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Back to the Future: Tainan's Unique Mix of the Traditonal and the Contemporary

Back to the Future: Tainan's Unique Mix of the Traditonal and the Contemporary

Though weaker in industrial or commercial power than other metropolises, the new Tai-nan City-now covering all of Greater Tai-nan by combining the old city and county-makes up for it with its rich history and agricultural resources, thereby permitting it to win approval for elevation to the level of special municipality: "a special metropolitan area directly under the jurisdiction of the central government." Newly elected mayor Lai Ching-te (William Lai) paints a vision of the future in which Greater Tai-nan will be, in the words of hometown literary -giant Ye Shi-tao, "a city that is ideal for dreaming, making a living, falling in love, and moving at a leisurely pace."

Greater Tai-nan covers 2200 square kilometers and has a population of 1.87 million. It straddles the divide separating elite and folk culture, and incorporates both urban and rural assets. Given the particular pride that the people of Tai-nan take in their cultural heritage, can culture become "good business" as well? How can this metropolis, already faced with the burden of a large and aging rural population, convince young people to have hope for the future and stay in Tai-nan to build the economy?

Walking through the historic lanes and alleyways of Tainan, in the air one feels a slower pace, a feeling that this would be a comfortable place to live, and somehow, without even knowing it, you even begin to stroll at a more leisurely speed. Just before the Chinese New Year, an exhibit of decorated lanterns is being held on Shen-nong Street, turning this narrow lane into a time tunnel that takes visitors back to the glory days of the port of Tai-nan a century ago. The passersby under the lanterns are imbued with elegance and romance.

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Updated : 2021-05-14 14:49 GMT+08:00