Despite being abandoned, Sianguang Second Village in Taoyuan County’s Gueishan Township (龜山) has been declared a historical heritage site by the county government’s department of cultural affairs.
According to Gueishan Deputy Mayor Chien Ta-lin (簡大林), the village, built in 1968, was originally the only residential area for military police in the county.
Capable of holding 100 families, the village originally contained only single-story houses until the addition of the four-story-high apartment buildings in 1973, increasing the total number of families residing in the village to 140, Chien said.
With the gradual reconstruction of veterans’ villages into modern housing or other uses by local governments, the inhabitants of the Sianguang Second Village have all moved away, Chien said, but the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said it wished to preserve the village instead of tearing it down.
It asked the township office to take care of the village, Chien said, adding that the village was open to visitors between 9am to 4pm on weekdays, but closed on weekends and holidays.
The houses in the village are separated by narrow alleys barely 2m wide, and have private backyards within red brick walls.
The interiors of the houses are walled off with either lime walls or ones made of composite materials, such as bagasse.
A tree with home-made tire-swings dangling from its branches stands on the plaza within the village, and there are also slogans on the walls of the houses reading: “Sleep well, eat appropriately, exercise regularly, smile frequently, don’t constantly worry, keep busy and you won’t grow old.”
The sense of nostalgia that the village inspires has also drawn many film crews for TV shows and movies to shoot scenes in the village.
According to Chien, movies and series that have shot scenes in Sianguang Second Village include DaAi TV life-story drama series, as well as the new movie Dao Din A (逗陣ㄟ) produced by Ji Shi Entertainment Co, which also produced Night Market Hero (雞排英雄) and Din Tao: Leader of the Parade (陣頭).
Chien said that he hoped that the new movie would be a major box-office hit so that more people would come to recognize the beauty of the Sianguang Second Village.