More than 100 people gathered in a mostly flattened ancient village in Taoyuan’s Guishan District (龜山) to help move a half-century-old house away from a planned road to preserve the last remnants of the community.
“We want to keep the house, so that when younger generations come back they will have a landmark to identify where the village used to stand and they will have something to help them imagine how life used to be in the village,” Leshan Borough (樂善) resident Amber Shyu (徐玉紅) said when asked why volunteers were going to move the fragile brick house 80m to make way for a planned road.
Other homes in the village had been demolished.
Photo: Loa Iok-sin, Taipei Times
Originally home to a small village surrounded by a forest, the land was selected by the Ministry of the Interior to build commercial, industrial and housing complexes surrounding an airport express train station.
The Executive Yuan approved the project in 2010 and by 2013, most of the village had been flattened, despite opposition and repeated protests by villagers.
Besides a small shrine for the God of the Land nearby, the house Shyu shares with her husband, Huang Shih-hsiung (黃世雄), is the only remaining building in the village.
Photo: Loa Iok-sin, Taipei Times
“We want to keep the house, also because it was hand-built by my father-in-law in 1964,” she said. “He worked hard to save enough money to buy the bricks, washed each of them, stacked them up and then went to places like Taipei to find abandoned, but usable, timber to construct the structure of the house.”
“The house is the result of his lifetime of hard work and saving, so I have to preserve it,” Shyu added.
Many people shared her idea, since more than 100 people, some traveling as far as from Miaoli and Tainan, took turns pulling the ropes to move the house.
After symbolically moving the house by hand, the rest of the work is to be done by machinery and, weather permitting, the move could be completed within two weeks, an engineer working on the project said.
Taiwan Rural Front spokesperson Frida Tsai (蔡培慧), who attended the event, said that the project should serve as a reminder and an inspiration for efforts to revise land seizure laws, as the house bears witness to suffering caused by the forced seizure of property.
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