As the nation lit up for the start of the Lantern Festival over the weekend, one eco-friendly craftsman is breaking with tradition.
Lantern maker Lin Chow-chin is part of a growing movement to make the celebrations “greener,” creating sustainable lanterns which can be converted into anything from desk lamps to flower vases.
Each year, huge electric sculptures go on display in major cities, children carry tiny disposable lanterns and the skies fill with floating lights for the festival that marks the end of two weeks of Lunar New Year festivities.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
Environmentalists say used lanterns are not properly recycled and pile up as garbage, while batteries inside them contain hazardous chemicals that cause pollution.
Lin hopes to help combat the problem by creating lanterns that owners would want to keep rather than discard.
He experimented with making them in his youth and considered exporting them as a business, but gave up the dream for a steady post office job. After retiring seven years ago, Lin reignited his passion — with a new twist.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
“I do not want to see lantern making become a fading art, so hopefully the creative, environmental and practical aspects can appeal to more young people,” he said.
Lin’s colorful lanterns come in a range of shapes and sizes, some using recycled paper, leaves and plant fibers. His main aim is to make them reusable.
Lin has patented a removable plastic stopper that connects to a light bulb inside the lantern. When the bulb is taken out, users can connect the stopper to a water bottle and recycle the lantern as a vase.
Some of the lantern frames are made from self-assembled cardboard cut-outs, which Lin said are popular with students as they can be used as pen holders, and come with spare parts that can be modeled into sculptures or business card holders.
It is still a small business and Lin makes all the lanterns himself from home, selling about 800 a year by word of mouth.
However, interest in his art has seen him conduct workshops across the nation and stage exhibitions in Hong Kong and China.
“It is rewarding to see my students embrace my ideals and come up with their own creations,” Lin said.
Campaigners say they do not want the lantern festival to disappear, just to improve.
Taiwan Environmental Protection Union vice chairman Liu Jih-jian (劉志堅) said the focus should be on the “content, not the size” of the celebrations.
The Tourism Bureau said the creations are being “adopted” after the festival, mostly by schools and local government departments.
Environmental authorities are also urging the public to recycle batteries used in small hand-held lanterns — last year they generated an estimated 3.79 tonnes of waste.
A domestically developed “suicide drone,” also known as a loitering munition, would be tested and evaluated in July, and could enter mass production next year, Taiwan’s weapons developer said on Wednesday. The yet-to-be-named drone was among nine drone models unveiled by the National Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) on Tuesday. The drone has been dubbed the “Taiwanese switchblade” by Chinese-language media, due to its similarity to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which has been used by Ukraine in counterattacks during Russia’s invasion. It has a range of more than 10km, a flight time of more than 15 minutes, and an electro-optical
OFFLINE: People who do not wish to register can get the money from select ATMs using their bank card, ID number and National Health Insurance card number Online registration for NT$6,000 (US$196.32) cash payments drawn from last year’s tax surplus is to open today for eligible people whose national ID or permanent residency number ends in either a zero or a one, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday. Officials from the ministry revealed which days Taiwanese and eligible foreigners would be able to register for the cash payments at a joint news conference with the Ministry of Digital Affairs. Online registration is to open tomorrow for those whose number ends in a two or three; on Friday for those that end in a four or five: on Saturday
Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) officials are investigating why a Starlux Airlines flight to Penang, Malaysia, returned to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport nearly two hours after takeoff yesterday morning. The airline said in a statement that Flight JX721 to Penang took off from Taoyuan airport at 9:20am. “After the dashboard showed a signal of an abnormality in the hydraulic system, the captain followed standard operating procedures and returned the flight to Taoyuan airport for safety precautions,” the airline said, adding that the flight landed safely at the airport at 11:04am. The airline arranged for the passengers to have lunch after the flight landed and
WORKING UP AN APPETITE: Sales at the Rueifong Night Market surged 20 to 30 percent, while seats at Liouhe Night Market were packed until 1am, market officials said South Korean pop band Blackpink’s concerts over the weekend in Kaohsiung helped draw large crowds to local night markets, the Kaohsiung City Government said yesterday. The two concerts on Saturday and Sunday at Kaohsiung National Stadium drew more than 90,000 people. The city government offered NT$50 vouchers to spend locally to concertgoers who showed their ticket stubs. Liouhe Night Market (六合夜市) management committee head Chuang Chi-chang (莊其章) said that crowds over the weekend surged at about 10pm and the market remained packed until 1:30am. “Almost all the seats were filled,” Chuang said. Night market stall owners had stocked up in expectation of an increased number