07
May
07

More from the Trip to Shinkang

Shinkang is my personal romanization. Elsewhere I’ve seen it written Hsingang or HsinKang, but it doesn’t quite sound like that to me…

Anyway, I’m still recovering from trying to keep up with my septagenarian uncle and aunt who managed to drive us to see five things a day on Saturday and then again on Sunday after I’d already been sleep-deprived thanks to the mosquitos last week.

I’m becoming an expert on the varieties of Taiwanese mosquitos. Tan ones, little black ones with white spots, they all find me delectable especially in the middle of the night when I’d rather be dreaming instead of slapping at buzzing noises.

So tangent aside, I met up with my aunt and uncle at the (unholy for me) hour of eight in the morning after sitting on a curb sipping dojang (sweet soymilk), and nibbling a sandwich. They pulled up in a rumbly green Mazda borrowed from my cousin. With one of their other friends, we drove South. I fell asleep through most of the car ride.

I woke bleary-eyed as we pulled into a fancy restaurant and I was bewildered as we met up with a large party of bespectacled people who it turned out were all historians. I pitied the waiter because they were so involved in their papers and chat that no one could be bothered to remember who ordered what by the time it arrived at the table, so he had to stand patiently with his arms full of food asking at least three or four people whether it was theirs before being able to set down a plate. Moral of the story is that one should not become a server to academics in thrall to their passions.

After being admonished to hurry up with my lunch, we dashed off before I could finish my tea so that we could visit a tomb in the mountains up really little windy roads bordered by bamboo and palm trees.

I’m not really very coherent at the moment, so here are some photos:

The entrance to a tomb we visited by Taichung. The funeral mound reminded me a bit of the mounds made for Korean kings in Gyeongjiu, though those didn’t have that fancyish stone thing going.

Guardian of the tomb.

I found the stone carving interesting, because to me, there was a blending of elements of Western and Chinese motifs (the sort of cornice at the top of the grave for instance seems rather European to me). However, my aunt sternly told me that the “scroll-y thing”– as I referred to it later, was a traditional Chinese thing. I think the deceased contained was supposed to have passed 91 years ago, if I recall correctly.

Then we dashed off to Taichung behind the municipal building to see an ancient building which was once used for civil examinations and was now the home to one very irate loud black dog. He was not happy about a bunch of enthused historians popping in to admire the beams and shoot pictures of the woodwork. My photos of that were not exciting, so I’ll spare you. The building was obviously not viewed as a historic site of value, since there was no attempt at preserving it and it was bordered by buildings that were homes or a barbershop, etc. It’s the sort of building that survives in spite of the present, though a metal gate rolls down in front of it as if it were a store.

I promptly conked out in the car as we drove– I swear, this trip seems to indicate that if ever I can’t sleep, I’ll just have to get a chauffeur to drive me around. Anyway, we visited some of my father’s cousins, who live right next to my great-grandfather’s house.

The front door. (We didn’t enter from here).

The back of the front door– My uncle explained to his historian friend why there is a double door here, but I didn’t catch the explanation– need to learn Chinese and all.

This is the way we entered.

One side of the courtyard. The rooms are all shut up and I have no idea what they might still contain.

The front door of the house.

The painted eaves of the front veranda.

My great-grandfather created a secret school in his house in defiance of Japanese orders during their occupation. I think my father and I may faintly physically resemble him (this is rather depressing in the light of the photos of him in his old age).

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2 Responses to “More from the Trip to Shinkang”


  1. May 8, 2007 at 4:50 am

    Shinkang is my personal romanization. Elsewhere I’ve seen it written Hsingang or HsinKang, but it doesn’t quite sound like that to me…

    Taiwan’s not very good at consistency in spelling, so I made a list of Taiwan city and county names that may be of use.

    It’s “Xingang” in Hanyu Pinyin.


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