Nowadays, if you ask young people in Kaohsiung where they like to go, you might be surprised. Apparently the latest “in” place to go is the Zih Jhu Military Dependants’ Village in Zuoying, to stroll around looking at the wall paintings and installation art there.
Word spread on the Internet, and it is now as well known as the Rainbow Military Dependents’ Village in Greater Taichung. During the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day vacation, students flocked in from all around the country. It was estimated that there were thousands of visitors to the village every day, making it almost as popular as the Pier-2 Art Center. People joke that you won’t get lost there, and in fact you’re more likely to get stuck in traffic.
There are still people living in the village. The sound of motorcycles roaring past and the excited shouts of teenagers taking photos around the village is disturbing the locals. Angered by the noise, the residents have taken to putting up signs saying “keep the noise down or keep away.”
Photo: Ke You-hao, Liberty Times
All this began last summer vacation when Chung Hui-jung and Huang Hsin-ying, two graduates from Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages, came to the village and lost their way. They ran into a security guard and asked him if it were ok to paint on the walls. He told them they could paint as much as they wanted, as the place was going to be torn down anyway. And that’s how it all got started.
The two girls then brought paint and improvised. They wrote about it on their blog and on Facebook, and it gradually developed a following. Students from the nearby Kaohsiung Municipal Haicing Vocational High School of Technology and Commerce joined in and started to paint the walls in the village.
The continuous flow of youngsters may have disturbed some old people’s afternoon sleep, but it also brought unexpected business opportunities to the village’s few remaining shops. The owner of a popular shop selling crispy rolls, outside which there was a long queue of customers, said that he had never seen so many young people in the village.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY TAIJING WU)
Photo: Ke You-hao, Liberty Times
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