Letters From The Past

Letters from the past
An old mailbox in the now-demolished Huaguang Community.

Last summer I took a stroll through the doomed Huáguāng Community 華光社區, walking down the laneway that borders the ruins of Taipei City Prison. Immediately to the north is a long row of abandoned homes—though perhaps “abandoned” is not quite the right term for them. Residents had been forcibly evicted by the government and the whole neighbourhood was slated for destruction within months.

Bright red doors lined the forlorn laneway, hinting at better times. I paused to have a closer look at the intricate webwork of cracked paint on one such door and was struck by the presence of English lettering in the mailbox slot. I wondered, for a moment, whether the government had sent eviction letters, or if they had simply posted notices on these doors. Either way, there seemed to be something mildly traitorous about these things, entrusted as they were with conveying news of the world beyond. This is now nothing more than dust and memory.