Post Script: The Reduction of Chiang

Darren M / © Darren Melrose - 29/02/2008 18:48:22 project: Is it a protest if noone comes \ Asia \ Taiwan \ T'ai-pei Shih
I remember a few years ago, a local told me that it was a fitting punishment for Chiang to have to sit for eternity and look out over the west and the country he lost (China). 

Well, at the time, I don't think George (the guy who I quoted above) could have foreseen the changes at the (then) Chiang KaiShek Memorial Hall, now Taiwan Democracy Monument.  The grounds have been renamed, the ceremonial guards that used to protect the statue are gone, but Chiang remains.  Actually, I am almost certain that were the statue not 21 tonnes and impossible to remove in one piece, it would find itself in Taoyuan, just outside of  Taipei, where many statues to the former dictator now reside after being removed from public display.  Strangely, that park is now very popular with the mainlander tourists who visit Taiwan.

Rather than doing the impossible and removing the statue completely, it appears that the powers that be have decided to humiliate Chiang in effigy.  Now, the hallway is filled with large photos of the victims of  Chiang and the original KMT/white terror period.  The photos that aren't of the victims are of pro DPP rallies or personalities or are in some other way shots at Chiang and his ilk.  Added to that are many, many colourful kits hanging from the ceiling (representing freedom and democracy) as well as an aboriginal canoe (not sure what it represents, maybe the horrid way Chiang treated the native Taiwanese).  Put this all together and you have a very, very odd display.  The kites are colourful and cheery; the photos are political, emotional and in some cases heart breaking and the canoe just seems at odds.  Through it all, Chiang sits there impassively.  With the relative uproar over the sign/name change I can't believe this display hasn't raised tempers more than it has; it was front page of the papers the day after it opened, but hasn't been mentioned again.  To me, this would be a much bigger insult, were I a Chiang supporter. 

I guess that six years of living in Taiwan is just not enough for me to understand the slightest about what the Taiwanese feel of their history, their heroes and their demons.  I can't see this ever failing to be of interest to me.

With this (unplanned) final upload, this project is done.
photoholik rank 10 viewed: 819 favorite: 0
discussion about this photo  exif data 
02/03/2008 11:06    from : marietom
Hello Darren

I'd like to visit this place full with colors !
Nice picture.

01/03/2008 01:38    from : jinju
A good project and a good ending. You dont need fireworks at the end, and this isnt fireworks. But it is a symbolic shot that also ties into the idea of protests, with Chiang KaiShek sitting on his throne. The frame is filled in well with lots of detail, but it doesnt get overbearing.

01/03/2008 00:57    from : Furachan
I really like this, Daren, all of it actually, from the striking, saring compo which jumps up at ya from the thumbnail to the excellent, informative note. This is a a real winner. Smart touches of color in the upper quadrant of the frame - dreams going up in smoke...

Join Photoholik