Tag Archives: Kaohsiung

人山人海 ‘People Mountain, People Sea’ and fun at the Taiwan Lantern Festival 台灣燈會 @ Pingtung 屏東 Dapeng Bay大鵬灣 !

So many many people, all there to enjoy the Lantern Festival, and, ah yes, it was great!

The end of Chinese New Year celebrations is marked by the Lantern Festival, and in Taiwan, each local government organizes an event that lasts for about 2 weeks or so; but the main Taiwan Lantern Festival is hosted in turn by one of the county or city governments, and each year it gets bigger and more spectacular. Last year, Chiayi hosted the event around the Southern branch of the National Palace Museum, which itself is an amazing building set by a lake, so the natural setting added to the spectacle. This year it’s been the turn of Pingtung, and fears that its remoteness at the southern end of Taiwan would put people off turned out to be completely unfounded. People came in their millions, over 11 million in total!

We’ve just had a 4-day weekend in Taiwan in connection with 228 Memorial Day, and it also coincided with the last 4 days of the Taiwan Lantern Festival in Pingtung. So, not being one to miss any opportunity, and with my good friends, Ah-Guan and Xiu-Chin inviting me to go with them, off we went to Pingtung to see it all for ourselves: YES!

The event was held at Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area 大鵬灣, a beautiful lagoon right on Taiwan’s SW coast, near to Donggang Town東港鎮. Donggang is famous for its tuna, so this year, the county government decided that rather than taking this year’s Year of the Pig as the main lantern, instead they would choose a tuna. Quite a canny move really, seeing as they’ll then be able to use that same lantern again every year! Actually fish have a big symbolic role in Chinese culture and New Year celebrations, so it’s not completely bizarre. And the main tuna lantern was positioned right in the water, so it looked amazing, and every half an hour the music played and the lantern revolved one whole circle, changing colour as it did so.

The main Taiwan Lantern Festival has a huge budget and is always really well-organized with large numbers of lanterns of all shapes, sizes and designs on display, and this year was no exception. The beauty of Dapeng Bay, with the setting sun over the water, added to the attraction. Highlights were the nightly shows by Ilotopie, a French theater company who perform on water, plus the main tuna lantern, and the drone performance by Intel, which was amazing.

On Thursday, I left home in the cold and wet soon after 5:00 am to catch the first bus out of here, then onto Taipei to try to get a seat on the high-speed rail to Kaohsiung. It being the start of a 4-day holiday, tickets had sold out weeks ago, but there’s always a chance of a seat in the non-reserved carriages if you go all the way to Nangang Station, where the trains start from. It’s worth it, honest! And so we arrived at Dapeng Bay at 1:00 pm, to find it was 29°C and hot, hot, hot! The displays look good in the daytime, but of course it is at night that the place really comes alive. In fact, the site was so huge that we never got round it all, and never saw any of the indigenous or Hakka lanterns which were at the far end. But we did go up the viewing platform and saw a bit from the air. Loved it all!

And we did manage to meet up with Rev. Richard Lee and his family and friends who had come for the day from St. Timothy’s Church, Kaohsiung. So good to see them!

By evening, the people were pouring in, and it was so packed out that you could hardly move! Numbers were calculated by the local telecom operators through operating mobile phones and news reports say that 1.67 million attended on Thursday night – and it felt like we met most of them! The good thing is that Taiwan people are generally cool, calm and collected, and so the massive numbers of people moving around in the dark in restricted areas, like crossing a bridge, and with minimum security or police control, all proceeded slowly but surely. This kind of event anywhere else in the world would be a nightmare for everyone, but it all just went along smoothly. Ah, I just love Taiwan!

But we did have to wait ages and ages for a bus back to Kaohsiung, 3 very long hours in fact, all standing in line. l heard that there were 900 shuttle buses working non-stop, mostly ferrying people to local train stations, but for those going of us further afield, the distance to the motorway meant there were long traffic jams. And so it was that we arrived back at Kaohsiung, where we were staying, at 1:30 am, after quite a long, hot day. But hey, it was worth it – it was quite spectacular, and if everyone is going along, well, I always like to be there too!

