After the ROC took control of Taiwan in 1945, the government designated Taipei's Nangang (南港） as an industrial district. At this time, the brick making and coal mining industries were starting to wind down, and other industries such as chemical plants, tire factories, fertilizer, and others were taking off. A forest of Smokestacks covered the area, and and because of this Nangang was known as Black Town “黑鄉.” For a view of what the old Nangang looked like, click here.
Songshan Brick Factory Smokestack 松山磚廠烟囪
Of the many smokestacks that once covered Nangang, only 3 remain standing, and there is another which is highly damaged. The first smokestack I will talk about is not very well known at all. In fact I only found one blog that mentions it, calling it "南港繁華的磚廠遺址," and there is also a facebook page that someone created for it, which has a pretty good history of the place. This factory is still in use as a banana field/garage.
曾經覆蓋南港的煙囪中，只剩下3個，還有一被破損的煙囪。 我會說的第一個煙囪根本不是很有名。 其實我只找到一個提到它的部落格，稱它為“南港繁華的磚廠遺址”，還有人為它創建的Facebook頁面，這個頁面有很好的地方歷史。 這家工廠目前有香蕉場/車庫的作用。
To paraphrase from the Facebook page, the kiln was one of many brick kilns in the surrounding neighborhoods. After the tea industry began to decline in Nangang, brick making became the mainstay for the area. Clay was harvested from what is now Songshan station, which was ideal for brick making. There were smokestacks pretty much everywhere (making for terrible air quality), and pretty everyone that lived at what is now the border between Nangang an Songshan was involved in the brick making process in some way. There were roughly 50 workers at each brick kiln, earning roughly 200 NT a day. At the time, the brick kiln had the most advanced technology available and could produce 18,000-20,000 bricks a day! The quality was especially fine at the Bagua kiln (across the street from this one, now destroyed). The bricks from that kiln were crack resistant, and some were used in what is now the presidential office building in Taipei.
從Facebook的頁面來解釋，這個窯是周圍社區的眾多磚窯之一。 南港茶業開始衰落後，製磚成為該地區的中流砥柱。 從現在的松山車站收穫粘土，這是製磚的理想選擇。 幾乎到處都是煙囪（造成可怕的空氣質量），而那些生活在南港和松山之間邊界的每一個人，都以某種方式參與了製磚的過程。 每座磚窯大約有50名工人，每天能掙大約200新台幣。 當時，磚窯擁有最先進的技術，每天可以生產1.8萬到2萬塊磚！ 八卦窯的質量特別好（與現在的馬街隔街相望）。 那個窯裡的磚頭是抗裂的，有的被用在現在的台北總統辦公樓裡。
As environmental regulations tightened and demand for bricks decreased, the factory decided to shut down in 1971. After that, the kiln went back to nature, and the owner filled the kiln in with garbage and rubble. The Taipei City government wanted to make the brick kiln into a historical building, but the owner of the kiln did not want to. To escape the city's grasp, he even destroyed the Bagua kiln across the street. In the end the owner got away with it because he owned the property.
隨著環保法規的緊縮和對磚塊的需求下降，工廠決定在1971年關閉。之後，窯爐回歸自然，窯主用垃圾和瓦礫填滿了窯爐。 台北市政府想把磚窯變成一座歷史悠久的建築，但窯主並不想。 為了逃離城市，他甚至摧毀了馬路對面的八卦窯。 所有者最終因為擁有這個財產而逃走了。
This place was actually so hard to find that I came across it by accident having nothing to go on but a picture from the former blog. The smokestack itself is not that prominent either because it is hid in the middle of a bunch of buildings.
Do you see the brick kiln? Look again.
This historic brick kiln is now hidden on the side of a busy road and is now covered in bushes. If you didn't know what you were looking for, it could easily be mistaken as a brick wall or a mound of dirt.
After discovering the brick factory, I decided to investigate the smokestack first.
In order to get to the base, I had to walk behind some houses in the alley behind the smokestack. I found much garbage. I think this has something to do with the recycling plant next door.
為了到達烟囪，我不得不走在煙囪後面胡同後面的一些房屋後面。 我發現很多垃圾。 我認為這與隔壁的回收工廠有關。
And there it is, the smokestack base in all its glory. Obviously completely out of use.
Someone had made the old brick factory into their own private garage/storage.
If you look closely you can see the opening to the brick kiln, and apparently it has been filled in with rubble. I then began to investigate the brick kiln itself.
From the road, I climbed on top of the brick kiln to the banana field above. You would never notice you're on a brick kiln except for the square holes in the ground.
I then decided to get a view of the smokestack from the other side.
From this angle, I could see no opening at the bottom of the smokestack, which I thought was interesting.
After I went home, I searched the factory using some old maps on the Center for GIS research on the Acadamia Cinica website. Here is a video compiling areal photos of the brick kiln over time:
You may notice that there were once two brick kilns and smokestacks next to each other. The brick kiln on the left of the image, Bagua Kiln, has been torn down by the owner, apparently to not have to deal with the property becoming a historical building. All that remains now is an asphalt lot (pictured below). However next to the asphalt lot is a historical residence (dating back to the Bagua kiln) that is still lived in today.
