Rhett Peterson a Canadian Sword Smithing Apprentice／鑄劍學徒 石川的打鐵熱情
Rhett Peterson a Canadian Sword Smithing Apprentice
◎English translation: Lin Fu-jung
◎Photo by Huang Ching-wen
Rhett Peterson is a Canadian who is currently living in the Hsingda Harbor area. He moved to Kaohsiung to learn sword making from the famous master sword smith, Kuo Chang-hsi. He located the master in Kaohsiung's northernmost coastal district while on vacation, touring Taiwan. Every day, he comes ready to work. He always carries two notebooks, in which he jots down the skills he learns and sword making terminology. Rhett hopes one day he too will be able to open his own blacksmith shop.
Rhett recalls, when he was four years old he was captivated by the sword making scene in the movie Conan and the Barbarian. Since then, he has always wanted to become a sword smith. He found that there weren't many master sword makers in Canada however, so he travelled to many different countries searching for the perfect teacher. While on vacation in Taiwan, he prepared a speech to fully explain why he would like to be taken on as an apprentice. To his surprise, Master Kuo agreed and told him, "Just come to the shop tomorrow and we can get started." Rhett began his apprenticeship right away.
Kuo Chang-hsi explains one of the most basic skills in sword making is grinding. A sword smith must learn how to grind a sword before they can learn how to forge the blade. So Rhett spends most of his time practicing grinding. Every day he follows and observes the master who has 57 years' experience. Master Kuo is a fast, precise and smooth sword smith. He is so familiar with the process that he often doesn't use any measuring tools.
Every day Rhett walks through the local fish market on his way to work. He has immersed himself into the local culture of the fishing town and has been warmly welcomed by locals and colleagues. When Rhett first arrived, he already knew some basic sword smithing skills. He is glad he now gets a chance to apply what he has learned and everyday gets a chance to refine his technique. When he has a lot of repetitive tasks to perform, he reminds himself that this is the kind of practice that will make him more skilled in the future. He feels that he is already making progress.
Master Kuo's wife often prepares homemade dishes for lunch. They always have lunch together, like a family. Rhett said that he has gained weight and wants to buy a bicycle to commute and get more exercise. While he is in Taiwan, he is also planning on learning Tai-Chi.
Rhett remembers his mother was sad when he told her he was going abroad; however, she supported his ambitions. He also mentioned his parents may come out to visit him in Kaohsiung this fall.
4歲時，電影Conan the Barbarian鑄劍師打鐵的畫面烙印他腦中，他非常嚮往鑄劍工作，可是加拿大並沒有許多頂尖鑄劍師，為了習得鑄劍工藝，他旅行至許多國家，遍尋最頂尖的鑄劍師，在台環島旅行時，打探到高雄興達港有位頂尖的鑄劍大師郭常喜，於是就騎著自行車來到「興達刀鋪」向郭老師拜師學藝。原以為得解釋許多原因，出乎意料之外，郭老師爽快答應：「想學，那從明天開始就到店裏學吧。」
Pianist Li Shang-hsuan
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
◎Photo by Pao Chung-hui
Li Shang-hsuan is an excellent and expressive pianist who creates beautiful melodies with just his fingertips. Shang-hsuan is also a certified street performer and is often heard on the streets of Kaohsiung. He also voluntarily plays piano for patients at E-Da Hospital and preforms for elementary and high schools around the city. During his leisure time, Shang-hsuan practices a variety of instruments, including mastering his electronic piano, which he hopes will add diversity to his performances.
When Shang-hsuan began kindergarten, he could not focus in class and had trouble staying in the classroom. It was found that he suffered from ADHD syndrome. However, he excelled at music and piano. It was observed that he was particularly focused in singing class and in piano. He would mimic the teacher's finger movements when playing melodies. His mother, Chan Chun-hsia, wondered why a child with ADHD could have the patience to learn piano. It became apparent that piano was helping Shang-hsuan dealing with ADHD.
He began playing piano at the tender age of four and right away his musical talents were apparent. He started by playing simple songs that he had only heard once. When he moved on to classics, he only takes a few times to practice, then he would master them. His piano teacher felt he picked up piano skills extremely fast. In 2013, after 21 years of piano classes, Shang-hsuan participated in the International Piano Festival for People with Disabilities in Vienna. The contest takes place only once, every four years. Shang-hsuan defeated 48 other pianists from 18 countries and won a gold medal in the autism category.
Shang-hsuan has a supportive family and often travels with his mother to performances. His family hopes his opportunities to perform will increase and that his musical talents will continue to develop. She is proud of Shang-hsuan and praises him for always making it to performances even when there is bad weather or he is not feeling well. Shang-hsuan is truly passionate about his music. His mother hopes the public will get a greater understanding about people with the syndrome. If those live with ADHD could discover and cultivate their talents, they too could excel in their professions, just as Shang-hsuan is excelling in the music industry.