Old KMT Housing Area Being Razed in Tainan

When the KMT fled to Taiwan from mainland China, they established villages in many cities on the island. In modern day Taiwan, these forlorn areas are visual reminders of the days that once were.

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They are slowly disappearing to the development of apartment buildings and houses. They have their own character, and are a huge part of Taiwan’s living history.

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I live in an apartment complex that used to be a portion of a village like this, and the area south of the complex is still an old style KMT housing ghetto.

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Well, not so much anymore. They are in the process of demolishing all of the houses so they can build some 4 story houses in their place. I have been cruising around over there taking pictures, and talking to people about what they think.

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It is interesting, most people are very nice and chatty, like Mr Yang, while others see me with a camera snooping around and are quite put off.

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I try to explain to them how interesting I find it and they just tell me how much it sucks and how old and crappy the place is. Well, that may be true, but I am a sucker for history. I feel a little strange letting it go, and it isn’t even mine.

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This is a great opportunity for you to get your cameras out and record what is left. There are lots of good photo opps for anyone with a camera and a decent eye for shooting. It is located on He Wei Road near its intersection with Bei Men Road Section 2 in Tainan City. You can put your geographers hat on and, since many are abandoned, you can snoop around inside the homes and get a real feel for how things were. I have been surprised at how small they are, and some little things like the posters they left on the walls can leave a trace of who was there before.

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The most fascinating place so far has been two little houses that have been left near the middle of the demolition site. It looks like one house, but you can see the roof is two colors, one for each.

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It hasn’t been torn down yet, because according to Mr Yang, the people moved out before being forced out and can’t be found (and haven’t been compensated for their house yet).

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I found some old photos in frames of Chiang Kai Shek on the floor in one of little houses, discarded with some other rubbish. Much like the whole area, the photos represent a time that is being forgotten in Taiwan. For good or for worse, Taiwan is growing up. Chiang Kai Shek used to be the face of the island, and it seems to me he is being slowly relegated to being an outsider in his home away from home, Taiwan.

Residents who lived there weren’t given an option about leaving, but, according to MR Yang, about 300 families moved into empty apartments in my apartment complex. No wonder the parking spots were drying up so fast lately. Also, if you didn’t want to get into an apartment, the government would “pei” you, or basically “pay” you based on how many pings your house was. Mr Yang got NT 600,000 for his little piece of land, and moved into Yong Kang (another poor area in Tainan County). He refused to live in an apartment.

About the Author

I am a cultural geographer by nature, and now a photographer, videographer, musician, and webmaster.

3 Responses to “ Old KMT Housing Area Being Razed in Tainan ”

  1. Very interesting … 😉

    Good photos, important subject.

  2. (((GROUP HUG))) I hope everything works out for these families, and I give my condolences to everyone effected by this terrible tragic event.

  3. I don’t think it is a tragedy, and your comment seems a little off base. The houses were not built up to modern codes and are potentially dangerous, especially considering that Taiwan is earthquake and typhoon prone. The occupants may or may not even have lived there legally. There are a lot of issues regarding this. I do think that it should be documented and not forgotten.

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