你可能會注意到有兩座磚窯和煙囪相鄰。 圖像左側的磚窯八卦窯已被業主拆除，顯然不需要處理該物業成為歷史建築。 現在剩下的就是一個瀝青堆（如下圖）。 然而，旁邊的瀝青地段是一個歷史悠久的住宅（可追溯到八卦窯），現在仍然住在這裡。
So basically, the owner is a selfish guy who would rather tear down his historical property making it worthless, than preserving for the city and its citizens to enjoy. The lot now just sits there, not even as a parking lot, just an empty asphalt lot.
Nangang Tire Factory Smokestack 南港輪胎公司煙囪
By the 1950s after coal mining and the brick industry had begun to slow down, Nangang was designated as an industrial district for tires, fertilizer, flower, chemicals, and other industries. Taiwan’s first tire factory, the old Nangang tire factory built in 1959 (which is now an empty lot between Civic Blvd. and Nangang Road) used to have very prominent smokestack that was later designated as a historical building, but was torn down recently.
In its prime, the tire factory was the economic center of Nangang. All that remains of the factory and smokestack now is a small stub in the ground part of an empty lot. There are still many tire stores, bus depots, car repair shops, car rental shops, car sales outlets, as well as driver’s education courses in Nangang. These remnants from an older time seem now to clash with the modern developments in Nangang.
輪胎廠在巔峰時期是南港的經濟中心。 現在工廠和煙囪裡剩下的只剩下一小塊土地的一小部分了。 南崗還有很多輪胎店，汽車站，汽車修理店，汽車出租店，汽車銷售點以及駕訓班。 這些舊時代的殘餘現在似乎與南港的現代事態發展相衝突。
Areal view of the destroyed smokestack.
The entire factory has been leveled into a brown lot, apparently to make way for a shopping mall that so no signs of construction.
The fence around the lot blew down after a typhoon one day, giving us a rare glimpse inside (faint rainbow in the background).
After visiting the tire factory plot and taking pictures, I noticed that the original smokestack rested in the center of the the lot, not on the side where it rests today. Proof of this can be found in historical aerial photos:
The Nangang Tire Factory Smokestack was listed as a historical building at one time, so it is surprising that is was torn down, and then moved. I am guessing the only reason that one small part of the smokestack still exists on the property is because it was listed as a historical building, so they couldn't destroy "all" of it, or something. I don't know.
南港輪胎廠煙囪一度被列為歷史建築，被拆遷後感到驚訝。 我猜測，房子裡一小撮煙囪依然存在的唯一原因，是因為它被列為歷史建築，所以它們不能摧毀它的“全部”，或者什麼東西。 我不知道。
Liberty Factory Smokestack in Nangang 利百代南港工廠烟囪
The third smokestack I will discuss in Nangang is the Liberty Factory smokestack, which sits in the middle of the Liberty stationary factory. This smokestack is not very obvious to the average passerby, and is not open to the public.
Liberty is a popular stationary brand in Taiwan, and their Nangang factory hires quite a few employees. I'm not saying that I actually investigated this smokestack, but there may have been a time when the security guard was on his dinner break and perhaps I got a peek inside. I did not take any photographs, but I could see that the smokestack is still connected to the stationary factory. Whether it is still in use or not I do not know, but I doubt that it is.
利百代是台灣頗受歡迎的固定品牌，南港工廠聘用了不少員工。 我並不是說我調查過這個煙囪，但是可能有一段時間，當保安人員在他的晚餐休息時間，也許我在裡面窺視。 我沒有拍攝任何照片，但我可以看到煙囪仍然連接到固定工廠。 不管它是否還在使用我都不知道，但是我懷疑它是不是。
The entrance to the factory. Perhaps you have seen their products before?
Jaguar Land Rover Smokestack 路虎和捷豹車煙囪
The fourth smokestack in Nangang is perhaps the hardest to find. It lies in the guarded parking lot behnd the Jaguar and Land Rover car dealerships on Nangang Road, very much not open to the public. Seeing as there are guards there 24/7 with no breaks protecting the vehicles in the overflow parking lot, I have no further information regarding this smokestack.
南港的第四個煙囪也許是最難找到的。 在南港路的捷豹和路虎汽車經銷店裡，有一個守衛的停車場，非常不開放。 看到那裡有警衛24/7沒有休息地保護在溢出停車場車輛，我沒有關於這煙囪進一步的信息。
Model Smokestack Preservation: Huashan 1914 Creative Park Smokestack
The next smokestack I will discuss is actually in Zhongzheng District, Taipei, but it is a great example of how Nangang should be preserving its past. Huashan 1914 Park in Taipei was originally a wine factory, built in 1914 (as its name suggests). The smokestack itself was built in1931 and was used to fuel the heat needed for the distillery. In the late 90's, early 2000's, a few artists discovered the well-preserved abandoned spaces that the distillery provided and started to hold private performances there. Later the place became more and more popular, and eventually the government decided to turn the place into a creative park.
