Question by Taiwan90851: What is Kaohsiung City like today?
Check out the below excerpt from Wikipedia about Kaohsiung City. Is this still true today?
In recent years the city has made great strides in transforming itself from a primarily industrial city into a modern Asian metropolis, and several areas of the city, such as along the banks of the River Ai (Love River), have benefited from major beautification projects under the tenure of former mayor Frank Hsieh. The city is often known as Taiwan’s “Harbor Capital” (??) because of its close connection and heavy reliance on the ocean and maritime transportation.
Answer by matt_of_asia
Hmm… I went to the areas mentioned, and they are nice and shiny and modern. When you go in on the freeway inwards though, it is a bit of a depressing ant industrial ant warren appearance to me. I don’t live there, so I cannot say if it is terribly wonderful. (it does not look too great to me.) I just know I don’t want to live there, personally. Taichung is overdeveloped and overcrowded enough for my needs. I couldn’t handle even hotter and more polluted…
I am sure that Frank Hsieh did a fantastic job changing the area around to a more tolerable place, don’t get me wrong, it was nice… in the BEAUTIFIED areas. It’s just that the town in general has a ways to go before I would consider it beautiful in general to the point I would want to be there. Air pollution controls and actual ENFORCED regulations to maintain healthy standards of air would do miracles in Asia as far as keeping educated professional workers actually WANTING to stay in their area of birth… and keeping the current producers healthy and productive and giving them the edge needed to stay near the top of the heap, rather than the disposable ‘Microsoft human’ method. A 3 year expiry date on human labor is not a sustainable model, but it seems that is the model Asia has chosen, (not without reason- England, USA, and Japan all did it too at one stage in their development.) It just would be nice if we didn’t keep repeating all the same mistakes and magnifying the impacts each time…
I liked the Love River at night. It is nothing like the famed american “Love River” (no toxic waste APPARENT anyways!) , it is actually a clean looking, good smelling park next to a large canal with boat rides. Its a nice escape. The downtown developed area is wide open, has nice pavestones and statues and randomly spaced small trees. Shade is a bit limited in parts, however. The air conditioned MRT station underground is OK. Taipei’s is better, but they have 10 million people to tax and were the beneficiaries of most of the cash on the island for the last 50 years! Other than that it seemed like every other western Taiwan town, outside of the developed areas, same clutter, same lack of sidewalks and overabundance of street signs and the same old facades of street level shops selling the same stuff.
I still basically remember Kaosiung as the place I need to transfer my bus at to get to Kenting and Pingdong. I realize this description isnt flattering but it didnt strike me in a hugely positive way, but it does have its positive parts that without Frank Hsieh making a difference, would not be there today. It is too bad he didn’t get in and didn’t have the same amount of name recognition the ‘anoited one’ had. Frank Hsieh knew how to get things done to make long term positive change for an area. Ma just knew how to suck up to party members and use them against each other to get ahead and get placed in areas- and not to screw up too badly- but didnt really do much to make long term positive changes.
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