And for the rest of the weekend in Kaohsiung? Well, we checked out my favourite place of Weiwuying, where all the wall murals are – to see any new ones…

And we walked to Siwei Elementary School to see their beautiful mural too, this one titled ‘3rd eye dog’ by Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel

Also down to Kaohsiung Port area, Pier 2, where everyone was enjoying themselves. All the old warehouses have been converted to art spaces, shops and restaurants, and it’s an up-an-coming place to be, especially at sunset!

And so is the nearby Love River…

We also visited ShouShan Zoo in Kaohsiung, which is up a hill so it’s a bit cooler. Very cheap at only 40NT$ entrance fee and a nice place to wander around escaping the heat of the city below. Most famous at the zoo are not the actual zoo animals themselves but the wild monkeys who now hang out around there and steal everyone’s sandwiches. Easier to photograph were the animals lying fast asleep. The most charming was the pygmy hippo swimming up to the glass where all the children to see him close up.

And finally we went to Tainan, where our good friend, Rev. Philip Ho, vicar of Grace Church, Tainan is recovering really well after surgery on his head, after he fell over during a basketball game a few weeks ago. He was so happy to see us! We stayed on to go to Grace Church on Sunday morning, then I came home last night. Even got a seat on the HSR train from Taichung onwards, so I was happy.

Really big thanks to my good friends for their invitation, organization, photo-ops and all the fun…

And that’s the end of the Lantern Festival for another year – next year it’ll be the turn of Taichung, and I just can’t wait!

Transformation by Colour Part 2 @ Kaohsiung 高雄 Street Art ~ and more!

Kaohsiung is definitely my New Favourite City.  Read this post I wrote in March to see why, and see the photos of the ‘Transformation by Colour’ that Kaohsiung is undergoing!  Previously I hated the place, now I love it.  Can’t get enough of it!  Just look at this ~ on the wall of the bus station.  THIS IS KAOHSIUNG!

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Kaohsiung is now Taiwan’s must-go, must-see city, YES YES YES!

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And really it’s all to do with the massive explosion in street art that has appeared in the city over the last few years.  Even boring old walls along the railway are painted in the most beautiful colours!

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Ah, 高雄: Kaohsiung ~ there’s even Chinese calligraphy as street art showing the city’s name….IMG_20180526_060318_521.jpg

This past weekend, I found myself accompanying some church visitors from the USA to Kaohsiung for them to perform in a music concert at St. Timothy’s Church, and then at the morning service at St. Paul’s Church. More news of that next week.  We were busy all day and all evening, but early mornings were free.  What better time to visit my favourite places in Kaohsiung?

This is just on the way to the MRT from St. Paul’s Church, there’s street art all over! 

Blue skies, empty streets, that was early morning this past weekend in Kaohsiung…

My very favouritest place in Kaohsiung is the area around Weiwuying MRT Station 衛武營 on the MRT Orange Line (exit 5, turn right onto Jianjun 建軍 Road) , where the street art is at its best. On my previous visit in February / March, we had visited that area late in the afternoon and the sun was perfect for viewing the whole road of street art, seems like almost every building is covered in bright colours (see my post from March for those photos).  Go in the late afternoon for that view.

In the early morning, there’s plenty of other art on walls of buildings where the light is good. And new ones too that I hadn’t seen before.  And people just wandering around buying things in the street market, surrounded by all this amazing street art. Love it!

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Weiwuying is in Kaohsiung’s Lingya District 苓雅, and the name ‘Lingya’ is painted here in Chinese on the side of a large wall, by street artist ‘Silks’… 

The area’s old military base is now becoming the new ‘Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts‘…

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And nearby, across the road is where all the street art is concentrated.  Now there’s a QR code that you can scan and it brings up Google Maps showing exactly where all the individual artworks are.  Brilliant.  So I could walk all over the area of Lingya District following the map and taking a few photos. Much painting is still going on… works in progress.

