The Hai Ou Human Development Consultation was the initiating step of a comprehensive demonstration development project by the people of Ta Chuang Tsuen. Hai Ou is located 47 kilometers southeast of Kaohsiung at the end of a gravel road running between Tung Hai and the Hai Ou Recreation and Shopping Center. The Hai Ou Human Development Project is a corporate effort involving both social and economic development.
The project was begun by residents and concerned citizens of Taiwan with the encouragement of government officials and business leaders. The consultation drew upon the current business intentions of Hai Ou people to extend their local economic enterprises through improved agriculture and business technology, initiating the environmental structures of village industry, basic services and facilities construction, and by expanding social.patterns through increased social life and educational opportunities.
This project is seen as a demonstration of methods which are adaptable to any similar village in Taiwan and therefore replicable elsewhere. Taiwan is a leaf-shaped island in the Pacific Ocean off the mainland of China. Through the hard work of the people it has become a developed nation, both industrially and agriculturally, in the short span of fifteen years. Two rice crops a year is standard, and inland districts situated far from monsoon flooding are experimenting with three crops. Sugar cane, fruits, and vegetables are produced in such quantities that they are now available for export.
The island is rich in marine resources and abounds in more than 300 kinds of fish. Fish and dairy farming, hogs, and poultry raising are among the successful farming ventures. Under the principles of democracy, nationalism, and livelihood, Taiwan has worked for the autonomy of its local units while maintaining internal and external security. Any village with a plan f,or its own development meets a willing and ready response from the central government.
Self-help projects have directly influenced 2,000 of the 3,000 villages, helping to raise the standard of living to the extent that subsistence living is rapidly becoming a rarity. Yet, not all the population is involved in the recent agricultural miracle, particularly those rural villages isolated from the mainstream of communication and transportation. Three-fourths of the labor force has been drawn away to the.urban centers into non-agricultural jobs removin9 potential village leadership from their communities. On the other hand, Japanese, European and American companies are attracted by the availability of unskilled labor and have settled in the export processing zones.
The capstone of Taiwan’s industrial expansion is the central government’s Ten Projects-in technology. With the rising standard of education, Taiwan has begun to move away from labor-intensive to capital intensive industry, allowing the more sophisticated skills of its people an opportunity in the international marketplace. Taiwan has also remained open to external relations, training other developing nations and welcoming outsiders to invest in its economic growth. In the spirit of this rapid economic development Taiwan has the opportunity of demonstrating equivalent social development. While the the people have living essentials, family income remains low. Exposure to the global community is crucial to ensure the effective ness of the nation’s contribution to the rest of society.
The Hai Ou Human Development Project will be a part of Taiwan’s current thrust to to move industry to the labor source, rather-than the labor forces shifting to the vast cities. It will particularly focus on the social development critical to maintaining healthy family units in the midst of rapid urbanization. Taiwan’s foremost export processing port and now second largest city, Kaohsiung is located on the southwestern coast along the Love of Mankind River. The mouth of the river is a large natural harbor frequented by international ships.
The sprawling city has unlimited room for expansion and vacant spaces are often filled with cultivated fields or vegetable gardens. Downtown streets are vivid with color night and day and bustle with pedestrians, automobiles, motorbikes and bicycles. Outside of the crowded downtown district the streets are wide, lined with many buildings under construction which add to the commercial, prosperous look of the city. The industries of the city were originally products of the Japanese occupation from 1895 to 1945. The city name was changed in 1920 from “Beating the Drum” to “Big Giant” and the small unknown fishing village began to emerge as a major city. Kaohsiung has a long, rich history as a vital link in the ocean trade between North and Southeast Asia. Trade relations with African countries, Saudi Arabia, Europe and America have made Kaohsiung a meeting place of industrial expertise and Chinese Asian culture.
