At Su Beng's on May 21, 2008

When I arrived at Su Beng's residence, his assistant, Bin Hong, told me that my uncle, Dr. Lai, would be stopping by a bit later to make a house call. I wasn't completely surprised, however, I do know that my uncle usually has a pretty busy schedule, so he must have made time to actually make this house call. And since his house call happened to coincide with my visit with Su Beng, it was really great timing.

Usually Su Beng and I talk in his living room, but on this day he was too weak to walk or stand for long, so I walked upstairs to the second floor of his apartment, which is where his study and bedroom are. When I did see him, he seemed a bit weak, but lucid. We met in his study in which there was his writing desk, book shelves, and a guest bed, which hasn't been used by a guest in quite some time. Every time I've seen this room the bare mattress on the bed has been strewn with piles of documents and books. This is the room where Su Beng does his writing.

He told me, as he has several times before, that he appreciated all of the personal time and effort that I've spent working on his biography. He showed me some documents that I'd requested of him. Then his assistant, Bin Hong and I talked about how she'd transfer these documents to me online, once I was back in New York. Our meeting was short, and nothing like our usual day long interviews which start at 10 am and end around 3 pm.

My uncle arrived with his classmate, who's also known Su Beng for years; his father knew Su Beng's father. Su Beng slowly made his way down the stairs to the living room with some assistance. Dr. Lai listened to Su Beng's vitals and tested his reflexes. They talked about his symptoms and how he's been feeling- sweats and chills, some weakness in his legs and pain and soreness in his neck and shoulders. Dr. Lai said that Su Beng appeared to be in good health, but recommended that he get a full physical exam at the Taiwan University medical center.

Su Beng returned to Taipei from a visit to look in on his noodle shop in Tokyo in late February. Since then, he has been going nonstop. In the lead up to Taiwan's presidential elections on March 22, he traveled around the island reaching out to undecided voters, especially those in remote areas outside of city centers, just to get a sense of where they were coming from. I wrote about his views on Taiwan's presidential election here. Bing Hong and Dr. Lai think that Su Beng has probably been overextending himself. Dr. Lai's classmate offered to recommend a good geriatrics doctor at the Taiwan University medical center for Su Beng.

Since I've returned to New York, Bin Hong has told me that Su Beng has been to the Taiwan University medical center, and that his condition seems to have improved.