An Inspired American Missionary
For a foreigner to teach Chinese to Chinese themselves is as difficult as trying to sell ice-cream to the Eskimos...
But Gene Anderson has done more than that! Indeed, he teaches no less than the CangJie input method to Chinese disabled kids! How did this happen?
When Gene was himself a kid in America, 25 years ago, his town Pastor told him about the Onesiphorus Children’s Home in Taidung, Taiwan. This institution was helping orphans and disabled children, mostly members of Taiwan’s minority aboriginal tribes. He wrote to some of them, who became his long-term pen-pals. After completion of his studies in computer science and theology, Gene came to Taiwan to visit the home. Just at that time, Taiwan’s government generously donated a set of computers to the home. However, there was no teacher to make use of this new high-tech equipment. Gene interpreted this event as a sign of the Providence, and immediately enlisted to become the computer instructor of these disadvantaged kids.
That was in 1989. Upon assessing the needs of the children and the opportunities that could be opened to them through computer skills, Gene decided that the best first step would be to teach them how to type in Chinese using the Cang-jie method!
Gene’s project proved to be more successful than he had dared think possible. Indeed, most of his students –including a few with physical disabilities-- have been certified by the Taiwan’s Computer Skills Foundation, at typing speeds in excess of 80 characters per minute.
Being able to type with Cang Jie - the most recognized input method in Taiwan - has given these kids confidence and a sense of achievement. Furthermore, CangJie is a useful skill very much in demand. This has opened up educational and job opportunities which would have otherwise been closed.
Gene Anderson helped the completion of the Cang Jie Method Reference book considerably.
At present and until about December 2001, he
is back in the USA for one year of furlough. One of his current occupations is the writing of a Windows-based tutorial program to teach Cang Jie to
users of the Chinese language to type in a professional fashion.