Some of it is quite a unique style…

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And then yesterday I visited the Pier 2 area, where early in the morning there was hardly anybody about.  Lots of huge murals…

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And lots of quirky street art, decorating things like wall fans, or electrical boxes with fun art…love it too! 

There’s lots of these ‘people’ everywhere, some are huge… 

Yes, must-go, must-see Kaohsiung, it’s changing all the time.  Love this crocodile below.  Kinda sums up Kaohsiung, you never know what you’re going to see next!  I stared at this close up for ages before walking away and looking back and suddenly realizing what it was.  Surprise, surprise, it’s a crocodile, holding a spray can of paint!

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Check out this great blog post,’Street Art in Kaohsiung‘ from the blog, Kathmandu and Beyond 

This is the Google map locations of the street art in Lingya District…. 

And come and see it all for yourself!

Taiwan’s Badlands @ Tianliao Moon World 田寮月世界, Kaohsiung

This place is really quite something!  And it’s quite something because this kind of scenery, called ‘badlands’, by definition shouldn’t really be here at all!  All the other badlands in the world occur in places where it’s dry.  Really dry.  So dry in fact that little or no vegetation can grow anyway.  Thus, ‘bad land’.  Usually found in arid or semi-arid climates, like the Badlands National Park in South Dakota, USA.  Taiwan is the only example in the whole world of badlands in a tropical climate.  And tropical climates are anything but dry.

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So we have the curious phenomenon of completely bare and eroded steep slopes, ‘badland-style’, but down in the valleys, there’s lakes and abundant vegetation – including banana trees…..

According to Wikipedia, badlands are “a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. They are characterized by steep slopes, minimal vegetation, lack of a substantial regolith, and high drainage density. They can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, buttes, mesas, hoodoos and other such geologic forms are common in badlands.”

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So there you have it.  Check out this article about the Taiwan Badlands and you can read all you need to know about Taiwan’s Moonscape Scenery.

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Taiwan’s badlands are extensive throughout Taiwan, but the best area is in Tianliao, in Kaohsiung, known as Tianliao Moon World.  You’d be forgiven for thinking this is some kind of amusement park.  Rest assured, it’s not.  But if you go at night, the slopes are all lit up in different colours.  And of course there are many restaurants nearby, mostly selling chicken.  There’s a moon sculpture and a sundial too…

The reason for the place becoming popular in recent years is that when Kaohsiung City and County merged in 2010, money became available for developing Tianliao Moon World into a place where people could walk and enjoy the scenery.

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Paths were built, steps were constructed up some of the steepest slopes, plus they built rest areas and toilets.  There’s also a visitor centre, where a very nice warden answers questions, and there’s a display of maps and old photos. 

We were there last Thursday.  Blue skies and hot sun.  Good job it was spring and not summer otherwise we’d have keeled over in the heat.  In summer, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon.  Take the Kaohsiung MRT to Gangshan South.  That’s quite a station in itself….

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On weekends and schooldays there’s lots of buses from there to Moon World.  But on weekdays, buses are much fewer, and last Thursday, rather than waiting an hour for a bus, and possibly not getting there until midday, instead we took a taxi, and the 3 of us paid a quite reasonable NT$ 600 in total.  Set price.  We got there at 10:30 am and it was already really hot.  The bare slopes are all south-facing, and get the full force of the sun – so we did too!

Two hours is enough to see everything and go everywhere.   We had a great time.  I loved it.  Then we had a delish chicken lunch, that was good too.  And the nice warden at the visitor’s centre gave us ice-lollies to cool off while we waited for the bus back to Gangshan MRT.

Definitely worth a trip.  Such amazing scenery.  And at the bus stop, there’s an incredible bougainvillea bush, all pink.  Stunning eh?!

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What a great place!  A must-see, must-go kind of place.  So do go.  It’s well worth all the effort ~ and the heat!

Transformation by Colour @ Kaohsiung 高雄 Street Art ~ and more!

