Sketch of Archilife Study Tour, December 2019
webmaster 2020-01-14 45 reads
For the study tour of December 14, 2019, Ms. Lu Ming-yun led 10 ARF interns and their parents to Gala-a to experience the daily life in old Taipei. At the start of the day's activities, team leader Ms. Lu Ming-yun reminded everyone about things to note and what to observe, and gave the interns some background knowledge.
Led by Mr. Gao Chuan-chi, the focus of the study tour was southern Wanhua district. The first stop of the tour was Bangka Lungshan Temple. Mr. Gao began by introducing the temple's couplet poems and architectural style. He said many miracles had made Lungshan Temple the center of religious faith in the locality. Despite many reconstructions and repairs, its importance remains unshakable in local residents' mind. For instance, during the Second World War, if there was an air raid, residents would usually seek refuge under the statue of the Bodhisattva in the main temple hall. In one particular instance, on the day before the US army bombed old Taipei City, residents went back to their own homes because of mosquitoes and thus narrowly escaped death when the main temple hall was destroyed by bomb. The next stop of the tour was the garment wholesale street on Xiyuan Road. With the rising demand for clothing due to postwar baby boom and women joining the workforce, and emergence of the "ready-to-wear" concept, garment stores started sprouting up and forming its own business district. In its hay days, throngs of customers visited the stores and store owners often fell asleep in the midst of counting their money past midnight. After the 1970s, there was a mass exodus of garment and textile factories overseas. The slump in domestic demand has caused the decline in the business district, making the issue of transforming the business worth pondering. As everyone arrived at park number 411, Mr. Gao explained that it was used to manufacture light aircraft during the Japanese Occupation. Trees and bamboo plants were planted in the surrounding area, and air raid shelter was constructed, to provide military defense. Over the past several decades, the park was established in the effort to preserve cultural assets and the natural landscape. Instead of the trees providing coverage for the air raid shelter and the air raid shelter protecting people, the situation is now whereby people are preserving the air raid shelter and thus protecting the old trees rooted in the air raid shelter.
After lunch, Mr. Gao said that southern Wanhua district was originally known as "Gala-a". Before the Han Chinese settled into the area, it was inhabited by the Pingpu peoples. The name "Gala-a" in Ketagalan language means swamp as many waterways cut across the area in the early days. The winding roads seen today were in fact the paths of ancient rivers. The next stop of the tour was the Youth Park, which was formerly Taiwan's earliest military airport. As opposed to Songshan Airport in the northern end, it was known as the South Airport, which is the name given for the area surrounding the Youth Park today. After its transformation into a park, the combination of local culture and recreational sports has gradually changed the lifestyle of the southern Wanhua residents. At the end of the tour, everyone visited the Wanhua Story House inside the park. Through the exhibition of old photos, historical data and video information, everyone had a deep understanding of the changes in southern Wanhua through the times and interesting facts about local customs. At this point, the day's itinerary came to an end. Everyone took a group photo before heading back and looked forward to the next study tour.