Monday, July 28, 2014

Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) - Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念館) [Taiwan Day 330: A Tale of Two Fathers - July 27, 2014]

When you go to a foreign country, you need to know the culture as well as the people who shaped its history. Most tourists would just go and have some pictures with a well known scenic spot without even knowing the importance or significance of the place they are visiting as they are usually in a one week amazing race tour or worst they are in a 3days/2nights tour in Taipei. As a PhD student here in Taiwan and soon to celebrate my Taiwan Day 365, I have the chance to know more about the story of the two fathers of the Republic of China, Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek.

Some announcements before the start of the changing of honor guard ceremony

The changing of honor guard ceremony as seen from the upper floors of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen is the ‘Father of the Nation’. I was surprised to see a huge statue of him sitting in a chair inside the National Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. He is the provisional President of the Republic of China and is well respected because of his ‘Three Principles of People’ which is nationalism, democracy and people’s welfare. He is a man with a vision and instinct and up to now the Taiwanese government continues his legacy. One good example is the EasyCard which gives so much convenience to people living in Taipei like me and don’t forget the democracy that people have here compared to the other people living on the other side of the Taiwan Strait. We have facebook and Google here in Taiwan.

Changing of honor guard ceremony in Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Part 1

Changing of honor guard ceremony in Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall Part 2

Chiang Kai-Shek is a different father. He is a dictator. I have been twice in Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. The first one in Taiwan Day 134 (Ice Age) and the second one in Taiwan Day 211 (Black and White) but this is the first time that I entered inside his memorial hall and learned more about him. I always hear his name in the Philippines since a college is named after him and students studying there are probably Filipino-Chinese and they are said to be good in math. Chiang Kai-Shek is a military man and inside his memorial are more about his life as a general but I am more interested in his private life especially when I saw his portrait with his wife called by many as ‘Madame Chiang’. General Chiang also went to the Philippine and has met Pres. Elpidio Quirino in Baguio in the island of Luzon in 1949.

Although they have their own memorial halls and each with their own changing guards of ceremony. I have observed that Taiwanese give more respect to Sun Yat-Sen than to Chiang Kai-Shek. They gave a bow or a salute to the large statue of Sun Yat-Sen at the start of the changing guard of ceremony while they don’t do that for Chiang Kai-Shek. Maybe because General Chiang put Taiwan under Martial Law that many people were suspected as Communist spies and were persecuted called as the ‘White Terror’.

The tale of two fathers is a story about a father who dreamed of a better China (Sun Yat-Sen) and a father who lost China (Chiang Kai-Shek). Nevertheless, they will always be remembered in Taiwan as the two people who shaped its history.

Maple Series

"Taipei kong mahal" (My beloved Taipei). Catch it every Wednesday at 8:00 pm (Taiwan/Philippine time)

Other attractions in Taipei

New Taipei

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