Every city needs some colour, especially if the city concerned is famous for being a city nobody wants to visit.  Or live in.  Or work in. Kaohsiung is exactly that city.  It may be the southern capital of Taiwan and a major metropolis.  But it is also THE city in Taiwan that everybody loves to hate.  Far too hot in summer, far too polluted in winter.  Full of industry, oil refineries, factories and vehicles pumping out fumes all day and all night.  An ugly, horrible, industrial, polluted, over-heated and under-cared-for metropolis, frequently listed in the Top Ten Most Polluted Cities of the World.  My impression has always been that it has almost nothing going for it other than half the country seems to come from Kaohsiung, been educated there or worked there at some time.  So they kinda feel loyal to their ‘home town’.  But then again, most couldn’t wait to leave, from what I had always heard.  Ah, poor old Kaohsiung!

But y’know, Kaohsiung is changing.  Being transformed no less.  By colour!  And not just any old colour.  Walls and buildings are being painted with huge and very attractive murals.  Not just painted with cartoon murals or indecipherable graffiti, though there are plenty of those.  But painted with REAL art.  Really beautiful, stunning, colourful and amazing high-quality works of art in fact.

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Walls are divisive, not just by their nature, but by their utter ugliness.  Plain walls are so boring, but coloured walls, if painted the wrong colour or covered in abusive graffiti may be worse.  But now the walls in Kaohsiung are turning heads, and turning the world upside down by their beauty.  This wall mural is the most recent, dated 2018!

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Much of this transformation is taking place in the area around Weiwuying MRT Metro Station 衛武營 on the MRT Orange Line (exit 5, turn right onto Jianjun 建軍 Road).  Opposite is the Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, and a bit further along is the Kaohsiung Mosque … 

Across from the hospital and mosque is a large housing estate / apartment complex, housing military dependents, and it is on these walls that the murals have been painted. 

And right next to the MRT Station is the wall of the bus station, and that mural is perhaps the most famous ~ painted to look like a huge bookcase…. 

The walls around the side of the bus station are also painted too…. 

The murals are mostly painted by the Wallriors (for more information see here and their facebook page here), and they are really talented.  Real artists.  Working from cranes and scaffolding.  Supported by the Kaohsiung City government and the local community.  Not only have the walls been painted in that area, but the local community have planted flowers all over, and it’s beautiful!  The old people sit out and chat to each other, and talk to visitors.  Such a friendly place.  You must must must go! 

And if it’s a sunny day, then so much the better.  We went there last Thursday afternoon, and the light was perfect.  It is by far the most amazing place to visit in Kaohsiung!

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But Weiwuying is not the only place with street art in Kaohsiung, there’s plenty more, scattered around, but information offered on the internet is virtually all in Chinese, so get some help if your Chinese language skills are not up to scratch!  And so it was that me and my good friends, Shiu-Chin and Ah-Guan headed off to the sports stadium nearby where there’s 3 wall murals, though the sun was in the wrong place for good photos…. 

And then we went to the Kaohsiung Cultural Center, and after a bit of walking around following Google Maps, so we found 2 more amazing murals, about 1 km apart, but well worth visiting, even though by then it was nearly dark.  Daylight is required to see murals of course. But hey, a sunset on the way was an added bonus!  The first one is by San Francisco-based artist, Mona Caron, part of her series on weeds, titled, ‘Outgrowing‘ (the link also shows videos of the making of the mural), and which government officials apparently claim is the biggest mural in Asia….

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This second one is by Kaohsiung-based artist Bamboo Yang (楊惟竹) of the Wallriors…

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And then there is the newly-famous and very wonderful area called Pier 2 駁二藝術特區.  This is a huge area of old and abandoned warehouses around the Kaohsiung Port area, now all being restored and converted into art spaces, museums, shops and restaurants, with plenty to see and do.  There’s lots of wall murals here too, though mostly of cartoons or weird and wacky designs.  The coastguard ships are here, and there’s a good view of the Kaohsiung Skyline across the water.   There’s also the light rail / tram-line too.  We were there on Wednesday last week, which was a national holiday in Taiwan (228), so the place was packed.  And the light rail was free, the last day.  From March 1 onwards, you have to pay.  But it’s not expensive.  And the whole area has a great atmosphere ~ well worth visiting!