我將要討論的下一個煙囪實際上是在台北中正區，但它是南港如何保存過去的一個很好的例子。 華山1914文化創意產業園區是一座建於1914年的酒廠（顧名思義）。 煙囪本身建於1931年，用於燃燒酒廠所需的熱量。 九十年代末，二十年代初，一些藝術家發現了酒廠提供的保存完好的廢棄空間，並開始在那裡舉辦私人表演。 後來這個地方越來越受歡迎，最終政府決定把這個地方變成一個創意園。
The smokestack sits on the west side of the park, with no signs or explanations to tell you what its purpose was.
Fuel loading door. 燃料裝載門。
Gauges and pipes perhaps connecting to the distillery.
Huashan park might do a better job at preserving the surrounding buildings than the actual smokestack, but it is still leaps and bound ahead of all efforts in Nangang.
Although technological innovation and new development projects are exciting (such as the new exhibition centers, City Link, CTBC building, and music hall), I feel that Nangang is neglecting its rich historic past. Many historic buildings are sitting in decay without a way for the public to appreciate them. Other historic sites, such as the Nangang tire factory smokestack have been completely demolished. I hope that in the future Nangang can continue to develop, but not wipe out its own past in the process. The scattered and scarce historical sites that still remain in Nangang should be protected, refurbished, and opened for future generations to enjoy. The District should take Huashan Creative park as an example, and use these historic sites for the public's value and well being, and not let them sit in decay, or worse, destroy them.
雖然技術創新和新開發項目令人興奮（如新展覽中心，城市連接，CTBC大廈，音樂廳），但我覺得南港忽略了其悠久的歷史。 許多歷史悠久的建築正在衰敗中，沒有一種方法讓公眾去欣賞它們。 南港輪胎廠煙囪等其他歷史遺跡已全部拆除。 我希望今後的南鋼能夠繼續發展，而不是在這個過程中抹去自己的過去。 仍然留在南崗的零星稀缺的歷史遺跡應該得到保護，翻新，開放供後人享用。 該區應以華山創意園為例，將這些歷史遺跡用於公眾的價值和福祉，不要讓它們坐在頹廢中，或者更糟糕的是摧毀它們。
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This past Sunday, a tragic event occurred in which an Indonesian caregiver named Panti fell from an 11 storey building in Taichung to her death, in an attempted escape from her employer. She apparently accidentally slipped to her death. Along with her body were found a bag of her possessions. She tried to escape many times previously, but was forced to stay with her employer. The security guard at the apartment building was told to block her if she attempted to escape.
Does this sound like a woman with basic human freedoms?
上個星期天，發生了一起悲慘事件，一名印尼護理人員叫Panti從台中一座11層高的樓房中墜落，並企圖逃離雇主。 她顯然意外地滑倒死亡。 隨著她的身體被發現一袋她的個人物品。 她曾多次試圖逃離，但被迫留在雇主手中。 如果她試圖逃跑的話，公寓裡的保安人員被告知要封鎖她。
Below I will give an overview of the current situation of migrant workers in Taiwan, as well as examples from personal stories of the migrant workers themselves, as well as solutions to the problem.
Basic Facts about Migrant Workers in Taiwan:
As fellow foreigners in Taiwan, we care about other foreigners in Taiwan, no matter what country they are from. This is by no means a comprehensive blog, but only written to raise awareness on this issue. There are countless personal stories from over 600,000 migrant workers in Taiwan and statistics that should be shared. Unfortunately, many of these workers do not have a voice or even basic human rights in Taiwan. We want to give them a voice and hope these people are not forgotten.
作為台灣的外國人，我們關心台灣的其他外國人，不管他們來自哪個國家。 這絕不是一個全面的部落格，而只是為了提高對這個問題的認識。 我們應該分享台灣六十多萬外籍勞動的無數個人故事。 不幸的是，這些工人中很多人在台灣沒有發言權甚至沒有基本人權。 我們想給他們一個聲音，希望這些人不會被遺忘。
Discrimination against Southeast Asian Foreigners ：
Many Taiwanese see Southeast Asians as desirable workers but not desirable citizens. This is due to discrimination based on the low socioeconomic status of Southeast Asian countries. Taiwanese people give higher status to countries with stronger economies. Taiwanese value Korea, Japan, Singapore and mimic their culture, while on the other hand they look down on poorer countries.
Currently due to the southbound policy more and more Southeast Asian tourists are coming to Taiwan, but this is overshadowed by the human rights abuses against Southeast Asian Migrant workers. Currently there are 200,000 students in Taiwan with foreign Southeast Asian parents, one in 10. The numbers for first and second generation immigrants is greater than the indigenous population of Taiwan. However, these students are often discriminated against because of their parent’s speaking a foreign language, and thus are perceived to do worse in Chinese language and other studies, due to their parent’s poor Chinese and lack of Education.