Today the large fish market in Kaohsiung indicates deep roots of living off the sea. The Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone, stretching for miles along the harbor, fills with clerks, skilled laborers and technicians, who pour from the buses each morning on their way to work. These firms, producing strictly for export, are already manufacturing electronics, textiles, Chinese furniture, yachts and precision instruments and machinery. Five of the nation’s Ten Projects have a direct expression in the city – ship building, petro-chemical and steel industries, highway construction and a nuclear power plant. Formerly considered a cultural desert compared – to other Asian cities, residents are forging an exciting social life that fuses modern and Chinese styles.
Kaohsiung stands today as the industrial hub of the province and has tremendous potential for leadership. The county of Ping Tung occupies the southernmost part of Taiwan and is one of the island’s 16 provinces, south of Kaohsiung County. It has the unique feature of having mountains, fields and shoreline all meeting at the same place around the southern curve of the west coast. The same ancient migration that peopled the Philippines also brought the aboriginal peoples to Taiwan and they are now known as !’Shan Ti Jen” or the “Mountain People.” These tribes and later arriving Hokienese or Taiwanese from Fukien make up Ping Tung’s population of 850,000 people, situated in hardworking farming communities.
The fertility of Ping Tung’s soil and the diligence of its residents have made it the “grainery of Taiwan”, pioneering in a number of agricultural ventures such as coconut palms, asparagus and other speciality crops and over half of Ping Tung’s total area, 25 million acres, is cultivated forests. Livestock raising has become a speciality with hogs now on the export market and the long shoreline is a fisherman’s paradise. Rapid industrial development in the surrounding counties has left Ping Tung with a lower standard of living – some of the lowest per capita income areas of Taiwan are in Ping Tung County. Even so, Ping Tung city has paved streets in several districts in anticipation of multinational investments. Work on a new port,
Tapeng Bay, beginning in 1978 and linked by highway and railway to Kaohsiung will broaden the area into a vast manufacturing zone. This and numerous new industries will help to both complement and broaden the agrarian base of the entire county. The Hai Ou Human Development Project is set in the midst of rice fields, edged by coconut trees with tree-clad mountains in the dis tance. The determining feature is the southwest coastline on the Taiwan straits.
The name Hai Ou, or the Seagull, was selected by the villagers to replace the former village name of Ta Chuang with the construction of the Hai Ou Recreation and Shopping Center. The village huddles near the coast along the recently constructed seawall at the end of the gravel road from Tung Hail The Chia Tung stream to the northwest and the irrigation canal to the northeast complete the boundaries. The village is divided into four lins, or neighbor hoods, and the community recently received a citation for its good lin meetings.
Villagers can be seen knee-deep in the fish ponds cultivating crabs, prawn, eels, baitfish and seaweed. Watching over these ponds and fields i’ a towering white ceramic tile statue of a seagull, symbol of the Hai Ou recreation center. These same rice fields and ponds are flooded when the Chia Tung stream overtakes its banks with seasonal and typhoon rains, providing only one good rice crop each year. As a result, the average income remains about NT$3,000 per month. Family sustenance is supplemented with duck, chicken, pig and goose raising and coastal fishing. Although every hand is needed at the rice harvest and the fish runs, out of necessity some families have members working in Kaohsiung.
The Project area seems more remote than the 47 kilometers to the Kaohsiung International Airport, with no telephone or public transportation. Even though — the primary school children must walk the 30 minutes to the school in Tung Hai, their school work is standard or above. Electricity has brought jight into the homes and streets and powers the pumps for irrigation and drinking water. The community has many sealed pit toilets, though garbage collection is irregular and expensive. The homes are generally brick and concrete, built in U-shapes with a small paved courtyard in the center. Some bamboo and cement structures of a former era can still be seen.
The village’s five stores provide simple supplies and there is a family Jau Dze restau rant as well as the shops selling food in the recreation center shop ping area. Bicycles and motorcycles ply the dirt road into the village all day long, and occasionally a car or truck. The tradi tional Chinese temple is a center of community activities with children playing and sacks of rice stored there at harvest time. Nightfall finds the villagers gathering on the seawall, in shops along the road and in the fields to discuss the events of the day.