The other famous place in Kaohsiung that has undergone major transformation in the last few years is the Love River 愛河.   The river flows through the heart of the city, and for years was famous as a badly-polluted (and therefore very misnamed) stinky canal. But it too has been transformed.  The water has been cleaned up, parks run along the river banks with performances going on, restaurants, coffee shops, bars etc, and it is a pleasant place to spend an evening.  We were there on Wednesday night last week.  And Thursday night.  And Friday night too!  All for the Kaohsiung Lantern Festival, which finished this past weekend, but which saw thousands and thousands of people coming along to see the lanterns and the light show and the performances.  It’s the Year of the Dog and the old name of Kaohsiung was ‘Takau’ in the Taiwanese language (Chinese: 打狗). The meaning of the associated Chinese characters is “beat the dog”, so there were even more dog lanterns than ever.  And lanterns mean colour, colour and more colour!

And what else to see in Kaohsiung? A must-go place is the Formosa Boulevard MRT Station 美麗島站 (Meilidao) famous for its “Dome of Light”, the largest glass work in the world – designed by Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata.   I love it! 

And if you still have time and energy, check out some churches.  Right next to the Love River is the R.C. Holy Rosary Cathedral, apparently the oldest RC Church in Taiwan (though Wanchin Basilica RC Church in Pingtung may also be the oldest, depending on whether you date the church from when it was established, constructed, or rebuilt!) Anyway, the cathedral was first established in 1860 and rebuilt to its present dimensions in 1928.  I saw it very early in the morning, and very late at night, both times in the murky darkness,so this is the best view I got ~ actually it is completely overshadowed by nearby high-rise buildings, so really unless you know it’s there, you won’t even notice it! 

And the Taiwan Episcopal Church has 2 churches in Kaohsiung – the very beautiful St. Paul’s Church in the Sanmin area of the city…..

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And St. Timothy’s Church, not far from Formosa Boulevard MRT Station, 30 minutes walking distance apart.  Lovely clergy and very welcoming people in both churches. Well worth visiting too! 

So Kaohsiung is now my new favourite city.  It’s true it’s too hot in summer, but at this time of year and after a winter of terrible endless rain and cold up here in the north, well, y’know, Kaohsiung seems extra-attractive. Just look at all this colour! 

And the people are so friendly.  On an early morning walk around the city, everyone greets you.  Nobody does that in Taipei.  Or even Taichung.  Only in the countryside does that happen in northern and central Taiwan.

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But Kaohsiung, major city that it is, is oh so friendly!  I just love it!

PS: Updated May 28, 2018 – see Part 2, revisiting Street Art locations in Kaohsiung, discovering there’s even more street art than before!

St. Timothy’s Church, Kaohsiung ~ and such a warm welcome!

A great weekend at St. Timothy’s Church!   Since I was last there, our good friends, Rev. Richard Lee and his wife and family (previously at Trinity Church, Keelung) have moved there, Richard is the new rector.  Actually they’ve already been there about a year, so they’re getting used to the warmer climate, big city life, a big rectory, and of course services being all in Taiwanese!

It was a great honour to be in Kaohsiung with Mrs. Grace Chien, widow of Bishop John Chien ~ and our first port of call was to say hello to her sister, and they don’t half look alike!  Her sister grows figs in her garden, beautiful!

Our good friend, Mrs. Hsu Pai-Hui from St. Timothy’s Church took really good care of us, taking us out and about to Siaolin and Holy Mt. Zion, and then last night she also took us to visit the lights of a Presbyterian Church in Kaohsiung, now a major tourist attraction!

And so to today’s service, which included the commissioning of the new Vestry members. Before the service, the congregation had 3 different groups going on – Bible Studies in Chinese and Taiwanese, and another group for those doing an Evangelism Explosion course on door-to-door evangelism.  After the service and lunch, they had cell groups, one for the women, one for the men, led by Richard and his wife.  A busy place!