Taiwan media is usually unsympathetic to their plight, portraying them as only runaways that do not want to work. But the fact is that they run away usually because of abuse from their employer. Those employers that are prosecuted usually get away with minimal penalties, and if there is a jail term it is usually for less than one year
Coming to Taiwan 來台:
Before coming to Taiwan, many migrant workers must go through an application process, and if chosen, may be required to pay excessive broker fees up to 14,000 USD or more. These workers also need to pay for training. In order to pay for these fees, many of them need to take out loans from lending companies that are one in the same as the brokers, trapping them in “debt bondage.” Some of these loanshave up to 60% annual interest. If they cannot make payments, lending companies and migrant brokers are known to give death threats to the workers and their family.
Exploitative deductions for rent or services that are not actually real are commonplace. Rides to the airport, medical examinations, and help to fill out documentation are often charged excessive fees. For instance, migrant workers are known to have to pay 2000 NT for a van to the airport from Taipei when a taxi is only just over 1000 NT. Brokers often mistreat their workers, and use corrupt practices to exploit them.
Workers from Southeast Asia are not allowed to write paperwork for an ARC themselves, and must pay a broker for this service (even though it is easy for many white collar foreigners to do this themselves). They are also not covered under the labor standards act, giving their employers almost unlimited power to overwork and exploit them. It is simply hypocrisy that the act fails to protect the most vulnerable workers from exploitation, foreign migrants. Although agricultural work is illegal, some foreign workers have been known to be put to farm work when on paper they are domestic caretakers. One such worker, Merly Ramos, happened upon this situation, and was given only one day off for an entire year before she informed the authorities.
Human trafficking happens under the radar in Taiwan through fake marriages, deceitful employment contracts, smuggling, sexual exploitation, and forced labor. Many human trafficking victims are mistaken for illegal immigrants, and are locked away in unsanitary prisons with no medical facilities, or deported.
Foreign Caregivers 外籍長照:
House caregivers have a minimum wage of 17,000 NT a month, compared to the 21,008 minimum wage for Taiwanese citizens under the labor standards act. Contracts with an employer usually last for 3 years, during which they cannot switch employers. Previously after the contract ended, they were forced to go back to their home country, but thankfully that regulation has been abolished as of this year.
During their time of work, many brokers hold onto the worker’s passports or ARC, preventing the workers from leaving the country as well as other things such as purchasing a phone. Brokers often fine runaways or deport them, even though this is technically illegal. While in their domestic roles, migrant caretakers are often victims of sexual harassment, sexual offences, and rape. One such case is Annie, who was sexually assaulted by all five of her previous employers.
A few years ago a documentary about foreign migrant workers called “I have it maid” (快跑三十六小時) was produced to tell the personal stories of these migrant caregivers. After seeing the film, many Taiwanese people were surprised that the situation was as bad as it is.
The film tells a story about a runaway blue collar worker named Vicky and the filmmakers are advocating her story to try and help her. If you have time, please see the film here on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fq5gkyVlFg
Perhaps modern day slavery is most prevalent in Taiwan’s fishing industry. Migrant fishermen are also not covered by labor standards act standards, subject to exploitation, and have no set minimum wage. Also, rest time and breaks are only set by standard contract. Officially there are around 20,000 migrant fishermen, but organizations such as Greenpeace say there could be up to 160,000. Many fishermen are not registered legally, and are not in Taiwan books.
Many fisherman only stay on the boats they work on and never enter Taiwan, or their boats are registered overseas, so it hard to keep track of these foreign migrant fisherman. The ILO has said that Taiwan's Fisheries Agency's system of management and protection of migrant fishers is "loose and unregulated".
Many fishermen are abused, beaten, cut with hooks, and killed. Once a migrant fisherman dies, the captain has right to throw body overboard, getting rid of any evidence of the cause of death. Many migrant fisherman are exploited in this way, such as this story about 1,000 Cambodian men。 They were originally promised 150 USD a month, then only got paid half, were underfed, beaten, and couldn’t communicate with family. For many, their only escape was to jump overboard.
This last September, it was found that 19 Taiwanese fisherman were prosecuted for keeping a group of 81 Indonesian fisherman locked in a room around the clock to prevent them from escaping. They were forced to work 48 hours at a time with no breaks and for 300-500 USD a month.
The 19 Taiwanese men faced possible jail time of up to 7 years, and authorities confiscated 3.69 million TWD as compensation payback for the migrant fisherman.
Mostly disputes between migrant fisherman and their employers are “hands-off” for the government, who wishes the disputes be solved between the employer and for-profit migrant brokers, who almost always side in behalf of the employer. Often the government will require time cards or pay slips as evidence, which simply don’t exist. Many workers are threatened or even deported for having labor disputes, and many are afraid to talk to the authorities.
