Fri, Aug 24, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Veterans call for Kinmen's military heritage to be kept

PRESERVING THE PASTEleven men who did their military service on the frontline island have written a book about it

By Loa Iok-sin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Retired servicemen yesterday urged authorities in Kinmen to preserve the island's historic military sites.

Located only a few kilometers off the coast of China, Kinmen was Taiwan's military frontier during the Cold War and remained under strict military control until the early 1990s.

"Some of the blockhouses and bunkers we once lived and worked in are messed up today," a man who served in Kinmen from 1981 to 1983 and who wished to be known only by his online nickname "Liuling Paozhang" told a press conference yesterday.

The press conference was held by the Democratic Progressive Party's Department of Ethnic Affairs to present a book titled The Memory of Kinmen Island which was coauthored by 11 men who did their military service in Kinmen during the 1980s and early 1990s.

Paozhang said many of the bunkers and blockhouses have been turned into "artistic blockhouses" and repainted with bright colors by the local government to "attract tourists."

"But visitors won't be able to see what it was really like to live in these places during the old days," he said.

Paozhang also lamented the demolition of many of the blockhouses and bunkers.

"Each blockhouse is valuable -- they were all constructed by soldiers by hand and thus are all different," he said.

Paozhang, who has been back to Kinmen twice this year alone, said he would be proud to take his children back to visit where he served.

"But if everything is changed, I wouldn't have any reason to go back again," he said.

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