec said. The Janeza Memorial Center started planning last year for Saturday's events, held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the doctor's birth on Jan. 14, 1913. Among those invited to the gathering were Taiwan's representative to Austria Lien-gene Chen and a delegation from St. Mary's Hospital. During the three-hour ceremony in the afternoon, Chen presented the Diplomatic Medal of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to one of the doctor's family members to show Taiwan's appreciation for his services and highlight the brotherhood between the two peoples bridged by Janeza. Dr. Zen-yong Chen of St. Mary's Hospital also presented a video of memories of Janeza shared by people in Taiwan who knew him. The audience laughed at some of the more humorous descriptions of the doctor's strictness on the job and his tenderness in private, but also had to fight off tears when learning of his insistence on operating on others knowing that he was seriously ill himself and might not have long to live. Janeza died on Oct. 11, 1990. St. Mary's Hospital buried him in Luodong, because he had told friends and colleagues that Luodong was where he chose to work and where he would be laid to rest when the day came. The St. Mary's Hospital doctor said he was particularly moved when the author of Janeza's biography, professor Tome Ciglar, spoke of Slovenia's gratitude for Taiwan's hospitality in enabling the doctor to fulfill his wish for humanity. He said he had long looked forward to the trip to Slovenia, because he hoped to learn about the environment that could foster individuals who would go to a faraway land and spend most of their life there with patients suffering from critical diseases or injuries. "I think I've found the answer in Ljubljana," he said. (By Lillian Lin)


Updated : 2021-07-30 03:33 GMT+08:00