Summary and Solutions 總結和解決方案:
Labor conditions for foreign migrants haven’t improved in more than 10 years and new legislation is slow to come by. These problems are not being fixed because government and business want extra profits that come from hiring cheap labor, and Southeast Asians lack money. The biggest problem comes from the broker system which “traps” immigrant workers in debt and exploits their salary. A proper solution would be to get rid of the broker system and let the migrants be directly hired. In fact, broker systems are technically illegal in the Philippines, even though there are many Taiwan brokers operating there. However, abolishing these brokers in Taiwan will be difficult. Lawmaker Lin Shu fen has received death threats from brokers for trying improving foreign workers rights. The brokers have power politically and move to stop all new legislation for migrant workers, as it cuts their profits. They are like slave traders, making money off of human capital.
In September, a “mock” referendum, which would hypothetically allow migrant workers the right to freely change employers was started by the Migrants Empowerment Network in Taiwan (MENT). The mock referendum ends at the end of December. So far, over 90% of voters have supported it. However, what Taiwan needs is a real referendum. For more information, visit their Facebook Page here
The 2017 Trafficking in Person’s Report by the US State Department美國國務院2017年“販賣人口報告”
This report details human trafficking in Taiwan. Due to improvements in the last few years, Taiwan has been moved from a Tier-2 country to Tier-1. However, improvements are still sorely needed. A summary of the report is as follows:
這份報告詳細介紹了在台灣販賣人口 由於近幾年來的改善，台灣已經從二線國家轉移到了一線。 但是，仍然需要改進。 報告摘要如下：
What Taiwan Should improve:
Taiwan should improve labor protection and prosecution for migrant fishermen. Also, There is a long-stalled bill meant to help standardize wage, rest hours, and annual leave for domestic workers, that has yet to be enacted.
This year there were 263 sex trafficking victims, 156 of whom were foreigners and 89 of which were children. The other victims were from poorer areas of Taiwan. Some Taiwanese victims have also been recruited to telephone scams overseas or to overseas prostitution. Taiwan has also unlawfully also jailed and fined trafficking victims.
The report also pointed out that many brokers trap migrant workers with “debt bondage” to control them and extort their money. Those migrant workers that complain are often deported.
How Taiwan has improved in 2017:
Despite the jailing of trafficking victims, the MOF has created a 24 hour hotline for such victims as well as 25 shelters nationwide which provide legal and mental help, stipends, repatriation, training, and interpretation.
Also, in the past year Taiwan has fined 6 and shut down 4 brokers charging excessive fees. In addition, the policy indicating foreign migrants leave every 3 years has been abolished. The authorities have also standardized the Fisherman’s contract, requirements for basic wages, rest hours, and days off, as well as requiring the broker be a company and not an individual.
New Employers are also required to attend classes before they hire on domestic workers.
Summary of Solutions 解決方案總結：
The slave-like conditions and exploitation of foreigner blue collar laborers is a shame to Taiwan. You never hear of any white collar worker runaways because they can change employers at will, but blue collar workers simply can’t. Human rights of blue collar workers need to be brought to white collar level. As fellow foreigners in Taiwan, we should all work together to raise awareness to these worker’s situations and personal stories. Perhaps we can help to push new legislation to protect our fellow foreigners. We should not forget Panti, who died in the process of trying to switch employers, and not let her death be in vain.
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Branding Taiwan’s Cities 品牌化台灣的城市
It’s Mid-September and the unusually oppressive heat of summer is fading at last, replaced by the rich, windy weather (and occasional typhoon) for which Taiwan autumns are known. As a cyclist, it’s my favorite time of the year, and this week’s column would probably be about my upcoming weekend cycling plans, if I’d not been sidetracked by an experience I had in Tainan on Monday, delivering a keynote address on the subject of “Branding Taiwan’s Cities”.
現在是九月中旬，夏天異常炎熱的時候正在消失，取而代之的是秋風豐富的獨特台灣天氣（偶爾有颱風）。 作為一名自行車騎士，這是我每一年中最喜歡的一季節，如果不是周一我在台南體驗的一段經歷，本週的文章可能是關於即將到來的周末自行車計劃。我那時候就這個題目發表主題演講 “品牌化台灣的城市”。
In typical Friday Column tradition (and in keeping with Lao Tzu’s maxim on travel), I may take a winding route to reach the destination.
Before coming on board with MyTaiwanTour I worked as a travel writer, both for travel-guide giant Lonely Planet and several dozen other smaller publications, periodicals and travel websites. Though my work brought me to many places around the world (Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Belize and all over China, just to name a few), my specialty has generally been writing about urban areas. I have an affinity for cities, and have always said that given 72 hours in any city I can gather enough information to be able to offer sound advice to any first-time traveler.
My usual method for getting to know a city is as follows: Before leaving, I do some basic research on the city I’m about to visit. Local history, must-see sights, signature dishes, that sort of thing. Once I hit the ground, I forget 90% of this and get myself purposely lost for as many hours as possible. This is in line not just with Lao Tzu’s maxim about having no fixed goals, but also with that of American writer Lawrence Block, who writes, “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.”