St. Timothy’s is a large building, the actual church is several floors up, and there’s plenty of space for meetings and activities.  The bottom floors are let to a private company Osim (hence the advertising billboards); the church has the parking basement, an entrance on the first floor, and then from the third floor upwards.  There were about 50 in the congregation, and maybe 10 in the Sunday School, and it was wonderful to reconnect with many church members I hadn’t seen for ages.  2 of them even gathered to sing to Mrs. Grace Chien after the lunch!

Please do pray for St. Timothy’s Church, Rev. Richard Lee and his family, the new Vestry members and all their church members.  Such a friendly church, such lovely people, so involved in outreach in the community ~ YES! PRAISE GOD!

7 years after Typhoon Morakot ~ up beyond 甲仙 Jiasian to 小林 Siaolin and 錫安山 Holy Mt. Zion!

The deadliest typhoon in Taiwan’s history, Typhoon Morakot on August 8, 2009, resulted in the deadliest mudslide ever, in the Pingpu village of Siaolin (Xiaolin) 小林, up in the mountains of southern Taiwan, about 90 minutes drive NE of Kaohsiung City.  A stunningly beautiful area – but on that tragic day in 2009, disaster struck and up to 700 people lost their lives when the village was completely buried by the mud, as were the roads, bridges, agricultural land, schools and temples….

Now 7 years later, and a huge amount of reconstruction has been going on. People have been rehoused in several new locations, and a new road and many new bridges of all different colours have been built up the valley.  Until last year, St. Timothy’s Church, Kaohsiung had a ministry to those affected by the typhoon in the town of Jiasian 甲仙, just downstream from Siaolin.  There were classes to help children with their homework, school visits, children and youth activities at the weekend, and groups for adults.  One of those involved in the outreach was our good friend from St. Timothy’s, Mrs. Hsu Pai-Hui, who is also in charge of the women’s ministry in the Diocese of Taiwan.

Last Friday evening I was in St. Peter’s Church, Chia-Yi for their youth Bible Study – and so Pai-Hui had kindly invited Mrs. Grace Chien and I to visit Kaohsiung for the weekend from Chia-Yi.  We even had a lift to Kaohsiung with 2 very gracious church members from St. Peter’s.  So yesterday afternoon, Pai-Hui took us both up on the road through the Hakka town of Meinung, on and up through Jiasian and beyond to Siaolin.  We stopped at the new Siaolin Village Elementary School, opened in 2012 to replace the old one.  The new school is beautiful, all in bright colours with stunning views, and full of Pingpu tribal artwork and decoration.

A nice surprise is that the school has a website in English, and includes the quote from Winston Churchill ~ “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts!”

So with that in mind, on we drove, heading further up the valley beyond Siaolin, up on the new road, and over the different coloured bridges…

And finally we landed up in a rather intriguing place called Holy Mt. Zion 錫安山.  Worth reading a more objective account in an article published in 2010 on the Religioscope website called “Taiwan: Mount Zion and Typhoon Morakot — a new religious movement’s response to a natural disaster” by Paul Farrelly, which opens with the introductory words:

‘On 8 August 2009 Typhoon Morakot blasted across Taiwan, the strongest typhoon to reach the island in recent decades. Floods ravaged much of the island and severe landslides destroyed roads, towns and farmland. The death toll was catastrophic, with 700 lives lost. The village of Hsiao-lin, located in the mountains of southern Taiwan became the focal point of the disaster when it was completely buried by a landslide, killing several hundred people and catalysing public anger towards Taiwan’s ruling Guomindang party (commonly known as the KMT). Approximately 10 kilometres upstream from Hsiao-lin is Mount Zion, the primary holy site of the New Testament Church (NTC) that, the NTC claims, will be the venue for the heavenly descent of Jesus Christ.’

