3/04/2008

Chiang Kai-shek's Taipei Home


My wife and daughter wanted to go somewhere different, so we went to check out one of Chiang Kai-shek's many Taiwan homes (he had five, I think, island-wide). I'd say he did quite well for himself here in Taiwan. This property must've cost a fortune. I'm curious to know the following: a.) Who lived here before b.) How much Chiang paid for it c.) Is it completely paid off. This is some seriously prime real estate in Taipei.

I'm still trying to figure this one out - a likeness of Chiang cut into a hedge thingee. There are some wings behind the face to, I suppose, to symbolize an angelic quality.

The dense hilly fringe in the background reminds me of Chiang's mausoleum in Taoyuan (慈湖). It's said to mirror that of Chiang's hometown in Zhejiang, China.

The Chiangs worshipped at this private church on the grounds. According to the blurb on the sign out front, Eisenhower and Nixon also attended services, in 1960 and 1964 respectively. Much has been written about Chiang's faith, and on how Christian groups in the States highlighted it to raise money and support for "free China". He was seen as a devout Methodist. The four red seats in the front row were reserved for the Chiangs and their honored guests.

The church's chandeliers were chosen by Madame Chiang.

A view of the front door of the Chiang palace: I took the shot from the closest series of gates. The grounds are now open to the public, but not we are not welcome inside the home.


Frontal views of Chiang's Shilin House. This is as close as you can get, unless you want to climb the fence and pretend you're a gardener. On an entirely different note, one of my favorite blogs: "Notes from a Small Island" seems to have vanished (I've provided a link on my blog to the left). I wonder what happened, and hope he returns.

4 comments:

George said...

Dear Patrick:
Frankly speaking, it is pretty hard to compare the scale between Chiang's Home and White House. Anyway, here I'm going to help you answer the questions you are curious to know:
a. All Chiang’s family used to live in the House before, especially Chiang Kai-shek and his wife (the first lady) in their late life
b. Chiang didn't pay any money for it, due to the fact that he was the president of ROC.
c. You can't say it isn't completely paid off, if you admit he used to be a giant of leadership by that time.

Patrick Cowsill said...

George,

The President of the US only lives in the White House during his term, which is either four or eight years. After, he or she will vacate it. It's interesting that you refer to Chiang as a president. For me, that means someone who is popularly elected.

Ben Findlay said...

Hey Patrick,

Thanks for the kind words about my now defunct blog.

I felt slightly uncomfortable with my acerbic style and didn't want to record any more of my possibly transient opinions.

Anyway, I've served my time and leave Taiwan in 3 weeks. May well come back again in a couple of years.

I enjoy your blog a lot. Thanks for the consistently interesting perspectives.

Cheers.

Patrick Cowsill said...

Ben,

When will your opinions not be transient? I enjoyed the tone of your blog, and thought you made interesting points. Will we hear more from you in the future?