[Fragriver in Taiwan] The second day in Tainan: Confucius Temple, Yeh Shih-tao Literature Memorial Hall, National Museum of Taiwan Literature

After visiting Anping Old Street, I decided to part with my Finnish travel mate to head back to the city center to visit Confucius Temple. Tainan’s Confucius Temple is the oldest Confucius Temple in Taiwan. Though I had been to Confucius Temples in both Taipei and Kaohsiung but I still did not lose my enthusiasm with Confucius Temple in Tainan. While the one in Taipei is built in a narrow space and its buildings stay close to each other, the one in Kaohsiung is much bigger and somehow newer, the one in Tainan looks much older and its architectures are scattered in a piece of land of medium area. My phone was out of battery at that time, therefore, I did not take a lot of photos there.

Leaving the Confucius Temple, I went to the Yeh Shih-tao Literature Memorial Hall, located in You-ai Street, which was only 200 meters away from the Temple. Actually, I did not know anything about Mr Yeh Shih-tao before except for a short brief in a free leaflet I happened to see in NCCU. He was a pioneering Taiwanese writer and historian, who specialized in the literary history of Taiwan and the lives of ordinary Taiwanese people. He was considered a seminal figure in Taiwanese literary criticism. He should be a great figure in Taiwanese literature to have a memorial hall on his own like that. Actually, in Taipei, I also found a lot of places, where used to be the residence places of some famous people coming from various backgrounds (i.e. artists, politicians, etc.), to be reserved and established as a memorial hall. I went some of these places and found that there were not many visitors coming there. These places, however, still run quite well because the Government also utilises these places as a cultural center where people can hold meetings or events. When I came to Yeh Shih-tao Memorial Hall, there was no one but me and a guide, whose age should be equal to my grandmother’s age. She was very excited to show me everything in the Memorial Hall and when she learnt that I was actually Vietnamese, she even chitchatted with me about my life in Taiwan so far. This old woman reminded me of old people I had met so far in Taiwan. Taiwan, as portrayed in the media, is an aging society as its citizens are getting older and older while its young people are not so interested in getting married and giving birth. As a student in Taiwan, I spent lots of my free time visiting museums or memorial halls and it gradually came as no surprise to me when finding that most of the guides/ volunteers in Taiwan are old people. I think that it is a good thing as the old people will not feel bored for doing nothing at home. They have opportunities to meet other old people and share their lifelong knowledge with tourists/ visitors.

I then visited National Museum of Taiwan Literature. Tainan has been long gaining its reputation for being the land of writers in Taiwan, therefore, the National Museum of Taiwan Literature is located in Tainan. It was just an amazing experience to see the exhibition about the ones that have built up the modern literature in Taiwan. Sometimes, when thinking back about its short history and its limited population, I cannot help being surprised at the number of authors/ books published by this amazing land in comparison with Vietnam. I also remember reading somewhere in Quora that Taiwan is rated as the best place to learn Chinese literature among China, Hongkong, and any other Chinese-speaking countries by even the Mainland Chinese.

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National Museum of Taiwan Literature

As my phone is officially out of battery, I then relied on my memory to find my way back to my hostel. The hostel owner, Cecilia, invited all the guests to dine out in a nearby hotpot restaurant. I had a really wonderful night talk with other guests in the hostel at that time and we also played game until midnight. Perhaps it is the only time so far that I have such close contact with other guests in the hostel like that.

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