Right at the heart of Taipei, next to the Chang Kai Chek Memorial, one of Taiwan’s biggest landmarks, there is a big plot of land owned by the ministry of justice.
When KMT arrived in Taiwan after losing China to the Communists in the late 40’s, the land was given to some public servants as a temporary shelter until an hypothetical victory against the Communists. However, this never happened, and the result today, more than 60 years later, is a complex situation leading to the destruction of an historical part of Taipei, a memory of the Japanese era and the recent KMT era.
Interactive Image: hover you mouse to see some pictures
-my Chinese is not great so I may have misunderstood part of what I heard.
-I received my information from habitants and newspaper, and didn’t find any official government-issued information in english about the case.
-all images have been taken in Huaguang.
Over the last 1 1/2 year I went several time to Huaguang, had opportunities to meet people and take photos, and gradually got to like this peaceful, rather poor, and unpretentious place. I liked the old, half-abandoned japanese houses, I liked the majestic trees, all the weird objects you could find here and there, children toys, 100 years old machines, wild herbs, and of course the great restaurant just next to the MRT station. A peaceful, «normal» life was going on in the small lanes.
I was then shocked last week, going back there after several months, when I discovered empty houses, rumbles everywhere, destruction of the most intricate, secret (and charmful) parts of this community. I also couldn’t help but thinking about the people who remain there, most of them very poor, unsure of their future, especially the elders and the disabled. All houses have to be destroyed in the next month or so. This seems irremediable, even if a group of students and University teachers are devoting their free time to try to protect some of the architectural treasures of the place-may they succeed!
So this article is not about who is fundamentally right or wrong here, but more sharing an experience of what happened there, and also share some of my thoughts on this situation that is more complex than it seems. I wonder what you would think about it as well.
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Gallery: Huaguang at night