Yunlin, a county of Taiwan, the place I was born and grew up, is often forgotten in tourists’ guidebooks or mainstream media. I feel an urge to promote the real beauty of it…
Because it has never gone commercial, that’s why it’s so precious and lovable. The funny thing is when I was little I felt embarrassed to tell people I am from Yunlin. Because it sounds so uncivilized….
When I look back now, I am like “Oh heck, I feel grateful to be born in Taiwan especially in Yunlin.”
To be more precise, it is a town called Dong Shi in Yunlin County, where I spent 10 years of my life as a newborn, toddler, and a young kid in elementary school.
Even till now, some relatives such as grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins still live there.
Most of the people were from Fujian Province in China. Names and territories were changed during the time from Qing Dynasty to the 39th year of the Republic of China (1950).
The main reason why it’s officially called Dong Shi, was because of the immigrants from Fujian Province. Because the town was located in the north of the tribe, and were getting more and more people (Dong means the East, Shi means power).
There are 12 villages consisting of Dong Shi Town around 15 thousands of residents.
Ci An Gong (Given to Safety Temple)
This god “San Shan Guo Wang (Three Mountain King)” was originally worshiped in Guangdong province in China. During the Ming Dynasty (1743), people were encountering severe thunder storm on the sea when crossing over to Taiwan from China. They prayed to San Shan Guo Wang for peace and they eventually made it to Taiwan.
In order to show the appreciation for this god, they built this temple. It was then renovated in the 37th year of the Republic of China (1948) and was added to another building in the 77th year of the Republic of China (1988).
Ci An Gong is the oldest temple that worships San Shan King in Yunlin County. Although the main structure was renovated a few decades ago, the paintings on the wall and the pillars etc. are hundreds of years old.
Shi Ba Jian Jun Ci (The 18 General Shrine)
In 1990, there was a plane crash in Chen Hai Village (One of the villages of Dong Shi), the entire crew of the Air Force on that plane including 3 generals were the victims of this incident. The cause was said to be bad weather.
According to the residents who lived nearby, they heard the crash gave forth a tremendous sound. When they looked out, they saw an airplane crashed in the field with its tail in the ground.
The landlord of the field Mr. Huang Dong and his daughter were willingly help take care of the rest and donated their land to the Department of Defense to build the monument. Later on they also donated the field next to build this Shrine.
This shrine was built under the help of the relatives of the victims and the residents of the village. On August 21st every year, the military holds a ceremony there to let those who are alive to show their respect to those who ceased.
Bai Yun Non Chang (White Cloud Farm)
This farm is located in Tong An Village. An Organic one.
The owner Mr. Xu Chun De was born in a family of farmers. He got married when he was 20 years old. And then he sold everything in the exchange of two pigs to start his animal agricultural business for around 3 decades. From two pigs to two thousand pigs, he made himself from a first timer to a professional.
Although he made a fortune in this field, but the awareness of organic fertilize from pig waste and the regulation of waste water made by the government, he decided to be in the eco friendly field after the kids grew up so he wouldn’t have too much pressure finance wise.
In this farm people can learn and try things such as wind power, food chains, traditional wells, and dragonfly ecology, etc.
And guess what, it is free!
It was started in the 98th year of the Republic of China (2009) and finished in the 99th year of the Republic of China.
What we see on the path is actually a microcosm of the industries in Dong Shi. It starts from the Long Tan Elementary School (the east wing of the Taisugar iron bridge) to the intersection of route 158.
First we see a Banyan which is over one hundred of years old, the shape of the braches looks like a peaceful turtle. People go there to rest and worship.
Then we see an iconic goose farm, in fact in Dong Shi we provide 25% of goose farming in Taiwan!
Next is the monument of drainage work in the 90’s, Hai Feng Da Pai ( An important drainage facility in Dong Shi), and the windmill as a symbol of Dong Shi’s local specialty, peanuts, radish, and geese.
To be honest, people tend to take things for granted and often forget the precious moments at present. When I look back I feel I was very lucky to grow up in the countryside. We kids often went on family “filed trips” with Dad after school observing the nature, on the ground, in the water. City kids don’t have that. They have to go learn skills after school ( We call it cram schools in Asia) because they got nowhere else to go and parents are busy at work).
This also is a reminder to not doing things cause that’s what everyone else is doing. Follow our hearts and it will show. Another key factor is to keep the heart balanced so it can make a fair decision from being mislead by unnecessary voices from the outside world. This will be a life learning journey to everyone.