A plan to demolish the Lo Sheng Sanatorium (a leprosarium) to make room for an MRT depot has angered many people in Taiwan and internationally. The Sanatorium is a beautiful and historic site. It is also the home of the leprosy patients who live there, and now the government wants to cram them all into an ugly new hospital building and leave them there to die.
Save Lo Sheng
I am a student at Fu Jen Catholic University, which is near the Lo Sheng leprosarium.
Like most of the people live in Xin Zhuang or the students who have to travel a really long and painful way to school (one and a half hours for me, sometimes more), I, too, hope that the MRT line could be finished soon so that we no longer have to suffer from the bad traffic every single day.
Now they are saying that the reason this MRT Line isn’t finished is because these old people from the sanatorium are refusing to move to the new hospital the government has built for them. But if you could see how beautiful the sanatorium is, and how ugly and cramped the new place is, I think you’d refuse to move too.
I’m told that these old people are the last generation of leprosy patients (since the disease is now preventable), and after they pass away, the land where the leprosarium is now can bring the authority that owns it a handsome sum of money. So now they have built an ugly new sanatorium which is actually going to become a local hospital later when these people have died, and they plan to just dump these old people there to die. These poor people are already sick and isolated from society, but they still should have at least a little dignity and the opportunity to enjoy the last years of their life with their friends in their beautiful home. Once they have moved to the new hospital, they’ll be separated in different rooms just like what they do in normal hospitals, without the intimate contact with each other and natural surroundings they now enjoy.
The MRT line wasn’t going to be finished early if they moved out from the leprosarium anyway. The government is just taking this as an excuse to force those old people to move so they can make a profit of it later. But what they never consider is that this leprosarium is a valuable building which deserves to be kept for cultural purposes, and it is one of the few beautiful sites Taipei has. Do we really want to tear down such places and replace them with more ugly concrete?
I am Taiwanese, and I always feel that our government only cares about money rather than saving our culture.