Huang Chen-kuo (黃鎮國), a 90-year-old man from Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township (員林), on Saturday was lauded by the Yuanlin Town Council for his decades of civic service as a community leader at a ceremony held in his honor.
Despite his age, Huang is in good health, with good eyesight and hearing, and speaks in a clear voice.
At the ceremony, he paid tribute to every mayor the township has had over the past seven decades, amazing the audience with his memory.
When he was young, Huang’s family owned large tracts of farmland, which provided them with the means to send him to Japan to attend university.
After graduating, Huang returned to Yuanlin to take up a civil service job during the Japanese colonial era.
After Taiwan came under the rule of the then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government, the civil service unit he worked in became the Changhua County Branch of the Taiwan Joint Irrigation Association.
“When I was 32, I lived in a dormitory provided for employees of the irrigation association in He-ping Borough (和平). The borough head came to me to ask if I would take up the post of neighborhood leader for the neighborhood’s No. 15 ward,” he said. “Because all my neighbors at the time were my colleagues at the association, I readily accepted.”
Huang served in the association until he retired at the age of 65. However, instead of settling down to a quiet retirement, he set up his own business supplying mineral oils.
“Later on, I moved to the No. 11 ward at Sinsheng Borough (新生). The borough head there also asked me to become the neighborhood leader, a post I have held to this day,” he said.
Being a neighborhood ward leader mostly consists of doing volunteer work, which Huang said he enjoys and does not find tiring.
Huang said that during his decades of civil service he has had the opportunity to “witness the many changes and improvements our township has undergone,” adding that this has given him a sense of achievement.
“In recent years, I have witnessed Yuanlin change for the better with the implementation of new programs, such as the revitalization project for a public market and elevated railway track project,” he said.
Asked what the secret to his longevity and good health was, Huang said it was as simple as exercising regularly and getting lots of sleep.
“I don’t eat any particular type of food, I just enjoy getting together with friends to eat,” he said. “I also make sure to keep my mind active and get plenty of rest.”