Lawrence Block is from from New York City, and so am I. Which is as good a segue as any to the subject of City Branding.
If I were to walk into a crowded elevator anywhere in the English speaking world singing
Start Spreading the news…
I’m leaving today…
I wanna be a part of it…
And then point to someone at random, chances are better than average that they’d respond
New York, New York!
NYC is easily the most well-branded city on the planet. Barely a day goes by in Taiwan where I don’t run into at least a couple of people advertising some aspect of my hometown on their clothing, whether it’s a T-shirt bearing the letters NYC, some variation of the city’s iconic skyline, or just the NY Yankees Logo. I’ve had farmers in rural China ask me where I’m from, and when I’ve answered Niǔyuē (New York), they’ve given me the thumbs up and responded Dà píngguǒ! (The Big Apple!)
紐約市很容易成為地球上品牌最好的城市。 在台灣我幾乎每天至少會遇到一些穿著廣告我的家某個方面的衣服, 不管是帶有NYC字母的T卹，紐約城的天際線的某個角度，或 只是紐約洋基標誌。 我曾在中國農村有遇過農民問我從哪裡來，當我用中文回答 “紐約” 的時候，他們給了我大拇指，並回應了”大蘋果！”
Not surprisingly, New York City has consistently been one of the world’s top ten most visited cities for decades. While I gave up NYC residency about the same time I came legally of age, I’ve never given up my identity as a New Yorker (or the distinctive accent).
毫不奇怪，紐約市數十年來一直是世界十大旅遊的城市之一。 雖然我早就放 棄紐約市居民”法律上的”身份，我還沒有放棄我作為紐約人的身份（或特殊的口音）。
So, finding myself among esteemed company as one of two keynote speakers at a seminar put on by the Dream Travel Taiwan Alliance (the overarching purpose of which was to share and discuss best practices in international destination marketing and the latest trends in the global tourism industry, specifically as applied to cities looking to develop their own marketability as tourist destinations), I began by speaking about the success that New York has had in branding itself.
因此，我在 “ 讓世界旅人。看見台灣” (Dream Travel Taiwan Alliance) 舉辦的一個研討會上，發現自己是在重大人物之中當主題講師，主要目的是分享和討論國際目旅遊行銷的最佳實踐和全球旅遊業的最新趨勢 ，特別是適用於希望發展和市場化為旅遊目的地的城市），我首先談到紐約在品牌化方面取得的成功.
I specifically started with New York, despite the fact that I realize the impossibility of any other city replicating NYC’s formula for success. NYC has so many icons (Times Square, The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, a globally-known song called New York, New York, for god’s sake) that it would be impossible for any city lacking these things to ever be as successful at branding itself as a tourist destination.
Or is it?
First, everything that Singapore does well, it does really well. Great food, great transportation, great nightlife and cool, safe neighborhoods in which to wander. If you’re going to Singapore for those four things, you’re going to have an excellent time. Singapore has fine museums and good shopping, but these are not the things that primarily draw people to visit Singapore. It’s the food, convenience, nightlife and “safely exotic” vibe that brings visitors in by the millions.
首先，新加坡所做好的一切，確實做得很好。 美味的食物，很棒的交通，良好的夜生活和涼爽，安全的街區，令人放心在其中漫步。 如果你要為了 以上的四件事情去新加坡，你會有一個美好的經驗。 新加坡有很好的博物館和很好的購物場所，但這些並不是主要吸引人來新加坡的東西。 主要是食物，方便，夜生活和“安全的異國情調”的氛圍，帶來數百萬的遊客。
Second, and as importantly, Singapore knows how to get the message out about what it does offer. If I were to walk into any elevator in the world and ask random strangers (in their language of course) about Singapore, chances are better than average that they’d respond with some variation of “Great food, safe, clean and easy to get around.” (I doubt the Merlion would even come up.)
其次，同樣重要的是，新加坡知道如何將訊息傳達出去。 如果我要走進世界上任何一台電梯，問任何陌生人（當然是用他們的語言）關於新加坡的話，那麼他們會回應一些“偉大的食物，安全，乾淨，交通方便.” （我懷疑他們會提到魚尾獅。）
I’m of the opinion that, like in the case of Singapore, iconography will not be the most important part in the success of getting the message out about what Taiwan’s cities have to offer travelers. True, Taipei has done pretty well for itself with Taipei 101 (which kind of serves double duty as overall branding icon for Taiwan), but I don’t believe that people visit Taipei specifically to visit Taipei 101. It may be a focus point, and a good symbol, but a visit to Taipei 101 should just be a small part of any Taipei visit.
我認為，像新加坡一樣，在傳達台灣的城市能提供給旅客的好處的時候，地標不會是最重要的部分。 的確，台北在101（台灣整體品牌形象的雙重職責）方面做得相當不錯，但我不相信觀光客為了101而專門去拜訪台北.這可能是一個焦點， 且一個很好的象徵，但是參觀台北101應該只是旅遊台北的一小部分。
Other Taiwanese cities offer their own unique variety of experiences and, like Singapore, defy traditional single-sentence branding.
Tainan (where the meeting was held) is a hotbed of culture – not just traditional Han Chinese culture, but a sort of new, hipster culture with a vibrant nightlife featuring artist-run coffee shops and collectives in winding cobblestone alleys built during the Qing dynasty. (Not for nothing is one of the chapters of my upcoming book called “Tainan is the Portland of Taiwan”.)
台南（會議的地點）是一個文化焦點，不僅是傳統的漢族文化，而且是一種新興的時髦文化，擁有充滿活力的夜生活，藝術家經營的咖啡店和聚集體在清朝修建的鵝卵石小巷。 （順便提一下, 我即將出版的“台南是台灣的波特蘭”書的其中一個章節是關於這個）
I spent a most excellent week in Taichung earlier this year, visiting world-class museums, art parks, restaurants and night markets. I also went scuba diving in a hotel in the middle of the city. (Google “Dive Cube Hotel Taichung” for more info on this most unique venue, a hotel with an 18-meter-deep scuba diving pool).
今年早些時候，我在台中度過了一個非常好的一周，參觀世界級的博物館，藝術公園，餐館和夜市。 我也在市中心的一家酒店去潛水。 （去谷歌:“台中潛水立方酒店”了解更多有關這個最獨特場地的資料，一家擁有18米深潛水游泳池的酒店）。
Kaohsiung, which many international visitors have traditionally seen as a place to pass through on the way to Kenting, is working to brand itself as a sort of slower-paced Taipei, an international harbor city with art, music and culture, not to mention amazing temples and superlative food. I spent several days there earlier this year and found it to be all that and more. Still, I’d be hard pressed to summarize this into a single sentence, let alone an icon – besides that hotel with the two legs (and maybe the Love River).
高雄，一個許多國際遊客被視為去墾丁必經過的地方，正在努力將自身品牌作為一種節奏慢台北的國際港口城市，藝術，音樂和文化，更何況驚人寺廟和最高級的食物。今年早些時候，我在那邊待了好幾天，發現它真的是這樣子, 還有更多。儘管如此，我還是很難把以上所說的總結成一句話，更不用說一個地標- 除了那個有兩條腿的酒店（也許愛河）。
And this may be for the best. To paraphrase another speaker at the seminar (one whose finger was firmly on the pulse of current travel trends), today’s travel trends are increasingly being shaped by millennials, and millennials are increasingly looking for experiences matching their own interests and passions, rather than some great collective consciousness’ idea of what a vacation should be.
Taiwan’s cities offer a vast array of experiences catering to a wide variety of interests. Though this wide appeal makes Taiwan’s cities difficult to “summarize”, it make them way more worth visiting.
這可能是最好的情形。我套用在研討會上的另一位發言人的話:（一個非常了解當前的旅遊潮流趨勢），今天的旅遊趨勢日益受到千禧狀，千禧一代越來越多人尋找配自己的興趣和愛好的經驗，而不是一些 “偉大集體” 認為怎麼樣才是渡假。
It’s just a question of getting the message out.
And New York City boy though I am, my advice to my friends in charge of doing this is to look to Singapore for inspiration.
Until next week, Joshua Samuel Brown
Editor in Chief, MyTaiwanTour
直到下週，喬舒亞·薩繆爾·布朗 (Joshua Samuel Brown)
(Branding Taiwan’s Cities 品牌化台灣的城市) originally ran at the MyTaiwanTour Journal. All photos and text posted in the above blog were taken from https://www.mytaiwantour.com/blog/. Follow this link for more stories like this one!
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（Branding Taiwan’s Cities 品牌化台灣的城市）最初跑在MyTaiwanTour學報。 https://www.mytaiwantour.com/blog/. 點擊此鏈接獲得更多這樣的故事！
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According to Taiwan’s National Cultural Heritage Database Management System, Nangang district in Taipei only has 5 registered historical buildings. The most recent of these is the Que Family Ancestral House “闕家祖厝”, also known as Decheng Residence “德成居.” This house was added to Taiwan’s list of historical buildings in May of 2017, much to the chagrin of the houses’ current owner, causing a dispute between the family and the Ministry of Culture, which I discuss further in this post.
This building, which comprises of a Sanheyuan (Three sided courtyard) and one side having a second storey watch tower, was built in 1924 by the Que Family who had emigrated from Quanzhou, Fujian, China. The house is built in Southern Min red brick style, with imported materials from Fujian. The roof was originally made of grass, then later replaced by modern materials. When first built, it stood in front of a small pond and was surrounded by cattle pasture, which was considered very good fengshui. After Academia Road was build in front of it, its fengshui was thus cut off, and has fallen into decay ever since (supposedly). It is an example of some of the best architecture and artistry of the Japanese era in Taiwan.
