The Greater Kaohsiung Government’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs has promised to investigate recent reports of vandalism and littering at Huangpu New Village (黃埔新村) a community for veterans and military dependents in the municipality’s Fongshan District (鳳山) that is scheduled to be turned into a museum.
Communities for veterans and military dependents, which are also known as juan cun (眷村), are residential compounds set up to house soldiers and family members who came to Taiwan with Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) army in 1949.
About 4 hectares in size and across the street from the Republic of China (ROC) Military Academy, Huangpu New Village is made up of a collection of residences that were initially built for Japanese officials during the Japanese colonial era and was set aside for the use of military dependents after the KMT government arrived in 1949.
The buildings also housed General Sun Li-jen (孫立人) and his staff when they were training new recruits in 1947.
In recent years, the Huangpu New Village has been part of the municipality’s efforts to establish a museum on juan cun, a project that has been endorsed by the Ministry of National Defense.
The ministry plans to open bidding for companies wishing to take on the contract for the museum in the coming days. The project would include museum design, evaluations and development. The ministry estimated that the museum could be completed in a year.
In the interim, the Bureau of Cultural Affairs is seeking to have organizations or artists move into the buildings as temporary caretakers.
However, visitors have said that some buildings in Huangpu New Village have been vandalized — as they are missing doors — while adding that the village was experiencing an increase in litter.
Huangpu New Village’s service and information center said it would soon promulgate that the Huangpu New Village would be preserved in its entirety, adding that it would help the police investigate the vandalism and littering allegations.
The promulgation also aims to address concerns by some community residents that the buildings would be torn down.
The center said that it is considering the establishment of a volunteer office to promote the cultural and historical relevance of the Huangpu New Village, adding that village elders could narrate the history of the community orally and local cultural and historical researchers could work in preserving the culture and history of the village.
Artist Tsao Tsuo-ching (曹作清), a retired military academy professor, said he would try to negotiate with the municipal government to allow him to stay in the village and continue his work, while retired Captain Kuo Kang (郭康) also said he would stay and help guide visitors through the village.
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