TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The once sleepy town of Fangshan Township (枋山鄉), just outside of Pingtung County (屏東縣), is waking up to national celebrity status thanks to its mailbox-shaped post office.
Fangshan's previous claim to fame as the hometown of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has expanded since the post office opened in October 2016. The building has become Fangshan's top tourist destination, exponentially increasing the amount of tourist traffic, particularly for travelers heading to Kenting (墾丁).
This post office is the first of the Chunghwa Post Company Limited's (中華郵政股份有限公司) efforts to combine local elements of place in its conception and overall design. The building is the first post office to be painted around its perimeter and powered by solar energy.
The dove-like bird painted painted around the building is said to represent the brown shrike, a small but crafty bird, commonly referred to as a "divine blessing" when they migrate to southern Taiwan in September. The shrike is also known for impaling the leftovers of its prey on thorns once full.
A shrike dressed as a mailman greets visitors. The mascot was chosen to pay respect to the arduous work of the mailman, analogous to the shrike's annual feat of migration.
The building's mural also features mangoes and green onions, Fangshan's special produce. Local farmers teamed up with the post office to sell onions and mangoes to guests as they pass through, the proceeds going back into Fangshan farms.
Visitors can enjoy an exhibition inside, powered by the roof's solar energy panels.
The shrike has been featured four times on stamps issued in Taiwan.