National Day in Tainan veterans’ villages losing pep 台南南眷村漸冷卻 國慶旗海 今非昔比

Mon, Oct 15, 2012 - Page 11

The festive mood of Taiwan’s Double Ten National Day has gradually become less mirthful than it used to be, and most people are rather indifferent about the celebration on the whole. But residents in Yongkang District’s veterans’ village — Tainan New Police Village — in Greater Tainan still held a parade this year. “I didn’t think I would be so moved this year by people hanging up national flags and having a parade,” an older village resident surnamed Cheng said, adding that she is happy to be able to chat with old neighbors because it makes it feel more like National Day.

On the other hand, some veterans’ villages like the Changrong Community were completely desolate. Old veterans have passed away, the overall environment has changed, the economy is in a slump, and young people are busy working hard, so it is to be expected that National Day would become less festive. In the past around half of all the homes along section five of Changrong Road would have national flags hanging outside, making it look like a sea of flags. This year, however, flags were scattered and sparse.

During the flag-flying event that was held in Tainan’s New Police Village in Yongkang District’s Chengkung Borough on the morning of Oct. 10, between 300 and 400 flags were hanging in the courtyard and around the community. Those participating in the parade also carried around a hundred flags, representing the National Day scenes of yore. Veterans’ village residents were moved and filled with emotion. In the Changrong Community in northern Greater Tainan, which has been rebuilt, always had flags hanging all over its courtyard in the community, but the number of residents hanging flags there has gradually decreased.

Many of the residents in Tainan New Police Village were residents of the original Number Two Police Village who moved into the current new big building starting three years ago. Chin Kuan-hung, the borough chief, says this year was the first year a National Day event was held there since the new building was erected, fostering camaraderie among veterans’ village residents.

More than 100 veterans’ village residents took part in the parade around the community. Prior to departure, everyone was yelling excitedly, “Go Taiwan, Taiwan is Great.” A mother surnamed Lin, 61, said that she is Taiwanese and moved to the veterans’ village after getting married, adding that it never occurred to her that she would be living there for several decades. The residents in the village feel like one big family, but they see each other a lot less now living in the big building, and do not get to interact with each other as much as before, she says.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)