Picture (1): A bird’s eye view of Chinatown
This is the first time I am toting a camera up the high-rise building by myself to photograph a bird’s eye view of the city. I had never thought that at this very moment, this historic city would be under my feet. The old pre-war houses are still arranged in orderly rows, the clean roads criss-crossing each other. New and old, high-rise and low-rise, cutting-edge and backward – these stark contrasts enter my vision, feeling both familiar and foreign. What allows me to stand here surveying this scene is the sweep of history. The sweep of history is also why I cannot find anything from the past to anchor me.
Picture (2): Chinatown Heritage Centre
As I descend, it isn’t hard to detect the Chinatown Heritage Centre, which appears so vibrant in primary school textbooks. Within just a handful of years, it has gone downhill so badly. Its broken walls and crumbling tiles clash terribly with the rest of this neighbourhood, but I think even renovation will not erase its power to evoke nostalgia.
Picture (3): Chinatown Heritage Centre
Picture (4): The past and the present
Outside the centre stands the statue of a samsui woman who has no idea why we think she is heroic. Right now, that sorrowful helpless expression happens to look upon the innocent frolics of a little Korean girl.Perhaps that girl will never learn what story this figure is hiding. If this statue was brought to life, what would she have to say?
Translation: Teng Qian Xi