2/28/2010

Business is Hopping in Monga (艋舺)

I posted a couple of months ago about the controversy created by the film Monga, in particular, the local government's financial contribution to it and some politician's objections to how it portrays the crime-infested borough which is Wanhua (萬華) AKA Monga: http://patrick-cowsill.blogspot.com/2009/12/monga-film.html

The Taipei Times had an article on it a ways back: "Although Taiwanese movie Monga (艋舺), sponsored by Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs, will not be in theaters until next year, content from trailers for the movie has already raised controversy...."

"Qingshan Borough (青山里) chief Lee Chao-cheng (李昭成) criticized the movie, saying organized crime was only a small part of Bangka’s history. 'It took us many years of hard work to get rid of the bad impression that people used to have of the area, but now [the movie] is restoring that image.''' 

Lee also said "All residents — young and old alike — are opposed to it" (Taipei Times, Dec. 1, '09).

Talk about grandstanding. This guy Lee hadn't even seen the movie as his comments came months before its release. As it is, Qingshui Temple (清水巖) and Bo Pi Liao (剝皮寮) Street, almost completely dead a month ago, are now wall-to-wall with visitors who want to see the area in which Monga (艋舺) was filmed. The exact part of Monga, as I reported in past posts, was revitalised just for the shoot. The streets look great. There are a couple of new museums. 

 
Bo Pi Liao (剝皮寮) Street


Anyway, I don't think all residents "young and old alike," are opposed to Monga. Surely, the people who own the shops and restaurants, plus the street vendors - people who were standing around with nothing to do a couple of months ago - are not cursing the local government's investment. Finally, myself, also a Monga (艋舺) resident, is not opposed to it. I say money well spent.

Note: Today is 2/28 Day, a holiday in Taiwan. Starting on this day, 53 years ago, KMT invaders from China went on a murdering spree here. Is it me, or is it being brushed over in recent years? My friend Grace's father was taken away by the police at this time, in his underwear. She never saw him again.

6 comments:

CreditWarrior said...

People disappearing in the middle of the night? I lived in Argentina when that was happening on a daily basis. And nobody talks about it there either...

Anonymous said...

Incredible isn't it? It did happend since I was there though I left the Island almost 50 years ago.
ChoSan

Scott said...

Pretty interesting, to see how trends unfold, and how something that has been there all along, and never attracted much attention suddenly becomes cool.

It's also interesting to see how much influence movies have on the prevailing attitudes about what is currently interesting or worthwhile.

Weren't there a couple of movies involving lost-distance bicycling a few years ago that kind of helped light the fuse for the bicycle-around-the-island craze?

After Cape No. 7, old guys singing Taiwanese folk songs suddenly became cool.

Now an area that was previously a place that most Taipei residents mainly tried to avoid (because it was old, dirty, dangerous or run-down) is now cool, and a place to discover something new. Precisely because it is different, I suppose.

Patrick Cowsill said...

'Now an area that was previously a place that most Taipei residents mainly tried to avoid (because it was old, dirty, dangerous or run-down) is now cool, and a place to discover something new.'

I was just talking to a older guy who went to the number one boys' school. They were threatened with suspension should they dare to enter Monga.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Monga DVD on sale at a local store, zone 3, for US$6 plus tax or about NT$200.
ChoSan

John Scott said...

I finally saw the movie. I wanted to wait until I could get a DVD with English subtitles. In my experience, it is nearly impossible to get DVDs of Taiwanese (or Japanese or Chinese) movies with English subtitles in Taiwan.

I liked the movie more than I expected.

The director must have really insisted on have shots of the boys across the river from the Grand Hotel... nowhere near Monga, but still nice.