It’s worth reading the whole article to try to understand Holy Mt. Zion, the history, community life, beliefs, calling and witness.  It’s a community of 200-300 people of all ages, living a simple life on top of a mountain beyond Siaolin, where they practise organic farming and welcome a lot of visitors all year round.  The scenery is amazing, with views of high mountains, lots of fresh air and a strong community spirit.  The views and beauty of the place are in complete contrast to the tone of the billboards and signs displayed everywhere, in Chinese and English, with Bible verses, slogans and explanations of what they believe, as well as accounts of their history – which has been fairly dramatic and very tragic.  They don’t mince their words, and rail strongly against formal education, the KMT, former President Chiang Ching-Kuo and ‘tyranny’ in general.  Not the place to go if you’re about to vote for the KMT in Taiwan’s Presidential and Legislative Elections next weekend. But there was a baptism service going on when we first arrived, so we saw firsthand that they baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Up at the top of the hill is their holy temple, and the whole community gathers there at 4:30am each morning for their worship and prayer services.  We were particularly interested in their organic farming, and they also have ostriches, to add to the variety of the place!

Even if they don’t have a page in English on Wikipedia (the Chinese one is here, so you can just translate it), fortunately they do have plenty of brochures in English, and English-speaking people on hand to talk and answer questions…..  Our questions to the lady in the holy temple were: do the men do their military service, answer – yes; do they vote, answer – they can if they want to; what about health, answer – if they want to go to the hospital for treatment, there’s nothing stopping them; what about education, answer – it’s all done within the community, no formal outside-schooling….

Hey, with an open mind in tow, it’s definitely worth a visit!

台灣聖公會岡山諸聖堂 All Saints Episcopal Church, Gangshan (Kangshan) 設堂60週年感恩聖禮 60th Anniversary Celebrations!

Yes, the first Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Taiwan to celebrate their 60th anniversary, and yesterday was the day!

All Saints Church, Gangshan (Kangshan) in Kaohsiung was officially established in 1955, only a year after the official establishment of the Taiwan Episcopal Church ~ and we had a whole year of celebrations last year for that great milestone!  Gangshan has a large air force base, and some of the air force families coming from Mainland China after 1949 were Episcopalians who wanted to worship in Mandarin Chinese, and so started family worship and fellowship groups ~ which gradually led to the establishment of All Saints Church….

The present church is not the original building, just as the air force families’ accommodation is not the original military village ~ Gangshan is constantly changing, and these days the air force families all live in new high-rise apartments near the church!

Yesterday over 100 people from all over the Diocese of Taiwan gathered at 10:00am for a very special and moving Thanksgiving Service, led by Bishop Lai ~ here we all are!

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This photo is taken from 台灣聖公會岡山諸聖堂 All Saints’ Episcopal Church Facebook page – click on the link for more photos!

As a gift, we were all given a USB Memory Stick full of old photos of the church and church activities – what a treasure trove!  The first whole-church photo on the USB is this one, not clear when it was taken, but you can kind of guess the era!

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IMG_9901And so to the service yesterday ~ and we were honoured to have some former clergy and family members also in attendance, most notably Rev. Stephen Hu 胡國華(left), who was in charge at All Saints for 17 years ~ and although he’s now 82, looks half his age – with lots of energy!  Must be the Gangshan air ~ or the famous Gangshan mutton dishes, or maybe just the happy All Saints Church atmosphere!

The present rector is Rev. Leo Tzeng Wen-Bin ~ he and his family were at St. James’ Church, Taichung for several years while I was there, in fact his daughter Anna was born at that time, and she’s now 10 or maybe even 11!

So a great gathering of old friends and new – from as far afield as Taipei – and even Hualien on the east coast!

All this was followed by an amazing banquet in a restaurant in Gangshan ~ the food was incredible!  10 tables, at least 10 courses, and we were all so full!  And it all ended with Rev. Leo Tzeng and his senior warden, Mr. Yang, visiting each table to thank everyone, followed later by Bishop and Mrs. Lily Lai.

A wonderful celebration of All Saints’ 60th Anniversary ~ congratulations to all, and of course, special thanks to Almighty God!

And did you notice the baby in the photos? Bless her, she stayed awake for the whole service, and by the end was even smiling ~ isn’t she just gorgeous?!