Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall

Mr B visited the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, erected on the 90th anniversary of his birth. Very impressive, tons of stairs with a giant statue of CKS himself. Downstairs were all the (what are considered) interesting stuff from his life, e.g. his bulletproof cars, his sedan chairs. I was most interested in the replicated copies of the Japanese surrender to China. I noticed that there were some giant paintings recreated from photos of him being in his mentor's (the charismatic Sun Yat Sen) presence, as if to emphasize he was the groomed choice to take over from SYS.

The most intriguing fact about the CKS Memorial Hall was that in 2007, Ah Bian was being a d**k (he had to be the most entertaining yet underachieving president Taiwan ever had) and trying to hide the fact that he was stealing money from the people, by antagonizing China and even harming Taiwan even more. He attempted to the CKS Memorial Hall name to "National Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall", which is really funny because SYS was a bigger symbol for Democracy than CKS who was forced to move house in 1949. And he should be doing better and more things for his people instead of renaming memorial halls.

But enough about him. Mr B saw some juxtapositions of the traditional and modern cultures that the Taiwanese are embracing today, intriguingly at both the CKS and SYS Memorial Halls (the latter visited later). As you can see below, the women to the foreground were practising Chinese Opera outside the National Theatre while a couple danced salsa behind them. We witnessed a even more bewildering event at SYS Memorial Hall. Teenagers were practising dance moves (it was a Sunday) on the wide porch(??) surrounding the building, and while the mostly Mainlander tourists were busily taking photos of the changing of guard in front of SYS' statue, just outside the main door to the statue, there were a bunch of middle-aged ladies doing belly dancing then folk dancing. SYS hall has a lecture hall, and restaurants on the second floor...I fully appreciate the professionalism of the guards to stand perfectly still by the hour at their positions with the amount of distraction going outside.

Mr B is standing at National Theatre facing the "Liberty Square" gate.

Mr B is facing the National Concert Hall directly opposite the National Theatre. To the right is the CKS Memorial Hall pictured below.

Directions to CKS:
Take the Xindian-Damshui (red line) or the Ximending - CKS line to go to CKS Memorial Hall MRT station. There is a street full of wedding boutiques nearby.

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