But she hopes that with time, more people can see back alley living as a good thing, instead of as a source of embarrassment. Too many cultural artifacts sit abandoned, she said, or are on the path to being razed.
“Taiwan has always been about developing new things. It’s a value that carries over from the past 20 to 30 years, when Taiwan’s economic development took off on the principle of taking down the old and building up the new,” she said.
But someday soon, people will start to miss their old things, she said. Inevitably, the loss of artifacts will hurt Taiwan as it strives for a place in the international community.
“When you think of England, you think of castles, right? That’s their cultural identity,” Lee said.
“Yes, Taiwan can make everything new. But when everything is new, and you don’t have your old values and identity, people will not be able to know who you are,” she said.