“From a poor family, the three-year-old Man-mei Ahma was given by her paternal uncle as an adopted daughter. Her adopted parents adored her. Since she was little, she climbed the mountains with her adopted mother, picking tea leaves to help out. When she was seventeen, people told her that cafeterias on Hainan Island were recruiting staff, offering higher wages than Taiwan. To help her family in dire straits, the filial pious Man-mei decided to leave Hsinchu with other girls. Fearing that her adopted parents would worry about her so far away, she lied to them. She arrived in Hainan Island. The woman in charge of the comfort women station ordered the young and beautiful Man-mei to receive guest at any time. She was in so much pain that she didn’t wish to live any more. Alone and abused daily by the Japanese soldiers, she had no one to confide in. Then she started smoking and she had been smoking for sixty years.”
She keeps a broken mirror, a gift from her late husband. As a result of the rumors about her years abroad, her husband treated her with indifference. Nevertheless, she still held onto their love and treasures the mirror. Man-mei Ahma makes her living by doing laundry for policemen. She collected laundry daily at the police station.
From “Compassion Without Borders” by The Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation.