I moved to Changhua City in November 2014 to see what it’s like living in a traditional town in central Taiwan. I had an interesting time staying in Tainan for three months earlier that year so I figured why not give Changhua a shot for the wintertime? Changhua is nowhere near as lively and interesting as Taiwan’s old southern capital but it is not without charm. Here I have gathered up some of the more representative images I captured during my first two months of residency, mostly of the area immediately to the east of the train station, which also happens to be the oldest part of town. Explanations are given in the caption of each photo, where available.
These photographs were captured on a short two day, three night visit to Singapore in February 2013. I was unable to do more than scratch the surface of this intriguing island city-state on such a brief trip, but I did manage to take a few interesting shots while I was there. Most of my time was spent in Singapore’s historic Chinatown, known in Chinese as Niucheshui 牛車水 (literally “ox-cart water”), but I also ventured into Little India and the Downtown Core.
I was off the main road in Gushan Village 姑山里 in Dashu, a hilly rural district in Kaohsiung, when I noticed a row of old buildings next to a small temple. Stopping to investigate, I unslung my camera and snapped a few shots, not quite realizing what I was looking at. My mind was elsewhere—a consequence of two hard days of riding in the tropical summer sun. I was, at the time, heading south to the railway line after making it to Qishan the night before and touring through Meinong earlier in the day. Only later, when I went to develop the photos, did I notice the faint traces of the Japanese rising sun flag in the top right corner of the building pictured above. At one point these stone flags must have been painted bright red, a reflection of Japanese imperial interests in Taiwan.
The Liu Family Mansion (劉家古厝) in Minxiong, Chiayi, is one of the most famous ruins in all Taiwan. Situated in the countryside just outside of town, this old Baroque Revival-style red brick building is more informally known as the dreaded Minxiong Ghost House (民雄鬼屋). It was built in 1929 for Liu Rongyu (劉溶裕), a businessman with seven children, and appears to have been abandoned sometime in the early 1950s, not long after the end of Japanese colonial rule.
There are plenty of crummy old apartment blocks in Taiwan, many of them abandoned and left to the elements. I seldom take more than a cursory look any more since they’re so easy to find—just ride or walk around and look for broken windows and grime. Most of the time there isn’t much to see inside—and anything valuable or interesting has almost always been removed. Even so, I stopped for a moment to investigate this particular building in Su’ao, a township in Yilan, and made an intriguing discovery.
Today I would like to take you inside an abandoned sanheyuan (三合院), a traditional Taiwanese courtyard home. This particular home is in Dacun, a rural township in Changhua, but it is not unique. The Taiwanese countryside is littered with tens of thousands of these old homes, many of which have fallen into disrepair and abandonment over the years. I have given this place a name but it is merely a description of convenience. Chances are it has no formal name.
One fine morning in February 2014 I decided to go out riding. I had seen photos of a beautiful cliffside temple next to a waterfall in Xindian and it looked to be within easy reach of my place in Jingmei. I set out for the highway leading to Pinglin, passing through the sprawl of southern Taipei under the warm winter sun. The roadway began to steepen as I reached the outskirts of the city. Struggling against gravity—but enjoying every minute of it—I ascended into the hills before taking a turn onto Yinhe Road 銀河路 (the literal translation of which is “silver river”, better known to us as the Milky Way).
I discovered Kampung Numbak using Wikimapia, a mash up of Google Maps and Wikipedia, while staying at 1Borneo, a megamall on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. After finding it online I decided to pay Numbak a visit. There was something very strange about the juxtaposition of Borneo’s biggest mall and this impoverished village of 5,000 a stone’s throw away.