On the streets of Yongreng (永榮) and Aiding (隘丁) boroughs in Yilan County’s Suao Township (蘇澳), those with a sharp eye may notice names printed on the seemingly endless rows of street lights. However, one name — Wu Lin A-hsi (吳林阿惜) — is featured on a particularly large number of streetlights.
Each name represents a citizen who has “adopted” a street lamp for NT$1,000 a year, a program launched by the Suao Township Office to save on electricity bills.
The office said the initiative is similar to a common Taoist or Buddhist practice known as kuang ming teng (光明燈) whereby a person lights a candle — or in this case, a light bulb — to wish another person well.
Following this belief, each adoption of a streetlight benefits the community as a whole, the office added.
Most of the adopters are corporations, groups or temple organizations, but individual residents and families can also adopt streetlamps, the office said.
However, so far Wu Lin has been the only person to adopt 100 streetlamps in one go, it said, adding that the 87-year-old Wu Lin’s generosity makes her deserving of the reputation for kindness she now enjoys.
A mother of eight — three boys and five girls — Wu Lin currently lives with her eldest son, Wu Yung-chuan (吳永川), in Yongreng.
Wu Yung-chuan said that despite her advanced age, his mother was in good health and worked as a full-time housewife, adding that Wu Lin had always strived to give her children the best while making do with the bare necessities for herself.
“My mother has had a tough life, but now she is able to take it easier,” Wu Yung-chuan said, adding that his mother saves all the money her children and grandchildren give her to spend on others.
In the past, Wu Lin had expressed interest in participating in the streetlight adoption program, but had always missed the chance to do so, Wu Yung-chuan said.
When she received a flyer the office sent advertising the initiative, she decided to use her savings to do help her community, Wu Yung-chuan added.
Wu Yung-chuan said he contributed some funds to the NT$100,000 his mother needed to adopt 100 lights, adding that they did not specify which ones they wished to have Wu Lin’s name on.
The selection of streetlights was handled by the office, which to put Wu Lin’s name on the streetlamps that stretched from her residence in Yongreng to the neighboring Aiding.
Wu Lin played down her act of charity, saying it was a minor thing and that she only hoped her efforts would serve as an example to others.
“It is my hope that everyone will do their part to aid their community and help light up our streets,” Wu Lin said, urging others to adopt streetlights.