3. Witnessing Huaguang before its destruction;
I have often heards reports on TV of why government claiming its land and relocations were a sensitive topic in China, but I had never witnessed it myself directly. And, in Huaguang, I realized the violence of the thing. Each place develops its own magic, whether it is legal or not, as you are living and making your life somewhere, things start to take shape and you get used to it-that’s life. Thus, if you let people live on a place, especially for several generations as it is the case in Huaguang, there is inevitably a feeling of belonging that is created, and a very palpable violence when you go and destroy people’s home, once again, no matter whether you are allowed to do it or not. That’s what I saw in Huaguang and that left me a strong impression, and I want to share with you some things I heard so that you understand better. This is not an actual transcript, but close to what the people there told me.
«My son is (heavily) handicapped. I can hardly make ends meet. What am I going to do?»
«I lost my husband and don’t work, he was a public servant. I have 2 sons, one is with me and doesn’t work, the other has a small job but can’t support us all. My home is going to be destroyed. That’s life, you know. (she smiles).»
I met an old lady during one of the meeting. She is older than 80, can hardly walk, is living alone in a very poor home and has barely the minimum. She has virtually nowhere to go. I asked: «What is she going to become?» Only silence answered.
I was taking pictures at night when I met a guy in his 50’s.
«I don’t have enough money. This home belonged to my father. Now the government takes it back. All my memories will disappear, and my future is so unsure. They took all I had. They are taking money on my salary. Why was I born here?» He stares at the moon.
Portfolio: objects found in Huaguang
I think that officials may be following a rightful purpose in Huaguang, but at the same time that there have been several missed opportunities-to treat people with dignity, to involve the public over the fate of a part of Taiwan’s history, to protect potentially historical monuments, and to show some understanding for the very people that helped the KMT shape Taiwan as it is today.
It’s great to have a government that abides by the law, it’s even better to have one citizens can be proud of.
And you? What do you think? Do you feel that in the development of the urban space there is also a big loss? Have you shown interest in how your urban environment is shaped, and if yes how? Do you know anything more about Huaguang that you can share with me? You are welcome to comment!
A businessman walks into the lanes of Huaguang