Despite her job as New Taipei City (新北市) councilor, Hu Shu-jung (胡淑蓉) is still very much a child at heart, judging by her large collection of figurines and dolls, with which she hopes to start a children’s park for kids growing up in the city.
Hu said she started collecting when she saw a Betty Boop doll on a visit to the Universal Studios Theme Park in Hollywood, California, two decades ago.
“I just had to have it, and I bought several series of different figurines and dolls,” Hu said.
Since then, Hu started collecting figurines and dolls from whatever country she visited that embodied the unique characteristics of that country or area.
“Whenever I see the figurines and dolls, each one of them brings back memories of that particular trip, and I feel like I’ve revisited that place again,” Hu said.
Hu told of one incident in Japan where she saw the figurine of a tanuki, or Japanese raccoon dog, but she was unable to buy one, as she had to catch the tour bus.
“I didn’t see one like it again, and I regretted passing it by,” Hu said, adding that when she went back to Japan several years later, the first thing she did when she got there was to buy one of the tanuki figurines.
Hu said the most complete series in her collection is a set of figurines from Chunghua Post Co.
For Hu, the figurines do more than just bring back memories of her trips abroad: They also help her handle real life.
“The cute figurines put me in a great mood,” Hu said, adding that all she had to do when she felt low or was dealing with difficulties at work was to look at the figurines lined up in her cupboard and she was revived and ready to try again.
Her collection has grown steadily since she became a representative of the people, as she still finds time to find new additions.
“I still visit the flea market occasionally and see if I can find something,” Hu said.
Hu said that in a previous meeting of the city council, she proposed building a children’s park where kids could run and play without impediments. However, the city government had not placed significant emphasis on her proposal, she said.
“Hopefully someday the city government will implement the proposal and let me relive my childhood years,” Hu said.