Home >> Lingnan Voices

Revitalizing Candong Village

Updated: 2016-08-13 Source:Radio Guangdong's English Service Author:intern
Revitalizing Candong Village
Welcome to Lingnan Voices my name is George McKibbens

Kaiping is a city in Guangdong Province, known for architecture that tells a story. Namely, Diaolous. Diaolous are massive towers built for defense at the turn of the last century.

(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

Usually financed by overseas Chinese, these days they're highlighted by tourism and often give the impression of a theme park. Although some diaolou villages remain abandoned and go unnoticed. This is a story about a grassroots restoration project of Candong Villagge


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)
 
[Record]
"Right now there is no one using this building."
"None, all empty. And here they won't let your rent it either.

A village rich in history but abandoned for more than a generation, this is a story of several people who struggled to bring this village back to life.


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

[Record]
George
During the Qing and Minguo era they were shooting from these buildings, what were people afraid of?

CJ:
At the time locals had conflicts with Hakkas, and during the Japanese occupation, there were robberies and kidnappings. 

CJ:
When we finished this restoration, locals wanted this to be like the Li Garden. So they charged money. And after a year they made less than 1300RMB. Afterwards they said they can't make it successful. So our professor thought another way to sustain the village.

George:
How much are the locals involved with the education and tourism?

CJ:
Actually, because this village has less than 15 people, and they are not young. So when we have activies the elderly share their stories and help with the activities.

George:
So most people running this project are young people. I'm guessing you were born in the 90s.

CJ:
Yeah.

George:
So what kind of generational gaps do you run into.


-Transition Music-
 
(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

[Record]
Nancy Xie
This is a women's temple called Fu Renmiao which means 'women's temple' it's kind of unique in southern Chinese culture because generally speaking when you go into a temple you may see a Buddha and you have men and women worshiping. But in Kaiping and in Taishan and many of these villages most of the men were overseas, either working as railway workers in California or doing business in South East Asia, and so most of the people in these villages were the wives and the mothers and daughters.

 


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

George
A lot of locals don't really know about the history and the value and importance of these buildings.
Nancy
Yes and the feeling that I get after visiting the villages in Kaiping is that most people are not aware of the history and the value of these buildings or why the buildings are even there. So foreign researchers or researchers from other universities come, and they do their research here and they help the locals to see the value of their own heritage.
 

(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)

NaNa
I knew there was some kind of historic preservation work in this area. I was drawn to it because I was born in the countryside.


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)
 
[Record]
Selia Tan
The reason why we reconstructed this (Fu Renmiao) is because it was a spiritual place. The villagers told us this was a desire for them to have this place back.

I studied overseas. There are not many events like this in China. I knew this could be a place where we could facilitate a heritage site that meets international standards.


(photo by e.rgd.com.cn)


  (photo by e.rgd.com.cn)