Sat, May 18, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Hualien community to offer glimpse into past

By Wang Chin-yi and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A community in Hualien plans to celebrate its 60th anniversary next year by recreating the decor and atmosphere of the 1950s based on the theme of “Remember the Old Days.”

Dachen No. 1 Village (大陳一村) is a military dependents’ village in Hualien City that was founded after the evacuation of Republic of China forces from Dachen Island in February 1955.

Located off the coast of China’s Zhejiang Province, Dachen Island was evacuated, with the aid of US Navy ships, after China’s People’s Liberation Army gained control of the island.

According to media reports at the time, “Chinese fighter planes repeatedly made incursions on Dachen Island at the beginning of 1955. This little island, whose inhabitants were mainly dependent on fishing, had to endure the bombing raids... After the Lantern Festival, 170,000 island residents, young and old, locked the gates of their homes, as they waited for the evacuation... They retreated to Taiwan with the assistance of the US 7th Fleet.”

The reports touched on the helplessness and the resolve of the evacuees.

Some of them relocated to Hualien City and started the neighborhood settlement known as “Dachen No. 1 Village.”

With this history in mind, the local administrative office has organized the “Search for Memories of Dachen Island” project.

The project’s aim is to recreate the look and feel of the 1950s by reconstructing the memories of residents, officials said.

The community hopes the project will attract Chinese tourists visiting Hualien City, officials said.

One local official said that walking through Dachen No. 1 Village “felt as though time had stood still in the 1950s. The village square still has a bronze statue of Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石). The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) party emblem is still in prominent display on the stage of the village’s main temple.”

The official added that a rhyming couplet from one of the era’s patriotic theme slogans can still be seen on the main red pillars of the temple.

“Peace is at hand. It’s time to retake the Chinese mainland rivers and mountains. Implement the Three Principles of the People. It’s the clear path to happiness,” the couplet reads.

The local administrative office said it plans to solicit funding from other government agencies to help preserve this piece of 1950s culture and history.

Officials said the project’s main theme centers on “culture as the base, story as the tool and sustainable development as the goal,” to develop the village’s tourism potential.

“The project can inject new life into the old community. It can become another tourism bright spot for Hualien, and can breathe new life into the neighborhood,” an official said.

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