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Synapticism

An experiential journal of synchronicity and connection

Wùfēng 霧峰 is the southernmost district in Taichung 台中.

921 Earthquake Museum 九二一地震教育園區

The ruins of a school in Wufeng
The ruins of the collapsed Guangfu Junior High School in Wufeng.

Deep in the night on September 21st, 1999, the devastating 921 Earthquake ripped through central Taiwan 台灣. Thousands were killed, hundreds of buildings collapsed, and entire towns were leveled to the ground, particularly in Nantou and Taichung 台中. Nowadays there are many reminders and memorials to the disaster scattered across the region, among them the 921 Earthquake Museum 九二一地震教育園區 (Chinese version; official site) in Wùfēng 霧峰, which I visited in June 2014.

Wufeng Minsheng Clinic 霧峰民生診所

Open for business
The entrance to the abandoned clinic. It looks like a group from the local university has written up their own schedule on the board outside.

On the way back from the 921 Earthquake Museum 九二一地震教育園區 in early 2014 I noticed an abandoned building at the side of the highway in rural Wùfēng 霧峰. Stopping to investigate, at first I assumed it must have once operated as a bǔxíbān 補習班, or cram school, a common feature of the social landscape here in Taiwan 台灣, but that initial hypothesis turned out to be completely wrong. Years later it was brought to my attention that this was originally Mínshēng Clinic 霧峰民生診所, the office of a country doctor by the name of Lín Péngfēi 林鵬飛. He passed away several years ago leading to the abandonment of the clinic but more recently it was purchased by local farmers and completely renovated and has reopened asa small museum and community center, the Wufeng Minsheng Story House 霧峰民生故事館.

Asia Museum of Modern Art 亞洲現代美術館

Outside the Asia Museum of Modern Art 亞洲現代美術館
Outside the Asia Museum of Modern Art in Wufeng, Taichung.

The Asia Museum of Modern Art 亞洲現代美術館 (official site in Chinese) is a strange thing to find amid the rural-industrial sprawl of southern Taichung 台中. Located in historic [/place]Wufeng[/place], it is part of the much larger Asia University 亞洲大學 campus, itself riddled with European-inspired architectural curiosities like a gymnasium designed to look like the Colosseum. The art gallery, straying from the kitsch theme of the rest of the university, is an original design by renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. It took nearly seven years to build and opened in 2013.