Members of the Que family have been very influential in the leadership and development of the Nangang-Xizhi area, especially in coal mining and brick making. Que Shankeng (闕山坑) was the first democratically elected leader of Nangang Town in 1946 during the ROC era. The Que family has many members that have since participated in politics. Currently there are huge numbers of Que family descendants in Nangang, Xizhi, and Neihu. Some elementary schools in Nangang used to have over 20 students in one class named Que. Now the family is very wealthy and has built two ancestor halls to worship their forebears, one in Xizhi being14 stories high.
Controversy and Drama over Que Family Ancestral House:
The current owner of the plot of land that the house stands on is not happy that his property has been changed into a historical building by the city government. Originally the owner claimed that his land was appraised at 500 million TWD, but now that the house has been classified as a historical building, it is only worth 50 million TWD. The family also claimed that the government is encroaching on the family’s livelihood by diminishing the value of the property, by protecting a “dilapidated house” that has ”no value,” even though they still live in the house!
However, another government official disagreed with the 50 million NTD assessment, stating that the current property with a historical building on it can still build a 7 or 8 storey apartment building, and the surrounding land is still very valuable. However, as you can see by the map below (which can be found for freeon the government's website), the land plots surrounding the house circle around like rings of an onion, so it might be hard to organize a build among remaining property owners, and I assume this has stopped them in the past. The family currently owns plots 176-2、177、178、178-3、179、179-1、180、180-1、181、185、and 186 in the map below.
My Visit There:
The Que ancestral house is located at No. 120, Academia Rd Sec 1, Nangang District, Taipei City (臺北市南港區研究院路1段120號). This structure is not far from the MRT Nangang Exhibition Center station. Map:
My first reaction to coming here was: wow people actually still live here!
You can see the words "德嚴居" Deyan Residence still visible above the door. This part of the house contains two storeys.
There is some beautiful jade ventilation near the apex of each residence. The roof has been remade into tin on the bottom floors. The second storey of the Deyan Residence was used as a watchtower and armory (a place to safe-keep guns) to protect against thieves.
Old mixed with modern appliances and poorly placed electric wires.
To the left is another house that is connected. All of these places are very much lived in by people.
As I was taking this picture a lady walked up behind me and ignored that I was there. I would have investigated the place further if this was not someone's personal residence. In the center is one of the Que ancestral halls in Nangang, which I am sure many Que family member come to worship. Notice the missing roof on the left; I think this came off during the last typhoon because it was there in earlier photos that I have seen. I don't know what kind of rot and other damage is going in there. I was thinking, if you live here how hard would it be to put some more plastic roofing on the precious ancestral hall?
Random shed in front of the building that looks like it was built from garbage. Again, this is built on land that is supposedly worth 500 million NTD.
Another side of the house that looks very unkept. Although to be fair these weeds had been mowed down the last time I passed by.
This part of the house has a tin roof as well as sliding glass windows installed. The original roof on the house was made of cogongrass, but because it was too hard to maintain, eventually the family installed more modern tile roofing, and now simply tin roofing.
One last view of the Que family ancestral home: one can see colorful dragon and animal designs on the roof of the second floor still intact, made from colored ceramics. Also the wooden doors above look pristine (wooden doors are also used in the ancestral hall). I give credit to the Que family for keeping the house in as good condition as it is, but weeds growing on your roof is not going to win you any prizes from the homeowners association.
Our Opinion on the Controversy:
In my opinion, the current Que descendants that own the land around the house can't entirely blame the government for any loss of value for their land. I mean, you own a house that you and your kids have never paid rent on. Where is your salary going if you have been living here free your whole life? You had almost 100 years to fix up and replace this house, but you let it sit there and decay. You live there every day, but you don’t do much of anything to maintain the appearance of the house and let weeds grow everywhere. You had all the time in the world to convert this precious edifice into modern apartment buildings but you didn’t. You also don’t appreciate the work of your forefathers who have created one of the most beautiful buildings of its time in the area, and say it has no value. If I were your ancestors, I wouldn’t be happy about that, and I especially wouldn't be happy that you still haven't fixed the roof on my ancestor hall.
That being said, the government is also pretty lame for all of the sudden making this a historical building without the family’s permission. Seeing that the family is still living in the house, making it a historical building does basically nothing for the general public at large. Its still private property. If the family would have agreed to it, then perhaps they would also agree to let the public freely enjoy this historical edifice as well.
It will be interesting to see what happens to this house in the coming months and years. Though the family says they want the sell the property or build new apartment buildings on it, I don’t think that will happen as they have not done anything thus far in 93 years of the house's existence, and also the housing market recently has slowed down considerably in Taipei.
For now the house has been declared a historical building, and the family will have to decide how they are going to deal with that classification going forward. Thank for joining me on this journey. Please leave your comments below, and don’t forget to like and share!
We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.