Thu, Aug 01, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Physical deformities inspire new business venture

By Hsieh Chieh-yu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Physical deformities may affect a person’s ambitions, but Yang Kuo-chen (楊國珍), owner of the “Two Finger Tea Story House” in Nantou County’s Mingjian Township (名間), has no such problem.

Yang said he lost half of the middle and ring fingers on his left hand in an accident with a tea processing machine when he was eight years old.

This disfigurement had caused him no end of trouble, both in his personal life and in his attempt to find a career, he said.

“I was called ‘Yang Eight Fingers’ [at school],” he said, adding that it was because of his difficulties finding a job that he had been forced to stay at home and study economic and toursim trends by himself.

Despite the odds stacked against him, Yang never despaired and instead treated every obstacle he came across as just another test that life had in store for him.

As a solution for not being able to find work, Yang used his own disfigurement as a primary element in his endeavor to repackage and display the ancient culture of the art of making tea.

Yang’s newly constructed “story house” cost NT$50 million (US1.6 million) to build and is a sprawling 10,578m2 two-story structure.

The building is subdivided into four different sections focusing on how the tea culture developed and flourished in Taiwan, the history of tea in foreign nations, how tea is cultivated and made, and tea tasting facilities.

Commenting on the name of the building, Yang said the name was a play on his disfigurement when pronounced in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), meaning “short two fingers.”

The “story house” is not only an effort to continue Yang’s family’s business of cultivating and making tea, he said, “it is also a call to other physically deformed people to not give up hope just because they are lacking in some areas.”

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