What significant piece of history? The memorial was dedicated in 1980, not 1580. It is the final expression of the personality cult of Chiang cultivated by the KMT during the martial law era. Chiang is certainly significant and should probably be memorialized, but not by a sick parody of the Lincoln Memorial in the heart of downtown Taipei. And any memorial to Chiang should include mention of his victims…
…a poster on my blog noted…
CKS Memorial is not even Chinese architecture. It is a post-modern imitation of northern imperialist structures except that the proportions are all farcically large. Nothing in that place looks like it was designed for anyone under 30ft tall (this in stark contrast to northern Chinese architecture to which it is referring).
Actually, there’s not even such a thing as a public park in the Chinese architectural tradition. Fortunately, public parks/public space has become a firm fixture of Taiwanese urban planning (not that I’m happy with it in general).
Many people in Taiwan think that there is historical/cultural value to the Chinese-looking architecture in Taiwan. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that a lot of this stuff was built in the 1950s-1970s, way after the Chinese KMT came to Taiwan. Chiang Kai-shek and company were largely disgusted by how “un-Chinese” Taiwan looked.
It’s funny. Last year, Ma Ying-jeou tried to tear down the wall of a Confucian temple in Taipei. If there is a structure that, in order to preserve its cultural/historic value, should have a high wall, it’s a Confucian temple. Ma and his “Cultural Minister” argue that cutting down the wall would be good for sight-seeing tourism. Well, Confucian temples, very much unlike the Daoist/folk-religion temples in Taiwan, were traditionally opened only once a year and was a sacred place that sort of worshipped education. The whole point of the wall was to emphasize its sacredness. The high wall of separation is the same reason the Catholic Church does not build 1-story high cathedrals.
When locals got wind of Ma’s plan to prostitute the temple to tourism, they came out and protested. Ma sent his Cultural Minister (no aides, no one else, just one clueless minister–who’s taking notes on what the protestors want??). That day there was a police to protestor ratio of like 1:4 plus there were un-uniformed officers that looked like participants until they got tired and all sat in the back together. The whole protest was also thoroughly videotaped.
Anyways, pan-Blue hypocrisy is nothing new.
It’s kind of funny, the ethnocentric construction of murderous dictators. Nobody would accept a massive monument to Mussolini in the heart of modern Rome – except his fascist supporters. There is no monument to Hitler in Berlin, but he is by far the most significant figure in modern German political history. Franco’s massive monument to fallen, really his own, is also in the process of being renamed for his victims. But let someone propose the same for Taiwan’s own murderous dictator, no different from Franco or Mussolini…
The DPP is not some weird set of nuts out of the world mainstream. Quite the opposite; supporters of the KMT position on this fantastic monument to a sick personality cult are out of the mainstream. It’s sad that people from democratic nations break out in cynical commentary when stuff that is normal in other nations healing from fascist dictatorships is proposed for Taiwan.